Cheshire East Council has welcomed an announcement that the Jodrell Bank Observatory is on course to receive £12m of Heritage Lottery Fund money to improve its offering for visitors.
The grant is earmarked for a new ‘First Light’ pavilion, which will celebrate the heritage of the Grade I-listed Lovell telescope and create a spectacular new space in which visitors can learn about our place in the Universe.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is great news for a world-famous icon of Cheshire East.
“We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is backing this project, which will bring many more visitors to the Borough and also inspire young people to enjoy studying science and perhaps one day become the astronomers and engineers who will keep the UK at the forefront of global research.
“Coupled with the successful bid to remain as the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array – the project to build the world’s largest radio telescope – this underlines the huge value of Jodrell Bank to Cheshire East.”
Jodrell Bank will receive £784,800 now and has two years to submit fully developed proposals for the project, which will cost a total of £19m.
The site near Goostrey is recognised as the only place in the world that can demonstrate the entire history of the development of radio astronomy. It has been involved in many revolutionary scientific discoveries and feats of engineering since it was founded 70 years ago.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “We are incredibly proud of our current science and great heritage at The University of Manchester and of our iconic site at Jodrell Bank. The announcement today is great news, not only for the University, but for our city-region and the UK-wide science community.”
Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the ‘First Light’ project. Jodrell Bank epitomises a ‘can do’ approach to science and engineering and this funding will allow us to tell the story of all the amazing men and women who – sometimes, with help from younger family members – created the Observatory from scratch.”
Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester Physicist and Broadcaster, said: “I am really pleased to hear that the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the heritage of Jodrell Bank. The rich scientific history of the UK is a key part of our culture and Jodrell Bank is the stand-out icon of UK science and engineering.
“When I was young, visiting Jodrell Bank was one of the things that inspired me to become a scientist. This new project will inspire many more young people to carry on our great tradition of science and engineering.”
Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Jodrell Bank is a remarkable and world famous site. These initial proposals are ambitious and inspiring; they will encourage people to learn about and celebrate the UK’s longstanding tradition of innovation in science, technology and engineering.
Cheshire East Council is investing £1m in a package of infrastructure improvements to support Jodrell Bank’s successful bid to retain its status as the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array project.