Dr John Nicol wrote the following note
for the American Amateur Photographer in 1904: (I
have added the paragraph headings.)
"During the early sixties (I write too
far from home to look up the dates) my laboratory at 21 Dundas
Street, Edinburgh, was a kind of headquarters for those interested
in Photography, a class considerably different from the average
amateur of to-day; and there came together such landmarks,
if I may use the term, as Talbot, Brewster, Ponton, Horatio Ross,
Wilson, Walker, Davis, Tunny, Davidson, Bow, Piazzi Smyth,
Hallard, Marwick, Raven, &c. &c., all or most of them members of
the Photographic Society of Scotland.
"And it was in consequence of certain
features of that society that the still energetic Edinburgh
Photographic Society was formed. A number of members of the
older society were also members of the Royal Scottish Society of
Arts or other like societies and knew that the discussions that
generally followed papers that were read elicited more information
than was generally given in the paper itself, and as, for some
reason or other discussion rarely followed Papers read before the
old Society there was considerable dissatisfaction. ... ...
"The result was that at a meeting in a
room behind J T Taylor's little watchmakers' shop on the South
Bridge, Edinburgh Photographic Society was founded, the date being
20th February 1861. There were present about ten, what would
be here called "charter members", including Taylor, Burns, Slight,
Davies, Ramage, Muir, Valentine of Dundee, &c. of whom, so far as
I know only Slight and myself remain.
J D Marwick, then Edinburgh City Clerk
and now Sir James and late Glasgow City Clerk was the first
president, and the society started with a degree of energy that it
has never lost, having always been and still is, one of the most
energetic in Britain.
"The 'British Journal of Photography'
became the organ of the society for a time, indeed, said so on its
title-page and the members were supplied with it at a reduced
The journals came in a bundle to
Taylor who distributed it and collected the subscriptions as a
labour of love. Greenwood, its proprietor between whom
and myself there existed the warmest friendship for many
years ...came to Edinburgh once a quarter in connection with his
ordinary business. ... ...
His visits were looked forward to by
the leading members of the Society as they meant at least one
merry evening with mirth and wit and humour, he being full to
overflowing with all three. ... ...
A J Taylor (mentioned above) moved to London to become editor of The
British Journal of Photography.