Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)
Notes on Henry Ernest Kersey (1876-1948)
- 1876 Henry Ernest Kersey born in or near Bentley, Suffolk. His father, Joseph Kersey, was a miller.
- Married Annie Elizabeth Grimes, last quarter 1906.
- 03 December 1947, Annie Elizabeth Kersey, wife of Henry living at "The Hollies", Tattingstone, died. (Henry described as "retired optician".)
- 09 September 1948, Henry Ernest Kersey, of "The Hollies", Tattingstone, died at The Nursing Home, 58 Fonnereau Road, Ipswich. Age 72 years.
- 1881, age 5, in Docking, Norfolk.
- 1891, age 15, in Docking, Norfolk.
- 1901, age 25, watch material dealer.
- 1911, age 35, spectacle maker.
Entries in Kelley's Trade Directory
- 1906 watch material dealer, 45 St. Nicholas St., Ipswich.
- 1909 as above.
- 1910 optician, 10 St. Nicholas St.
- 1912 optician, 19 St. Nicholas St. (Error in preparation of census?)
- 1913 optician, 10 St. Nicholas St.
- 1960 as above.
- 1970 as above and at 63 Mount St., Diss.
- 1975 22 Tacket St. and at 63 Mount St., Diss.
Below, look for the "Kersey" name to the left of the tram on the building of 45 St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.
Professional Optical Life
Henry Ernest Kersey FSMC, FBOA, qualified as an ophthalmic optician via the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers in July 1909 and, additionally, as a Fellow of the British Optical Association in 1923. In 1923, and up to 1946, he was listed as practicing at 10 St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich. By 1927 he was also optician by appointment to the Ipswich Education Committee. His BOA membership subscription was altered to "non-practicing" during the year 1945-46 and he was listed as deceased by September 1948. An obituary notice for him was published in "The Optician", 17 September 1948. This is even briefer and reveals only that he died on 09 September and that he was "for many years...a well-known and greatly respected figure in optics in Ipswich".
As professional qualification was not a compulsory pre-requisite to practice, these dates do not necessarily reflect when they first started work. References are made to specific dates due to the incomplete nature of the surviving records.
Neil Handley, MA, AMA+, FRSA,
Curator, British Optical Association Museum
The College of Optometrists
Everett M Finter took over the business and continued to trade under the "Kersey" name. To this day, the business still trades in Tacket Street.
Records of local societies and of the BAA provide the following insight into Kersey's astronomical activities as follows.
- 05 March 1913, at a general meeting of the Ipswich Scientific Society, Kersey brought a keratometer: an instrument for measuring the curvature of polished spherical surfaces by optical means, as used for the measurement of the surface curvature of the cornea of the human eye. He also demonstrated microphotographs.
- 01 May 1922, at a meeting of the Ipswich Section of the Chaldean Society, Kersey read a paper on the construction of small telescopes, illustrated by experiments showing the various properties of lenses and mirrors.
- 09 November 1934, proposed for fellowship of the RAS by W Goodacre.
- 30 December 1936, elected to BAA, proposed by E H Collinson, seconded by A F Bennett [1, 2].
- During a break at a general meeting of the BAA at Sion College on 27 April 1938 , among the exhibits on display was a terrestrial clockwork globe by Kersey.
- In the report of the BAA Council for session 1948-49 , Kersey is recorded as having died, but there is no formal obituary.
- Kersey bequeathed his 9" Browning-With equatorial reflector to the BAA . (The BAA catalogued the instrument as #126 and loaned it first to Dr E V Piercy Fox and, in the mid-1960s, to Mr W Smith. In 1986, the instrument was written off as untraced .)
JBAA, vol. 47, no. 2, p. 94, December 1936.
JBAA, vol. 47, no. 3, p. 138, January 1937.
JBAA, vol. 48, no. 7, p. 270, May 1938.
JBAA, vol. 59, no. 8, p. 222, October 1949.
JBAA, vol. 59, no. 8, p. 233, October 1949.
Email correspondence between Bill Barton and Bob Marriott, Director of BAA Instruments and Imaging Section, 24-25 October 2016.
Bill Barton, FRAS