Jodrell Bank bids for Unesco World Heritage status

Jodrell Bank could stand alongside India¿s Taj Mahal if it successful in being approved by UNESCO

Jodrell Bank could stand alongside India¿s Taj Mahal if it successful in being approved by UNESCO

The University of Manchester's site in Cheshire, home to its famous Lovell Telescope, has been selected as the next UK candidate to go forward for nomination to Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) as a World Heritage Site.

In a blog post, professor Teresa Anderson said: "We are looking forward, now to January 2018, when the full nomination dossier will be submitted to UNESCO for consideration".

'The Lovell Telescope in particular has become an icon for science and engineering, and we look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an worldwide stage'.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: "As an institution that is known for its internationally leading research, it is very fitting that our rich heritage in science has received such acclaim".

The observatory, which is home to the iconic Lovell radio telescope, is hoping to be named a World Heritage Site. "And hopefully, around 18 months afterwards, the site will be inscribed on the World Heritage List".

The 250ft Lovell Telescope, which dominates the site and is Grade I listed, was the world's largest steerable telescope when it was completed in August 1957. "This rich history is still being written with the execution of state-of-the art astronomical research programs on the Lovell Telescope".

We have been preparing the case for the World Heritage Site inscription for Jodrell Bank Observatory for some years now, so it's absolutely fantastic to reach this milestone. Sir Lovell was a radio astronomer and was keen to probe cosmic rays after completion of his work on radar during the WWII.

The 60-year-old telescope tracked the flight of Soviet Union's Sputnik-1, which was the first ever man-made satellite to travel to space.

The observatory's discovery centre welcomes around 185,000 visitors each year include 26,000 school pupils on educational visits. A project to make a gallery narrating the story of radio astronomy is also in progress.