Observatories: Cambridgeshire

Cambridge Colleges

Christ’s College Observatory (1760-80), established by Anthony Shepherd (1721-96) who used a 20-inch mural quadrant, a transit instrument (3-foot FL) and two clocks (Graham & Allam) to make observations from the college (Howse 1986).

Trinity College Observatory (1739-1797), established by Roger Cotes (1682-1716), the first Plumian  professor at Cambridge.  Following earlier efforts to create an observatory by the master, Richard Bentley (earlier in 1705 (?), see University/D.XII.22), it was housed over the Kings/great gate at the college ).  It is known to have been equipped with a sextant by Rowley and a clock by Street (Gunter 1937, 162Howse 1986).

Pembroke College Observatory  (fl.1752)

Gonville and Caius College Observatory  (fl. 1764)

St. Johns College Observatory (1765-1859), fist established by Richard Dunthorne (1711-1775) over the west gate (Shrewsbury Tower).  The role of director was then taken by William Ludlam (1717-88) later by Thomas Catton (bapt. 1758-1838). The observatory is known to have been equipped with both a clock and transit instrument by Sissons (Howse 1986; Mobberley 2006).

Madingley Road site

Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HA [Tel. 01223 37548)]

Institute of Astronomy (1823-  ), established as the University Observatory, Cambridge, later in 1946 the observatory merged with the Solar Physics Observatory to form the Institute of Astronomy.   (Howse 1986; Stratton 1949).

The Solar Physics Observatory [SPO] (1913-1946)

The Royal Greenwich Observatory [RGO] (1990-1998), the observatory had its administrative headquarters and workshops in Cambridge on the site of the Institute of Astronomy .

The Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory

The Ryle Telescope (RT).
The Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope (CAT).
The Cambridge Low-Frequency Synthesis Telescope (CLFST).
The Very Small Array (VSA).


Canon Selwyn’s solar observatory (active 1863-74) – ‘The College’ Ely, exact location not known