Old reservoir will be a planetarium

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The committee which runs Sutton’s Sherwood Observatory plans to convert an old underground reservoir it has bought into a planetarium.

Sutton Astronomical Society has been making enquiries about the Victorian-era structure since it first began in 1970, so when a for sale sign went up outside the group snapped it up.

Now the committee must begin the hard work of finding the money to convert the 30-metre reservoir into a first-class space for presentations about the solar system.

Committee chairman Chris Hook said: “We raise about £3-4,000 a season holding open evenings and night schools but we will need at lease £20,000 to do the work we need.

“We will need £10,000 just to fix the leaky roof, but it is already a fantastic structure, so we do not want to make major changes.”

Not much is known about the reservoir, whose roof is supported by some 30 brick archways, but Chris and his fellow committee members have plans to see representations of the solar system projected on its roof for astronomy classes when it is complete.

The committee’s next job is to meet and discuss which funding bodies to approach.

Said Chris: “We do get people from all over the country attending our open evenings, even from as far as South Wales.

“Unfortunately, sometimes it is cloudy but if we had a planetarium we could use it to do a presentation on the solar system instead.”

Sutton Astronomical Society is appealing for information about the reservoir for a display when the planetarium opens.

If you know anything its history or have any old photographs please email events@sherwood-observatory.org.uk or write to Mansfield & Sutton Astronomical Society, Sherwood Observatory, Coxmoor Road, Sutton, NG17 5LF.