The Observatory, Cambridge 3990

Cambridge, England, Cambridgeshire, Cambridge

Brief Description

Features of The Observatory include a drive, gateway and various tree species.


The Observatory was created in the early-19th century.

Detailed Description

The entrance to The Observatory from Madingley Road was through a gateway with cast-iron gates decorated with net and circle patterns, and stars hung from the granite piers. The long drive is planted with evergreen viburnums, hollies and yew, and leads to an oval lawn bordered by evergreen trees.

To the east is the Director's garden with a fine Wellingtonia, surrounded by mature box, yew, phillyrea and other evergreen shrubs. The Observatory retains two palms either side of the portico and evergreen wall shrubs complement the Victorian atmosphere. Dotted in the grounds are buildings of various designs housing telescopes. A former staff house standing in its own private garden provides accommodation for visiting astronomers.

  • Drive
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  • Gateway
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Detailed History

The Observatory was designed by John Clamant Reed in 1822 in the Doric-style with a portico and stars around the base of the drum of the dome. The grounds were laid out at great expense, and remained largely intact prior to the siting of the Royal Greenwich Observatory to the north of The Observatory in 1990.


  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust