Wednesday 29 June 2022

Scottish 5 inch rather than 6 inch Cooke Telescope


Linlithgowshire Gazette Friday 11th June 1909


We have now -arrived at what, about fifty years ago, was considered the cast end of the town. Links House and grounds were situated where now stands the Electricity Works and the house and shop property of Mr Joseph Duguid, joiner.

Links House dates back over 200 years. It was the first Post Office Bo’ness. The roof of the building was constructed of large unsewn trees, tapering away the top. Above the ceiling were large rooms well-floored, and in the cast gable there was a very small window looking down the Forth. In bygone days lights were set in this window as signals to boats carrying illicit trade, and the smuggled goods—-chiefly spirits—were stored tins upper secret chamber.

The house came into the possession of the late Mr Hughes, manufacturing chemist, about the year 1851. Within the grounds he erected an observatory, equipped with six-inch Cooke equatorial telescope, costing about- £l000. Here Mr Hughes spent not only his leisure hours, but many a whole night long, observing the heavens. Optics, astronomy, and mathematics had a great fascination for him, and he kept regularly in employment for about 30 years a thoroughly qualified astronomer, who was known as Mr Clark, the “Clark of the weather.

This Mr Clark was somewhat eccentric and peculiar in his way. He had been a student at Rugby of the eminent astronomer. Dr Pearson whose transit instrument, that gentleman’s demise, had been purchased by Hughes. This instrument was a very costly and delicate one. and the heat of the body affected it very considerably.

Meridian mark was set far away Culross, on the opposite side the Forth, long distance being desirable to reduce any error in adjustment. Mr Hughes prepared large volumes of MS, in connection with, this science, which daily occupied his attention for many years. These writings, however, were never published.

The telescope referred to was actually a 5 inch Cooke telescope not a 6 inch, it was an instrument of this size that was purchased from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1865.

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