Observatories: Staffordshire

Cannock Civic Observatory [CCOC] (2010-?), Cardinal Griffin High School, Cannock, established on the campus of the school under the auspices of John Armitage. It consists of two domes and two ancillary facilities, namely the C.A. Loxton Memorial Transit House, and the Phyllis Armitage Memorial Telescope House. These contain Newtonians reflectors (8-20-inch), mid-range Maksutov-Cassegrains, and smaller high-quality refracting telescopes (Armitage 2011).

Keele Observatory [KO] (1962-current), Keele, established on the campus of the newly founded Keele University.  It was originally equipped with a 12-inch Grubb refractor, from Oxford University Observatory and the 12-inch Hinton reflector. The refurbished facilities now include a research-grade 60cm reflector (Madison 2000).

Loxton’s Observatory [LOSHC] (1890s-1940s), Shoal Hill House, Shoal Hill Cannock, established by Charles A. Loxton in the grounds of his home. The  wooden building, a modified form of the Romsey-type observatory with a round ground-plan and low-pitch rotating dome. The instruments that Loxton used are unknown, but he did borrow a 3 1/2-inch Wray refractor from the BAA and it is believed that he owned a spectroscope (Armitage 2007).

Newchapel Observatory [NeO] (1964-2009), Newchapel, Stoke-on-Trent, established by brothers Tony and Michael Pace. The site is now run as the Newchapel Natural Science Centre (see archived BBC website).

Ward’s Observatory [WaO] (1828-40), Lapley (nr. Pinkridge & Brewood) established by Revd. Michael Ward at the village of Lapley.  It was equipped with an altazimuth circle and clock on loan from the RAS (Howse 1986, 75; Obit., MNRAS, 5 (1843, 241; ‘Report to the 23rd AGM’, MNRAS, 14-5 [1843], p.262).

Wrottesley Hall Observatory [WHO] (1842-1867), Tettenhall, established by Sir John Wrottesley, in the grounds of his residence. The principal instrument was a 7¾-inch refractor by Dollond carried on an ‘Old English cross-axis mount made of mahogany- clock drive unreliable.  Wrottesley employed observing assistents John Hartnup, followed by Morton Philpott with Frederic Morton and Mr Hough. Observations (1842-54) were made to produce two supplementary catalogues to the Blackheath Catalogue and in 1851 he published the Periodic observations of 19 stars for Parallax. In 1861 a catalogue of the positions and distances of 398 double stars was p[roduced (Obit., MNRAS, 28 (1867), 64-8; Armitage 2006).

Wrottesley Observatory [WOBCM] (2007-2010), established at the Black Country Museum under the auspice of John Armitage. Like the nearby Wrottesley-Philips Observatory it housed a restored 7-inch Calver refector (BAA No.150)  in in a wooden Romsey-type observatory building. Used for public out-reach it was closed after a change of director at the museum who thought it did not fit in with their plans (‘Opening of the Wrottesley Observatory’, JBAA, 119 [1] (2009), 40; Obit.  BulSHA, Issue 25 (2016), 89-95).

Wrottesley-Philips Observatory [WPO] (2006-2010), Codsall, established at the Pendrell Hall Adult Education College under the auspice of John Armitage. Along with an existing modern telescope, the obseratory was furbished with a transit instrument and 12-inch Calver reflector (BAA No.93) on loan from the BAA housed in a wooden Romsey-type observatory building. The observatory closed with the sale of college site in 2010 – now a wedding venue (‘Summer Picnics’, NewsSHA, Issue 13 (2007), 12-3; Obit. BulSHA, Issue 25 (2016), 89-95).

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