Edward Crossley buys a 9.3 inch Cooke Telescope
Crossley 1841-1905 ran the massive Crossley Carpet mill in Halifax,
he was also an MP for Sowerby in Yorkshire from 1885-1892 and a Lord
Mayor of Halifax between 1874-1876 and 1884-1885. He was also a very
passionate astronomer and together with his assistant Joseph Gledhil
1837-1906 they would be one of Yorkshire’ s best kept astronomical
my talk Hidden Under the Carpet I tell the story of their time spent
studying the sky in Halifax. But in this story we are looking at just
one part of their story and one telescope. This was the 9.3 inch
Thomas Cooke & sons of York Refractor telescope.
Crossley observatory was first located at Park Road Halifax with the
Cooke telescope and later the observatory was moved to Bermerside
also in Halifax.
Edward Crossley ordered the 9.3 inch Cooke telescope on April 9th
1867, I know that 9.3 inch is a strange size but we must remember
that at this time all the telescopes were made by hand a making an
exact 9 inch telescope was always a difficult task.
to running his carpet business Crossley was not able to spend to much
time following his hobby, astronomy. The serious observing was left
to Gledhill. Using the 9.3 inch at the Park Road observatory Gledhill
made incredible drawings of Jupiter and Mars. In fact his
observations were so good that other astronomers and well known
astronomers as well often waited for their observations to be
confirmed by Gledhill.
|9.3 inch Cooke |
Gledhill in 1879 after working in collaboration for several years
with James Wilson at Rugby School and using the 9.3 inch Cooke
produced the first Handbook on double stars. A publication that was
ahead of its time as during the 19th century observing
double stars was very popular. Today astronomers are realising just
how important this book actually was.
Crossley died in 1905 and Joseph Gledhill in 1906, the 9 inch was
sold to the Rev David Kennedy of
the Marist Seminary (a Catholic seminary for the training of Marist
priests, this is where the church does not exist or is not very
strong ) at Meeanee on the North Island of New Zealand Opened in
In 1910 some classic photos of Halleys comet re taken using the 9
inch Crossley telescope. In 1924 the telescope was sold to Wellington
City Council in New Zealand where it languished until 1941.
A local farmer, businessman and politician Charles Rooking Carter who
when he died in 1896 left a sum of £2,240 to fund an astronomical
observatory. The new Carter observatory was opened on December
but World War 2 meant that very little happened until 1945. Since
then the telescope has seen extensive use including in 1968 an
occultation of Neptune by the Moon. It was used for serious research
work until 1971. Since this date modern telescopes have been used by
astronomers at the Carter Observatory
1975 it was discovered that the chemicals in the photovisual glass
would become unstable over a period of time and by 2000 it was clear
that in its original form the lens was unusable. So in 2001 a new and
slightly larger 9.75 inch lens was installed.
the Crossley telescope is used for public viewing and education
projects. It is a testament to its construction that a telescope made
in York in 1867 is still being used in the 21s century 11,500 miles
away in New Zealand.,