Saturday, 4 July 2009


Recently came a query about that whatsit with a pair of long tubes near the bottom right of the picture. Well Sir, it was a rifle range; you would shoot small darts down one end of a tube at a target fixed to the other end. That was a safer arrangement than having no tubes and possible fatalities in the donkey shed next door.

The picture was taken during the life of Queen’s Palace (the domed building in the distance on your left) so it would be from the 1902-1907 period. If you can see a small white tent behind the rifle range, that would be a ‘camera obscura’ in which the surrounding scenery was mirrored onto a screen.

Behind the ‘camera obscura’ a crowd has assembled to watch performers on the minstrel pitch opposite High Street. I’ve forgotten who gave this picture to me. Whoever you are, thanks! It’s packed with interest – note the absence of a sea wall.