Album of Victorian travel photography

By the mid 1800s, photography was bringing foreign destinations closer to home. Previously, if you wanted to know what far off lands looked like, you were reliant on descriptions or artistic interpretation. Photography provided an unprecedented ‘true’ picture of unknown places.

Street in Chester

The growth in photography allowed armchair travellers to obtain a record of the world beyond their experience. It also encouraged those fortunate enough to have the means to travel, to venture to new exotic destinations where they could collect photographic mementoes of their holidays.

By the late 1800s, several professional photographers employed teams armed with heavy cameras, equipment and glass plates who would travel across Britain, Europe and further afield to China, Japan and the USA photographing popular tourist attractions and daily life in these unfamilar locations. Some employed sales representatives who would visit stationers and newsagents shops persuading them to stock and sell their company’s souvenir views.

Naples

Our latest Capital Collections exhibition features an album containing examples of some touring photographers’ work. We don’t know who compiled this photograph album but most of the photographs have dates noted underneath as if to indicate when the locations were visited. The dates start at 23 August 1881 and finish at 12 July 1882.

The album features scenes from England, Wales and Scotland and also places in Europe such as Genoa, Nice and Pompeii. Some of the photographers can be identified by their stamp on the image, but many are unknown. There are photographs by Francis Frith, a pioneer travel photographer who set out to create accurate and unromantic photographs of as many cities, towns, and villages of the British Isles as possible and sell copies of the photographs to the public.

Fingal’s Cave

Another photographer who features in the album is James Valentine from Dundee who produced Scottish topographical views from the 1860s. He later became internationally famous as a producer of postcards. George Washington Wilson, who established himself as one of Scotland’s premier photographers, is also represented. By the time of his death in 1893, his firm was one of the largest publishers of photographic prints in the world.

Worshippers in the Temple of Isis, Pompei

You can view all of the fantastic photographs from this early travel photography album on Capital Collections.

The Teen Titles cycle never stops!

The minute we complete the final proof reads and edits of one issue of Teen Titles, we get right on to starting the process for the next issue, and the forthcoming issue number 73 is no different.

This July, we were delighted to visit the Publication Unit in their brand new home at Central Library on George IV Bridge where we found over 100 books representing the latest in Young Adult literature which had been kindly sent to us from a range of publishers across the UK and beyond.

TT blog
We quickly set to work weeding out books which we knew had been reviewed in issue 72, then we arranged the books by genre so that we could evenly distribute to the 8 sub editors of the Teen Titles Team.

That done, we fairly distributed the books to each team member, making sure that everyone had a range of genres and a similar number in their pile. Then, we take a note of what we are sending out to each person so that we can have an accurate record of what we have received.  Next steps are to parcel up the piles of books and mail them out to the team. This is what 106 titles look liked bagged up!

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The team gets 3 weeks to read their pile of books and prepare a short synopsis of the plot (no spoilers, obviously!) before distributing the books to the 2 or 3 schools in their sub group. It works like a no-strings attached pyramid scheme!

We all intentionally have a quick turnaround to make sure that students have at least 6 weeks to read their book and write their review… the next review deadline is the start of October. Yikes!

On top of this we organise approximately 3 interviews per issue. Interview opportunities present themselves at random times so we are regularly in touch with publicists and authors to make sure we get the best possible content!

Teen Titles is available in Edinburgh school and local libraries.

Teen Titles 71 cover

Teen Titles 71

To purchase your own subscription to Teen Titles, contact the Publication Unit  learning.publications@ea.edin.sch.uk.

 

Body and Soul Exhibition

Body and Soul: an exhibition opens on Thursday 2nd August in the Art and Design Library in Central Library. The exhibition runs until 31st August.

The show features sculptures and paintings by the artists Marcin Krupa and Laura Manescau.

 

Laura is inspired by her interest in human psychology. Her work aims to visualise unseen aspects of human nature such as thoughts, emotions and energy by translating them into depictions of nature, such as trees. Marcin is inspired by the beauty of the human body in all its variations of shape, size and colour. He expresses his support for the body positive movement in his artworks.

With “Body and Soul” Laura and Marcin celebrate love for the human body, inner harmony and mindfulness.

 

Listen to your book group!

Are you part of a book group or maybe thinking of starting one up? Why not try something different and listen to an audiobook this month instead of reading a printed book?

Our audiobook service RBdigital, has over 1000 multi-access titles meaning unlimited people can listen at the same time.

   

 

 

 

 

You’ll find it a great talking point, discussing the effect that the narrator has on your understanding and enjoyment of the story.

  

 

 

 

 

Browse through our Excel list of multi-access audiobooks today, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

George Fennel Robson’s Outlines of the Grampian Mountains

Another of Central Library’s Special Collections ‘hidden treasures’ is a large green volume containing 40  hand coloured engravings called Outlines of the Grampian Mountains published in 1819 by landscape painter and poet George Fennell Robson.

Loch Lomond

Fennell was born in Durham in 1788 and displayed an early enthusiasm for drawing, acquiring his artistic skills through practice and whatever instruction he could find. He moved to London in 1804 to pursue his career as an artist and made a meagre living selling his work from a carver and gilder’s shop in Holburn. With the profits from the publication of a print A View of Durham, he travelled to the Highlands of Scotland where he spent a year painting landscapes.

Ben Venue

The result of his year long trip is the volume we have in our collection . These were all engraved and painted with the artist’s romantic eye, so some of the views may be recognisable to you now, others not so much.

Shichallien [Schiehallion]

 Although some of the engravings have been painted in very dark colours, look closely and you can see soldiers in their bright red uniforms defending Stirling Castle, cattle grazing on the hills above Loch Katrine, herons on the side of Loch Tummel and even  a woman riding side saddle on a bridge over Loch Tay.

Ben-Na-Muich-Duidh [Ben Macdui]

You can view all the engravings from this amazing book in our Scenery of the Grampian Mountains exhibition on Capital Collections.

Join the Big Library Read!

Fancy injecting a bit of romance into your summer? Then join in with this year’s Big Library Read! It’s a romance with a twist – think Pride and Prejudice set in the American Wild West!

Cowboy Pride by Lacy Williams will be available on our OverDrive site from 9-23 July for any library member to download. Read it on your own; read it with your friends; or host your own Big Library Read book group (or perhaps a hoedown would be more appropriate!).

In this love story, hearts and emotions get tangled and first impressions count. Liza Bennett has two missions in life: keep the family’s shop afloat, and ensure her shy sister finds love. Sparks fly when she meets rancher Rob Darcy at a town dance, but when she overhears him insult her, she vows to put the man out of her mind. Rob Darcy is instantly attracted to the vivacious Liza, but a lack of social graces and the promise he’s keeping ruin his chances of winning her.

Readers can join an online discussion about the book at BigLibraryRead.com. Or if you are hosting a book group there’s a list of discussion topics available too.

If you are new to OverDrive there are full user instructions available to get you started so you too can join in with the Big Library Read.

History of the house: Nicolson Square and Marshall Street

Nicolson Square is one of a collection of small garden areas on the southside of the city including St Patrick Square Garden, Hill Square, and Deaconess Garden.

Nicolson Square was built on land owned by Lady Nicolson (Elizabeth Carnegie) around 1743 as a memorial to her husband Sir James Nicolson of Lasswade Bart. The area became a sought after location attracting notable residents. In 1784, Lady Sinclair of Stevenson moved in. David, Earl of Leven and Melville, Commissioner to the General Assembly was also a resident. The Orientalist and surgeon, John Borthwick lived at number 3 for a time.

The southwest corner is occupied by the Wesleyan Methodist Church which was built in 1814. It was designed by architect Thomas Brown to replace the first octagonal chapel in Scotland. It is Scotland’s only Grade A listed Methodist Church.

Nicolson Square, Methodist Chapel c1914

In the latter part of the 19th century numbers 1-11 and 43-45 Nicolson Square began to change as properties were subdivided into flats, shops and a school. This continued into the 20th century with many buildings losing former unique architectural features.

Marshall Street is the link from Nicolson Square to Potterrow and we have focused our research on number 16. We’ve looked at census reports, valuation rolls and the Edinburgh Post Office Directories to enable us to look closer at a few of the previous inhabitants.

Nicolson Square and Marshall Street by J. R. Hamilton, 1914

In 1881 we find several tradesmen living at the property including Duncan MacDonald (57), a tailor clothier from Aberdeen, James Hayes (39), a paper cutter and bookbinder born in Edinburgh and Peter Wood (25) a fruit warehouseman from Coldstream.

Rogerson family
There is also Charles Rogerson aged 32 and a plumber who was born in London. He’s living at the property with his wife Jane and two sons Charles (4) and William (3) and his retired and widowed father, William.

Jane died in 1882 and Charles remarried in 1883 to Catherine. His family continued to live at number 16 and in the 1891 census son Charles, now 15, is a confectioner and William (6), a scholar. In addition there are three stepdaughters Elizabeth A Porter (19) working as an envelope machinist, Barbara Porter (17), a box maker and Auqusias Porter (11), a scholar.

Somerville family
Also living at number 16 was Peter Somerville, aged 32 and working as a journeyman joiner, born in Auchterarder. (Ten years earlier he was living in Auchterarder in Perthshire with his parents who were cotton weavers.) By 1881, Peter was married to Helen (28) and they had three young children Helen (7), John (5) and William (1).

The Somerville family was still living at number 16 in 1891 and the census shows daughter Helen is now a dressmaker and both sons are employed as message boys. A niece, Kate Porteous aged 21 is also listed at the address at the time of census.

By 1901, the family had moved a few streets south to Buccleuch Terrace. Daughter Helen (listed as Nellie) is still a dressmaker but John is now a joiner like his father and William is a bricklayer.

World War One zeppelin raid
During World War One, on the night of 2 April 1916, tragedy struck Marshall Street. A German Zeppelin dropped a bomb which landed outside number 16 killing 6 people, 4 of whom lived at number 16.

After the 1916 Zeppelin Raid, Marshall Street, image from The Evening Dispatch

John and William Smith
John Smith was a tinsmith married to Helen Thomson. From the 1891 Census we learn that aged 16 he lived in Marshall Street and was an apprentice tinsmith. His father William aged 50, was a plumber. John had six sisters and two brothers. One sister was a dressmaker and another a shirt maker. One brother was also an apprentice tinsmith. The other children, even down to a 3 year old, are listed as scholars.

By the time of the 1901 census, his father William has moved to 4 Melville Terrace with his wife Margaret, four daughters and one son.

John, now 26 and a qualified Tinsmith, has moved to 26 Buccleuch Place with his wife Helen and their new baby William.

By the 1911 census, John and family are living at 15 West Cross Causeway and a Victor Macfarlane is a visitor on census night.

The family move again and the valuation roll of 1915 shows them at 16 Marshall Street.

Both John and and his son, William aged 15, were victims of the bomb.

Henry Rumble
Henry Rumble was born at Roslin in 1899 when his parents were living in married quarters at Glencorse. By the 1901 census, the family had moved to 51 Drummond Street in Edinburgh. His father Alfred (49) was a tramcar driver who was born in England. His mother Mary was born in Ireland, sister Sarah (15) in Glasgow, brother William (12) in England and sisters Alice (7) and Ida (4) at Roslin. Alfred died in 1908.

The 1911 census shows his mother Mary living very near to Marshall Street at 11 Lothian Street with three children. Henry, aged 12 is by this time an inmate of the St Joseph’s Industrial School for boys at Tranent where he would have received work training in addition to classroom tuition.

The 1915 Valuation Roll lists Mary Rumble, his mother at 16 Marshall Street. Henry who may have moved back to be with her, was another victim of the bomb blast.

David T Graham
David was born in 1865 at North Sunderland. His father Alexander was carrying on the family trade as a baker and he and his wife Sarah already had three sons and three daughters. David’s occupation by the time of the 1901 census is a grocer. At that time, he was living with his mother in Northumberland but little more is known of him. His mother died in the first quarter of 1916.

David died in the bomb but we do not know how he got caught up in the blast on Marshall street. His occupation on the death certificate, verified by his brother, is Chief Cinema Attendant.

Victor Macfarlane
Victor Macfarlane was born in 1892 and was married to Jean Boyd on 29 March 1913. They lived at 16 Marshall Street and both had jobs as waiters. (Victor also had a connection with the Smith family (see above) as he appears as a visitor to their house in the 1911 Census.)

Victor was killed by the zeppelin bomb on Marshall Street.

William Ewing
William was a master hairdresser and aged 23. His usual residence was in Kirkintilloch and he must have been on a visit to Edinburgh when he was caught in the bomb blast.

 

Have you ever thought about investigating the history of your home? Edinburgh Libraries has many online resources and physical collections to help you.

Get in touch via informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk if you want to find out how to get started.

Read other articles in this ‘History of the house’ series:
History of the house: King’s Wark
History of the house: Bowhead house