John William Durrad was born in, and spent his life in, Leicester. He was a leather merchant who had a lifelong interest in astronomy. He was involved with the astronomical section of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society. He had a small observatory in his garden. In 1875 he found crevasses near the crater Gassendi on the Moon. His drawings were amongst those used by Walter Goodacre (1856-1938) in his self-published book, The Moon: With a Description of Its Surface Formations, 1931. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1876.
Durrad's other interests included watercolour painting and music. He played cello in the Leicester Orchestral Union.
In Kelly's Directory of Leicestershire & Rutland, 1881, he has business premises in Bowling Green Street and a house in Sparkenhoe Street. In the 1911 Census he is listed as living in Fosse Road North and working for W. Walker and Sons, Tanners, as a Leather Traveller.
John William Durrad's son, William Edgar, was an apprentice at lens manufacturers Taylor, Taylor & Hobson for five years up to 1903. (British Army Service Records 1914-1920)
"The lesser-known nomenclature of the crater Gassendi", The New Moon: A Magazine of Lunar Topographical Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2008 [pdf]. On page 5 there is a drawing of Gassendi made by Durrad on 25th January, 1877 and used on p287 of The Moon, Walter Goodacre, 1931.
Obituary Notices: Fellows :- Durrad, John William, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1940, Vol. 100, p.238
British Army Service Records 1914-1920 - scan of original document at Findmypast
Last updated 16th September, 2012.