The Norman Lockyer Observatory Society grew out of the activities of the Sidmouth and District Astronomy Society and the Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society, both of which had been eyeing with interest the facilities and location of the then dormant NLO. SIDDAS began to make some use of the site and to take visitors around.
East Devon District Council became the owners in 1984 and allowed the societies increasing access, resulting in a licence agreement between them and the Council. In 1995 the societies joined to form the Norman Lockyer Observatory Society and entered into a lease with the new owners to use the site, to maintain it and to make it more accessible to the public.
Since then the Society has grown and its facilities have greatly increased.
The library and spectral plates reside at the observatory, and an archive of Lockyer’s papers can be accessed at the University of Exeter.
You can read more about the history of observatory site and a timeline of events, as well as Lockyer’s role at the Solar Physics Observatory.
You can watch a video by Kathy Loves Physics & History about Norman Lockyer below or read the article at https://kathylovesphysics.com/how-helium-was-discovered/