The Old Greenwich Observatory Camera Obscura, Greenwich, London
Our visit on June 7, 1996

We learned from an interesting publication, The Camera Obscura and Greenwich by Pip Brennan (see links and bibliography page) that there have been a number of camera obscuras at Greenwich from the late 17th century till the 1840s.

The modern camera obscura was installed in 1994 in a small summerhouse adjacent to Flamsteed House, named for the first Astronomer Royal who set up his Observatory there. The Old Observatory itself is well worth a visit. The prime meridian is a photo opportunity not to be missed and the museum is full of beautiful and impressive objects. Major events are planned for Greenwich to celebrate the turn of the Millennium since the year 2000 officially starts at the prime meridian.

We were told that Greenwich is accessible by a delightful river trip but we had our rail passes so we set out for Greenwich by train. Because of work on the rail line we were transferred to a bus to complete the trip. We arrived on a beautiful sunny day and had were delighted with the museum and with the camera obscura that shows a wonderful view of the Thames and the Royal Navel College and other magnificent buildings across the river.

One enters a small dark chamber through a curtain where a panning mechanism that travels from side to side in an arc produces views of the National Maritime Museum and the River Thames. The space is very small and not ideal for video but we squeezed into a small space and got some good footage of the table.

Magic Mirror of Life Home Page and Site Map

What is a camera obscura?

Why we created this site

Frequently Asked Questions about the Camera Obscura (please check this page before sending email questions)

Links and a Bibliography about the camera obscura

Map and illustrated diary of
our visits to
US camera obscuras

Map and illustrated diary of
our 1996 trip to
Great Britain camera obscuras

Images of camera obscuras from our collection.

Some Images from our collection
Trade Cards with Camera Obscuras
Lost UK Seaside Camera Obscuras
Other Lost UK Camera Obscuras
Lost US Seaside Camera Obscura
Lost US Park Camera Obscuras
Other Lost US Camera Obscuras

No, it's not a camera obscura

Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection.
Wooden Camera Obscuras
Metal Camera Obscuras
Camera Obscuras with the Lens at the Top
Cardboard Camera Obscuras
A French Artist's Camera with supplies
Vermeer's Camera, a 1934 teaching camera
Camera Obscura Publications

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