Scilly’s Newest Attraction Will Open Before End Of Season

andrew coombes buzza tower 2
Scilly’s newest attraction in the Buzza Tower will be ready before the end of the season although the man responsible for the venture says it hasn’t always been an easy job. 

Andrew Coombes is renovating the listed building and installing a camera obscura, which will give visitors a 360-degree view from the top of the tower.

He’s done most of the building work himself. He’s not a trained craftsman, but says he has enjoyed learning as he’s gone along and certainly found it easier than the long, drawn out planning process that preceded it.

But things haven’t always gone to plan.

From Radio Scilly

Andrew Coombes talks about progress with the Buzza Tower camera obscure

Andrew has taken out the old concrete roof, a job he described as “two-and-a-half weeks of pure, unadulterated pain” and installed new a timber roof, floors and a staircase.

But his hard work was almost ruined in the recent the high winds, when a window shutter blew out and rushed up the tower, almost taking the new roof with it.

With the main building work out of the way, Andrew is concentrating on the interior. He’s building the display cases for his ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, which he hopes, will encourage people to visit more than once.

He’s still looking for ‘interesting trinkets and curios’ to go in them. Already, Nigel Young at the AirFayre Lounge has loaned him one of his tubes full of old pipe stems and James Fletcher’s given him the old lifeboat station rocket launcher.

He’s also hoping to display the work of local artists in the tower.

Andrew says he’ll open as soon as the delicate and highly specialised camera obscura mechanism is ready.

There’s just one problem. The Lincoln-based expert who’s making it has recently undergone open-heart surgery which means he’ll be out of action for a short while.

But Andrew says he’s confident he’ll be open before the end of the season.

The downturn in tourism is a worry for any new attraction in Scilly, although Andrew feels the islands will bounce back in time.

And he believes the tower, which sits prominently on the skyline, will be a successful tourist attraction, although he has mixed feelings about opening.

He says it will be strange to have to share the building with other people after working for so long on his own up there.