Posted by Denis Buczynski at 14:14 on 2012 Jul 22
There was an Observatory donated to Lancaster City Council by John Gregg of Escowbeck near Lancaster (a wealthy Mill owner) around the turn of the 19/20th century. This was erected in Lancaster’s Williamson Park and contained an 8 inch Cooke refractor. This was in exsistence up until the start of the Second World War when it was dismantled by the City Council and effectively lost. I know that BAA member Peter Wade has researched this observatory and I think wrote an article for the JBAA about it(a job for searching the digital archive). Peter will have a good deal of knowledge of John Gregg and his astronomical activities. If you want his address, then email me and I will forward it onto you. The tale of demise of this fine observatory in Lancaster is sad and it tells a all to familiar tale of what can happen to these municipal facilities if their fate is left to those who have no knowledge or appreciation of them. The worry is that more will disapear. The Jerimiah Horrocks Observatory in Moor Park in Preston is at immediate risk. The observatory and 8 inch Cooke (visited by many a BAA group over the years) has been "MOTHBALLED" by its current custodians The University of Central Lancashire and has not been used for at least five years and the doors remain closed. There is no proposed plan for is long term survival.These municipal facilities have been the venue of choice by members of the public when there are well publicised astronomical events taking place. I well remeember there being hundreds queueing to look through the 8 inch refractor at Moor Park during the nights that Comet Halley was visible in the 1980’s and also the 2004 transit of Venus acroos the face of the Sun.Can the BAA become more vocal in its support and make the public more aware of the losses they face if more of these fine facilities are lost.