Thomas Cooke blue plaque unveiled in York

A blue plaque was unveiled on Friday morning, 23 August 2019, in honour of Thomas Cooke (1807-1868): internationally-renowned optical instrument maker.

The plaque was jointly arranged by York Civic Trust, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and York Museums Trust. 

  • Dr Dorothy Nott of the Yorkshire Philosphical Society left and a direct descendant of Thomas Cooke with Iona Miles of the York Civic Trust
    Dr Dorothy Nott of the Yorkshire Philosphical Society left and a direct descendant of Thomas Cooke with Iona Miles of the York Civic Trust. Image courtesy of Iona Miles and York Civic Trust.

The plaque is attached to the Observatory in the Museums Gardens, York, which houses a telescope of 1850 by Thomas Cooke.

The unveiling ceremony was marked by greetings and introduction by Dr Peter Addyman (President of York Civic Trust), Stuart Ogilvy (Deputy Curator of Geology at the Yorkshire Museum), and Catherine Brophy (Chair of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society).

This was followed by a short presentation by Dr Dorothy Nott, a Trustee of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, which covered Thomas Cooke’s life and deeds.

The plaque was unveiled by a direct descendant of Thomas Cooke.  

Afterwards, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society provided a reception for attendees at nearby York Explore Library.

Over 60 people attended the unveiling, the largest turnout to date of a York Civic Trust blue plaque unveiling. 

Those attending largely comprised members of York Civic Trust, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, York Museums Trust, York Clock Group, Pocklington & District Local History Group, and a number of astronomers from regional and national organisations, including The Royal Astronomical Society, the British Astronomical Association and our own York Astronomical Society. 

See York Civic Trust page for more information on Thomas Cooke

A talk on Thomas Cooke will be presented by Martin Lunn MBE at Priory Street on Friday 6 September.

York Astronomical Society member, Graham Moore, produced this short video about Thomas Cooke.

Following on from the Thomas Cooke plaque event on friday this a short video, hurriedly made to support a YAS bid for CYC funding (nope!) YAS members had quite an input into the Museum Garden observatory which I felt was not fully described… MD knows where the bodies…..Cooke Optics are in Leicester, not Nottingham – south anyway!It was an excellent BBF night.

Posted by Graham Moore on Sunday, 25 August 2019

Text taken from the official press release

1 thought on “Thomas Cooke blue plaque unveiled in York

  1. The gentlemen to my right is Andrew Sefton who was in YAS at its founding. He was in a few years and I remember him when I joined in August 1973. We had a good gabber about the ol’ days!

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