Cat no. 215587

About Anglia: Astronomy At St. Osyth

Running time1:50 Black & White Silent 1960 St. Osyth, Essex

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Local television news item, without sound, of the observatory in St. Osyth owned by the pioneering, amateur radio astronomer, Mr Hyde.


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An array of wire, to receive radio waves, is strung out around the astronomy site and viewed from various angles. There is a sign which reads, 'The Hyde Radio Astronomy Observatory - Private No Admittance' on a barbed wire fence.

The observatory is a large, roughly cylindrical building (originally a Martello tower), with only a few very small windows. Two men walk over a metal footbridge and enter the observatory building. From the top of the building there is a view of the surrounding countryside in the background, while in the foreground there are two radio antennae pointing towards the sky. There is a view looking down into one of the antennae. There are antennae pointing outwards from the observatory in the foreground, a lake with a building on stilts in the water in the background, and views of the observatory with antennae in the foreground.

Inside the observatory, there is a globe of the world, clocks on the wall showing different times, a control panel with dials, meters, knobs, rheostats, and a speaker. A Grundig tape recorder is featured with reels turning, while the fine pen on other recording equipment records a trace of the radio waves. The tracings are laid out on a table with a slide rule and various pieces of geometry equipment.

Background Information:

The following information is from
Martello Towers on the east coast were numbered with letters and on the south coast with numbers. The Aircraft Museum is Tower ‘A’ and a second tower in St Osyth was Martello Tower ‘B’ on Beacon Heights. This tower was demolished in the middle 1970’s. It had been owned by Mr Hyde who was a keen amateur astronomer and it was through this interest that he became a pioneer in Radio Astronomy with the tower roof housing a number of radio detection aerials to pick up signals from space.

He was one of the first to pick up the signal from the Russian Sputnik the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite launched on 4 October 1957.
Following this success he formed a minor partner collaboration with Sir Bernard Lovell who was in charge of the world first steerable dish radio telescope (now know as the Lovell telescope), which was 250 ft in diameter, when it was completed in 1957.

Mr Hyde’s equipment was amateur but most suitable to form a electronic base line, over two hundred miles long, that was helpful in the study and observation of many radio frequency transmissions from space before the discovery of pulsars and quasars , words which at the time were strange, but today every schoolboy knows well.

Featured Buildings:

The Hyde Amateur Radio Observatory at St. Osyth

Anglia Television

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