Observatories: Berkshire

Bradfield College Observatory [BCOB] (1947-1989), established at the school after the donation of an 8-inch refracting telescope with a mounting by Cooke and OG by Alvan Clarke. Dated 1871, the instrument was given by L.M. Parlett a former pupil at the school.  Housed in a 16-sided wooden building with dome it was used by pupil and later by Reading Astronomical Society before damage to the building resulted in its disassembly and storage of the refractor. After years of neglect the telescope is now being restored in the USA by Dr Martin Radcliffe (‘Meeting Reports: May 20, 1989’, JBAA, 99 [5], 268).

Bruce Kingsley’s Observatory [BKO] (2008- ), Maidenhead.  Equipped with an 8.5-inch With-Browning reflector of 1908 in a Broadhurst Clarkson tube, acquired by Patrick Moore from the RGO in 1953, and given to Bruce in c.2006, and restored by him.

Herschel Astronomical Society Observatory [HASO] (1966- ), Eton College,  Common Lane,Windsor, established by the Herschel Astronomical Society.  Three domed building (9, 11 & 12 foot) house a 6-inch Cooke refractor, a 12-inch Cassegrain and a 23-inch Newtonian reflector.

Owen’s Observatory [OwO] (1890s-1925), Ufton Nervet, nr. Reading, established by the Revd. Owen, Arthur Edwin Brisco at his home. Equipped with a 6-inch refractor by Grubb and a transit circle, the instruments were purchased, along with an observatory, while he was living in Constantinople (Obit., MNRAS, 86 (1926), 184-5).

Radley College observatory [RCO] (1889-1920s; 1934-c.1970s), Radley College, Radley, established by the school after the donation of a 4-inch refracting telescope by the Rev. H.E. Lowe. The building was probably of a ‘Romsey’ type construction, being located at the end of the edge of the cricket pitch. Run in conjunction with the school natural history society, its use was casual instruction, rather than serious research. By the 1920s the decayed structure was dismantled, but was not replaced until 1934 on a site 150 metres to the east – current cricket pavilion. The fate of the latter observatory is unclear and that of the original Lowe instrument (Boyd 1948, 228&339).

Saunder’s Observatory [SaOC] (1894-1913), ‘Firholt’, 37 Church Rd., Crowthorne, established by S.A. Saunder’s at his home. The run-off shed observatory was equipied with a 7-inch refractor with equatorially mount by Troughton and Simms that was used for lunar observation – later transferred (sale?) with observatory to Wellington College school  (Stroobant 1907‘Mr Saunder’s Observatory…’, MNRAS, 62 (1902), 279-80).

Wellington College Observatory [WCO] (1920s- ), Crowthorne, established as a school observatory after the acquisition of a 7-inch refractor with a mount by Troughton and Simms (1876).  Acquired as either, a purchase or donation from the estate of S.A. Saunders, a late mathematics master at Wellington College. It was housed originally in a run-off shed, the original structure at Saunders’s home at Crowthorne.  The current domed building replaced the original structure, probably post 1945, and has been relocated to a different site in the school grounds (‘Meeting Reports: May 20, 1989’, JBAA, 99 [5], 268).  

William Herschel’s Observatories [WHOD & WHOS] (1783-1785 & 1786-1830s), Dachet & Slough – see Buckinghamshire