EPS - Established 1861

Events in 1861

What happened in the early months of 1861?

- Jan 1861:   Lincoln was elected President in the United States

- Feb1861:   Edinburgh Photographic Society was established.

- Mar 1861:   Lincoln was inaugurated as President.

- Apr 1861:   The American Civil War began.

The meeting to formally establish EPS was held on 20 February 1861, in a room behind James T Taylor’s little watchmaker’s shop at 81 South Bridge.  

EPS Inaugural Meeting - 1861

James T Taylor had been a Member of PSS from 1858 to 1861.  He went on to become the first Secretary of EPS.  At the Meeting the first President of EPS, James D Marwick, was not available, so George H Slight took the Chair.  He said:

“The Photographic Society of Scotland already existed in Edinburgh, and had been holding annual exhibitions for several years, but there was room for another Society, which could be made more easily accessible to the amateur of moderate means, in which more freedom of discussion could be cultivated and, having more frequent meetings of an experimental character, would prove more useful to the young photographer.” 


It was agreed at the EPS Inaugural Meeting that:

1.   meetings should be held fortnightly throughout the year

2.   summer excursions should be planned

3.   if it were found possible from the state of the funds, a glass house should be procured in which Members might practice portraiture.”


The first two of these wishes were implemented during 1861:

1.   EPS met fortnightly.  Almost every other photographic society in Britain then met monthly.

2.   Photographic excursions were arranged, to Aberdour in Fife and to Roslin. They were successful.

The third wish took a little longer.  Funds appear not to have been sufficient to allow the purchase of a glass house for portraiture in the 1860s.  

3.   Instead of procuring a glass house in 1861, studios were constructed at 16 Royal Terrace in 1945 and at 68 Great King Street in 1955.