CLARKSON, Roland Lebeg Townley

1889 - 1954

Roland Clarkson

Born at South Elmham, Beccles, Suffolk on 6 October and baptised at St James, South Elmham on 3 November 1889, only son of Lawrence Townley Clarkson (30 October 1857-1943), surveyor and estate agent, and his wife Annie Matilda (1861-December 1890), daughter of Revd William John Payne (died 1886), they married at Tendring, Essex in 1879. Educated at Fauconberge School, Beccles and as a boy became interested in astronomy, keeping notebooks and sketches from 1906, when he began observing in earnest, for almost 50 years, The British Astronomical Association hold his observing notebooks. During the Great War was an Assistant Paymaster in the Royal Naval Reserve but later employed in the munitions factory of the Cotton Powder Company, near Davington in Kent and in 1918 elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society. Clarkson lived at various addresses around Essex and Suffolk, in 1922 at 25 Ballygate, Beccles but in 1924 his father moved to Dedham and they lived at 'The Old House', Dedham, Essex where his father ran the Old House private hotel. In 1930 was living at 'The Poplars', Oakley, Suffolk but by 1932 had moved up the road to Brome Road, Yaxley. Clarkson joined the Ipswich Section of the Chaldaean Society and was a founder and president of the Ipswich and District Astronomical Society, a precursor of the Orwell Astronomical Society. In 1939 Roland was a 'publicity manager & secretary' living at 'The Bungalow', Station Road, Trimley St Mary, Felixstowe with his widowed father. He exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1944 an oil 'Billingford, Suffolk' (item 64), Billingford is actually in Norfolk. In his later years Clarkson fell on hard times and shortly before he died a fund was set up to assist him, with astronomer Patrick Moore as treasurer. Clarkson died in Felixstowe General Hospital on 10 April 1954, aged 65, he was unmarried.