Dimbola Lodge is one of the hidden gems of the Isle of Wight. This enchanting Victorian period building is bursting with history and plays host to some exciting permanent and touring exhibitions from Lord Snowden, Koo Stark and Julia Margaret Cameron.
Julia was a pioneer in the early days of photography and quickly established herself as one of the best portrait photographers of the era. She photographed the cream of Victorian society and her former home is now a museum dedicated to her work.
Dimbolaâ€™s history began when Julia Margaret Cameron bought two adjacent cottages in Freshwater Bay from a local fisherman called Jacob Long in 1860. In order to make the house look more beautiful to her friends returning from the beach, they were linked by a central tower in the Gothic style current at the time. The structure dominates the skyline from Freshwater Bay and provides a focal point for the region.
Dimbola Lodge served as her home and her studio. It was here that the greatest of Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs were made. After the family left to return to Sri Lanka the building was split into to 2 and became a hotel with holiday apartments occupying the glorious faÃ§ade.
The Julia Margaret Cameron Trust acquired both properties in 1993 and it is now open to the public as a photographic museum and exhibition space.
In 2006, a statue tribute to Jimi Hendrix was erected here, looking out towards Afton Down, the site of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival when the largest and most famous of these early festivals; indeed it was said at the time to be one of the largest human gatherings in the world with over 600â€™000 turning up to hear Jimi, The Who and a whole host of other big names in the rock world at that time. The museum house some original posters and images from the Festival.
To find out more visit Dimbola's website.