Observatories: Yorkshire – North Riding

Bootham School Observatory [BSO] (1852- ), Bootham School, Bootham, York, the original structure was built in the SE corner of the school gardens. At a cost of £300, the facility housed a 4.5-inch Cooke refractor, transit instrument and regulator clock in a circular building with square annex. Used heavily by the pupils for the rest of the century it was re-located to  its present site on the corner of the  Science Block erected in 1899.  Here it continues its function as a teaching facility for GCSE Astronomy and is made available to other York pupils through the Independent State School Partnership (Robinson 2004).

Low Dalby Astronomy Centre [LDAC] (2001- ) Visitors Centre, Dalby Forest, established by the Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society [SRAS] in conjunction with the Forestry Commission. The original observatories(2 domes) were located at Low Dalby but moved next to the new visitor Centre in Dalby Forest in 2008.

Pigott’s Observatory [PiO2] (1781-85 & 1792-3), 33 Boothan, York, established by Nathaniel Pigott with both reflecting and refracting telescopes, a quadrant and transit instrument. He is noted for his observations of eclipses, the transit of Venus of 1769 from Caen in France, from Louvain in Belgium the transit of Mercury of 1786, and comets.

Wigglesworth’s Observatory [WigO] (1885-90), St James/Londesborough Roads, Scarborough, built for James Wigglesworth, a businessman/amateur astronomer. He owned Thomas Cooke & Sons of York who supplied and erected the 30-foot dome and 15.5-inch (f/15) refracting telescope.  In the same year James was elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  Having poor eyesight he engaged Jacob Lohse (1851-1941) , from Dunecht Observatory, as his observer in 1886 . Together they determined the positions of 20 nebulae by 1887.  After Wigglesworth’s death the telescope and dome were sold to Vincenzo Cerrulli (Hockey 2007) who had it moved to a hill near the Italian town of Teramo, now the Collurania Observatory (RAS 1887; Emery & Hawkridge 2007).

Yorkshire Philosophical Society Observatory [YPSO] (1833- ), York Museum Gardens, York, established by the prompting of the Revd. Dr William Pearson at the first meeting of the BAAS hosted by the YPS at York (1831). He presented the society  a copy of his Treatise on Practical Astronomy who in turn made him an honorary member. He responded by offering a clock (Barraud), a 4-inch refractor (OG replaced by Wm. Grey), a transit  (Jones), and a conical dome designed by Smeaton if they built an observatory. The site was derelict by 1951, the original instruments lost. The observatory was restored (1981) and now houses a Cooke (1850s) telescope (Dreyer & Turner 1923; Robinson 2004).