The Espin Telescope
Thomas Henry Espinall Compton Espin was vicar of Tow Law, Co. Durham, from 1888 until his death in 1934, aged 76. He was a keen astronomer with an interest in double stars; he went on to personally discover and map an amazing 2,575 of these and was helped in his work by William Milburn, his assistant observer. Espin’s main telescope was a 24 inch reflector by the famous maker George Calver. After Espin’s death the telescope fell into disuse, it is said that chickens took up residence in the tube! The telescope was eventually rescued and fully restored by David who then presented it to the Newcastle University observatory at Close House. In August 2004, one year before David’s untimely death, Newcastle University sold Close House mansion and golf course which were redeveloped as a hotel. As a result of this the observatory fell into disuse and the 24 inch telescope suffered once again from neglect. The latest news I have is that the telescope has been removed from the leaking dome and is now in storage. Perhaps a fitting tribute to this historical telescope would be relocation to Beamish museum where it could be enjoyed by the many visitors.