A Bit of London Centre History Comes Back Home

The London Centre is proud to announce the return of the telescope belonging to it's founding member, Professor H.R. Kingston.

Some History

From: LOOKING UP A History of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada by R. PETER BROUGHTON DUNDURN PRESS, Toronto & Oxford

Professor H.R. Kingston moved from Winnipeg where he had been secretary-treasurer and president of the Centre to London, Ontario, where he became the motive force behind the establishment of a new Centre. Soon after taking up his duties in 1921 as Head of the Mathematics Department at Western University, Kingston gave some popular public lectures in astronomy which aroused great interest and enthusiasm.

“As a direct result, in February, 1922, the London Centre of the RASC was formed with thirty two charter members. By the end of the year, thenumbers were up to fifty, and in fact, for almost the entire history of the London Centre, membership has remained in the thirty-two to fifty range. During the first year, Kingston lectured at two of the six meetings. To get the members off on the right foot, he prepared typewritten lists of all the astronomy books available in the university library and invited members to borrow, read and learn. 


In the years ahead he would educate, entertain and encourage his audience in a wonderful variety of ways. In 1924 he illustrated his address on “The Recent Eclipse of the Sun” with moving pictures taken on the Island of Catalina and in Mexico. In 1925, his talk entitled “A Month on the Moon” was followed by an enjoyable game of jumbled astronomical names. 

During 1926, he gave five of the seven lectures. He hosted many council meetings at his home, he gave radio talks over CJGC, and he prepared a booklet of star maps. His energy seems to have been boundless and he was much in demand, not
only in London, but also in Toronto and elsewhere as a public speaker who could exemplify how to popularize astronomy. 

Yet he did not dominate the Centre to the point of excluding others. In fact the London Centre has always had a strong involvement by a large number of members and in the early years many novel ideas like songs, games, contests and debates characterized the meetings.” (From: LOOKING UP A History of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada


A Plaque to Commemorate the Telescope

This refractor telescope belonged to Dr. Harold R. Kingston has been donated to the London Centre Royal Astronomical Society of Canada by his grandson and granddaughter, John M. Kingston and Molly K. Hoffman of Seattle, WA. This gift is dedicated in loving memory of our grandfather and also our father Dr. J. Maurice Kingston, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington.

Dr. Pauline Barmby of Western University is the Scientist in Residence at the London Children's Museum


The telescope is currently on display at Eldon House in London, ON. Directions and contact information can be found on their website at www.eldonhouse.ca. It will be taking up permanent residence in the Atrium of the Physics and Astronomy Building, Western University.