Foredown Tower Camera Obscura, Portslade, East Sussex, England
Our visit on May 25, 1996
Foredown Tower Camera Obscura The camera obscura we visited on our first full day in Britain was a gem we found on our internet search for British camera obscuras. It is listed on several Brighton web pages and an e-mail to the Brighton Pavilion web master proved unexpectedly helpful when we discovered he had worked on the installation of the camera obscura.

We arrived in Gatwick on May 24, one day late because of a flight delay, and made a short train trip to Brighton. We arrived in this fascinating, if a bit shabby, sea side resort in a blinding, horizontal rain storm. This was no day to visit a camera obscura! We spent that day in visits to the Pavilion and to the city museum, both surprising and delightful experiences. Our hotel on the sea front was in sight of a beautiful but sad ruined pier. We wanted to visit the still operating pier but had no time.

The next day we took a local bus line that ran from Brighton through Hove to Portslade at the edge of the downs and walked a short distance up a small road to an 1909 water tower that was part of a now demolished isolation hospital.

Called Countryside Centre the water tower building contains several levels with a bookstore/giftshop, a number of scientific and meteorological exhibitions and demonstrations, and a first rate modern camera obscura on the top level.

The modern optics were originally part of a temporary camera obscura at the 1990 Gateshead Garden Festival in Tyne & Wear. They were moved to the Foredown Tower and opened to the public July 13, 1991.

The Foredown Tower Camera Obscura is a joy to visit. We were lucky that it was our first stop on the trip. We found a wealth of information in the bookshop and an unexpected bonus in Mike Feist who not only gave an expert demonstration of the wonderful high tech camera obscura but shared information about his research in camera obscuras. Foredown Tower is well worth a visit.

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