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Sir William Herschel of Slough

History of Slough
  • Scientist

Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) moved to Slough in 1786.

Famous and honoured by King George III, he was the first man ever to have discovered a new planet and, in doing so, doubling the size of the solar system.

Sir William Herschel was born in Hanover in 1738. Always fascinated by Astronomy, it was in Bath that this interest was heightened and began to build telescopes that could observe the sky with unrivalled power.

Herschel decided to build his telescope using, as the mirror, a highly polished bronze alloy called 'Speculum'. It took him two months to give his early attempts 'a tolerable gloss'.

He was rewarded for his trouble when, in March 1781, he discovered Uranus. The discovery brought Herschel instant fame and in 1782 King George III summoned him to Windsor where he was appointed 'King's Astronomer'.

As a result of this royal patronage, Herschel left Bath and in 1786 moved to OBSERVATORY HOUSE in Windsor Road, Slough, where he spent the rest of his life.
Honours had been showered on William Herschel, he had been knighted in 1816 and in 1820 became the first President of the formed Astronomical Society of London.
Sir William Herschel died on 25th August 1822 and is buried under the Chancel of St. Lawrence's Church in Upton.

The Observatory Shopping Centre in Slough draws its name from the famous Astronomer.

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