Thursday Doors – The Tower Of The Ecliptic

Although we’ve lived in Swansea in South Wales for the last five years, it always amazes me when we take a walk off the beaten track and come across something you had no idea was there.

This is the door to ‘The Tower Of The Ecliptic’. 

Photo of a green door that has paint peeling off it and which has a porthole in it.
Door to The Tower Of The Ecliptic

And it’s on this building that you’ll find the door. Can you spot it and any other doors?

Photo of The Tower Of The Ecliptic in Swansea
The Tower Of The Ecliptic – Swansea

If you think of me standing in front of that door taking the photo, you’ll get an idea of how big this building is. How on earth have I managed to miss a big building like this in the city where I live?

What is The Tower Of The Ecliptic? 

It’s an observatory that houses the largest telescope in Wales. Designed by architect Robin Campbell in 1989, the building opened in 1993 for the local astronomical society.

Sadly, in 2010, the building was closed to the public due to a disagreement with the Swansea City Council regarding the building’s rental terms. The Swansea Astronomical Society now holds regular observing sessions at the University College of Swansea. I’ve no idea if they took the telescope with them. Do you think they did? 

For more information about The Tower Of Ecliptic, click here.

Linking to the weekly photography challenge ‘Thursday Doors,’ hosted by Dan Antion who blogs at No Facilities. Click here to join hundreds of other participants with your Thursday Doors.

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29 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – The Tower Of The Ecliptic

  1. Penny pinching bureaucracy! Small minded pultroons! Grubby little bean counters! One day… it looks a marvel and so new! Missing its purpose is easy isn’t it?

    1. I’ll be honest and say I had to look up the word ‘ecliptic’, Terri. That’s my dyslexia for you. I don’t think I can even pronounce the word correctly. Anyway, I love what it means and how it has a connection to what’s inside the tower. I hope they open the doors again and allow the public in, maybe once the pandemic is over? I’d definitely love a look around and to have a look at the night sky through the telescope.

  2. What a shame a disagreement resulted in the observatory being shut down. I hope it does get re-opened. I’ve always wanted to visit one.

    1. Me too, Cathy. I used to have a telescope (many years ago) but have no idea what happened to it. Looking at the stars is a very relaxing way to spend some time. I should do it more often. I hope Swansea council reopen this building to the public sometime. Maybe once the pandemic is under control, they plan to? My fingers are crossed.

    1. It sure does, Alison. And from the description of what the inside looks like (on the page I linked to in this post), it sounds beautiful inside. But 10 years on, and it’s still closed.

  3. I’m not sure I like the looks of the building itself – it appears very industrial to me – but that is one cool door! I assume you missed it, because the observatory is located outside of town, in an area you never visited?

    1. It’s on the other side of the city to where we live, but when I was out walking the dogs locally along the seafront yesterday, I could see it in the distance across the bay, Liesbet. I had no idea that Swansea housed the biggest telescope in Wales. I hope I get a look through it one day, providing it’s still in that building, of course.

  4. I have a long history of missing the obvious, Hugh, so I feel for you on this one. At first I thought it was a grain silo, then (after you mentioned it) I saw the observatory window. It’s one of the more interesting doors we’ve had. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Thanks, Dan.

      When we first approached this building, we also thought it was a grain store, especially because it’s located on the seafront near the docks. But the various statues on the building didn’t make any sense as to why it was for storing grain. I thought it was a much older building, so I was shocked when I discovered it was only built in the early 1990s. I’d love to go inside and look around, but sadly it’s all locked up. Maybe, one day, the local council will open it up again to the public? I do hope so.

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