Southport’s Hesketh Park Astronomical Observatory will open to the public

ots southport observatory

The impressive Fernley Astronomical Observatory at Hesketh Park, Southport will open to the public.

The observatory, which was believed to be the first public observatory in the country, houses a spectacular Cook 6 inch telescope which was donated by Joseph Baxendell Jnr in memory of his late father of the same name in 1901.

Members of Southport Astronomical Society, Hesketh Park Heritage and Astronomical Group and Sefton Council will be in the park on Sunday June 1, when the observatory will open to the public from 11am-4pm.

Entry is free and experts will be on hand to give short talks on the observatory’s history, plans to restore the building to open on a permanent basis and other aspects of astronomy, rocketry and space science in general. 

The opening of the observatory forms part of Park Volunteers Week which runs from June 1-7. This aims to help promote volunteers across the borough, to encourage others to get involved in Sefton’s parks and greenspaces and to work alongside existing groups and partners.

Dave Ritchie, Senior Parks Officer at Sefton Council, said: “The park observatory forms an important part in Southport’s history and it is great to see it open to the public as part of Park Volunteers Week.

“Working in partnership with Southport Astronomical Society and Hesketh Park Heritage and Astronomical Group this promises to be a great day in a superb setting to see a unique part of the town’s heritage.”

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