Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sefton (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 34873 18291


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 23/09/2015

SD31NW 664-1/1/302

SOUTHPORT, HESKETH PARK, Astronomical Observatory



Observatory. 1877; telescope dated 1869, manufactured by T Cooke and Sons, York and London (on brass plaque). For Joseph Baxendell (1815-1887). Erected in Hesketh Park in 1901. Red brick in stretcher bond with stone keystones and imposts; timber first floor and probably lead roof and dome; cast-iron steps stamped "MASONS PATENT". Rectangular on plan.

EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, one first-floor window. Plinth; pilaster strips to lower storey clasp angles. Ground floor: pair of round-arched entrances (alike): 2 steps to board door with blind fanlight; arch with keystone and imposts; to rear a flight of steps giving access to first floor; ends: to right a casement window in plain reveals with sill and cambered arch; similar opening to left now bricked up. First floor: rectangular and square panels in imitation of timber framing, panels have raised lozenges and rectangles; to front facade at left a plate glass window with pilastered architraves; similar window to right return; flight of steps to entrance, a similarly panelled door at rear. Dome to off-centre left.

INTERIOR: remains intact with telescope. Painted inscription around dome: "Psalm XIX-I THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD; AND THE FIRMAMENT SHEWETH HIS HANDYWORK". Below the inscription a frieze with fielded oblong panels. Ribs to dome. Two panels in dome open, but the whole dome is on casters and will revolve allowing a rotating view.

HISTORY: Baxendell was a meteorologist and astronomer who retired to Southport from Manchester to supervise the opening and running of the Meteorological Observatory in Hesketh Park (now removed), which had been funded by John Fernley (1796-1873). The astronomical observatory, which was originally located at Joseph Baxendell’s home in Birkdale, was donated to Hesketh Park by Baxendell’s family following his death. It was erected in 1901 and was intended for the benefit of the local residents and school children of Southport. The telescope has a longitude of 2 degrees 59 minutes and 8 seconds west and a latitude of 53 degrees, 39 minutes and 25 seconds north. It is 12 feet above sea level.

Listing NGR: SD3487318291


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

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 07 Jun 2004
Reference: IOE01/12575/05
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Andy Hibbert. Source Historic England Archive
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