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Solar Physics Observatory, Madingley Rise

History of the Solar Physics Observatory Madingley Rise

The Mannings had initially lived in Bridge Street, but then moved to the Observatory.


William Henry Manning, b 1883, observatory laboratory assistant

Gunter H Archenhold, b 1904, astronomer

Margaret Foulger, b 1900, housekeeper

This was also the home of Elizabeth Leah Manning née Perrett the distinguished educationalist who had married William Manning in 1914 when they had set up home at this site.

She had trained as a teacher at Homerton College then worked at the Ragged School in Barnwell where she campaigned with Ada Keynes for am “After School Play Centre”. She seems to have lived at the Observatory until about 1934 when, as an MP, she resided more in her constituencies (Islington 1924-1931 and then Epping, 1945-1950) visiting Cambridge at weekends. She continued to live at the Observatory until about 1949.

During WWI she volunteered as a VAD at the First Eastern General Hospital. After WWI she took charge of Vinery Road Open Air School, having studied such schools in Germany and America.

In 1928 new premises were opened in Ascham Road, as the Milton Road Open Air School for children with TB, with Leah as headmistress.

She had been appointed a J.P. in the first list of its kind for women in the country. She also played a leading part in the Cambridge Council for Action during the General Strike in May 1926.

In April 1930 she was appointed President of the NUT and campaigned for the raising of the school leaving age to 15.

Will Manning died in 1952; Leah in 1977, aged 91.


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