Jodrell Bank selected as UK candidate for World Heritage site nomination

The Lovell Radio Telescope at the Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire
The Lovell Radio Telescope at the Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire
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Jodrell Bank Observatory is bidding to stand alongside the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge on the international heritage stage.

The University of Manchester's site in Cheshire, home to its famous Lovell Telescope, has been selected as the next UK candidate to go forward for nomination to Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) as a World Heritage Site.

The observatory is preparing the papers for nomination, and they will be submitted to Unesco in January 2018.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "We have been preparing the case for the World Heritage Site inscription for Jodrell Bank Observatory for some years now, so it's absolutely fantastic to reach this milestone.

"The Lovell Telescope in particular has become an icon for science and engineering, and we look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an international stage."

A World Heritage Site is listed by Unesco as a place with cultural or physical significance considered to be of "Outstanding Universal Value".

The 60-year-old Lovell Telescope, which dominates the site, was the world's largest steerable telescope when it was completed in 1957.

Its team tracked the flight of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, the first-ever artificial satellite.

Sir Bernard Lovell, the leader of the team which built the telescope, died in 2012 aged 98.

The Discovery Centre at the site sees 185,000 visitors each year, including 26,000 school pupils on educational visits.

Professor Tim O'Brien, associate director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, added: "Jodrell Bank is the one remaining radio astronomy site, worldwide which dates from the early days, so it is very important that we protect and celebrate the physical record of our involvement in the creation of a new science."