Comments by Dr John Nicol

in the American Amateur Photographer

on the Jubilee Number of The British Journal of Photography

The Founding

of the 'EPS'

Dr John Nicol wrote the following note for the American Amateur Photographer in 1904:  (I have added the paragraph headings.)

Edinburgh Photographers

"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 rate.

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.