Strangely beautiful, beautifully strange: Smugglers and monsters at Blackgang Chine

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I hadn’t been to Blackgang Chine for about 15 years, during which time they’ve added some new bits, some bits have fallen away and some bits just weren’t as I remembered them. What loomed large in my childhood memory was a huge walk-in whale model which I thought was several stories high, but of course is not. Sadly missed out on a picture of that this time. I also remembered a brilliant and scary smugglers cave which was in reality less vast and terrifying than I’d imagined.

But I was still entranced by the place, which was a big hit with the under-fives we brought too. I had a hunch it would make a great series of photos, but became so in love with the odd, spooky, decaying aesthetic qualities that I became more concerned with just documenting the place before it goes. Which it eventually will, given that the coastline slips away at an average rate of about 3.5m a year. It’s been there since the mid 19th Century though, so maybe it’s got a few years left.

I’m not sure when most of the models (fibreglass?) date to, I’d love to get a more detailed history of the place. Many are creepy, dubious, inaccurate or bizarre, both intentionally and unintentionally so. All still have a weird kind of beauty. If anyone knows more about the history of this curious place, please let me know.

By the way, The Isle of Wight seems to specialise in off kilter attractions, see also this earlier set from the very sadly defunct Brading Wax Museum.