Council leader hails Jodrell Bank nomination for Unesco World Heritage status
1 February 2018
Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey has hailed as ‘fantastic’ news that Jodrell Bank has been nominated for Unesco World Heritage status.
Councillor Bailey said: “This is fantastic news for Jodrell Bank and for Cheshire East. It is so important that we protect its rich heritage and celebrate its work both now and in the future.
“Jodrell Bank observatory is a vital asset to this borough, the nation and the international scientific community and it is fantastic that its global impact and value have been recognised with nomination by the British government for Unesco World Heritage status.
“The Lovell radio telescope is an icon of science and engineering and a sight of it never fails to fire the imagination and generate a deep sense of wonder. The telescope, its visitor centre and the observatory’s scientists have inspired countless youngsters and generations of scientists with the limitless possibilities of the universe and science. It has also drawn large numbers of visitors to our borough over the years.
“Making Jodrell Bank observatory a World Heritage site would be a fitting recognition for this unique, inspirational and much-loved landmark. It also exemplifies what makes Cheshire East so special as a place to live, work and visit.”
The observatory, part of the University of Manchester, was founded in 1945 when Sir Bernard Lovell moved his laboratory from the smog and radio interference of the city to the clearer skies of Cheshire. It is known worldwide for its pioneering work and is now the earliest surviving radio astronomy observatory, including structures on the still-working site from every phase of the development of the science.
The Lovell telescope, nearly 90m tall, was the first of its kind in the world, and is still the third largest. Like the later Mark II telescope, it already has Grade I listing but, last August Historic England also listed the collection of industrial sheds surrounding it, including the Lovell’s 1950s control room and the electrical workshop that served as site office, library and lecture room.
The listing was announced to mark the 60th anniversary of the Lovell first beginning to collect radio waves from across the universe. Two months later, in October 1957, it tracked Russia’s Sputnik I as it streaked across the skies.