Mini-break to Edinburgh

Over the school half term, we took a family trip up to visit relatives and had a quick trip over to Scotland in the middle. We dropped into Edinburgh Castle, The Camera Obscura and National Museum of Scotland. The castle is pretty well known so I’ll skip over that but to say that we did enjoy our trip there.

Camera Obscura

The Camera Obscura is right next door to the Castle and is perched on the top of an old townhouse. I’ve visited one before in Dumfries so knew a bit about this clever Victorian show. Maria Theresa Short setup this one in 1835, it is effectively a large camera with a movable periscope on the top. The audience stand or sit around a bowl-like screen and can see a live view of what is happening in the surrounding city.

Also housed with the camera is the World of Illusions packed over the 5 floors below the camera room. This contains a wide variety of amazing specticals from holograms and lenticular photos to plasma globes and nausia inducing tunnels.

For me some of the highlights were the automata from Keith Newstead Automata and the animations such as the praxinoscope.

National Museum of Scotland

Just next to South Bridge is a massive building housing the National Museum of Scotland. We spent a few hours here before heading back to the train station. There are lots of transport and industrial exhibits along with a great section of natural history items.

Whilst aadmiring a little model of a beam engine, my wife pointed out that there was a full sized version just behind.

Unlike the World 0f Illusions the high voltage generators were not turned on. Probably a good thing as this Cockcroft Walton Voltage Multiplier is designed to smash atoms.

There was also some excellent ironwork such as this 17th Century Gate from Perugia, Italy which was owned by Lord and Lady Carmichael.

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