Unveiling of a plaque on Jan 16th 2020 to commemorate Revd Dr William Pearson, co-founder of the Royal Astronomical Society:
The Royal Astronomical Society was founded (as the astronomical society of London) on 1820 January 12th, just under 200 years ago.
Its co-founders were Francis Baily (after whom Baily’s Beads are named) and Revd Dr William Pearson, a schoolteacher and clergyman. You can see a portrait of Pearson and his family in the Fellows Room at Burlington House.
Shortly after the RAS’s foundation, Pearson sold the very successful preparatory school he ran in East Sheen, Surrey, and moved to Leicestershire to become Rector of South Kilworth, a small rural village in the south of the county. He added a new wing to the Rectory to carry out meridian-crossing timings of stars, and later built an observatory on the south side of the village.
As I live not too far from South Kilworth, Pearson has been one of my “dead astronomers” for many years.
Leicestershire County Council run a Green Plaque scheme to honour eminent residents of the county. Two years ago Pearson was nominated for a plaque by me and by Carolyn Bedwell of the Society for the History of Astronomy. You might remember me asking you to vote for him.
We were successful!
The plaque unveiling takes place on Thursday Jan 16th 2020, starting at 14:00 with a short ceremony in St Nicholas’ church, South Kilworth. The unveiling is at 14:30.
It’s in a rural location, in the middle of the week, in the middle of January, so I can’t imagine too many people will want to attend. But if you do, please let me know, so we can get some more refreshments!