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History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park
19/03/18 11:30


History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

Copied from the history page at http://www.fernleyobservatory.org/history/

Joseph Baxendell died, to be succeeded as superintendent of the meteorological station in Hesketh Park by his 18-year old son, Joseph Baxendell Jnr, whose main interest was meteorology rather than astronomy. He later became a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and Vice President of the Society in 1922.

Annual reports of Southport’s meteorological data were circulated by the Air Ministry until the 1940s

Joseph Baxendell Jnr wrote a book entitled “The Climate of Southport”

Joseph Baxendell Jnr retired. Due to tree growth in Hesketh Park impairing valid data collection, the Meteorological station was later moved out to Crossens Pumping Station, then subsequently to two other locations in Southport. Current weather information for our area now comes from Crosby Coastguard Station

Seems that early Meteorological observations at Southport where of national and global significance. I am interested in researching this further and also in replicating some of the early measurements and equipment etc

Edited 19/03/18 11:36

19/03/18 12:00


Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

There is a typo in the url on Google for the early reports...


Can be found on Amazon for £15.71


and can be downloaded from www.rarebooksclub.com for about the same price

Edited 19/03/18 12:12

01/04/18 17:33
Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

The photograph of the meteorological observatory was actually taken in about 1907. By 1936 the observatory had almost completely been surrounded by trees and in 1938 most of the observations transferred to Bedford Park. On a good day when the grass is damp and the sun at the right height you can still see the marks where the enclosure once stood.

The Hesketh Park establishment was completely removed in Jan 1956.

All the records and annual reports for the observatory from 1871 (part only then from 1873) are now in the Local History collection in Crosby Library. It consists of five boxes of books and records including some annual reports and you need to make a prior arrangment with the library if you need access. I had all these records in my possession for some years when I was in charge of the Southport Meteorological reporting station as it then was and they joined my family in at least two house moves! It was then decided that they should go to somewhere safe which, at the time, was the local Southport library!

The Meteorological Station had several moves ending up at Geenbank High School when I took over. Finally, the Met Office closed the station in 2008 and all the local weather data is now undertaken at the Blundellsands Costguard Station.

06/04/18 22:35

Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

I am very keen to see tangible meteorological references and stuff in the Observatory, as without this start there would be nothing there now.
I have the Barograph for display on Open Days, but am very reluctant to position it downstairs in a less frequently populated area, but there is nothing for it to stand on upstairs. To accompany it are explanatory notes in a frame about 24" x 18" that could do with wall mounting.

Any ideas about a table, stand or shelf for it to go on, in keeping with the general period atmosphere?

For those interested, my Avatar is my lovely 6kg part-Maine Coon cat dozing the day away...

07/04/18 09:14
Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

Whilst no one is more enthusiastic than I with regard to making the history Fernley Meteorological Observatory more well known to visitors and residents alike I am somewhat puzzled as to the purchase of the barograph. This clearly is going to present a problem as to how to display this item.

Clearly this instrument cannot be left on the premises and moving these things is not to be recommended. There is also its safety whilst on display. My original thought was that it would be placed on a wall bracket in the ground floor (which has brick walls) and mounted at head height. (Usually the best place). I am a bit puzzled as to why it should be that the downstairs rooms would ever be left unattended?

The proposal that it should be place upstairs in the astronomical observatory I think would be resisted by the Astronomical Society. A notice of 24x18 is rather large. There are already too many pictures etc occupying the walls and there is a shortage of wall space given that the east end is where it is intended to install the video monitor (with a connection down to the ground floor), Other walls have windows/window shutters. The Astronomical Society have a number of charts and diagrams which have been used in the past when talking to visitors and groups on educational occasions. It is intended that these will shortly be replaced.

The mention of a table has also raised the issue that for observing with the telescope it will be necessary to have a narrow 'kitchen type' table for keeping telescope accessories, books and charts. This would be placed behind the door where once the original observatory table stood. The society also have a number of demonstration models (working models of solar system etc) which need a table. The barograph would stand on one of these but again at table height the instrument will be handy for investigating fingers etc. The alternative is a bracket shelf but I don't think this could be secure on the observatory walls which are only thin wood panels and would certainly be a matter of concern for SMBC.

07/04/18 10:41


Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

Mike's post highlights a conundrum that has not been discussed much but has come to my mind many times.

If we are to install 'kit' downstairs that has any value [other than permanent wall displays] then it either has to be out of view from either of the windows OR we put reflective security film on said windows.

The problem with the second option is that as soon as you do that you are 'raising the profile' of the downstairs to would be thieves.

And the problem with the first option is that it limits how much we can actually do with the room?

I figured that an LCD screen of around 22" for rolling displays could fitted on the same wall as the window [in the non column room] with the use of a VESA mount arm that can be mostly flat against the wall when not in use [and therefore not visible from the window] but hinged forward when in use.

As for the Barograph I imagined with would be a permanent installation for record keeping purposes assuming its a working piece? If its just 'for show' then I guess any temporary safe surface would be suitable as long as it wasn't 'in the way'?

07/04/18 11:17
Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

I should have added to my piece above that the Barograph is a lovely bit of kit and, to some extent, is relevant to a display about meteorology. Security is an important issue but I think the barograph should be displayed along with other relevant information about the purpose of a Meteorological Station/Observatory and, In particular, the work and those who were involved with the Fernley Observatory. This I believe is one of the prime objects of SMBC
who are anxious to explain the background of both the Meteorological and Astronomical observatories.

There has been a suggestion of providing a reasonably priced electronic 'weather station' with sunshine recorder and rainfall record etc. This might need to have a mast installed that carry the various instruments and a display inside. The attachment of a mast to the building will certainly have to be approved by SMBC and, possibly, even English Heritage (if the mast is in any way attached to the observatory building.). There will, however, be a problem finding a suitable place for the instruments that usually requite a 100m clear horizon around the mast.

We need to take careful stock here to decide whether ('scuse pun) or not such an installation is really going to enhance the project ie cost effective.

07/04/18 11:36


Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

Hi Mike,

I can do the basics [Temp/Humidity/Pressure] quite cheaply on the Raspberry Pi - adding UV / Lux is not much more either. This would give us a nice 'feel for conditions' for very low cost and no mast required. Obviously it would be nice to add the other stuff. I did think of mounting a mast in the nearest tree at a height that would deter tamper and out of view as possible but within radio distance of the main unit.


Logging this will depend on Seftons agreement to lay on ADSL [or allow us to fund that]

I am in touch with them on this subject currently and let you know the outcome!

07/04/18 11:56
Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park


I had thought about shoving a mast up somewhere not too far away from the observatory. We would still have the problem of arboreal interference! How far away from the observatory would a mast transmit? Somewhere down near the lake or cafe area would be the only likely spots.

07/04/18 18:26


Re: History of Meteorology at Hesketh Park

I agree Mike - we are certainly 'up against it' and we will likely have to settle for a compromise.

I don't think the radio signal would make it from the Cafe area [where you thinking Cafe roof?]

And we would likely get erroneous data from being in among the trees!

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