“William Crabtree 1610-1644 The Salford Astronomer. In this area stood the house of
William Crabtree from where he observed the Transit of Venus on Sunday 24 Nov.1639”
Location: 388 Lower Broughton Road
Erected: December 2005
This little blue commemorative plaque can be found at the former home of William Crabtree, at Ivy Cottage on Lower Broughton Road.
William Crabtree was an astronomer, mathematician and merchant, born in Broughton, Salford in 1610. He married into a wealthy family and worked as a merchant in Manchester, though had a great interest in astronomy in his spare time. He would spend his years carefully measuring the movements of the planets, undertaking precise astronomical calculations. This led him to rewriting the existing Rudolphine Tables of Planetary Positions, with greatly improved accuracy.
Crabtree joined forces with Jeremiah Horrocks, another enthusiastic amatuer astronomer from 1636. They were the only astronomers to observe, plot and record the movement of Venus across the Sun, correctly predicted by Horrocks on 24th November 1639. They recorded the movement in their own respective homes, and Horrocks undortunately died in early 1641, the day before he was due to meet with Crabtree.
William Crabtree died in 1644, and was buried within the precincts of the Manchester Collegiate Church.