Our Centenary Year

Civil & Structural Engineering

Jodrell Bank Telescope

Sir Henry Charles Husband was Joseph Husband’s son and he was born in 1908 at 98 Mona Road, Sheffield. He graduated in civil engineering from the University of Sheffield with a BEng in 1929. In 1936 his engineering consulting company Husband & Clark opened in Sheffield, and after the war it became Husband & Co., one of the foremost consultancies in the country. In 1949 Husband met Bernard Lovell at the research station Jodrell Bank, Manchester University. Lovell had been trying to construct a large, steerable altazimuth radio telescope and Husband felt the task was not impossible. The large dish needed to not only be mobile (and this had not been achieved before), but also vibration-free, to ensure signals weren’t blurred. Husband’s civil engineering design input meant the aperture telescope with a diameter of 250 feet came into operation in 1957. He went on to present a paper (The Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope) to the Institution of Civil Engineers about the engineering problems he overcame; testament to his engineering expertise and determination in a time before digital computers. Today, Jodrell Bank Telescope has been probing the depths of space for sixty years and remains one of the largest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world, fully steerable, so that it could be pointed to any part of the sky, right down to the horizon.