By the mid 1870’s Totland had developed from a small coastal fishing village into a thriving Victorian tourist destination.
Holiday makers came in paddle steamers to take the air and enjoy its sandy beaches and costal walks. Science was popular:
geology and nature (botany), sea-life, fern collecting, and the local evidence of Jurassic dinosaurs. During this same period
there was a widespread public enthusiasm for science lectures. Entertaining speakers, such as Michael Faraday and John Tyndall,
could be seen at the Royal Institute, London and in lecture halls and theatres around Britain. The idea of the science lecture
was a source of inspiration in the development of the Great Light and Dark Show. Light and dark has been a long-standing theme
of Totland: from the first Needles light placed on the furthest chalk stack in 1855 to the battery search lights that scanned
the air during the World War II to the digital monitors positioned along the coast to measure dark sky status. Most nights you
can look up and see the solar system, its planets and stars displayed in splendour above you. Developed by artist Julie Myers
with the local community, the Great Light and Dark Show is about how local history, science, changing environment,
and art resonate in Totland today.