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Review of Camera Obscura

Ranked #14 of 44 things to do in Douglas
Attraction details
Reviewed 24 August 2012

Situated on Douglas Head, overlooking the beautifully panoramic Douglas Bay and harbour, this recently resored piece of Victoriana is a real gem.

The Obscura is unique, I believe, as it is the only one in the world with 11 mirrors. The Isle of Man Government bought the structure just over 10 years ago to preserve it for posterity and to save it from falling down the hillside. Thank goodness they had the foresight to do so and to invest the time, effort and resources to virtually rebuild it, thus restoring the original features to their former glory. (It was found to be structurally unsound and in otherwise poor condition after purchase).

It is best visited when there is activity (such as yachting races in the bay, a lifeboats launch, or shipping movements) and on a clear day for maximum effect.

It is easily accessible on foot or by car but is now operated by volunteers from the local Victorian Society at weekends only during the summer months.

Well worth a viisit!

Thank Manxtravellers
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Reviewed 3 August 2012

This Camera Obscura was made in the Victorian age. The “Great Union” Camera Obscura which is located on Douglas Head was opened in the 1890s and is one of only a few open in the British Isles but the only one of this kind. The camera obscure originally had 12 lenses for viewing all around the area, but was reduced to 11 lenses in order to better filter visitors though. Built by a Mr Fielding, and then sold onto the Heaton family from 1907 until the 1990s. It was then passed to the Isle of Man Government for the preservation of Manx History from the Victorian age. It was originally used to spy on other tourists at the bathing baths or cuddling on the headland. Popular entertainment in its age! It is really worth a visit when you are in the area. It is only open at the weekends during the summer months and some bank holidays. You can tell when it is open as the flag is flying! It does not open on very overcast/rainy days as the image quality drops too greatly. It is staffed by volunteers who are members of the Victorian society. There is plenty of parking close at hand but there are a number of steps to get to it but it is worthwhile and there is also a great view of Douglas bay from outside the Obscura as well. The staff are very helpful with local information and there are two post cards available one showing the Camera Obscura as in Victorian times and the other showing it in present day. Admission is only £2 per adult or £1 for student or slightly older adult! Wheelchair access to the inside is not really viable.

Isle of Man

2  Thank manxman12345
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Reviewed 23 April 2017
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Thank Jaja27
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Reviewed 28 June 2016
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Reviewed 25 May 2015
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