Mary Rosse’s Darkroom Reconstruction by Sherwood Harrington on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Lady Mary Rosse, wife of the Third Earl of Rosse (who designed and built the giant “Leviathan of Parsonstown” telescope) was a multi-talented person. Among other pursuits, she became a pioneer in photography during the mid-1800s. She and her husband set up a photo/chemical laboratory, a darkroom, in one of the basement rooms of the castle in the 1840s, a room that was in use by the family until 1908. Between then and the 1980’s the room was essentially abandoned and forgotten (you can forget about rooms, I suppose, if your house has 88 of them.) When re-opened in 1983, it provided a time capsule of sorts to historians of technology, since all of the chemicals and other materials were in tact.

The room is now being reconstructed on the second floor of the Birr Castle Demesne Historic Science Centre, with an attempt to reproduce it as faithfully as possible with the exception of lighting (which needs to be enhanced so visitors can actually see the things in it.)

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