Referendum Relief

Scotland decides on 18 September whether or not to be independent or remain within the United Kingdom.

The Camera Obscura has seen many changes. When the building was first constructed, Scotland was a separate country, but shared a King with the rest of the island, Charles II.  When the Camera itself was installed, Scotland formed part of the United Kingdom.  Since then it has seen the rise and fall of the British Empire, two world wars and the industrial revolution and technical age develop.  And we have stayed open throughout.


Whatever the result on 18 September, we will continue to bring world-class illusions and Victorian technology at its finest.  We are even open on polling day for people who wish to escape the canvassing and campaigning.  Schools close at 3.15 p.m., we close at 7 p.m., polls close at 10 p.m.  So if you want to escape with the kids, or find somewhere to take your mind off the vote, then come on in.

But, while as a world of illusions we can change perceptions, please note that we cannot change the vote, the results, or people’s decisions.  Therefore here is our handy guide on what our exhibits can and cannot do on 18 September.

Our twins exhibit can make two of you, but this will not give you two votes.


Our severed head exhibit will not actually decapitate your opponents.


The Ames room will grow and shrink you, but not the vote percentage.


You may get lost in the mirror maze, but please do not put it in front of any polling station to confuse voters.


Our shadow wall allows you to leave an imprint of your shadow, but it will not make your political opponents a shadow of their former selves.


Our giant pinhole camera may flip you upside down, but it will not turn arguments on their head.


So there is a long list of thing that we cannot do for the election, but we do have some election treats.

With our viewcams you can see the last-minute campaigning on the Royal Mile, or even zoom onto Calton Hill where the BBC are set up to cover the election.


Use our magic floor to create fireworks over the Castle if you get the result you want.  If the vote goes the other way, use the fireworks to cheer yourself up because everyone loves fireworks.


So on Thursday 18 September, come and escape the politicians, polls and politics with family and friends of both the yes and no persuasion, and enjoy a fun visit on neutral territory.

Whatever happens, in 161 years’ time, we will still be here.

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