Bristol

Bristol's Clifton Observatory and camera obscura for sale at £2m

The Observatory in Bristol
Image caption The observatory was originally built as a windmill for corn

A historic building which overlooks the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol is up for sale at £2m.

The Grade II-listed Clifton Observatory was built in the mid-18th Century and is currently on English Heritage's 2012 Buildings at Risk register.

Estate agents Burston Cook said the building has "full consent for a restaurant and cafe".

They said the current owners had restored and renovated the structure which also includes a camera obscura.

The 250-year-old structure on The Downs stands on one of the highest pieces of land in the city with views over the suspension bridge and Avon Gorge.

Snuff Mill

Chartered surveyor Julian Cook said: "It has only been sold twice since it was built so we feel really privileged to be actually charged with the sale of the building this time.

"We've sold some interesting buildings - hotels in Berlin, beaches in Antigua, the meeting house in Lewinsmead - but this is top of the list, it really is super."

Built in the 1760s as a windmill for corn, it was later known as The Snuff Mill when it was converted for the grinding of snuff.

After a fire in 1777 it became derelict for about 50 years until local artist William West took it on and used it as a studio.

In 1828, he converted the building into an observatory and installed a camera obscura which shows a 360-degree panoramic view of the area.

It also includes the entrance tunnel for a 200ft (70m) tunnel to St Vincent's Cave which opens onto a viewing platform in the side of the gorge.

A spokesman for Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society said: "It would be nice to see it restored and re-opened to the public, including the camera obscura and the cave."

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