Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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Astronomical Interest at Ipswich Scientific Society

In 1875, Ipswich Science-Gossip Society changed its name to Ipswich Scientific Society. In 1924, it amalgamated with Ipswich & District Field Club to form Ipswich & District Natural History Society.

The following material held in Suffolk Record Office describes astronomical interest at the Society.

GC444/1/3 Minute book, 1885-1903

[page 13] At the committee meeting held before the monthly meeting of April 1 1885 Mr. Hubert Airy was elected a member of the Society.

[page 16] Meeting 01 April 1885. Mr E J Brown read an interesting paper on "The Physical Constitution of the Sun". In the discussion which followed, Mr Wykes exhibited and remarked upon two drawings he had recently made, one of sunspots, the other of the planet Jupiter.

[page 139] Monthly meeting held in the Art Gallery on 03 April 1889. The Rev E Ledger, MA, Rector of Barham, Suffolk and Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, gave a lecture on "Celestial Photography". Mr W Vick showed Mr Ledger's splendid series of transparencies, very satisfactorily with his oxy-hydrogen lantern. A vote of thanks was proposed by Mr J J Plummer and seconded by Mr Westhorp, and carried unanimously. Members were invited to introduce their friends, 300 tickets were issued, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen were present.

[page 147] Monthly meeting held at the Museum, 02 October 1889. Mr E P Ridley read a paper on the "Nebular Hypothesis". A discussion followed.

[page 173] Monthly meeting held 08 October 1890. Mr J J Plummer made some remarks on the new British Astronomical Society, and suggested that possibly some members of the Ipswich Scientific Society might join, together with a view of taking up some branch of Astronomical enquiry under the leadership of some member of the new society.
[Transcriber's note: the first general meeting of the British Astronomical Association was held in The Hall of the Society of Arts, John Street, Adelphi, London on Friday 24 October 1890, where the name "Association" was adopted in favour of "Society". The Association is still in existence today.]

[page 179] Monthly meeting held at the Museum, 03 December 1890. Mr J I Plummer read a paper on "Stellar Parallax and Stellar Motion" which was highly interesting and followed by a discussion in which members freely acting on the advice of the Chairman, made the most of Mr Plummer while he was present. [A press cutting describing the meeting is attached.]
[Transcriber's note: it is not clear whether the Chairman's advice applied just to the evening in question or whether he was referring to the fact that Plummer was about to leave the country.]

[page 197] Meeting in the Old Museum Rooms, 01 December 1891. The Rev E Ledger delivered a lecture on "Shooting Stars, Meteorites and Comets". [Press cutting attached.] 270 tickets were issued and about 250 were present.

[page 208] Monthly meeting held in the Committee Room of the Museum, High Street, 06 April 1892. Mr E J Brown read a paper on "Astronomical Instruments". It was planned to undertake an excursion, led by the Rev E Ledger, to The Royal Observatory, Greenwich as a follow up to the lecture.
[Transcriber's note: there is no further reference to the outing, so it may not have taken place.]

[page 223] Monthly meeting held at the Museum, 08 March 1893. The Rev E Ledger lectured on "The Planet Mars". [Press cutting attached which references the difficulty in finding accommodation large enough for all those who wished to hear the Rev Ledger when he spoke in Ipswich. It also stated that the Ipswich Dock would be a mere plaything to the canal builders of Mars, which was greeted with laughter.]

[page 224] Monthly meeting held in the Museum, 05 April 1893. The Rev Ledger was made an honorary member of the society.

[page 250] Monthly meeting held 05 December 1884. Dr W M Young gave an extremely good paper on "The Sun". He advanced that the Helmholtz (Shrinkage) Theory was the source of the Sun's power.

[page 276] Monthly meeting held 05 February 1896. Dr W M Young read a paper entitled "Historical Notes on the Development of Astronomy as a Science". [Press cutting attached.]

[Last entry is for meeting held 09 January 1903.]

GC444/1/3a Minute book, 1903-23

[page 71] Monthly meeting held 07 December 1905. Lecture given by Mr Cecil G Dolmage, MA, LLD, FRAS upon the total eclipse of the Sun on 30 August. He observed it from Burgos, Spain. [Press cutting attached.]

[page 75] Annual Meeting held 11 February 1906. Mr Pollard Wilkinson, BA, BSc, FRAS was elected to the post of President for the year 1906.

[page 133] General meeting of the Society held at the Museum, 02 December 1908. Celebrated forty years of work.

[page 159] General meeting held at the Museum, 20 April 1910. Mr Pollard Wilkinson gave a lecture on "Comets", illustrated by numerous lantern slides, some of which had been lent by the Greenwich Observatory. [Press cutting attached.]

[page 203] General meeting held at the Museum, 05 February 1913. Mr H E Kersey gave a very instructive and interesting lecture on "Light and the Formation of Images". [Press cutting attached.]

[page 206] General meeting held at the Museum, 05 March 1913. A miscellaneous evening. Mr H E Kersey brought a keratometer: an instrument for measuring the curvature of polished spherical surfaces by optical means, as used for the measurement of the surface curvature of the cornea of the human eye. He also demonstrated microphotographs. [Press cutting attached.]

[page 252] General meeting held at the Museum, 07 February 1917. Mr J S Primrose read a paper on "The Earth in the Making". [Press cutting attached.]

[page 295] General meeting held at the Museum, 03 December 1919. Celebrated fifty years of work. Amongst other reminiscences was a journey on the not-yet-completed Felixstowe line but, by courtesy of the contractor's engineer, attendees were able to journey to Ipswich by train, riding in open trucks, with boards across upon which to sit. It was the first railway journey that some members of the party had undertaken. [Press cutting attached.]

[page 310] Meeting of the society held 01 December 1920. The President, Mr S A Notcutt, gave some account of Einstein's Theory of Relativity and opened a discussion upon the general bearings of the subject after which Mr R S Lewis, Miss Grey and W Rowley Elliston spoke, and Miss Grace Cook gave some remarks on the astronomical side of the question. Some lantern slides taken during the eclipse of the Sun were then exhibited.

[page 317] Annual Meeting held at the Museum, 26 January 1922. It was agreed to admit ladies as members. Miss Grace Cook, FRAS, four other ladies, Mr Guy Petter and another gentleman were elected.

[page 319] General meeting held at the Museum, 02 February 1922. Miss Grace Cook gave an interesting account of the Moon. Mr Guy Petter, speaking as one personally interested in the science of astronomy, expressed his appreciation of the lecture and proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Miss Cook; the vote was seconded by the Rev Sherwood and carried unanimously.

[page 335] An attached notice reminds members that Miss Gertrude Bacon will give a lantern lecture at the Public Hall at 7.30pm on 17 January 1922 on "Signs and Wonders of the Heavens."

[page 340] An attached fixture list for winter session 1922 gives the following advance notice: a lecture on "The Sun" by Father Cortie SJ, FRAS on 11 March 1922 at 8.00pm.

[page 354] Meeting held 18 April 1923. The proposal to amalgamate with the Ipswich and District Field Club was unanimously adopted. The new society is the Ipswich and District Natural History Society.

[page 365] Attached meeting notice for November and December 1923 includes: 10 November, 8.00pm, at the Garrett Memorial Hall, Bolton Lane, Ipswich, "The System of the Stars" by Father Cortie, SJ, FRAS.

[End of entries.]

Biographical notes on some of the individuals mentioned above.

Bill Barton, FRAS