Solar Eclipse, 1927

Tomorrow, there’s something that doesn’t happen every day – it’s a total eclipse of the sun.

I have read that Scotland will lose 98% of its sunlight (insert joke) and the lack of solar power across Europe will cause all kinds of disruption. But never mind that, I’m excited! I saw the last one on 11th August 1999 when most of Quiggins, the Liverpool alternative shopping arcade where I worked at the time, piled outside to not watch the sun through those little cardboard contraptions. It was very cloudy though so we didn’t need the cardboard things. I seem to remember it went a bit gloomy and that was it.

But there won’t be another on mainland Britain until 23rd September 2090, which means it’s almost certainly the last one we’ll see in our lifetimes. That’s a bit of a sobering thought, isn’t it? I remember thinking the same kind of thoughts about seeing Halley’s Comet when I was 11 – but that comes back in 2061 so there’s an outside chance of still being around at any rate.

In 1927 another total solar eclipse was due and my Grandad had to write a project about it as a 14 year old schoolboy. We’ve still got his exercise book:

Grandad's schoolbook, 1927

Grandad’s schoolbook, 1927

This was an particularly exciting total eclipse as it was the first one visible from the British mainland for 203 years. And especially so for a Lancashire schoolboy, as the North of England was the best place to see it.

There are a lot of clippings glued into his book. I am especially overjoyed that so many of them come from The Children’s Newspaper, which I have been reading a lot of recently:

The Children's Newspaper, 1927

The Children’s Newspaper, 1927

This is my favourite clipping. A cartoon showing the best places to see it – with Giggleswick in Yorkshire being the prime location. On the day, it was pretty cloudy and not much was seen, but the Astronomer Royal in Giggleswick was lucky, he was in one of the few places that saw the totality.

Solar Eclipse, 1927

Solar Eclipse, 1927

I’ve got my fingers crossed for tomorrow…

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