Successful First Season For Scilly’s Camera Obscura

Be Combes at the Buzza Tower

Be Combes at the Buzza Tower

Scilly’s new camera obscura has proved to be a great success in its first season and should “earn its keep.”

That’s the view of Be Combes who, along with husband Andrew, have transformed the derelict Buzza Tower into a popular tourist attraction.

Be says they’ve had a steady stream of visitors to the tower since it opened in June and she says they seem to be happy when they leave.

The tower can only accommodate a few people at a time, but on one afternoon they had a party of thirty arrive. Be says they all patiently waited their turn.

There have also been a few challenges, particularly when the weather is bad.

The camera obscura mechanism has to be raised and lowered to fit with planning regulations, but that means it isn’t waterproof, so can’t be operated in heavy rain, or when it’s very windy.

So Be says they’re looking at some alternative activities for bad weather next season, such as displaying some of the “more artistic” aerial photography and video of the islands.

She says their ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is also slowly building up, as more people offer them quirky objects linked to the islands.

Be says visitors like to hear about the interesting history of the tower, built in 1821 as a windmill. It was used as a lookout in World War 2 and is reputed to have come under fire from a German plane.

It was restored in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King Edward VII and Be says a photo of that would be “the icing on the cake.”