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Camera Obscura To Reopen 25 April 2005

The Great Union Camera Obscura will soon be open to the public for the first time in 15 years. The Department of Local Government and the Environment, which owns the Camera Obscura, has recently completed major restoration of this Registered building. Mrs. Anne Craine, MHK, Member of the Department for Estates and Housing, will perform the opening ceremony at 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 30th April.

The Camera Obscura was constructed in the late Victorian period and, though it is one of several surviving Camera Obscuras within the British Isles, it is the only one of its kind still in existence. It is located on Douglas Head and was previously owned by the Heaton family. It closed to the public around about 1990 and was purchased by the Department of Local Government and the Environment in order to save it for the Manx Nation.

Mrs. Anne Craine, MHK, Member of the Department for Estates and Housing, said,

"I am delighted that the Camera Obscura has been restored to its former glory and that it is soon to be enjoyed by the people of the Island as well as the many visitors who, I am sure, will be keen to see it. Although it has taken many years to reach this stage, my Department has always been fully committed to the full restoration and re-opening of the Camera Obscura and it is obviously very satisfying to have achieved this goal. However, we could not have done so without the support, enthusiasm and co-operation of many other parties including professional consultants, contractors, other Departments within Government and members of the public. I am particularly pleased that the Department of Tourism and Leisure has agreed to accept ownership of the Camera and to take on the future management and operation of this unique piece of our Islandís heritage."

Mrs. Craine will hand over the keys to the Department of Tourism and Leisure at the conclusion of the opening ceremony and it will be opened to the public at 11.00 a.m. The Isle of Man Victorian Society has kindly agreed to staff the Camera Obscura which will be open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 30th April through to September. Opening times are provisionally 11am to 4pm, subject to weather.

Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney MHK stated:

"Having actively supported the restoration of the Camera Obscura I am delighted that this project has reached fruition, and will now be open to the public. I would particularly like to thank the IOM Victorian Society and its members for volunteering to man this fascinating facility."

The design team services for the project have been provided by Cameron Hall Quantity Surveyors, Ashley Pettit Architect and Glasspool and Thaiss Structural Engineers. The restoration work was carried out by local contractor, Cedar Development Ltd.

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