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HistoryCamera Obscuras became popular in the Victorian times using a technology long understood. A single lens and mirror in a revolving turret above a darkened room projects a picture of the surrounding area. The first camera on this site was opened in 1887, though burned down within the same year. The present Great Union Camera Obscura located on Douglas Head was opened in the 1890s and is one of only a few open in the British Isles. The camera started out with 12 lenses for viewing the surrounding area, but was reduced to 11 lenses in order to better filter visitors though. Built by Mr Fielding, the site changed owners shortly after. Owned by the Heaton family from 1907 until the 1990s, the site was was then acquired by the Isle of Man Government for the preservation of Manx History. The camera was originally used to spy on other tourists at the bathing baths or cuddling on the headland. A popular form of fun and entertainment in its age.
LocationLocated on Douglas Head near the Lighthouse.
Drive to Douglas and go along the promenade to the Sea Terminal Building end. Then take the round about near the Douglas Bus Station to go across the Harbour Bridge. Turn right at the round about and then left onto Douglas Head Road. Park at the top of Douglas Head and walk along the garden paths to the Camera.
Take any bus that goes to Douglas Bus Station. Then across the harbour bridge and up Douglas Head Road. The Camera is at the top of Douglas Head overlooking the lighthouse.
Take the Electric Railway or the Steam Train to Douglas and then the Horse Tram or Walk to the Douglas Bus Station. Then across the harbour bridge and up Douglas Head Road. The Camera is at the top of Douglas Head overlooking the lighthouse.
VisitingThe attraction is manned by volunteers and offers visitors a unique way to see the surrounding headland views on a circular table, which has been separated by partitions to give eleven moving colour pictures. Adverse weather conditions may interfere with viewing or prevent the Camera Obscura from opening. When the flag is flying ... the site is open!
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