Thanks for this. Very interesting.
I have a personal interest insofar as I was a Geology PhD student in Newcastle 1976-1979 and my supervisor was the late Dr M. Hugh Battey. I seem to recall that he was one a select few who used the telescope for their own devices – he frequently invited me to join him in observations but, alas, I never was able to. This failure I have always regretted.
I believe the observatory was located at the Closehouse Estate to the west of Newcastle – at the time this was the University’s main sports centre and I often played football there. I believe the University sold off Closehouse some years ago. I always wondered what happened to the observatory/telescopes. A few years ago at a BAA meeting in Newcastle I was told that the observatories were no more and that the telescopes were in store (= lost). Believing this, I felt the University had committed a gross act barbarity.
Closehouse is now, I think, some sort of luxury hotel. It was suggested to me that the hotel now owned what was left of the observatory but my informant was not sure. I haven’t been able to find much information about it.
Are we talking about the same place? Or has my age-addled memory failed (again)?
I would be very keen to see these items at least preserved if not restored. I would help as much as I can, but I fear this would be not much in a practical sense.