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University Observatory

Glasgow University Library Special Collections

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University Observatory

The University Observatory on Horselethill in Dowanhill.

The first University Observatory was built at Dowhill in the Old College Gardens after the Jamaica merchant, Alexander Macfarlane, had bequeathed his astronomical instruments to the University in 1754. The instruments were checked and calibrated by the instrument maker, James Watt. The Observatory opened in 1757, but the rapid industrialisation of the area, and the increase in smoke from nearby houses, factories and workshops, resulted in its closure. In 1845 the University acquired the observatory on Horselethill that had recently been erected by the Astronomical Institution of Glasgow and the instruments from Dowhill were transferred there. The building was sold in the 1930s and a new observatory was built in University Gardens. The old building was demolished and Notre Dame High School was built on the site.

Reference: Sp Coll Mu Add. q17

Glasgow University Library, Special Collections

Astronomical Institution of Glasgow, Notre Dame High School, observatories, University Observatory, University of Glasgow buildings

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