If you love photography, history, literature and style the former home of pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (JMC), in Freshwater is for you. ‘Dimbola’ was where Julia held a salon for all the famous names of her day, including Tennyson, Darwin, Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and even Alice herself (Alice Liddell), photographing them all.
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Photography was a messy and time consuming practice in the late 1800s and Julia had trouble finding subjects for her tableaux – once she locked a lady in the cupboard under the stairs until she agreed to sit for her!
Gifted her first camera by her daughter when she moved to Dimbola aged 48, Julia went on to become one of the few women making photographs in the late 19th century (1864–1875). Coating the glass plates with wet collodion, Julia developed them by hand in a glass ‘chicken house’ to the rear of Dimbola.
Just above the bay, with views to the famous ‘Stag’ and ‘Mermaid’ rocks, Dimbola has a permanent exhibition to JMC as well as an homage to the huge 1970 Pop Festival that attracted over 600,000 peace lovers to nearby Afton.
Visiting photographic exhibitions appear in the galleries upstairs and there is a room decorated as Julia’s bedroom, complete with the William Morris wallpaper that she liked. Cameras like those she would have used are to the rear of the room, along with descriptions of how the process was done.
Downstairs are a well-stocked gift shop and a photographic themed café with lunches, teas and yummy cake stand and there’s small tea garden and a second hand book shop.
Outside in the garden you must take a ‘selfie’ or photo with the statue of Jimi Hendrix – the famous musician played his last live performance at the 1970 Pop Festival before his death that September.
- open daily until 30 September and then every day except Monday from 1 October until 31 December with Christmas opening to be advised
- generally opens at 10:00 - please check the calendar on the left for specific days and times
- 30 minutes before closing time
- there is free parking available to visitors at the front of Dimbola. When full, there are two pay & display car parks in Freshwater Bay (3 minutes walk)
- accessible to the galleries, tea room and gift shop
- fitted stair lift to the upstairs galleries
- disabled toilet facilities
- assistance dogs are welcome
- children aged 4 and under are free of charge
- baby changing facilities available
Julia's Tea Room
- open from 10:00 to 30 minutes before the museum closes, serving high quality locally sourced food, tempting homemade cakes, delicious cream teas and traditional Sunday lunches
- stocked with quality gifts
We hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to tweet a pic
Dimbola Lodge Address: Terrace Lane, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, PO40 9QE