A Brief History

LYRA history

The link above will take you to a downloadable copy of a booklet researched and written by Ron Larter a LYRA member as a way of recording the history of the society and a method of raising funds by the sale to interested parties.

The booklet charts the development of the present day LYRA from it beginnings as YAS ( Yarmouth Astronomical Society ) which was started in 1967, fast approaching 50 years.


LYRA          Some additional Historical Notes – 2015

Kirkley Observatory

From around 1998/99 to 2011 members of LYRA restored and used the Observatory and its splendid 12-inch reflecting telescope in the grounds of Kirkley High School, Lowestoft. This was in spite of encroaching sports buildings and the construction of adjacent flood-lit hard-courts. The Observatory and its telescope remained the property of the School. Unfortunately, for several years before 1998 the building had not been used by either students or staff. This had been a consequence of the removal of astronomy from the School’s curriculum and the building had fallen into considerable disrepair.

While LYRA was restoring and using the Observatory the arrangement with the School had been quite informal. However, in September 2011, the High School became East Point Academy. The new management decided that the relationships between the Academy on the one hand and, on the other hand, LYRA and other organisations that had been using some of the Academy’s facilities, should all be placed on a formal business level. Consequently, in January 2012, LYRA committee officers held a meeting with the Academy management to prepare a service level agreement. During the meeting an inspection was made of the Observatory. The inspection raised considerable health and safety concerns to the management. As a result the management requested that no further use be made of the Observatory until all such concerns had been addressed. The Academy arranged for a tarpaulin to be secured over the whole dome to prevent the iron-sheet sliding shutter from falling to the ground and injuring anybody outside.

The Academy then proposed three options to LYRA regarding further use of the Observatory. These would all involve considerable expenditure by LYRA. Therefore, at a subsequent committee meeting it was decided, with regret, that in view of the costs that would be incurred and of the light contamination at the site, LYRA would no longer maintain an interest in the Observatory.  This decision was then ratified at a general meeting of the Society and the Academy was notified in writing. In April 2012, LYRA officers met with the Academy’s deputy site manager and removed from the site sundry small items belonging to LYRA. These included a case of eyepieces, clock, computer, VDU, notice boards, torch, etc. All remaining sets of keys for the Observatory and access gate were given to the deputy site manager.

Throughout all these events the relationship between LYRA and the Academy management remained friendly. It was agreed that there could be beneficial co-operation between parties if the Academy ever decided that it would make use of the telescope.

Today, i.e. early 2015, it is not known by LYRA if the Academy will ever use the Observatory again or whether the buildingwill be demolished.