ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Barnett Observatory in Chesterfield.

Updated on March 17, 2013

The History of the Telescope

Back in the 1950s W. Horace Barnett conceived the idea of building an 18 inch (450 mm) diameter astronomical telescope for Chesterfield. Horace had previously engineered a 12 inch (300 mm) diameter telescope for the Sheffield Astronomical Society. His vision to build a larger telescope in Chesterfield came into reality when he met two Chesterfield members of the British Astronomical Association. The Chesterfield team was Horace, Val Warburtons and Douglas Saunderson.

Many within the astronomical community doubted whether it would be possible for a group of amateur astronomers to build such a large telescope. They were known as the "Newbold Nutters" as a result of the fact that the telescope would be housed in the Newbold district of Chesterfield.

The team obtained support from William Brown, the then Joint Managing Director of the Chesterfield Tube Company. Mr Brown offered both personal support and the support of his Company in the form of raw materials and facilities. Interest in the project grew from many of Horace's friends and colleagues who donated for a year half-a-crown (£2.58 in 2013 money) a week to help finance the project. This generous and enthusiastic support led to the formation on 17th November 1956 of the Chesterfield Astronomical Society. Horace Barnett elected as the telescope Project Director.

The Society at this time was 80 strong with a will to make Horace's vision come true. The Society obtained a lease from the Council for the Newbold site where the Observatory is today.

A Society member and professional architect, Peter F.R. Glossop, designed a 5.5 metre hemispherical dome for the telescope and a fully equipped adjoining lecture room. His design was accepted and in the Spring of 1957, the members with spades commenced work on the foundations. By late summer the lecture room was taking shape. In addition to this the pillar, headstock and main tube of the telescope had been assembled. Public and media interest in the project grew as a result of the Society's achievements. An appeal to local concerns in the area raised over £400 (£7876 in 2013 money) together with help in the form of valuable materials.

The next stage was for Val Warburton to produce by hand, a parabolic mirror 18 inch (450mm) in diameter from very thin plate glass. The task was a difficult one and as such Val had a number of trials and tribulations. Val's persistence paid off and in the autumn of 1958 the mirror was finished.

Work on the dome and telescope continued through into 1959. The first successful observations were made in November 1959. Three years had passed from the idea to it's attainment. In tribute to Horace the observatory housing the telescope was called The Barnett Observatory and in recognition of the contribution made by William Brown the telescope is called the William Brown telescope.

The Society was delighted to have the Barnett Observatory officially opened by the Astronomer Royal Dr Richard van der Riet Woolley on Saturday 23rd April 1960.


Into the 21st Century.

The telescope is lovingly maintained by the current members of the Chesterfield Astronomical Society. If you would like to view the night sky through this magnificent telescope, then please come along (on a clear night) to the Observatory from 8pm on a Friday night. You will be made most welcome.

The Barnett Observatory, Hastings Close, Newbold, Chesterfield Derbyshire S41 8RH


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)