Wednesday, 26 January 2022

The Cooke in Gibraltar


Colonel De Rottenburg wrote in a letter dated June 24th 1860 from Gibraltar. “ I observed a brilliant comet in the constellation of Auriga this evening, a line from beta through a Geminorum continued about three times their distance passed through its nucleus.

It was easily seen with the naked eye, the nucleus was a little less brilliant than Castor . Its altitude above the western horizon about equal to that of Venus at the same time.

I turned my 6 feet equatorial of 4.5 inches aperture made by Messrs Thomas Cooke & Sons of |York on the comet.

It has a bifid tail, very like that of the year 1846 as shown in Keith Johnsone’s 'Atlas of Astronomy' which is edited by Mr Hind. I used powers of 26, 50 and 100 on the comet; the nucleus has a very sensible disk. It bore the powers of 100 very well; one portion of the tail is much longer than the other, the south preceding being the longer.

With 100 power the nucleus was situated within the nebulosity, and the nebulosity was more arched and prominent on the south preceding part. It was first seen by a gentleman here on Saturday evening 23rd June.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Yet another Cooke for a Pub


Alfred Compton a publican from Barnsbury Terrace in London ordered from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1864 an achromatic 3.75 inch telescope with a focal length of 4 feet. 

The telescope was being sent to the London shop at Southampton Street from where it would be collected.

Monday, 24 January 2022

The Astronomy Show


Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.

The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

A Cooke eyepiece for James Cook


James Cook 1839-1919 was born in Lancaster and worked on his father’s farm. He became interested in astronomy and being well educated began the construction of reflecting telescopes up to the size of an 18 inch. He also made some small refractors.

In 1867 he purchased from Thomas Cooke & Son 3 eyepieces and a finder for one of his home made telescopes, I don’t know the size of telescope they would be used on.

He lived in Preston but in 1884 he travelled to New South Wales in Australia to become a mechanic at the Sydney University and produced many pieces of equipment for the physics laboratory at the university. He died in Sydney from pneumonia in 1919.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Why not replace a Cooke with another Cooke


In 1865 Dr William Murray Dobie of Kings Buildings Chester purchased a 6inch Telescope from Thomas Cooke &Sons. This telescope cost £120

Dr Dobie was advertising for sale a 5.5 inch telescope that he had brought from Cookes in 1863. I have no idea why he was replacing this telescope as he described it as nearly new, it was only 2 years old and he described it as being of the first rate. He was selling this Cooke telescope for 65 guineas without its stand,

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Two Cookes go to London


Jonathan Crowley of Clarendon Road, London purchased in 1868, Telescope No. 31 with total reflection prism from Thomas Cooke & Sons. This was subsequently changed for a 4 inch telescope also from Thomas Cooke & Sons.

Friday, 21 January 2022

A Cooke for Gloucester


Another astronomer I have no information on is Jonathan Coulson of Gloucester who in 1867 brought Telescope No.59 from Thomas Cooke & Sons with pancratic day eyepiece, for £29 and 15 shillings.

However I don’t know why Cookes gave him a discount of £4 and 9 shillings. The carriage was paid I assume by Mr Coulson to Gloucester.