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Photograph Albums


As part of RCAHMS collection of over 15 million items relating to the built heritage of Scotland, we hold over 500 photograph albums. These are an invaluable resource particularly for people interested in Scottish local and social history. The albums range in date from the 1850s to the present day and contain historic views of Scottish and international buildings and archaeological sites, amateur and professional photographs, holiday snapshots, family photographs, and some postcards.

With companies such as George Washington Wilson & Co, Valentines of Dundee and T&R Annan mass-producing their photographs for commercial sale, many Victorians compiled albums that included a mixture of landscape views purchased as mementos of travels, carte de visite portraits, and their own prints.

Many of the photographs were taken well over a hundred years ago and contain portraits, group shots and unique scenes. In some cases the photographs are annotated with the names of the people and places depicted, enhancing their value in terms of social history research. They record contemporary events and long-gone townscapes, they recall past ways of life and lost customs, and they show old-fashioned forms of transport such as carriages, trains, boats, and bicycles.

The albums have come to RCAHMS from a variety of sources including antiquarian book dealers, architects’ firms, family donations and as part of named collections deposited with RCAHMS through individuals and organisations.

Details of these photograph albums are available in the searchable Canmore database and a number of images from these albums have already been digitised and are available to view online. Browse and buy selected images below.