2006 Tour of Great Britain Camera Obscuras - a brief summery
September 5 – 25

On September 5th we flew from the US to Heathrow with an optimistic itinerary of seven camera obscuras and a Britrail pass. We had identified and made contacts at four camera obscuras that we did not visit on our 1996 trip as well as two where the weather had been a disappointment in '96. At the last minute we added an old favorite where we had made a new contact.

Each of these visits will soon have a page with larger, multiple pictures and stories of our visit. We will also include contacts for some of the B&Bs we especially enjoyed as well as a number of very helpful people who made the trip so successful. Until those pages are finished this page will serve as a summery and preview of the more complete pages to come.

Eastbourne, England - September 5, 2006

We where thrilled to hear that the 1901 camera obscura at the Eastbourne Pier had been reopened. We arrived on a bright and beautiful day and headed for the pier immediately.

Even though we had called ahead and been assured it would be open we found it locked. With the kind of luck we had no right to expect we located someone with a key and were able to see and photograph the inside. We suggest you call the Eastbourne Pier office to be very sure it will be open before visiting.

Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne Camera Obscura
Eastbourne Camera Obscura
Kirriemuir, Scotland - September 8

We knew about the camera obscura at Kirriemuir in Scotland but were not able to work it into our 1996 trip. We are delighted that we were able to visit it this trip.

We took a local bus line from Dundee and walked up Kirrie Hill to the cricket pavilion donated to the town of his birth by J M Barrie. We found a delightful camera obscura room in the small tower at the front of the pavilion. The National Trust of Scotland does a wonderful job maintaining and showing this 1929 treasure.

The Kirriemuir Camera Obscura
National Trust of Scotland contact

Kirriemuir Camera Obscura
Kirriemuir Camera Obscura
Edinburgh, Scotland - September 11

The first camera obscura we ever visited was on Castlehill in Edinburgh. We have been back to it many times and it holds a special place in our hearts. Our first itinerary did not include it on this trip but we were corresponding with the manager of the facility about use of one of our photographs and realized that Edinburgh was directly in our path when we traveled from Dundee to Dumfries. We always enjoy Edinburgh so decided to stop off there for a few days. What a wise decision!

We found that it is now called Camera Obscura and World of Illusions and has added some amazing exhibits of optical illusions. On the page devoted to this stop we will tell several stories about this magical visit.

Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions

Edinburgh Camera Obscura
Edinburgh Camera Obscura
Dumfries, Scotland - September 12

The 1836 camera obscura in the museum at Dumfries is the oldest, best preserved we have ever visited. We were impressed in 1996 but had very bad luck of visiting on a day that was wet and blustery. We considered ourselves lucky when the rain let up for half an hour and they were able to open the camera obscura to show us a misty, dark image on the table.

This weather on this visit was perfect and we came away enchanted with the experience.

Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura

Dumfries Camera Obscura
Dumfries Camera Obscura
Portmeirion, Wales - September 15

If you are old enough to remember the TV series The Prisoner you will know Portmeirion as a magical-seeming private village of preserved architectural gems. The camera obscura is in a tower on the waterfront. It is not open to the public but we made contact with the management of the facility and found them very accommodating and willing to show it by appointment.

The camera obscura is unusual for several reasons. The optics are said to have been salvaged from a German U boat and the table is square. We had a wonderful day in the village.

Portmeirion Home Page
The Portmeirion Camera Obscura

Portmerin Camera Obscura
Portmerin Camera Obscura
Aberwystweth, Wales - September 16

In 1996 we had only one day in Aberwystweth and that day started out misty and damp. Even though the mist cleared we were never able to see an image in the camera obscura. At that time the seal on the lens was defective and the lens never cleared in the time we had.

On this trip we allowed more days in Aberwystweth and were rewarded with several periods of beautiful clear weather. The seal on the lens has also been repaired and we found the large table showed a magnificent view of the sea front.

The Aberwystweth Camera Obscura

Aberwystweth Camera Obscura
Aberwystweth Camera Obscura

Knighton, Wales - September 20

The camera obscura at the Space Guard center in Knighton, Wales is located in an observatory. The mission of the center is to study the threat posed to the Earth by collisions with asteroids and comets. This is a subject they take very seriously and the tour and presentation we attended were quite convincing and more than a bit frightening.

The camera obscura attached to the observatory was build by the former owner and is very much a side interest now. The most intriguing aspect of the camera obscura is that the focus of the table is not achieved by moving the table up and down but by moving the entire room with a hydraulic floor!

A demonstration of the camera obscura is usually included in the tour during good weather. We visited on a rainy day but at our request they did demonstrate it to our group. The image was a bit dark but well worth the trip. The tour, program on asteroids, planetarium, and observatory demonstrations will also make it a worthwhile visit for anyone like Jack who is interested in astronomy.

The Space Guard Camera Obscura

Knighton Camera Obscura
Knighton Camera Obscura

Check back for our more complete pages on the camera obscuras we visited. All of the sites listed here are well worth a visit. It is wise to call ahead to be sure the camera obscura will be open when you plan to visit. Enjoy!

Jack and Beverly

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

Bright Bytes Studio Home Page (Jack and Beverly's Home Page)

Contact us at studio@brightbytes.com
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Modified 1/2007