Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1282362

Date first listed: 04-Mar-1977



Ordnance survey map of CLIFTON OBSERVATORY
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: City of Bristol (Unitary Authority)

National Grid Reference: ST 56562 73261



ST5673SE CLIFTON DOWN, Clifton 901-1/7/749 (West side) 04/03/77 Clifton Observatory


Former windmill, now camera obscura. C18. Camera and extension of 1828 and 1835 by a Mr West. Carboniferous limestone rubble with limestone dressings, lead roof to tower, roofless side block. Single-depth plan. 3-stage round tower with single-storey; 4-window side block. The battered tower has a first-floor casement window, and tall, moulded brackets to a rendered top storey containing the camera obscura with crenellations and casements in the embrasures. Tudor-arched doorway to the roofless side block, which has a curved end and 2 segmental-headed windows; the rear has two 4-centre arched rear windows with torus mouldings and casements with margin panes, and paired right-hand 2-light windows. INTERIOR: a winder stair up to the camera obscura in the roof, and down into a tunnel leading to Ghyston's Cave, in the side of the gorge. HISTORICAL NOTE: the windmill was damaged by fire in 1777. William West leased the mill for conversion into an observatory in 1828. In 1835 he was granted an extra piece of land adjacent to the tower on which he built a new astronomical observatory with a revolving dome and telescope "to allow unrestricted observation of the heaven". Next to this was a large room with various astronomical maps, globes and instruments, intended for occasional use as a lecture room. The tower was also altered in 1835, by the rebuilding of the wooden balcony in store and the fitting of the camera obscura. West also excavated an underground passage to Ghyston's Cave, opened 1837. (Chilcott: History of Bristol: Bristol: 1844-).

Listing NGR: ST5656273261


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 379207

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Chilcott, , History of Bristol, (1844)

End of official listing