The Telescope

In 1852, Wandsworth Common was home to "a singular-looking structure, consisting of a plain tower with a long tube slung by its side, surrounded by a wooden-hoarding to keep off intruders". This structure was the Craig Telescope, and when it was built it was the largest refracting telescope in the world.

The "long tube" was the telescope, attached to the tower by a pulley; a new design intended to let viewers see many different areas of the sky. This did, however, mean that the telescope could only be used on days without wind...

The telescope's main problem, though was worse than this: the lens just didn't actually work very well. It stood for only a few years before it was dismantled again.

Read more stories about parks and commons.

Read more stories about contraptions.

Read more stories about the nineteenth century.

Read more stories about Wandsworth.

Read more stories about science and technology.

Picture pending.
Story source: The Craig Telescope. The Times, 23 August 1852: Gigantic Telescope at Wandsworth Common.