Email: Survey Officer


Forbes, Georges [FRAS] (1849-1936), established an observing platform built at his small wooden country retreat, ‘The Shed’ in Pitlochry, Scotland (see County of  London).

Robertson, John (1830-1920), born Corston, Aberlemno, Angus, who later in life became a railway porter at Coupar Angus station. He developed a knowledge of astronomy after attending a lecture by Dr Thomas Dick in 1848. His astronomical interest were conveyed to passengers passing through his station and brought him celebrity. He was subsequently interviewed by Samuel Smiles further enhancing his reputation. Due his work schedule, his observations were mainly solar and meteors, which were submitted to the BAA (Dryerre 1903, 74-80; Smiles 1884, 321-31; Chapman 1998,206-9).

Smart, William Marshall (1889-1975), born in Doune, Perthshire. He was educated at Glasgow University, where he was a student of Ludwig Becker, Director of the Observatory, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge. After the war he returned in 1919 as Chief Assistant at the University Observatory, Cambridge, where his duty was to work the Sheepshanks telescope, where he achieved what was then pioneering work in photographic photometry. His principal work then became from 1923-40 stellar kinematics, reflecting the current preoccupation with radial velocities and the structure of the galaxy. In 1937 Smart left Cambridge to succeed Becker as Regius Professor of Astronomy in Glasgow. The Horselethill Observatory was completely obsolete and compromised by being engulfed by the smoky city, and the chair was under threat. He saved the chair, closed the observatory, and with a fraction of the proceeds built a teaching observatory in the University Gardens, with a 7-inch refractor and small transit. The Observatory was opened by Sir Arthur Eddington in 1939. He had already begun to teach undergraduates successfully, and to attract a small group of graduate students (QJRAS, 18 (1977), 140-46).


Aytoun Observatory [AyO] (1864- ?), Aytoun House, Abernethy, built by William Livingstone Watson (1835-1903), to housed the ‘Trophy Telescope’. The 11-inch refractor – optics by Ross, mount by  Ransome & May – formerly from Wester Elchies that Watson had bought from James William Grant. Its subsequent use and history is unknown,   beyond footings little remains of the structure (Gavine 1981, 273).

Ochtertyre Observatory [OO] (1853-61), Ochtertyre House,  Ochtertyre, established by Sir William Keith Murray, bart (1801-61) on his estate.  Two circular buildings topped with  conical domes (canvas-on-wood) housing a new 9-inch Cooke and 6-inch Merz refractors. the domes were linked by a transit room containing a 3-inch transit – total cost of £1,160. However, Murray had little time, and the climate was unsuitable for systematics work and in 1861 it the Cooke telescope was purchased by a subscription fund, and given to Glasgow University’s Horselethill Observatory (Gavine 1981, 258-64).

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