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Food and Drink in Edinburgh


Edinburgh has a rich history relating to food and drink from brewering and manufacturing industries to cafes, shops and restaurants. The RCAHMS Collection includes a wealth of material illustrating and recording this heritage. This gallery highlights a selection of images from the collections.

The collections includes historic photographs by photographers like Francis M Chrystal, Alexander Inglis, Francis Caird Inglis and B C Clayton as well as members of the Edinburgh Photographic Society and later the Scottish National Buildings Record showing lost bakeries, dairies, shops, pubs and cafes in the city centre like the Castle O' Clouts pub on St Leonard's Street, once one of Edinburgh's oldest pubs dating back to 1724 but now gone.

The many food and drink related industries in Edinburgh have also been documented in the photographs taken by Professor John Hume in the 1960s and 1970s and by Aerofilms. They include images of the many breweries in the Holyrood area and the mills in the Haymarket area. Records have also been created by RCAHMS and include modern surveys of pubs and restaurants as well as industries like the North British Distillery.

This gallery has been created to commemorate Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2015 and Doors Open Day in Edinburgh in September 2015.

All the collections can be consulted in our Search Room or via our online resources. We also maintain an active digitisation programme, with new images being added to the RCAHMS database Canmore every day.