When we took on this incredible project to restore the Clifton Observatory, we wanted to bring this iconic building back into public use. At this stage; little did we know of its historical significance and the stories surrounding the building.
History Of the Clifton Observatory
James Walters awarded £200 by the society of Merchants to build a windmill on Clifton Down
A Violent Storm causes the windmill to catch fire
Society of Merchant Ventures grant a 7-year lease on the ruined windmill a 5 shillings per annum to William West who converts the tower into an Observatory
First Competition announced for Clifton Observatory Suspension Bridge – Brunel’s Giant’s hole design is one of his four record-breaking schemes
Whilst excavating the foundations west discovers natural caves. He excavates a 91m tunnel connecting his Observatory to the ‘Giant’s Cave’
Giants Cave opened to the public
William West Dies, aged 60
A proposal to demolish the Observatory and replace it with a column, tower to commemorate the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland was opposed and a tower was instead built on Brandon Hill
The Observatory requisitioned by Home Guard as a communications and patrol base.
The Observatory listed grade II* and sold by the society of merchant ventures with a restrictive covenant requiring the owners to maintain public access to the Camera Obscura and Giants Cave
Concorde flies over the Observatory in the final minutes of its last flight
Observatory sold into private ownership to Bristol-born resident
Museum established at the Observatory