Southport’s Hesketh Park Observatory group look to the future after renovation

Members of Hesketh Park Fernley Observatory group can now look to the future after contractors officially finished restoring the Southport landmark.

The observatory, which was believed to be the first public observatory in the country, houses a spectacular Cook 6 inch telescope which was donated by Joseph Baxendell Jnr in memory of his late father of the same name in 1901.

Over the last few months the site has been the subject of a major restoration campaign and the keys to the building have now been handed over to mark the completion of the works.

The observatory is now in the best condition it has ever been since it was first opened nearly 117 years ago.

A spokesperson for the observatory said: “At a recent meeting in the newly restored Hesketh Park Astronomical Observatory, the contractors Maysand handed back the building to Sefton MBC.

“Work on the building began in January and finished on schedule in the last week of April.

“Extensive restoration has been carried out on the Observatory’s dome, roof, woodwork and brickwork.

“Finally the building has been painted both outside and inside.

“The Observatory is now in as good a condition as it was when it arrived in Hesketh Park in 1901.

“Members of the Fernley Observatory Heritage Group and the Southport Astronomical Society were also on hand to thank the Contractors for their excellent work.”