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Coventry and Warwick Astronomical Society

Coventry and Warwickshire Astronomical Society (CaWAS) are the leading association for non-professional astronomers in the city of Coventry. They meet monthly at Earlsdon Methodist Church in the city.

Newspaper article from the Midland Daily Telegraph, 11th Oct 1940CaWAS was formed in 1974 from the merger of the separate Coventry and Warwickshire societies. Both of these were in fact descended from the Coventry Technical College Astronomical and Meteorological Society, which was founded in 1939 by students and staff of the college. From an early stage, the society offered public talks on astronomy. On 11th October 1940, the Midland Daily Telegraph reported:

"Coventry people who are interested in comets, nebulae and the science of the stars generally have an opportunity of extending their knowledge by attending lectures at the Technical College.
The Technical College Astronomical and Meteorological Socity is resuming work again this season despite the difficult conditions, and a series of meetings is taking place at the College on Sunday mornings at 11am between now and Christmas....
Members of the public are welcomed."

An early supporter was Captain G-T Smith-Clarke, who allowed the society to use his 6 inch refracting telescope and observatory at Gibbet Hill. The telescope was later relocated to a dome atop the technical college building and reopened in 1947.

Article from February 1940 on the new observatory Second half of article on new observatory

Images: Article from the Midlands Daily Telegraph on 16th February 1940 reporting the donation of an observatory to the society.

"Captain Smith-Clarke, himself a well-known amateur astronomer, encouraged the project from its recent inception and offered the use of his well-equipped observatory at Gibbet Hill, which he has now presented to the College....
"The Society, which is fostered by two members of the full-time staff, Mr J. D. F. Williams and Mr R. M. Helsdon, is open to any members of the public."

A prominent society member was Howard Miles, who went on to be president of the British Astronomical Association.

The society maintain their own webpages with first hand accounts of the society's history.

Sources:

Coventry and Warwickshire Astronomical Society webpages.

Donation of Observatory, Midlands Daily Telegraph, 16th Feb 1940

Public Meeting, Midlands Daily Telegraph, 11th Oct 1940.

Opening of Relocated Obsevatory reported in Coventry Evening Telegraph, 21st April 1947. Opened by Capt Smith-Clarke and Mr J. H. Reynolds.