Observatories Hertfordshire

Beaufoy’s Bushey Observatory [BeOBH] (1816-27), Bushey Heath, established by Colonel Mark Beaufoy (1764-1827), with a 3-inch Cary transit, an altazimuth, and two clocks- The instruments were loaned by the Astronomical Society to Captain William Smyth (Howse 1986, 67).

Bayfordbury Observatory [BOB] (1967- ) University of Hertfordshire’s  teaching observatory located in the relatively dark countryside of Bayfordbury, Hertfordshire, 6 miles from the main university campus in Hatfield. The first telescope was built in 1969, and since then has been used as a teaching observatory for undergraduate students, staff and student research as well as for public outreach activities. The observatory is home to the Marsh Telescope, a 20-inch reflector (formerly 16-inch) on an English cross-axis mount built by Astronomical Instruments, Cambridge in 1970. These are supplemented with 7 modern automated SCT instruments in separate domes. Until 2008 it was also home to Henry Brinton’s 12-inch Calver reflector when it was moved to Slindon College near Arundel, Sussex. The telescope was replaced with a computer controlled 24-inch astrographic reflector by Planewave (Moore 1996, 93-102; I&IN, No.22 [Oct. 2014]).

High Top Observatory [HTO] (1974- ), High Top, Flauden, established by South West Hertfordshire Astronomical Society. The brick-built domed observatory is equipped with an 11-inch SCT catadioptric telescope on an equatorial mount.

Lax’s Observatory [LOSTH] (c.1815- ), St Ibbs, nr. Hitchin, established by William Lax in the garden of his home. The delapidated circular building is ill-suited for observation with a fixed roof and only narrow window slots to observe through.  Locally attributed to Sir Isaac Newton and having been brought from Cambridge, it appears the structure was constructed by local builder and glazier who shared the same name (Hutton 1815, 129; Johnson 2021, 35-6).

Parr’s Observatory [POSA] (1927-36) The Hollies, St. Albans, established by W. A. Parr at his home – re-erected from an earlier site in Hampstead. Furnished with a 4-inch Cooke refractor and an Evershed spectroscope – donated to St. Albans High School for girls (Obit., MNRAS, 59 (1936), 197Obit., Obs,  97 (4), 279Stroobant 1931).

St. Albans High School for Girl Observatory [SAHSG] (1936-?) Townsend Avenue, St Albans, established by the school from a bequest from the estate of W.A. Parr.   The donation consisted of a 4-inch photo-visual refracting telescope with equatorial mounting by T. Cooke & Son and its association observatory with a 10-foot dome (‘Notice’, Nat, 138 (Oct. 31, 1936), 753; Obit., MNRAS, 59 (1936), 197).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s