Fire Destroys Bath Observatory
I came across this story whoch was actually reported in many newspapers. I have yet to work out the maker of the telescope that was destroyed.
Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette Thursday 24th January 1867.
Destruction of an Observatory.
—On Sunday last the observatory connected with St. Gregory's College, Downside, near Bath, was totally destroyed by fire. It originated apparently in the heating apparatus, which kindled the joists of the ground floor; the flames, which caught some stuffed birds and other natural history specimens in the museum kept in the lower room, were rapidly communicated to the equatorial room above, in which was a magnificent refracting telescope of 15 inches diameter and 20 feet focal length.
The observing stages formed capital fuel for the fire, and in less than hour the whole was one mass of flame, leaving no possibility of rescuing anything. The loss of the glass and astronomical plant attached to the telescope is the more unfortunate as the observatory had only just been placed in full working order. The loss to the college of the antiquities, curiosities, and natural history collections in the museum cannot be estimated, for they contained many unique and invaluable specimens, and were the result of fifty years' accumulation.