Jodrell Bank named as new UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jodrell Bank named as new UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jodrell Bank
Jodrell Bank in Cheshire has today been named a new World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Other newly designated World Heritage Sites for 2019 include the Royal Building of Mafra in Portugal and Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria in Spain.

Heritage Minister Rebecca Pow said: "I am delighted that Jodrell Bank has become the UK’s 32nd UNESCO World Heritage Site. The research completed here has transformed our understanding of the Universe and it is right that this is recognised.

"Today’s announcement will make sure that this remarkable site will continue to inspire young scientists and astronomers all over the world."

In recognition of the international significance of its science heritage, Jodrell Bank was nominated by DCMS for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in January 2018.

Funded by National Lottery players

In 2018, the site was awarded £12.1million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and a further £4m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2018 for a new Discovery Centre.

Named First Light at Jodrell Bank, the project is creating a spectacular new gallery building to promote and celebrate its world-leading place in the history of astronomy.

A pioneer of radio astronomy

Founded in 1945, the Jodrell Bank Observatory, part of the University of Manchester, is the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world still in existence.

It was a pioneer of the new science of radio astronomy, which revolutionised our understanding of the universe.

Black and white photograph of scientists
Sir Bernard Lovell and the Jodrell Bank research team



The must-see national heritage destination's new facilities include:

  • a stunning new exhibition and engagement space around the original 1957 telescope dish
  • an auditorium displaying immersive digital presentations
  • a state of the art education hub
  • a new café

David Renwick, National Lottery Heritage Fund Director of England, North, described the news as "simply fantastic". He added:

"The First Light project has been designed to nurture a new generation of scientists and astronomers. When it's complete, this amazing science heritage site will be a centre for learning, wonder and fun – a place where people of all ages can visit, be inspired and, quite literally, reach for the stars

"Let’s remember, that all of this is only possible thanks to players of the National Lottery.”

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