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Comments -1890s

EPS Popular Meetings

Musical Entertainment

In the 1890s, musical entertainment continued at many of the meetings, the Popular Meeting where EPS Members' slides were shown each year.  

At the First Popular Meeting of the 1890s,  45 lantern slides from 27 Members were shown.  Songs were sung during the evening and met with hearty applause. 

James Patrick

In 1893, James Patrick gave a lecture Round About the Farm, for which he provided the slides and Mrs Findlay provided the text.  

The following year, the same team delivered a lecture: Rambles through Fife with a Camera.  This lecture was illustrated with 120 slides.

It was interspersed with poetry, and songs illustrative of the Fife fishing industry were sung by Mr Patrick, Mrs Findlay and Miss Snailum.

1895 Concert

In Jan 1895 -  three years after the Society had acquired its own premises - a successful Musical and Dramatic Evening was arranged in Queen Street Hall, with a view to wiping off the Society’s debt.  The Council announced that a number of the best-known professional and amateur artists in the city had kindly agreed to give their services.

1899 Concert

In Mar 1899, a further Concert was held.  This time the purpose was to provide the nucleus of a fund for the acquisition of larger premises.  The performances were apparently a great success. There was a large audience, but the EPS Council would have preferred to see greater support from amongst the EPS membership.

Artists performing at the concert included violin, pianists, soprano, contralto, baritone, elocutionist and accompanists.


Until 1992, Members had been given free tickets for the Popular Meetings for use by themselves and friends.

But from Jan 1893, EPS Council decided that, if possible, these meetings should be self-supporting.  Members were to be given one free ticket with Transactions, and were told that further tickets could be obtained at 6d each or 3 for 1/- from the Secretary or from any of the photographic dealers in Edinburgh.

In 1896, The EPS Council confirmed that:

"it was not desirous of making any profit from Popular Evenings, merely that they pay their expenses and the price is calculated on this basis."  

By this time, the special offer of 3 tickets for 1/- had been discontinued.

Despite the charges, the Popular Lectures continued to fill Queen Street Hall.

Architecture and Geography

During the 1890s, some of the Popular Meetings were becoming more informative.

In 1890, Hippolyte J Blanc delivered a lecture: Abbeys and Cathedrals of Scotland.  This was described in the Transactions as:

"a  highly instructive lecture treating the buildings in approx chronological order and pointing out the features by which the dates could be identified."

In 1893, WW Robertson FSA Scot. of HM Board of Works gave a lecture on    Holyrood Abbey and Palace.

In 1896, JG Goodchild gave a lecture: The Scottish Coastline.  

"He showed a magnificent series of slides demonstrating the gradual wearing away of our rockbound coast by the action of the sea."

Halls for Popular Meetings

Almost all Popular Meetings from 1856 to 1901 have been held at Queen Street Hall, exceptions being:

-  The January 1897 Meeting was held at the Albert Hall Shandwick Place.  The Hall was:

"filled to overflowing by a highly interested and delighted crowd."  

It was  Prof. Robert Wallace, Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy at Edinburgh University, who gave the lecture on his return from a trip to South Africa:

"that now famous part of Her Majesty’s dominions."

-  The March 1898 Meeting was held at the Edinburgh Literary Institute, South Clerk Street


January 1896:  An extra feature was added to the end of the Popular Meeting  - the  projection of ten views,  illustrative of the “new photography” or  “shadowgraphs”.

This was provided by courtesy of Mr J Campbell Swinton of London, Mr Dawson Turner of Edinburgh and Messrs Walls & Fraser, 47 Lothian Street Edinburgh.  images were projected upon the screen, which seemed to be much appreciated by the audience.

February 1896:  This demonstration, last month, had been arranged at short notice, so could not be announced ahead of the meeting.  Some EPS Members grumbled that they had not attended the meeting, so had missed the showing.

So it was agreed that there would be a further showing of a number of slides illustrative of this new and wonderful branch of the “black art” at the February Popular Meeting.

 Mar 1896 At the March Popular Meeting, Mr H Snowdon Ward, the editor of The Photogram gave a short exposition of “Shadowgraphs” or what are known as the “X” rays.  

He and illustrated his remarks with diagrams, and with one or two interesting experiments with a vacuum tube.

The Cinematograph

In  March 1897, and again in Feb 1898, slides shown by EPS Members were grouped by subject, together with occasional showings of living pictures by means of the Cinematograph under the management of Mr Haddow.

It was reported that this was  "in order to relieve the tedium which a lantern display is apt to induce, however brilliant it may be." 

In 1898 Popular Meetings, the cinematograph  was more prominent, and showed animated views of, among others, the Queen Victoria's Great Diamond Jubilee Procession.


Popular Meeting Comments:   Intro        1860s       1870s       1880s       1890s       1900s

Popular Meeting Lists               1860s      1870s       1880s       1890s       1900s