Monday, September 24, 2001

John Vetterlein

Lately I have been corresponding with John Vetterlein who has recently published a monograph on the restoration of Brightling Observatory. He writes:

My monograph is only intended to place on record my own input (together with a few reflections for amusement). Unfortunately the early correspondence I had with Hugh Malleson, before we became well acquainted, I have lost or destroyed. Likewise, the detailed drawings for the dome. This is a pity since it included photographs taken before the alterations. The observatory being a listed building, we were mindful of a number of design factors in an attempt to retain the original appearance. I don't think the new dome was aesthetically inferior to the lead clad dome: mounting the anemometer altered the appearance as much as anything and this was done before my involvement.
Hugh Malleson researched the background to the building himself. I saw some of this during my visits to the observatory. This information too is dispersed. My recollection is that Hugh went to the RIBA archives as well as those of the RAS. When I was a Fellow of the Society way back in the 60s, I did some work in trying to trace records of actual astronomical observations made at Brightling but came across nothing of note. I may turn my attention to the matter again now that my interest has been rekindled. The RAS was formed only 12 years before Fuller died.

An excerpt from the monograph will appear here shortly.