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Erskine Beveridge

551 59

Description Erskine Beveridge

Date c. 1870 to 1919

Collection Erskine Beveridge

Catalogue Number 551 59

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Collection comprises glass plate negatives (mainly 5” x 7.5”) dating from c1870 to 1919. Many areas of Scotland are included but there are concentrations of photographs for the East Neuk of Fife, west Fife, North Uist, Coll, Tiree, Argyll and Lochaber.

Archive History The negatives were discovered in the early 1960s in one of the Erskine Beveridge mill buildings in Dunfermline being surveyed by Kitty Cruft from the Scottish National Buildings Record. The 1962 SNBR Annual Report reports the presentation of the negatives by the Erskine Beveridge Trustees. Postcard sized prints were made from the negatives, they were catalogued and added to the photograph boxes in the search room. Some 25 glass plate negatives of English sites were transferred to the National Monuments Record of England and are held in Swindon.

System of Arrangement All the images have been digitised and are accessible on-line. Copy photographs from the 1960s are available in the photograph boxes in the RCAHMS public search room, and are arranged geographically.

Related Material The following volumes are in the RCAHMS book collection - The Churchyard Memorials of Crail (1893); Coll and Tiree their prehistoric forts and ecclesiastical antiquities (1903) (gifted to RCAHMS by Beveridge); North Uist Its Archaeology and Topography (1911) (gifted to RCAHMS by Beveridge); The Burgh Records of Dunfermline 1488-1584 (1917); The ‘Abers’ and ‘Invers’ of Scotland (1923); Wanderings with a Camera (1922). RCAHMS communicated with Erskine Beveridge at the time of the Western Isles survey and references in a notebook of J G Callander mention waiting in a hotel in Lochmaddy for ‘Dr B’ to cross from Vallay. RCAHMS published some of Beveridge’s images in the Western Isles inventory. In addition, a small number of original prints seem to have been acquired by RCAHMS. Erskine Beveridge gifted a number of original historic photographs to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (MS/28/209) held in RCAHMS. In 2009, a wooden box containing 81 original glass plate negatives was gifted to RCAHMS by Mr Neil Maylan. The photographs are mainly of places in west Fife and date to the 1880s. Writing in the box lid is by Erskine Beveridge as are the annotations on the envelopes. Mr Maylan’s father worked in the Erskine Beveridge mill in Dunfermline and in the 1970s he rescued the box and contents from being destroyed. Accession number: 2008/201. The location of Beveridge’s landscape and foreign photographs is not known. Two notebooks that were lent to J G Callander following the death of Beveridge cannot be traced. Dunfermline Library holds a number of original notebooks by Erskine Beveridge covering his travels to Belgium in 1893; Coll and Tiree in 1896, 1897; Tiree and Glenelg in 1897, Colonsay and Oronsay in 1895, Lewis and Harris in 1900; and a yachting holiday on the Kelpie. In addition to these there are also his original notebooks relating to his Fife graveyard surveys.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted.

Administrative History Erskine Beveridge was born in Dunfermline in 1851, third child of Erskine Beveridge. He was educated in Dunfermline and at a school in England, and in 1867 matriculated in Arts at Edinburgh University. His father had built up a highly successful business in Dunfermline manufacturing linen which with two of his brothers he took over in 1874, and in 1887 assumed sole responsibility for the company. Beveridge held a number of positions within Dunfermline: as Local Councillor, Chairman of the Hospital Committee, Convener of the Baths Committee, Chairman of the Unionist Association, Justice of the Peace and Honorary Sheriff Substitute. The success of the company brought financial security which enabled Beveridge to indulge his interests of photography and history. The earliest photographs in the RCAHMS collection are from the early 1870s, and thereafter they appear to relate to travels in the summer months, usually holidays but sometimes business trips. In March 1885 Beveridge sailed to New York to visit his warehouses but he also travelled extensively in the US and Canada, going from New York; to St Louis, Missouri; Gunnison, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Boisé, Idaho; through Canada to Kamloops, New Westminster, Granville and Vancouver Island (all British Columbia); before returning to the USA and visiting California and San Francisco. His photographs from this excursion were published posthumously in Wanderings with a Camera in 1922. Beveridge contributed photographs to a volume on the history and antiquities of Culross and Tuliallan in 1885, by David Beveridge, his cousin, as well as to The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland by J Romilly Allen, 1903, and the RCAHMS Inventory of the Outer Hebrides, Skye and the Small Isles, 1928. In 1890 Beveridge was elected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and was Vice President between 1915 and 1918. As President of the Dunfermline Archaeological Society he contributed to the creation of the local museum and was there to welcome Andrew Carnegie at the official opening in 1897. He became a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of St Andrews in 1904. In the late 1880s, Beveridge spent several successive summers in the East Neuk of Fife, renting Kirkmay House, Crail. He developed a special interest in the historic burgh and undertook detailed research and photography of the graveyard and other antiquities in the burgh, publishing in 1893 The Churchyard Memorials of Crail. This was the only volume on graveyards that Beveridge produced, although he recorded inscriptions on early gravestones at Aberdour, Beath, Crombie, Culross Abbey, Culross West, Dalgety, Dunfermline Abbey, Elie, Inverkeithing, Rosyth and Saline between 1893 and 1896. A holiday on the islands of Coll and Tiree in 1896 provided the inspiration for research for the next few years. Beveridge traversed the islands exploring archaeological sites and ancient monuments, publishing Coll and Tiree their prehistoric forts and ecclesiastical antiquities in 1903. After visiting North Uist in 1897, Beveridge returned annually, purchasing the island of Vallay in 1901 and publishing North Uist Its Archaeology and Topography in 1911. As well as researching the archaeology and history of the island, Beveridge undertook a number of excavations which were published in articles by J Graham Callander in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1930 and 1931. Beveridge undertook extensive historical research into Dunfermline, accumulating a unique collection of books, pamphlets and drawings relating to the district which he generously gifted to the town. He published A Bibliography of Works Relating to Dunfermline and West of Fife in 1901 and The Burgh Records of Dunfermline 1488-1584 in 1917. He died on 10th August 1920 at St Leonard’s Hill, Dunfermline, aged 69, and was buried in Dunfermline Abbey Churchyard. The manuscripts of two unfinished works were published posthumously - The ‘Abers’ and ‘Invers’ of Scotland in 1923 and Fergusson’s Proverbs in 1924. Beveridge’s son John published a two-volume work of photographs Wanderings with a Camera in 1922.

Accruals No further accruals are expected

Accession Number 1962


Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 59) Erskine Beveridge

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1298163 Vallay at the Sea Pool - copy of original print annotated 'Bob and Jumbo'. 1919 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1298164 Vallay, North Uist. Erskine Beveridge, Meg Beveridge and Charles Beveridge having a picnic. 1919 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1298165 Unidentified tower house. 1919 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1298166 Copy of postcard of Vallay House, North Uist, published by Nimmo - Leith, Edinburgh. c. 1910 Item Level
All Other 551 59/1 <no title> Group Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1092509 Arran, Lochranza Castle. View from South. 15/4/1884 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 748658 Arnisdale. General view of the village. c. 1898 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 746281 Hay barn 15/9/1883 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 743238 General view. c. 1898 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 740707 Coll, Grishipoll. View of house. c. 1898 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 396571 View of East Shore harbour, Pittenweem, with fishing boats. 1889 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1573435 Pitreavie Castle. View of rear of castle prior to renovations and additions in 1885. Copy negative. c. 1884 Item Level
On-line Digital Images On-line Digital Images SC 1129268 View of Rosyth Castle on island. Original envelope annotated by Erskine Beveridge 'Rosyth Cas[tle]'. c. 1880 Item Level

People and Organisations