Herschel House Museum 1699

Bath, England

Brief Description

The Herschel House Museum has a town garden, containing a newly recreated herb garden.

History

The house was constructed in 1766 as part of a row of terraced properties. It was occupied by William Herschel and his sister from 1766 to 1782.

Visitor Facilities

The building is now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, open between February and December, daily from 1 until 5, except Wednesdays. http://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/index.php?id=55 More information

Detailed Description

The main entrance to the property is on the ground floor facing northward on to the New King Street. There is also a basement entrance on the same side, once accessible by steps from the pavement level. The building itself, being an integral part of the terrace, has five storeys including the ground floor and is of 18th century design. There is no garden at the front of the property, but the foreshortened remains of the original garden are still in existence.

In common with many of the houses on the terrace, this building suffered some deterioration after World War 2. However, in subsequent years considerable renovation work has taken place following the acquisition of No. 19 New King Street by the William Herschel Society in 1978.

Much of the interior of the building has been restored in the style of the late 18th century. The ground and first floor are laid out to display a range of astronomical and musical instruments. The basement has been faithfully restored as the kitchen, dining and workshop areas would have been in the period. Efforts have also been made to improve the condition of the garden.

Features
  • Terrace (featured building)
  • House
  • Description: The building houses several examples of William Herschel's practical skills.
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  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: It is believed that in its early years the herb garden was used to provide some of the herbs in common use at the time. At the time of the last survey (1984) the garden was undergoing restoration. This was due to the efforts of John Mason, a former member of the Herschel Society Committee, and Margaret Hansen of the Department of Pharmacology at Bath University. The restoration was described as careful and sensitive, developing a more formal type of herb garden including a wide range of species suitable for medicinal, culinary and aromatic purposes.
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Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The building is now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, open between February and December, daily from 1 until 5, except Wednesdays. http://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/index.php?id=55

Directions

http://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/index.php?id=10
History

Detailed History

The house is the only building on the site. It was constructed in 1766 as part of a row of terraced properties. It was designed by John Strahan, the architect, around 1760. It was rented by William Herschel and occupied by him and his sister, Caroline, who was also an accomplished astronomer. They were resident until 1782, when they moved to Datchet. William Herschel was married in 1788 and his only son, John, was born in 1792. It was on 13th of March 1781 that William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. Whilst living in Slough in later years his experiments with light led him to discover infra-red rays.

Although a musician of some repute, it was for his work as a scientist and astronomer that William Herschel became famous. The building houses several examples of his practical skills, with a hand-made lathe and other tools. With these he made some 200 telescopes of various sizes. He was appointed Personal Astronomer to George III in 1782, one year after his discovery of Uranus.

Period

  • Late 18th Century
  • 18th Century
Associated People

Just one person associated to Herschel House Museum

Contact
References

Contributors

  • W.A. Alan Barnard

    1

  • Avon Gardens Trust