Jodrell Bank nominated for World Heritage Site award

  • Cheshire tourist attraction and science base is UK nominee for UNESCO award
  • Could rank alongside Taj Mahal and Stonehenge
  • Preparations for award have been taking place for years

Jodrell Bank has been nominated for a World Heritage Site award from the United Nations.

The nomination coincides with 60th anniversary of Sir Bernard Lovell’s iconic Lovell Telescope, which was built in 1947.

The observatory is aiming to win the prestigious UNESCO award and join the list of World Heritage Sites alongside internationally renowned locations such as the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and Machu Picchu.

Professor Tim O’Brien, associate director of the Jodrell Bank centre for astrophysics, said: “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.”

There are various criteria for the award including the site requiring cultural creative genius, illustrating a significant stage in human history and having cultural significance. Jodrell Bank ticks these boxes as the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world that is still in existence.

Preparations for the nomination have been taking place for the past few years with improvements to visitor facilities and a new gallery supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund taking pride of place.

The official nomination will be submitted to UNESCO in January.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank discovery centre, said: “The process we have gone through in the intervening years has taught us a lot – both about the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and also about Jodrell Bank site itself.

We have uncovered layers of history, some fantastic stories, and the role that Jodrell Bank has played in the emergence and continuing development of the field of radio astronomy

The winner of the award is to be crowned around June 2019 and a victory for Jodrell Bank would help the site continue with their vision of inspiring the scientists of the future.