Herschel Museum of Astronomy

19 New King Street is the Astronomers’ House, the site where William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in March 1781. Number 19 forms part of a terrace built around 1764. When the Herschel’s moved in for the first time in 1777, the builders would still have been very much in evidence in the street with the accompanying bustle, noise and mess and the road still un-metalled. It is a modest townhouse laid out over five floors with two receptions rooms on the ground and first floors, a basement with kitchen, parlour and workshop and two upper floors providing bedrooms and servants quarters. It is typical of the houses lived in be people of ‘the middling sort’, artisans and tradesmen and a contrast to the highly fashionable grand houses rented by visitors for the Bath season.

The Grade ll starred listed house was purchased with the help of Doctors Leslie and Elizabeth Hilliard in 1981, it is now an Accredited museum governed by the Herschel House Trust. In recent years the house has been fully restored in the authentic style of the period details of wallpaper coming from fragments discovered in Bath houses and the carpets are original eighteenth century designs.

Family Visits: We are delighted to welcome families to the museum. Three illustrated trails are available from the Museum Shop that children and adults can enjoy together. Whilst many of the objects in the collection are fragile, we do have a basket of handling objects related to Georgian life in the reception area and many of the objects in the Workshop are also robust enough to handle.

We close for the winter on 18 December 2013

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