Built in 2014 – Opened 8th January 2015 and housing the Peter Hindle Telescope (a 16″ scientific grade telescope), the observatory is available for members to use at any time*

Schools and clubs are welcome to visit the observatory by arrangement – Please contact us for details.

*Training required, must not be used alone, £10 deposit for key, members only.


Drawings of the new Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory by Martin Crow.


Donations to the building of the Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory.

Thank you to Dr. Peter Hindle

For the kind and generous donation of a 16″ Meade LX200 telescope, pier, accessories and dome with our which this project would not have started.

Thank you to Kent County Council

Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society would like to say a huge Thank you to Kent County Council (supported by Dartford Council and the Sutton-at-Hone Parish Council) & in particular Councillor Kite, for the grant the Society received towards the building of the new ‘Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory’. Councillor Kite was very instrumental in ensuring the Society was successful in winning the funding for the new Observatory and has taken a keen interest in the Society, since our move to our new home at The Parsonage Lane Pavilion, Sutton-at-Hone in May 2012. The Observatory building work is progressing well towards completion and ready to have the 16″ Meade Schmidt Cassegrain telescope donated by Professor Peter Hindle installed.

Thank you to Clive & Daniel Bishop

CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Clive & Daniel Bishop for all their hard work building the observatory, materials & time they donated to the observatory build.
Bishop Building Projects and Daniel C Bishop Building Ltd

Thank you Brown & Carroll (London) Ltd

CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Brown & Carroll (London) Ltd in Basildon, for their generous donation of the plywood curved components that will be used for the upstand, that our new observatory dome will sit on.

Thank you to Steve Price

CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Steve Price for all his hard work, materials & time donated to the observatory build.

Thank you to Colin Wheeler

CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Colin Wheeler for making the new observatory steel door and for Colin’s time & materials he has donated to fitting the new door to the observatory.

Thank you to Priorclave

CMHASD would like to thank Tony Collins MD of Priorclave for modifying our pier to fit in its new home.

Thank you to Stuart Vick

CMHASD would like to say a very big Thank you to Stuart Vick and his colleagues for the safe and efficient installation of the observatory electrics. Stuart ensured that the main feed to the observatory was safely isolated, and that our somewhat unusual requirements for things like bulkhead lighting, safety “Stop” buttons and floor boxes, were executed faultlessly. We appreciate the support of SV Electrical in passing through parts at cost, and for your expertise and recommendations during the project. (stuart@svelectrical.co.uk 07970710988)


Diary showing the construction of the observatory.

It all started back on the 4th May 2013 with the dismantling of Dr. Peter Hindle’s 16” Meade Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and observatory dome which he had very generously given to the society.

Then after a year of planning on the 22nd July 2014, the diggers came in and the start of building the CMHASD second & brand new observatory called the ‘Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory’ by Clive Bishop and Daniel Bishop of Bishop Building Projects (www.bishopbuildingprojects.co.uk) and Daniel C Bishop Building Ltd (danielcbishopbuilding.co.uk/)

Tuesday 22nd July



Wednesday 23rd July

Bricks & blocks arrived….



Thursday 24th July

Damp proof course and shuttering for pier.


Friday 25th July

Pier is cast, cement poured over damp proof course.



Monday 28th July

Exterior wall appears. Boy are bricks this colour expensive!


Tuesday 29th July

The walls continue to grow.


Wednesday 30th July

The walls grow some more…



Friday 1st August

Interior walls start to appear.



Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd August – The Build Weekend

Building the roof of the Observatory.

CMHASD members worked all weekend to build the roof for the Dick Chambers Observatory.



Saturday 9th August – Felting the Roof

The members came together to help Steve Price felt the roof of the new observatory.



Thursday 21st August – The Steel Door

The ‘arrival’ of the steel door for the observatory, supplied by Colin Wheeler, and fitting of the steel frame it fits in, this is just one of the physical security measures for the observatory.



Saturday 23rd August – Attaching the Steel Door

Colin fixed the steel door to the observatory walls.

Sunday 24th August – The Dome Base

The members spent Saturday fitting the dome base on to the observatory, it took all day and Chairman, Simon Dawes, treated everyone to fish and chips to keep up morale!




Saturday 6th September – The Dome

The members spend a very long day fitting the dome on top of the new observatory, the day started collecting some pallets from a local farm to use as scaffolding, the whole scheme for how we would get the dome on the roof was hatched down the Pub!







Thursday 11th September – The new interior door

Members worked on the fitting the new door connecting the observatory to the pavilion, the mezzanine floor and stairs up to the mezzanine floor. Member, Andy Godden completed the plumbing work for the observatory (moving radiators etc.).


Monday and Tuesday 11th & 12th November – Mezzanine floor

Members worked on building the mezzanine floor and stairs up to the mezzanine floor, this would be the first of many rebuilds of the stairs to get them just right.



Wednesday 19th November – Work continues on the interior of the observatory

Members Steve Floodgate & Andy Barber were back working on the floor & stairs of the observatory as well as the wall of the control room. They were also joined by a third member Steve Goldstone who spent the day painting the woodwork. 

Thursday 20th November – The electrical work is started!

This was an unusual job for the electrician, sockets in the floor, red and white bulkhead lights, emergency stop buttons, switches and dimmers in two places (warm room and observatory) – not to mention all the problems getting a good Earth for the pavilion!


Monday 15th December – Pier modification & work on the interior continues…

On Monday 15th December – members Steve Floodgate & Andy Barber were back at the Pavilion to continue their work on finishing the interior of the new observatory. Whilst Steve & Andy were busy working on the observatory, Priorclave were beginning to work on the modifications of pier.



Monday 29th December – Installation of the modified pier and the 16” telescope

CMHASD members Keith Rickard, Martin Crow, Andy Barber, Steve Goldson, Steve Farley and David Freed spent the day at the new observatory installing the pier and 16” telescope. They had a very successful day. The telescope is operational – ready and waiting for the opening ceremony on the 8th January 2015. Well done guys!!!!!


Thursday 8th January 2015 – The Opening Ceremony

Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford officially opened it’s new Observatory called the ‘Dick Chambers Sutton-at-Hone Observatory‘ housing the Peter Hindle Telescope. Many people attended the event including Dr. Peter Hindle – who donated the 16″ Meade telescope & the Mayor of Dartford – Cllr. Avtar Sandhu MBE.



Thursday 18th June 2015

Now officially open, work continued with the building of the observatory. The stairs were finished (again) by Steve Floodgate and Martin Crow started to build the desk and shelving for the observatory work room.



Saturday 20th June 2015 – Dome Motorisation. (Improving our observatory dome so it rotates automatically)

Several members of CMHASD came together to help Andy Barber and Keith Rickard with their dome motorisation project.

Whilst at the pavilion, members also took the opportunity to do a bit of a ‘spring clean’ of the pavilion and put up the signs for the anti climb paint (one of many physical security measures).




Monday 26th October 2015 – Dome Motorisation.

Keith Rickard & Andy Barber continued with their dome motorisation project with the help of David Freed and Diane Clarke. They spent the day putting the metal rails on the dome base as well as other jobs that were required for the project to progress.