Ken Stevens FRAS demonstrated the use of
after his talk on radio astronomy in April 1967
By 1968 membership had dropped to 40. The
society president, David Hardy, painted a solar eclipse on the
lecture hall entrance walls. At the AGM Walter Pennell showed
some of the star photo's he had taken to the BAA exhibition that
year. Treasurer, Arthur Richardson, announced the society was
in the black for the first time in many years with funds of £23.
From left: David Swaby, Arthur Thaiss, Peter
Harris, Dick Thompson,
Peter Hammerton & Dorothy Miller
Peter Hammerton continued to give regular talks to the society.
Here he gives some members a preview of his slides before the talk
on 'A search for life on other worlds' in November 1968. Other
talks that year included 'The History of flying saucers' and 'Progress
on project Apollo'
In May 1969 a sponsored walk was held to raise funds. In June
the society held a 10th anniversary meeting. David Hardy gave a
talk and a special edition of the society magazine 'Eyepiece' was
produced. A NASA representative gave a talk saying that NASA expected
to have a 12 man space station by 1980. The society purchased an
8.5 inch reflector.
Another sponsored walk raised £150.
We had a large exhibition in a charity shop opposite St Mary's
Street in Lincoln (now underneath Wigford Way). This brought
in hundreds of people but only 8 new members.
Membership increased to 75 in 1971 and a
sponsored walk raised £93
toward the observatory fund. Planning permission was granted in
1972 for the observatory. The society also visited Greenwich Observatory
In 1974 another sponsored walk was held
and Richard Pennell raised the most money. The society started
having cheese and wine parties where Dick Thompson and Peter
Blunden provided the home made wine (strong).
With artist David Hardy involved in the society,
it was inevitable
that the society would have its mark left on the Moon.
In the 1960's and 70's, the society held a regular annual quiz
against other societies. Here we see one against Cleethorpes from
around 1975. From the left: Lincoln A.S. Walter Pennell, Peter
Blunden, Jack Stimson, Andrew Norris- Scorer Phil Norton :In the
chair Peter Hammerton, :Cleethorpes A.S. -Scorer Tony Smith, P.Ellis,
Ray Emery, Peter Rea, Barrie Watts.
Peter Hammerton moved away from the society
for a time, to run a Post Office and newsagents in Chesterfield
in1976. He then bought an astronomy bookshop in Sheffield (Sheffield
Space Centre) in 1978, before returning to the Minimarket in
Lincoln with his science fiction bookshop.
Sadly Walter Pennell died in March before
the completion of the observatory but he is remembered in its
name - 'The Pennell-Hammerton Observatory'.
During the late 1970's, the Eyepiece magazine
was not published. Instead the society issued a series of monthly
news letters edited by Bob Christy. The annual quiz verses Cleethorpes
continued and a car treasure hunt was held in July 1978. In September
of that year, Andrew Norris moved to Crawley. He was a long time
member -observing director, builder, film maker etc. The society
made a film in 1978 called 'Domed to Failure'. It was a comical
look at the observatory dome falling apart (only partially constructed
at the time).The film was well received at the Horncastle meeting
that year and it was shown at the B.A.A meeting in London.
The society had several break-ins. One in
September 1978 saw the clock, first aid kit, finderscope and
eyepieces stolen. This meant new shutters on the windows and
better locks had to be fitted.
In 1979, Richard Pennell
and his mother offered to lend the society Walter Pennell's
12 inch reflector, on condition that the observatory was finished
first. This put a new 'kick' in to finishing the building.
Cheese and Wine parties were still held -one at Bob Christy's
home and another at Tony Hopkinson's. A visit to Jodrell Bank
with Cleethorpes A.S. took place that year. A sponsored walk
in aid of the observatory raised
£180 and was organised by Richard Pennell.
1980 saw the only
society disco organised by Martin Bell and held at the local
government social club. The society also started a series of
Barn Dances, held at Pennell's Nursery on Brant Road
After a busy decade the society could relax
and concentrate on astronomy. Members used the observatory for
long exposure photographs and regular observing sessions were
held every Tuesday night throughout the winter. The society started
opening the observatory to the general public and during National
Astronomy Week in 1985 nearly 1000 people took the opportunity
to view Halley's Comet (400 in one night).
The 30th anniversary meeting was held on 23rd September 1989
at Bishop Greaves Hall, Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln
David Hardy visiting the society in 1991 to give a lecture on
'Visions of the Galaxies'
Sadly the founder of the society, Peter Hammerton, died in September
1992. To remember him, the first Peter Hammerton Memorial lecture
was held in September 1993 and the September meeting is always dedicated
to him. During the 1990's the society started inviting various
groups to the observatory via the visits organiser which still
In 1999 the society celebrated its 40th anniversary
with a series of lectures at the observatory.
The society has to maintain the site and
working parties are held on Saturdays. We have always had minor
problems with land settling as the hillside is made of clay.
After the very dry summer of 2003 what was a small crack near
the front door opened up and it was decided for safety reasons
that the structure should be strengthened in case of any further
movement. The paneling either side of the entrance was removed
and replaced by a brick structure.
Dave Garbutt, Colin Reeve and Dave Swaby & Dave Castledine
It wasn't until March 2006, forty years after we opened the
Lecture Hall, that the society had a visit by Lincoln's Member
of Parliament. Gillian Merron was asked to help with the ever
increasing light pollution problems at the society. She made
a private visit lasting about an hour.
From left: Dave Garbutt, Arthur Richardson,
Gillian Merron (MP)
& Philip Norton
During the summer of 2006 a major project
was undertaken to refurbish the dome. Opened 25 years before
by Patrick Moore, the skin had deteriorated badly and rain water
was making the internal floor of the observatory dangerous. The
project was to take 18 months. In
order that we could continue observing the sky, the society's old
telescope was recommisioned and reinstalled on its pillar.