Council pulls plug on camera obscura

The camera obscura is situated in the cricket pavilion on Kirrie Hill

The camera obscura is situated in the cricket pavilion on Kirrie Hill

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A meeting is to be held between the National Trust for Scotland and Angus Council in an attempt to secure the future operation of the camera obscura on Kirrie Hill.

The attraction, gifted to the town by Sir J. M Barrie in 1930, has hit financial problems in recent years.

The council’s decision is a disappointing one but wholly understandable given the financial pressure they face.

A National Trust for Scotland spokesman

Now Angus Council has taken the decision to withdraw its funding which has resulted in its closure.

The camera obscura featured prominently last year when the Commonwealth Games baton arrived in town, with the torch-bearer making a detour to visit the optical device housed in the cricket pavilion.

However, budgetary pressures have forced the council to withdraw its £10,000-a-year subsidy and the camera obscura, one of only three in Scotland, will not open to the public for the 2015 season.

The National Trust for Scotland took over the management of the attraction on behalf of the council in 1999 and now the charity’s volunteers will continue to provide access for pre-arranged tours.

An NTS spokesman said: “We can confirm we have received notice from Angus Council that there is no available funding to meet the operational costs of the camera obscura in the financial year 2015/16. The National Trust for Scotland does not own the camera obscura, which is located within the council’s Barrie Pavilion. The Trust entered into a management agreement in 1999 with Angus Council and Kirriemuir Cricket Club to operate the attraction on the council’s behalf as a service to the area, on the basis that the running costs of £10,000 per annum would be met by the council.

“Although the termination of funding effectively brings this agreement to an end, we are going to honour commitments to arrange guided tours and visits for the time being and are seeking a meeting with council officials to determine what, if any, options may remain. The council’s decision is a disappointing one but wholly understandable given the financial pressure they face; but at the end of the day it is their decision about a facility for which they have ultimate responsibility.”