Case Studies

Bootham School Observatory – A Star Project

Stuart Canvas in partnership with Sorrell Construction and Purcell UK have recently completed the supply and installation of a replacement canvas roof for the famous Bootham School observatory in York, North Yorkshire.

Stuart Canvas and Sorrell Construction worked closely together to identify the correct and suitable materials to used to replace the current roof of the 116 year old listed observatory.

The roof of the observatory comprises of a pitched 17 sided heptadecagon dome with opening doors for the telescope, all fitted on a turning mechanism for the dome to rotate to allow the telescope to focus on any part of the night’s sky. To keep the aesthetics of the dome original as possible, tradition green cotton duck proofed canvas was used as the roofing material and this also creates a durable weatherproof seal. The use of canvas also keeps the weight of the dome to a minimum, which allows for ease of use while manoeuvring the dome and opening the domes doors.

Observatory Bootham School was founded in 1823by the Religious Society of Friends and has noticeable alumni including the Nobel peace prize winner, Philip John Noel-Baker. Today it one of the UK’s leading independent schools and accepts boys and girls aged 3–19, with an enrolment of 605 pupils. The schools famous observatory was first opened in 1906 and has been used by the students and staff for over 116 years.

Stuart Canvas is proud to have offered a solution which will enable the use of the observatory for many more years to come. It was also a great showcase for the company to demonstrate its technical abilities to create a bespoke solution while overcoming the difficulties of working on a listed building.

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