Observatories: Northumberland

Acfield’s Observatory ( -1970s), established by Frank Acfield at his home in Forest Hall, Newcastle, which housed a 10-inch reflecting telescope (Gooch 1979).

Espin Observatory (1960s-2000), Close House, Heddon-on-the-Wall, established by Newcastle University.  Three domes were erected on the site, the largest housing a 24 inch reflecting telescope made by Calver for he Reverend T.H.E.C. Espin (1858-1934) for his Wolsingham Observatory; with another dome housing a 4 1/2-inch Cooke refractor.  With the closing of the Physics Dept. in the early 2000s the site was sold to local businessman and converted into a country hotel with the removal of two domes – fate of Espin Telescope unclear.

Lilburn Observatory (1852- ), Lilburn Tower, nr. Wooler, established by Edward John Collingwood (1815-95) in 1852.  It houses a 6⅓-inch refractor on a cross-axis English mounting along with a 4 1/2-inch transit instrument, both made by Troughton and Simms, London. The observatory survives as built, with its original fixtures, a time capsule from the 19th century (Clucas 2012; Obit., MNRAS, 56 (1896), p.197).

Hepple Observatory (c.1913-c.1940/50s), Hepplewoodside,  Northumberland, established by Dr Wilfred-Hall (1874-1950s) of Woodside, Sharperton, Northumberland (1943).  The observatory housed a 15-inch refracting telescope by Howard Grubb, Dublin, formerly owned by George Dunn at Woolley Hall, Berkshire.  In 1950s the telescope was transferred to University of Central Lancashire as part of the Alston  Observatory.

Woodside Observatory 1913

Woodside Observatory 1913


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