"William Herschel was arguably the greatest of all astronomical observers. Our Herschel Museum in New King Street, has been set up both to honour his memory, and to encourage people to take an interest in the sky. Do join us; you will find much to interest you, and you will make many new friends."
The William Herschel Society was constituted in 1977, initially to gather support for the rescue of the home of Sir William Herschel at 19 New King Street, Bath. Dr Patrick Moore agreed to be president and has supported the Society since that time. Dr's. Leslie and Elizabeth Hilliard set up the Society, and were active as Chairman and Treasurer respectively for many year. A committee has been annually elected , drawn from members of the Society with specific interests and expertise of value to the Society and the Herschel Museum of Astromomy. The ownership of 19 King Street was transferred by donation from E & L Hilliard to the Herschel House Trust which is registered as a separate charity.
The major annual event for the Society is the William Herschel Lecture. This is held close to March 13th, commemorating Herschel's famous discovery of Uranus from the gardens of 19 New King Street in 1781. A distinguished scientist, usually an astronomer, is invited to deliver the lecture which is chaired by the President. A joint public lecture is given during the winter with the University of Bath. The Society collaborates with the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) in the 'Herschel Discussion Group' which meets on the first Friday evening of each month. This group arranges lectures, discussions, exhibitions and visits and forms part of the Society's educational outreach. The Society also arranges a course of lectures on Modern Astronomical Discoveries held on Saturday mornings during the Autumn.
Research into Herschel's' publications, both scientific and musical, has been actively pursued by the Society since its formation. A number of books have been published which are on sale at the museum at 19 New King Street. Their existence has produced an ever increasing correspondence with academic and private individuals. This has resulted in new acquisitions and from time to time visits and lectures from members in the UK and abroad have followed. The Society funds, on a non-profit basis, educational materials and publications for the museum, thus helping to maximise its income. The Society's Journal is regularly distributed world-wide to members and correspondents. Active links are maintained with the Herschel Societies in Japan and in Hannover, Germany.
Click here to see the current committee members