View from the slopes of Calton Hill to
View from the slopes
of Calton Hill to
Reproduced with acknowledgement to Jan
Thank you to Jan Weijers for allowing me to
reproduce this photo.
"This is an old glass
photograph (positive/collodion) from Edinburgh. It's
the castle and the prison. An expert said
it was made by Thomas Begbie, but I'm not sure about that.
Perhaps you can identify
the photographer and the date?"
Jan Weijers, Netherlands: January 11,
Many old photos looked down on Calton
Jail from high on Calton Hill, but this one looks down from the
lower slopes, to the east of the summit.
It is the only photo that I have seen
showing the gates on the eastern side of the prison. This may well
be the sort of view that Begbie would have taken. In my experience, many
of his photos were taken from positions different from those chosen by
The bridge running through the centre of
this photo is the Old North Bridge, so the photo would have certainly been
taken pre-1900. There may well be other elements in the photo that
can be used to date it.
Reply for Jan
If you can suggest who the photographer
might have been and/or when this photo might have been taken, please email
me, then I'll pass on your message to Jan.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 11, 2011
Thank you to Steve Chambers for posting a
helpful message in the EdinPhoto guest book, about Jan Weijers' photograph
of Calton Jail.
Thomas Begbie View - 1863
"A view of Waverley Station, taken from Regent
Road, or perhaps Jacob's Ladder, appears in the book 'Thomas Begbie's
Edinburgh' (published 1992). It is dated 'around 1863'.
Comparison with Jan's View
is taken using a more telephoto lens than Jan's picture. The
differences between the two views seem to be that in
the one published in 'Thomas Begbie's
- Bank of Scotland building in Bank
Street has not yet had new North elevation added. (This was added
Old North Bridge has not yet been widened.
(It was widened in 1873.) In fact, some of the buildings at the
south end of the bridge were demolished between the two views.
I'm uncertain as to whether or not Cockburn
Street had been built when Jan's photo was taken. (It was built
"Taken together, these might suggest a date of
1863-1873 for Jan's view, a view in the style of, and contemporary with
Chambers, Edinburgh: Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book, January 12, 2011
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Thank you to Bryan Gourlay for telling me
about another photograph of Calton Jail.
is another photo of Calton Jail. This one is by George Washington
Wilson and was found on the
Cornell University web site.
It shows just how big the jail was."
Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland: January 12, 2011
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Thank you to Bryan Gourlay for writing
again, on the same theme as above but this time illustrating it with an
Ordnance Survey map, surveyed in 1852, on the National Library of
Scotland's web site shows just how massive the Calton Jail was. Itís
the only one that does so.
The jail was built in three sections, the
middle one know as the Bridewell. It looks as if the Governor probably
lived in some style."
Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland: January
Viewing the Map
Please click on the link above to see this
map. As with other maps on this NLS web site, you can hold down the
space bar then use the mouse to move around the map.
Stubbs, Edinburgh: January 15, 2011