First Light at Jodrell Bank

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the First Light Project will conserve and restore the heritage of Jodrell Bank and create a spectacular new interpretation space in which visitors can engage with and learn about the site’s fantastic stories, amazing feats of post-war engineering, and the creation of the Grade-1 listed Lovell telescope.

This ambitious new project will, for the first time, allow us to engage visitors with the unique turning point that occurred with the emergence of radio astronomy  and the dawn of the Space Age, and the role of Jodrell Bank and the UK scientists in that scientific and cultural revolution.

Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery Players, this exciting next chapter for Jodrell Bank will transform the Discovery Centre into a first-class attraction and will acknowledge Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy. The project will reveal Jodrell Bank in a new light, sharing the stories of its scientists and engineers and the pioneering science that has taken place here for over 70 years, as well as preserving and protecting the physical elements of Jodrell Bank’s heritage for future generations.

The project will provide a place of inspiration for young people and their families, showcasing not only the emergence of the new science of radio astronomy, but also the stories of resilience determination, cooperation and the entrepreneurial spirit that brought it into being.

The project, which will be delivered over the next 3 years, will create 19 new roles, increase visitor numbers and establish a new volunteer programme.

The project has the following core elements;

  • The centre piece of the project will be the First Light Pavilion, designed by acclaimed architects HASSELL Studio. These stunning new facilities will house an exhibition gallery, education areas, a projection space and a new cafe situated within  the gardens at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.
  • Initiate a heritage themed engagement programme presenting Jodrell Bank’s unique scientific and cultural heritage to wider audiences.
  • Develop a gallery based schools programme, delivering workshops and outreach sessions, special events and activities.
  • Establish an online portal of archive material available for public view.
  • Conserve and restore heritage that is embodied on the South Side side of the site and which is as the heart of the case for World Heritage Site inscription.

You can find out more about the First Light Project using the links below.

Image: The Jodrell Bank Research Group in front of the Searchlight Aerial, 1951. The University of Manchester.