The Herstmonceux years …1948–1990

After years of deteriorating conditions at Greenwich, the Observatory moved to Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex. The move began in 1948 and was completed in 1957. While at Herstmonceux, the Observatory was officially known as The Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux.

The Observatory remained at Herstmonceux until the end of the 1980s when it moved once again; this time to Cambridge. The site at Herstmonceux was sold in May 1989 and closed in 1990. It was subsequently acquired in 1993 by Queen's University, of Ontario, Canada. The equatorial group of telescopes is currently in the care of the Observatory Science Centre and can be visited by the public as can the Castle grounds and gardens.

This section of the website is currently divided into three main parts (links below). Information on the Observatory's adminstration, publications, telescopes etc. can be accessed via the tabs to the left.


Deteriorating conditions at Greenwich and the selection of the new location for the Observatory
The buildings and grounds at Herstmonceux
People, politics and changing priorities


Picture Galleries

The installation of the Cooke Reversible Transit Circle and the construction of its pavilion
Transfer of the 28-inch Refractor from Herstmonceux to Greenwich in 1971
Aerial views of Herstmoncuex Castle showing the wartime hutments (19460–c,1950)
Herstmonceux Castle in old photographs (1850–1910)
Herstmonceux Castle in 1776/7
Herstmocneux Castle plans



Anniversary celebrations of the Observatory’s foundation (1875, 1925, 1975)