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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Foredown Tower Centenary Open Day

If you've been to the Sussex Downs, you may have seen the Foredown Tower Countryside Centre which is England's only water tower-based Camera Obscura. The water tower is 100 years old this year and on August 15th, 2009 it will be open free to the public to celebrate.

Camera Obscura are popular vistor attractions and redundant water towers are ideal for conversion into them. This is one idea BWTAS suggests to tower owners looking to repurpose theirs commercially. Many of our members consider Colchester's 'Jumbo' would be ideal for this but that's another story.

Hove Civic Society website informs us the tower was built in 1909 by J. Parsons & Sons with a 27,500 gallon tank made by Every’s of Lewes. The immense weight of the water and tank was supported by brick walls which are up to 33 inches thick in places. The original ballcock and water depth gauge have been preserved along with lots of the massive pipes that served the tower nearly one hundred years ago. After financial help from Brighton-based American Express and much deliberating, the tower opened in 1991 as the home of one of England’s few operational camera obscuras. Windows and a pitched roof were added above the tank to facilitate the camera which is built into a tower at the very top. It projects a television-like image onto a dish at floor level and can be pointed in any direction from the sea to Worthing to the Devil’s Dyke to Eastbourne.

1 comment:

Pie Master said...

An image of the water tower, before the roof and windows were added above the tank, can be found here: