The City Observatory was completed in 1818
by Henry Playfair in the Neo-Classical style of Greek architecture.
It was designed for the scientific work of The Edinburgh
Astronomical Institution, though a lack of available funding
meant delays in equipping the building and appointing an
Finally the required instruments were installed in 1832,
including a transit telescope with a lens by Fraunhofer.
Thomas Henderson was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1834 and
until relocation to Blackford in 1896, the newly named Royal
Observatory was designated the principal centre for Astronomy.
It was at the time of this transition that a
new City Observatory was established. A six inch Cooke refractor
was installed in the dome of the Playfair building at the bequest
of William McEwan, and further Domes added to accomodate a
13 inch reflector donated by Robert Cox and 13 inch refractor
from the facility at Dunecht.
This development was complete by 1898 with William Peck the
newly appointed City Observer. The Astronomical Society of
Edinburgh was formed in 1924 at this site and continued its
operation until as late as 2009.