Observatories: Lanarkshire

Acre Road Observatory [AROUG] (1969- ), established by the University of Glasgow at its Garscube Estate site near Summerston, Glasgow. The observatory was originally furbished with a 20-inch reflecting telescope by Grubb-Parsons, now located on the Cochno Estate in the Kilpatrick Hills.  Today the site houses a suite of modern reflecting telescopes – 10, 12 & 16-inch (Roy 1993).

Airdrie Observatory [AirO] (1896-1924), Library (Airdrie Art Centre), Anderson street , Airdrie, established after the donation of a 3 1/4-inch refractor by Dr Thomas Reid – prominent optician and philanthropist. The  library, funded  by a £1,000 donation from Andrew Carnegie, housed  the small purpose-built, public observatory. Due to its small size, the observatory was moved and enlarged to the current  library site at Wellwynd, in Airdrie in 1925 (Wikipedia).

Airdrie Public Observatory [APO] (1925- ), Wellwynd, Airdrie, established on the top of the current the town library building. The dome of the purpose-built observatory houses a 6-inch Cooke refractor (date ?) purchased at the time, and is thought to have been originally owned by the mineralogist, William James Lewis. This replaced the original instrument that is now on display rather than used.  A new copper dome was installed in 2009, part of a major refurbishment of the Library roof.  The observatory is owned and funded by North Lanarkshire Council and operated on their behalf by Airdrie Astronomical Association (AAA). The current honorary curators are Arthur Bannister and Gavin Bain (Wikiepedia).

Garnet Hill Observatory [GHOG] (1808-26), Glasgow, established by Glasgow Society for promoting Astronomical Science.  After fund raising effort driven byDr Andrew Ure of Anderson’s College, a generous observatory building was erected.  It was well equipped originally with two Herschel reflectors (10 & 14 Foot), a 5-foot mural circle and altazimth instrument, both by Troughton along two regulator clocks.  After the dissolution of the society the instruments and building were sold – latter now demolished (Gavine 1981, 315-21Howse 1986, 71).

Horselethill Observatory [HOG] (1841-1938), Horselethill, Glasgow, established originally public subscription and was originally equipped with a 6-inch Ertel circle and the Ramage reflector. Later in 1845, it was taken over by Glasgow University as their Macfarlane Observatory site became unusable due to the expansion of the city.  The University instruments were relocated here. Prof. Robert Grant was an accomplished observer (1860-92), he produced two catalogues. In 1863 he was enabled the purchase of a  9-inch Cooke equatorial (1861) – Ochtertyre Observatory. He was succeeded by Ludwig Becker 1892-1935 who effected some refurbishment, but worked without assistance for ten years. The site by now engulfed by the city with appalling smoke pollution making modern spectroscopy impossible (Gavine 1981, 66-85 ; Howse 1986, 71; Stroobant 1931; Hutchins 2008, 37-40; Roy 1993).

Macfarlane Observatory [MOUG] (1757-1844), Dowhill, Glasgow, established through bequest of instruments by Alexander MacfarlaneDowhill.  The first observatory of the University of Glasgow it was located in College grounds off the High Street adjoining the Physic Garden.  Due to its city location a new observatory site was sought with a move to Horselethill in 1841 (Gavine 1981, 55-65; Howse 1986, 71-2; Roy 1993).

University Gardens Observatory [UGOUG] (1939-1960?), established in the university garden at Musselburgh, now Queen Margaret University, to replace Horselethill Observatory. It housed a 7-inch telescope and  transit instrument. Closure was prompted by the erection of nearby tall building (Roy 1993).

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