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One little-known fact about Keele Observatory is that it had a radio telescope from the late 1960s to the 1970s. Two 12-foot radio dishes were obtained from Daventry and driven to Keele on a lorry supplied by Beresfords of Tunstall. When at Keele, two scrap Bofors gun mounts were obtained from Hamptons (a scrap yard near Keele). These were then drilled by an undergraduate member of Keele AstroSoc to take the dishes. They were then mounted on either side of 'Observatory Hill' on an E–W line, using a truck-mounted crane. Quite an exciting event: the truck was only marginally stable and nearly tipped over!
|The dishes leaving their original site
|The gun mounts prior to being prepared for the dishes (at the back of the old Physics building)
The electronics were developed by Jim Moore, who also built some equipment for the reception of early satellite weather pictures. The dishes were not really big enough to get good signals of astronomical sources with the electronics of the time, and the system fell into disuse. The two dishes ended up at the nearby Newchapel Observatory.