Observatory Road, SW14

Place Name

Reverend Doctor William Pearson, originally from Parson’s Green, bought the Temple Grove estate from Sir Thomas Barnard in 1811  in order to open a “young Gentleman’s Seminary”. C Marshall Rose in Nineteenth Century Mortlake and East Sheen writes: “For almost a century, Temple Grove School made an indelible impression upon the parish of Mortlake. It was a preparatory school for Eton, Harrow, Rugby and many other leading public schools. Some of the headmasters were also to be closely associated with the public life of the village. Dr Pearson immediately improved the grounds and drained much of the estate. He was interested in astronomy and when building himself a house, he combined it with an observatory. He equipped the observatory with a semi-globular dome, which moved on ebony rollers so as to enable his telescope to be directed to every part of the heavens. Hence the reason for naming it Observatory House. Dr William Pearson brought some pupils with him. he was joined by Dr Pinckney in 1817. Dr Pearson was largely instrumental in founding the Royal Astronomical Society.. When the estate was built upon, Observatory Road was named after the Doctor’s observatory.” Observatory House stood at the junction of Well Lane and Christchurch Road. The road was so-named around 1912.

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