The observatory in Cheshire has been added to Unesco’s World Heritage List, joining Liverpool’s waterfront, the Lake District National Park, and King Edward castles in Gwynedd as protected sites in the region.
The observatory is the 32nd World Heritage Site in the UK. International sites include Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal. The slate landscape of North Wales is also currently working its way through the Unesco’s listing process, with a decision expected by 2021.
Jodrell Bank, owned by the University of Manchester, is the home of the Lovell Telescope, the world’s third largest steerable radio telescope. Completed in 1957, the dish was the largest of its kind anywhere in the world until 1973 and was the catalyst for the construction of many other large scale satellite dishes.
In its early years the Lovell Telescope tracked the Soviet Union’s Sputnik. Today, Jodrell operates the UK’s national e-MERLIN radio telescope and includes the recently-completed global headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope project that will build the world’s largest telescope, comprised of a network of instruments sited in South Africa and Australia.
A statement from Jodrell Bank said “The World Heritage Site inscription acknowledges Jodrell Bank’s tremendous scientific endeavours and its role in achieving a transformational understanding of the Universe. It places the site on an equal footing with the likes of Stonehenge and the Taj Mahal and represents an enormous accolade not only for Jodrell Bank and The University of Manchester, but also for the region, and the UK as a whole.”