Observatories: Yorkshire; West Riding

Bermerside Observatory [BO] (1867-94), Halifax , established by industrialist Edward Crossley at his home in 1872. This replaced an earlier smaller observatory (7-inch refractor) at a previous residence.  The new structure housed a 9.3-inch Cooke refractor, a 3½-inch Cooke transit, micrometers, and Grubb clock. Here he re-employed Joseph Gledhill as observer (1869-1905), to observe  doubles, planets and occultations.  In 1885 he acquired the 36-inch Common reflector and for eight years tried to use it, but found the climate hopeless. In 1894 he gave it to the Lick Observatory, where James Keeler proved its worth. The Cooke refractor was then purchased by the Rev. Dr David Kennedy and installed in an observatory at Napier, New Zealand before going to the Carter Observatory in the capital,Wellington (Obit., MNRAS, 65 (1905), 335-6; Orchiston 2002Orchiston 2016; Buczynski 2020).

Brian Joynes Observatory [BJO] (c.2000- ), Austerfield Field Study Centre, Doncaster, established by the Doncaster Astronomical Society and a local community group. The observatory has two domed structures, one for visual observing and the other for photographic use.  The former is equipped with a 14-SCT reflector while the latter houses a 12 photographic reflecting telescope.

Cecil Duncombe Observatory [CDO] (1905-1936), located at Woodhouse Moor, jointly University and Leeds A.S.  Cecil Duncombe established his private observatory in 1879 on Woodhouse Moor, acquiring from Andrew Common his 18¼-inch silver-on-glass Calver equatorial, clock driven, reflector of 1876. Leeds A.S. had use of and ran the Observatory, which also had a 3-inch Cooke portable transit circle, sidereal clock, and chronograph. There was also a 3-inch Horne & Thornthwaite refractor, and a full set of meteorological instruments . Placed at the disposal of Leeds University, from 1921-28 the Observatory was supervised by R.S. Pike, Lecturer in Physics, a solar researcher, assisted from 1923 by R. Stoneley, a lecturer in applied mathematics. That year the Observatory was refurbished in anticipation of a course in astronomy and classes in practical work for students in maths and physics. But Stoneley was the last practical observer. In 1934 Mrs Scriven Bolton offered her son’s 23-inch reflector of 1929 with a new mirror, but by 1937 the Observatory was obsolete, and by 1939 its equipment (principally the 18-inch) inoperable. In 1934 Mrs Scriven Bolton offered her sons the 23-inch reflector of 1929 with a new mirror (Stroobant 1907, 121; Stroobant 1931; Stroobant 1936).

Harewood Lodge Observatory [HLO] 1901-24), Meltham, nr. Huddersfield , established by Charles Lewis Brook at his home and equipped with a 9-inch refractor – third director of the BAA variable star section, 1910-21 (Shears 2012a).

Huddersfield Observatory [HuO] (1973- ), Crosland Hill, Huddersfield , originally established and run by Huddersfield Astronomical & Philosophical Society. Current status is unclear as it is no longer appears to be run by the Huddersfield Astronomical Society.

J. A. Jone Observatory [JAJO] (1993- ) between  the villages of Hoober and Wentworth, near Rotherham, established and run by the Mexborough & Swinton Astronomical Society (Wiki).

Milner K Ford Observatory [MKFO] (1969-2019), Wilton Park, Batley, established by the Batley and Spenborough Astronomical Society. The domed building with a meeting room housed a 15-inch reflecting telescope on a fork mount. After 50 years of operation the observatory and telescope were de-commissioned due age and maintenance issues.

Richardson’s Observatory [RiO](fl.1850s), established by William Richardson (1804-1878) and located on Pinnar Lane of Highfield Southowram near Halifax (Comfort 1914-5).


Rosse Observatory [RO] (1983-current [2017]), Carleton Road,Pontefract, built and run by the West Yorkshire Astronomical Society. It is equipped with an 18-inch reflecting telescope and several smaller instruments.

Scriven Bolton Observatory [SBO] (1913-1929), Waterloo Lodge, Bramley nr. Leeds, established by Thomas Bolton, where he installed a giant ‘two foot’ reflecting telescope (Armitage 2009).

Weston Park Museum Observatory [WPMO] (1880-1939), Netherthorpe, Sheffield established after the donation a 6-inch equatorial refractor and a small spectroscope, from Thomas Rawson Barker – accepted E. Howarth (curator). He spent several days at the Cambridge Observatory courtesy of John Couch Adams, learning to use it. In 1880 the building in the Park was loaned by the Parks Committee. A Transit Room was built by the Museums Committee and a 2¾-inch transit circle and clock were given by Pembroke College, Cambridge. The public were to have access two nights a week during the winter, and this attracted about 500 a year, considerable interest. In 1905 the Observatory was transferred to the new Sheffield University, for practical instruction for Honours Maths students studying the spherical astronomy course – then known as University Observatory. No survey or meteorological equipment was available. Apparently no astronomical society was given use of the instrument, and in 1997 the committee of Sheffield A.S. said the whereabouts of the refractor were unknown (Hutchins 2008, 378 & 416-7).