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).

North Pennine Observatory [NPO] (c.2019- ), Allenheads, established by the Allenheads Contemporary Arts with help from regional funding. The wooden run-off roof observatory houses a 12-inch reflecting telescope on an equatorial mounting.

Battlesteads Observatory [BOWH] (c.2015- ), Battlesteads Hotel & Resaurant, Wark, nr Hexham, a commercial astronomical observing facility for public viewing – part of hotel. Run-off roof, wooden buildings house various SCT reflectors and Dobsonian reflectors for use under supervision.

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.

Hauxley Observatory [HOHNR] (c.2008- ), Hauxley Nature Reserve, established by the Northumberland Astronomical Society.  The wooden run-off roof building houses a 14-inch SCT reflector on an equatorial mounting.

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, 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

Kielder Observatory [KOK] (2008- ), Kielder Forest, established and run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society, a registered charity (funding from Forestry Commission, EU etc.).  The wooden observatory’s main instruments are a 16-inch SCT reflector and a 16-inch astrograph reflector, both on equatorial mounts.

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 4½-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).

Twice Brewed Inn Observatory [TBIO] (c.2015- ), Barton Mill, Hexham, established by the Twice Brewed Inn. Run-off roof observatory houses a 10/12-inch SCT catadioptric telescope. A commercial public observing facility – part of pub & dining outlet.

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