Sunday, 20 December 2020

The Horrocks Observatory on Kersal Moor

 The Horrocks Observatroy on Kersal Moor

The idea of an observatory on Kersal Moor was still being floated around over 35 yeras after the first idea which was described in yesterday's blog.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Monday 28 December 1874


To the Editor of the Manchester Courier. Sir,

It has been suggested that Lancashire should commemorate the name of Jeremiah Horrocks, who, in 1639 predicted and witnessed the transit of Venus, by scholarship connection with "The Owens College; and it has also been suggested that the building should be erected on Kersal Moor to contain a large telescope (of course of the most modern construction), as a suitable mode of commemoration.

My reason for writing is to suggest a combination of the two ideas—namely, that an observatory, in connection with the Owens College, be erected on Kersal Moor, and the friends of Horrocks raise an endowment. The council of the Owens College, will, no doubt, be disposed to accept the gift, and combine with the telescope, with a complete collection of meteorological instruments and thus make it an observatory, in the strictest scense of the word.

The telescope, which I may call the queen of instruments—though all sciences are, I suppose sisters— the telescope would record the memory of Horrocks, out the observatory as a whole, would prove a valuable' educational addition to the Owens College, of which institution Lancashire justly proud.

The situation of Kersal Moor, N.W. from the Manchester Cathedral (and from the college), is a good one on the grounds of—its comparative immunity from smoke, its. considerable elevation above the sea level, compared with the Owens College (which would be valuable), and as a situation for the anemometer, it would be almost unexceptionable.

If at some future time, someone should erect a lighthouse, by way of illustrating its use, and the mode of its construction, it would be appreciated by those of our citizens, who taken interest in "those that down to the sea in ships;''—and they are legion. The revolving lights would, in some directions, be visible at an immense distance, and would, perhaps, be seen from the parish of Hoole, where Horrocks was curate, and attended his parochial duties, on. the very Sunday when observed the transit of Venus in 1639.

It may seem to some rather late to commemorate the worth of man who died 230 years ago, but if it is likely to advance the cause of astronomical and other sciences it can, surely, never considered too late. At the present day too, there is more hope inraising the sum necessary for the endowment than in the days that are past. Within a radius of thirty-five miles from Kersal Moor, embracing parts of the counties of York, Derby, Chester, and Stafford, well as Lancashire—there are numbers of gentlemen of position and wealth, who, having received university education, are keeping studies in the various sciences by establishing private observatories and who would glad to have the opportunity now, and then of visiting a central observatory within a railway journey of an hour or two. I am sure some of these gentlemen would aid in providing a moderate endowment, sufficient to induce the council of the Owens College to become the custodians of the memory of Jeremish Horrocks.

As a Manchester man, I may allowed be allowed to say that, though the distance from Owens College to Kersal Moor is about three and half miles, it can accomplished, at almost any hour in the day, in 45 minutes, at the cost of a foupenny omnibus fare, presuming that astronomers travel outside, and from the Exchange, within half an hour for 2d.

If you can find room for this note I shall be glad. Not that there need be haste, for It is perhaps desirable to wait until we receive fuller details of the late transit, before public attention called to the matter, in a practical form. These details will, no doubt be ample and interesting, and serve to show in. a clear light how much we are indebted to Horrocks for the work he Initiated long ego.

Have as you know no claim to take the lead in this matter, and having thrown out these few suggestions, I gladly retire and. leave future arrangements in abler hands

Yours, &c, C. 0.0. S.

Manchester December, 1874

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