Founding Secretary Stuart Williams (standing centre left) and Founding Treasurer Ken Goward (standing left) join prospective SHA founder members at Wadham College, Oxford on 29 June 2002

Founding Secretary Stuart Williams (centre) and Founding Treasurer Ken Goward (left) join other SHA members at Wadham College, Oxford on 29 June 2002

The SHA was founded on June 29, 2002 at Wadham College, Oxford, by Stuart Williams and Dr. Allan Chapman of Wadham College.


SHA Autumn Conference and AGM, BMI, Birmingham, 2011

SHA Autumn Conference and AGM, BMI, Birmingham, 2011

Each year, the SHA organises two conferences in the Spring and the Autumn (the latter incorporating the Annual General Meeting).  The Spring Conference is often a Joint Meeting with another like-minded organisation, and takes place at various venues, typically Greenwich, Cambridge and Manchester.  The Autumn Conference takes place at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, where the SHA’s Sir Robert Ball Library is based, close to the end of October.  In addition our Summer Picnic is an informal social event, usually at a place of astronomical interest, and occasionally we also add a slightly more formal Summer Outing.  Admission to meetings (apart from the AGM itself) is normally at extra cost to membership.


The Society’s Survey of Astronomical History is a core element of its work and the primary reason for its founding.  The late SHA Councillor Roger Jones was its founding Co-ordinator, his successor from July 2015 is Kevin Johnson). The Survey aims to reveal the depth of local history of astronomy in particular, across the UK, and is housed online and in the SHA’s library in Birmingham. For more details, see the main menu link to the separate Survey website.

Library Service

Based at the Birmingham and Midland Institute (www.bmi.org.uk) the SHA’s Sir Robert Ball Library includes both extensive reference collections, books, journals etc and a lending library (the Sir Patrick Moore Lending Collection, formerly the Sir Patrick Moore Library). The Library Service is currently administered by the Librarian, James Dawson, assisted by Carolyn Bedwell.

Access to the Sir Robert Ball Library can be found on the Library page


The SHA’s Archive seeks to preserve a record of the Society and of members’ work and to encourage the deposit of original research materials at appropriate record offices.


The SHA produces a range of publications which are all benefits of membership:

The e-News

The Bulletin

The Antiquarian Astronomer

More details of each can be found by clicking the relevant tab at the top.

Safeguarding of Minors

The SHA is commited to the safeguarding of Minors who attend any of their meetings or functions and have a code of practice as outlined by the following two documents:-

SHA CP Guidelines

FAS Child Protection Guidelines

PDF Reader

If you do not already have a pdf reader installed on your computer, follow the next link to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, free of charge:

Acrobat Reader 

The Council of the SHA