A Negretti + Zambra telescope used in the Boer War by the Wilts Yeomanry

A Negretti + Zambra telescope used in the Boer War by the Wilts Yeomanry

Stock Number: 316


For sale is a large Negretti + Zambra 3-draw telescope owned by Lt HB Smith-Bingham of the Wiltshire Imperial Yeomanry, and used in the Boer Wars in South Africa in 1900-1901.


32 inches



Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Telescopes, Telescopes - Refracting


This telescope offered for sale was made by Negretti & Zambra, in London, at the end of the 1800s. It was purchased by an Army officer, Lt H B Smith-Bingham, of the Wiltshire Imperial Yeomanry, as the inscription on the first draw states. The telescope is 32” long, has a diameter of 2.5” at the widest part, and has three brass draws: the three draws and the main body are silver plated. Length closed is just over 10”, and this fits inside a leather carrying case: the lid of this case includes the metal cover that protects the objective lens. The case is original, and is marked “H B S-B”.

Lt Smith-Bingham went to South Africa in March 1900 with the 13th Imperial Yeomanry. In South Africa they became the 1st and 2nd companies of the 1st Imperial Yeomanry Battalion. Smith-Bingham left for home in July 1901, departing on the ship the ‘Templemore’.

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GB Telescope Collector

I first started using a telescope in the 60s, to identify aeroplanes arriving at Yeadon airport, in Yorkshire. Then I started to collect and restore vintage brass scopes in the 1990s. The collection boomed later, in the early days of the internet, rising to around 300 in number. Since then I have made a lot of friends via the internet, advising them on how to identify, date or repair their scopes. At the age of 74 I need to disperse these wonderful bits of engineering history, because they still work today as well as they did 200+ years ago! That is the fascination....Some of my collection have already been sold to collectors spread around, in the UK, USA, Ireland, Israel, France and Germany. Several have been returned to the UK descendants of the people who made them, or relatives of their previous owners, because they found the stories on my website. Now the collection needs to be dispersed more systematically. If you are looking for a specific telescope, just ask, maybe I have one! If you want better pictures of the telescopes shown here, these can be emailed. Nick Denbow, based in Alresford, Hampshire: contact via email on [email protected]

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