Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Orwell Park Observatory & Playford

— May 14, 2005

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Over 20 Flamsteed members went along to visit the Orwell Park Observatory at Nacton, near Ipswich, and Playford.   This was a kind of pilgrimage to ‘Airy country’.   George Biddell Airy, the seventh Astronomer Royal, spent much of his youth at his uncle’s Hall farm in Playford and bought a weekend retreat cottage to keep a toe-hold there later in life.   The Orwell Park Observatory (1872) was designed by George’s son Wifrid Airy, for rich landowner-MP Colonel George Tomline.    It houses a fine 10-inch Merz refractor by Troughton & Sims (mount by Ransomes) now called the Tomline Refractor.  The Observatory is now part of Orwell Park school but has been restored by OASI, the Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich), who also use it for their clubroom and library.   There is a wealth of information at their Orwell Astro website  and Ken Goward’s page on Airy’s Playford retreat , part of their History pages.

If the devil cast his net....     The Flamsteed Astro group at Orwell Park.  OASI host Ken Goward is 4th from right

Lunch at the Shepherd & Dog, Nacton.  The pub grub was tasty and good value but the pub’s popularity overwhelmed its resources and some of the party had to wait until July for their food.

photo Garry Coleman

Photos by Mike Dryland unless stated otherwise