View from the slopes of Calton Hill to

Calton Jail

View from the slopes of Calton Hill to

Calton Jail and Edinburgh Castle

View from the slopes of Calton Hill to Calton Jail and Edinburgh Castle - c.1880

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Jan Weijers, Netherlands

 

Enlarge this Photo

    View from the slopes of Calton Hill to Calton Jail and Edinburgh Castle - c.1880 ©

 

Calton Jail

Thank you to Jan Weijers for allowing me to reproduce this photo.

Jan wrote:

Photographer and Date?

"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, 2011

The View

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 other photographers.

The Date

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.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:   January 11, 2011

Reply

1.

Steve Chambers

Edinburgh

Thank you to Steve Chambers for posting a helpful message in the EdinPhoto guest book, about Jan Weijers' photograph of Calton  Jail.

Steve wrote:

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

"It 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 Edinburgh:

-  Bank of Scotland building in Bank Street has not yet had new North elevation added.  (This was added  1864-70.)

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 1859-64.)"

Conclusion

"Taken together, these might suggest a date of 1863-1873 for Jan's view, a view in the style of, and contemporary with Thomas Begbie."

Steve Chambers, Edinburgh:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book, January 12, 2011

 

Reply

2.

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Thank you to Bryan Gourlay for telling me about another photograph of Calton Jail.

Bryan wrote:

Photo

G W Wilson

"Here 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."

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  January 12, 2011

 

Reply

3.

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Thank you to Bryan Gourlay for writing again, on the same theme as above but this time illustrating it with an old map.

Bryan wrote:

Map

OS  1843/45

"This 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 13, 2011

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.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  January 15, 2011

 

Calton Jail

Around Edinburgh

 

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