Thomas Pringle


Thomas Pringle & Co

Alex W Pringle


Professional Photographer

Thomas Pringle


Thomas Pringle (1831-1894) was originally an engraver who took up photography soon after completing his apprenticeship.

He worked for Ross & Thomson for several years, and became partner in the firm. On the death of Mr Thomson, he worked for Ross & Pringle until that partnership was dissolved when James Ross retired in 1883. 

Working Alone

Thomas Pringle then carried on business by himself, and retired in 1886.  After seven years in retirement, he opened a new studio in 1893 under the name of Thomas Pringle & Co.  He died the following year.

The addresses of Ross & Pringle's studios were:

Ross & Pringle

114 George Street 


Ross & Pringle

103 Princes Street




The addresses given in the trade directories for Thomas Pringle are given below.  The first three of these addresses may well be home addresses rather than studio addresses.  [The Census data below adds weight to this suggestion.]

Thomas Pringle

10 Windmill Street


Thomas Pringle

27 Castle Terrace


Thomas Pringle

20 Howe Street


Thomas Pringle

95 Princes Street


Thomas Pringle & Co

_   Brandon Terrace




Professional Photographer

Alexander W Pringle

In the period between :

-  1886 (when Thomas Pringle was last recorded as a photographer at 95 Princes Street) and

- 1893 (when Thomas Pringle & Co appeared in one of the trade directories as photographers)

another photographer named Pringle appeared as a photographer in the Edinburgh trade directories. 

It was Alexander W Pringle. He joined Edinburgh Photographic Society in 1887-88, giving his address as Haxby Villa, Braid Road.

He appeared in the Edinburgh Trade Directories as a photographer for one year only, in 1888:

Alex W Pringle

_ Braid Road





Was Alex W Pringle related to Thomas Pringle?


Yes:  Alex W Pringle was the son of Thomas Pringle.

Many thanks to John J Hadden who has checked the IGI  and has confirmed that Alexander Williamson Pringle was born 27 June 1862 and that his parents were Thomas Pringle and Agnes Stobie.

(IGI = International Genealogical Index)




Vanessa Pringle

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Vanessa Pringle wrote:

Thomas Pringle

"Thomas Pringle was my great great  grandfather, so I was very interested to read about him on the EdinPhoto web site.

Can you direct me to any further information about him, or do you know where I might be able to get hold of a photograph of him?

Any information that you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated."

Vanessa Pringle,. Perth, Western Australia, Australia:  April 20, 2009

Reply to Vanessa

Hi Vanessa:

Thank you for your email. It's always good to hear from descendants of the early Edinburgh photographers, who now seem to be scattered around the world.

Unfortunately , I don't know of any photos of Thomas Pringle. Many of the early photographers seemed to spend most of their time taking photos, and finding any photos of them can be difficult.

I don't know of any records of Thomas Pringle and his life (though some may well exist). Most of what I have found about him has come from old copies of trade directories and contemporary photographic magazines, such as the British Journal of Photography (still available to be consulted at some of the major libraries). What I have discovered about him has already been added to the web site, so I don't have any other info to pass on to you. I hope you are able to discover more from elsewhere.

Peter Stubbs:  April 20, 2009




Robyn Bamber

Sydney, NS, Australia

Thank you to Robyn Bamber who wrote:

Thomas Pringle


Alexander  Pringle

Family History

"I am the great-great-grand niece of Thomas Pringle.  Thomas’ twin brother, Alexander, was my great-great-grandfather.

Alexander Pringle arrived in Melbourne, Australia, on board the ship “Oliver Lang” on 15 September, 1854.  All of Alex’s descendants remain in Australia and I live in Sydney."


"I was hoping that the EPS archives might hold some photos taken by Thomas Pringle, or perhaps photos of Thomas or Alexander Pringle that I might be able to see when I visit Edinburgh this year.  I have no photos of either Thomas or Alexander or any other members of that generation of the Pringle family"

Robyn Bamber, Sydney, NSW, Australia:  January 18+23, 2014

Photos previously held by EPS

Sorry Robyn, but Edinburgh Photographic Society does not have any archive of photos.  Many of the historic photos that it once held have been passed to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.  These included some valuable early images including many calotypes by Hill & Adamson (1843-47)

I cannot recall any by or of Thomas or Alexander Pringle, but you could try emailing the gallery before your visit here to see if they have anything relevant in their collection..

Reply to Robyn

Robyn tells me that she would like to get in touch with Vanessa Pringle who wrote Message 1 above, or other members of the Pringle family.   I've now found the email address that Vanessa wrote from in 2009 and have passed it to Robyn, so I hope that the email address is still in use and that Robyn will be able to  make contact with Vanessa.

If anybody else from the Pringle family reads this and would like to get in touch with Robyn, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on Robyn's email address to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  January 22+24, 2014


1871 Census

The 1871 Census records Thomas Pringle, living at 27 Castle Terrace.  He was described as:

 "photographer employing 4 men and 13(?) women".

[Iain Stewart]


1881 Census

The 1881 Census records Thomas Pringle, living at 20 Howe Street.   He was. described as:

Photo artist, aged 49

-  born in Leven, Fife

-  living with wife and seven children, all born in Edinburgh.

-  The children were

1.  John:  aged 25

2.  Agnes:  aged 15

3.  Mary R:  aged 13

4.  Ann W:  aged 11

5.  James R:  aged 10

6.  Thomas:  aged 8

7.  Ross:  aged 3

Note that the youngest child was named Ross Pringle.  At the time of his birth, Thomas Pringle would have been working for the partnership Ross & Pringle. 

Thomas Pringle died, aged 62, on 26 February 1894 in  Edinburgh.

He had been married to Agnes Stobie, then to Elizabeth Drummond.

His father's name was given as John Pringle,  Butcher

[Death Certificate]


Edinburgh Photographic Society

Thomas Pringle was Treasurer of EPS, 1872-76. 

He gave lecture to EPS: 


Exhibition of Grisdale Washing Machine [exhibited by Ross & Pringle]


A Method of Producing Transparencies  [illustrated]


Observations on the Outdoor Meetings and their Results

In the 1890 EPS Exhibition, he exhibited an early specimen of:

-  Voigtlander        "Baby Lens"

-  3 silver prints of "Greyfriars' Churchyard"

-  1 silver print of   "A Group of Distinguished Personages"


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