Tuesday 7 April 2020

Astronomy in the North West # 4 April 7th 1898 George Williams and Prince’s Park, Liverpool

 April 7th 1898 George Williams and Prince’s Park, Liverpool

George Williams was born in May 1814 at Baroche in the Bombay Presidency which was an administrative sub division of British India. At the age of 17 he moved to London to studying as an architect under Decimus Burton who was the architect of the entrance gates at Hyde Park Corner. After spending 5 years studying under Burton he then spent time travelling across Europe.

After travelling in Italy and Greece he returned to England and went into partnership with his cousin Arthur Williams an architect in Liverpool. Due to the increasing importance of Liverpool there was a need for many public buildings and residences for the prosperous mercantile men living in the suburbs. Prince’s Park which had just been given to the public then fell into the supervision of Arthur and George Williams.

George Williams had a great interest in astronomy and quickly became friends with astronomers such as William Lassell who discovered the largest moon of the Neptune ,Triton plus three other moons. In 1851 Williams travelled with Lassell to Sweden to see the total eclipse of the Sun on July 29th.

The earliest observation I have found so far found from Prince’s Park was from May 1865 when he was observing the double star omicron Cygnus 2, I am not sure what telescope he was using. In 1868 he was making more double star observations from Prince’s Park using a 4.25 inch Thomas Cooke telescope including the stars gamma Virgo, Xi Ursa Major and kappa Boötes. I do not know if Williams had an observatory in Prince’s Park or if his telescope was portable.

4.25 inch Cooke

When George Williams retired as an architect in 1880 he moved to Dolmelynnyn near Dolgelly in Wales where an observatory was built to house a 5 inch Cooke telescope. It was from here that he observed Sunspots and the Moon. He never liked drawing attention to himself which means that many of his observations were never communicated to the public, because of this the scientific world lost the benefit of his knowledge.

George Williams died on April 7th 1898

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