Herschel Museum of Astronomy
... “William Herschel was the first man to give a reasonably correct picture of the shape of our star-system or galaxy; he was the best telescope-maker of his time, and possibly the greatest observer who ever lived”. Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer.
Visit Herschels former home and see where he made his discoveries and discover life in a Georgian townhouse in the late 18th century.
The museum is situated in 19 New King Street, Bath, BA1 2BL where William Herschel lived with his sister Caroline. Both accomplished musicians it was astronomy where they were to make their name, especially William who, using a telescope of his own design, discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. Caroline, not to be outdone, discovered many satellites herself and together they put some shape to the universe as it was known at the time.
The building, a typical home of artisans and tradesmen in Bath in the 18th and 19th centuries, is set over five floors although only three are occupied by the museum. It has two reception rooms on the ground and first floors and a basement with a kitchen, parlour and workroom.
The museum includes a virtual tour on the ground floor, many musical and astronomical artefacts, some of which may be handled, and reproductions of one of Herschel’s telescopes and a lamp micrometer used to measure distances between the stars with surprising accuracy. There are vaults at the garden level with a tine cinema showing a film of their lives and discoveries along with the workshop with an original furnace and many tools.
The Georgian garden is landscaped in the style of Herschel’s day.
The property is run by the Bath Preservation Trust, set up in 1934 to safeguard the historic city of Bath and to encourage and support conservation and to provide educational resources.
Other attractions in the area:
Beckfords Tower Museum
Holburne Museum of Art
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015