Vitruvius Scoticus – a Scottish classic from our special collections

We’re celebrating our architectural collections in VisitScotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

In the 1720s foremost Scottish architect of his time, William Adam (1689-1748) started planning his publication of Vitruvius Scoticus. He aimed to present a collection of architectural drawings illustrating examples of his own classical building style and that of his contemporaries.

Vitruvius Scoticus was started and named in response to the Scottish architect and architectural writer Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus published 1715-1725. Vitruvius Scoticus was finally published in 1812 by William Adam’s grandson William Adam of Blair Adam (1751-1839), and contains 160 plates, including 100 of Adam’s own designs.

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William Adam was the leading architect in Scotland, designing and building numerous country houses and public buildings during the early C18th.

Among his best known works are Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, and Duff House in Banff. His individual, exuberant style built on the Palladian style, but with Baroque details inspired by Vanbrugh and Continental architecture.

Vitruvius Scoticus continues to remain a reference for many an architect and architectural historian documenting the early development of a classical style in Scotland.

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To request to view Vitruvius Scoticus email or tel 0131 242 8040 – appointments only.

A facsimile copy of Vitruvius Scoticus is also available to consult in the Art & Design Library without an appointment.

For more information on William Adam search the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Myplace: Edinburgh Competition

There are still a few days left to enter the MyPlace: Edinburgh competition.  For inspiration here are some of the entries so far.

David Hume Tower in twilight

David Hume Tower in twilight

Union Canal Edinburgh

Steal Softly Thru Snow

Statue in Garden

Frozen in green

From Blackford Hill

From Blackford Hill

See all the entries in the MyPlace: Edinburgh scrapbook on Edinburgh Collected

Terms and Conditions

The photographs you add are your own work
2 Agree to Edinburgh Collected Terms and Conditions
3 Place or building must be within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary
4 Add the tag ‘competition16’  to your memory to enter the competition
5 Closing date for entries Sunday 10 July

There is still time to visit the Edinburgh Pavilion at the Pop-Up Cities Expo until 17thJuly to see some of the entries!  Follow us at #popupedin


Putting Edinburgh fiction on the map

0ef96b_f8066bbc8e654f43b201425532700a0eLesley Kelly’s brand new thriller ‘A fine house in Trinity‘ features cameos from not one, but TWO of Edinburgh’s libraries within its 288 pages.

McDonald Road and Leith Library both make an appearance, but to find out why and how, you’ll have to read the book for yourself!  Check it out in either hardcopy or ebook format.

‘A fine house in Trinity’ is the newest addition to our Edinburgh Reads Map of books set in our city. Take a look to find out which novels are set in your neighbourhood, and be sure to let us know of any we might have missed!

Myplace: Edinburgh a Competition for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

Myplace: Edinburgh is a competition to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Between 1 June – 10 July 2016 add a photograph of your favourite Edinburgh place (eg a building, location, open space…) to Edinburgh Collected  and tell us what makes it special to you.


1st , 2nd and 3rd prize winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.  Prizes are kindly donated by the Festival of Architecture 2016 and will be awarded to  1st prize (£200),  2nd prize (£100)  and  3rd prize (£50).

Inch houseCompetition entries will be added to Edinburgh Collected a community archive of Edinburgh memories and featured on the home page.

Terms and Conditions

The photographs you add are your own work
2 Agree to Edinburgh Collected Terms and Conditions
3 Place or building must be within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary
4 Add the tag ‘competition16’  to your memory to enter the competition

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Visit the Edinburgh Pavilion  at the Pop-Up Cities Expo at the Mound 20th June to the 17th July to see the entries!  Follow us at #popupedin


Edinburgh Collected makes the Digital Leaders shortlist

Users of an online history tool designed by the City of Edinburgh Council are being encouraged to vote it to the top of a list of digital leaders from the UK’s public, private and non-profit sectors.

Edinburgh Collected has been selected as one of the Digital Leaders 100, a group of projects, initiatives and organisations across ten categories, as nominated by the digital community.

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Following the public vote, finalists will be ordered by the number of votes received, with the overall winner plus the winner in each category awarded at a ceremony in June.

Digital Champion, Councillor Frank Ross, said: “We are extremely proud of Edinburgh Collected, which allows residents and visitors to Edinburgh to build an online repository of original and fascinating memories and images.

“I would urge anyone who has used or contributed to the platform to vote for it in the Digital Leaders 100 to help it achieve the recognition it deserves.”

Launched in 2015, Edinburgh Collected facilitates the online gathering and sharing of pictures and stories of Edinburgh past and present.

Images and information about the capital are crowd-sourced by enabling users to share their personal photos and memories on a dedicated website available to the general public. The open source platform can also be re-used by any organisation or individual to create their own local digital heritage.

Working in partnership with innovation charity Nesta, the City of Edinburgh Council’s ICT and Libraries divisions aimed to develop a product to build the city’s digital heritage.

Voting for the Digital Leaders 100 closes on Friday, 27 May. Find out more and vote for Edinburgh Collected on the website.

This post originally appeared on the City of Edinburgh Council News Blog

When Yehudi Menuhin played the Embassy Cinema, Pilton

2016 marks the centenary of the birth of one of the 20th century’s greatest violinists: Yehudi Menuhin.

Born 22 April 1916 in New York City, Menuhin was a child prodigy who quickly established an international reputation.

But among his lesser known performances was an appearance at the Embassy Cinema, Pilton in 1958.

Menuhin was in Edinburgh to perform works by Mendelsohn and Beethoven at the Usher Hall as part of that year’s Festival.

But the great violinist was keen “to get acquainted with people who really belong to Edinburgh and have no opportunity to get to concerts” so he booked the Embassy Cinema for a concert along with colleagues Louis Kentner and Gaspar Cassado.

Charging an entrance fee of just a shilling the trio were just hoping to recoup their costs, but as they reached Pilton they found streets lined with crowds (library members can see a photo of these crowds on the Scran web site).

The concert, played to a packed audience. received warm and responsive applause. As one Piltonian matron called out to Menuhin as he was leaving “You’ll aye be welcome here”

The concert’s success led to other artists following suit with the Embassy becoming a venue for many other performances over the next decade.

Among his many awards, Menuhin gained the Freedom of the City in Edinburgh in 1965.

His legacy continues through his International Music School, the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, and charity Live Music Now.

Find out more about Yehudi Menuhin in the Music Library, listen to his recordings on Naxos Music Library and browse our selection of books and recordings on and by Menuhin and some of his famous pupils.

Hit the Edinburgh Vintage Trail and win a 5-star experience!


The brand new Edinburgh Vintage Trail booklet was launched this afternoon at Central Library. Visit the accompanying exhibition at the library and you could win a luxurious afternoon tea for you and three friends!

The exhibition features many objects that will bring back memories for all you children of the 1970s, 1960s or earlier. And younger visitors will get the chance to see those things you’ve heard your granny talk about: radios, vinyl, clothes, household goods and an array of exciting collectibles.

Of course there is a huge range of books to look at and borrow covering iconic fashion, hits of the times and novels of the day.

To celebrate the launch of the 2016 edition of the Vintage Trail the luxurious 5-star G&V Royal Mile Hotel has donated a fantastic prize for our exhibition competition: afternoon tea for 4 people including a glass of champagne in the hotel’s iconic surroundings.

All you have to do is answer a simple question and then pop your entry in the box at Central Library Reception.  The competition closes on March 30th, 2016 and the winner will be notified by 8th April, 2016.


In the meantime remember to pick up your copy of the Edinburgh Vintage Trail booklet at your local library and explore vintage Edinburgh with its array of shops, markets, music venues and eating places.

Get inspired by the not so distant past!

left to right: Pedro Santiago Garcia Rubio (G&V Royal Mile), Lindsey Sibbald, models Annie Bell and Gilly Dennis, Bronwen Brown (Edinburgh Libraries) and Councillor Gavin Barrie

left to right: Pedro Santiago Garcia Rubio (G&V Royal Mile), Lindsey Sibbald (City Strategy and Economy, City of Edinburgh Council), models Annie Bell and Gilly Dennis, Bronwen Brown (Edinburgh Libraries) and Councillor Gavin Barrie (Convenor of the Economy Committee)