Royal High School

S N P C

Scottish National Photography Centre

Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  23 September 2002  -  The Royal High School  -  Photographer at work following the SNPC Forum

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Please click here to read updates from October 2003.

 Background

Edinburgh has many collections of photographs.

Photographic exhibitions have been held at the National Portrait Gallery, the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal Museum of Scotland, the Photographic Exhibition Centre and elsewhere in the City

 Engraving in 'Modern Athens'  -  The Royal Institution (now the Royal Scottish Academy) as  seen from Princes Street

But, to date, Edinburgh has had no building dedicated to photography.

Rock House

A couple of years ago, Rock House, the studio used by the calotypists, Hill & Adamson from 1843 to 1847, and several other photographers in later years, was offered for sale.

  Rock House in the 1870s

Consideration was given to purchasing the building and converting it into a centre to be dedicated to photography for the Nation.  But it soon became apparent that the building was far to small and inconvenient to accommodate many visitors.

The Royal High School

Within a few months, a far more ambitious project arose.  It was the possible conversion of the Royal High School in Regent Road, beneath Calton Hill,  into a Scottish National Photography Centre. 

This building is a short distance to the east of Rock House, and was one of the buildings photographed by Robert Adamson in the 1840s.

 Engraving in "Old & New Edinburgh"  -  The Royal High School in Regent Road

This project has received widespread support in the press.  The project is  regarded by heritage groups and others as providing a very appropriate use for a building that has been hardly used since the Royal High School moved out to larger premises at Barnton in the western suburbs of Edinburgh in the 1960s.

In the late 1990s the Royal High School was considered as a possible home for the new Scottish Parliament;  but the Parliament chose instead to move to a purpose built home near Holyrood.

Feasibility Study

A company, SNPC Ltd has been established, and has been set up.  It has established an action committee under the chairmanship of Michael Shea, the Queen's former press secretary.

An anonymous donation has been received, and is to be used to fund a feasibility study.  SNPC has produced a brochure giving the latest news of the project [at Nov 2002] .

The committee is continuing to consult interested parties and to ensure that their project is inclusive, following the Public Meeting in November 2003 at which no aspects of photography were ruled out.

It is hoped that the centre will be able to house the National Portrait Gallery's collection of 27,000 images and other photographic collections, and that it will be able to attract visitors, hold exhibitions, carry out conservation and to provide facilities for researchers and working photographers.

Forum at the Royal High School

The Scottish National Photographic Centre Action Committee hosted an open day in the Royal High School on Saturday 23 December 02, to explain their proposals and demonstrate the facilities available at the site.  The day was well attended with over 100 delegates and messages of support from others.

Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  23 November 2002  -   The Royal High School  -  Gallery Looking south       Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  23 November 2002  -  The Royal High School  -  Gallery looking north

All buildings on the site could be made available for this project.  The cost of restoration might amount to 25m.

 Photograph by Peter Stubbs -  Edinburgh  -  23 November 2002  -  The Royal High School          Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  23 November 2002  -  The Royal High School  -  Tour of the Site        Photograph by Peter Stubbs  -  Edinburgh  -  23 November 2002  -  The Royal High School  -  Photographer at work following the SNPC Forum

 

 

Scottish National Photographic Center

Updates - from October 2003

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