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EPS Popular Meetings

Comments -1880s

Wilson & Valentine

In the 1860s some views of Scotland by commercial photographer, George W Wilson, were shown at the Popular Meetings.

In the early 1880’s it was the turn of Messrs Valentine of Mr David McGibbon delivered a lecture on Scottish castles, illustrating his subject with a series of Valentine's transparencies,  views of Scotland. 

Later in the decade, GW Wilson & Son lent more transparencies to enable David McGibbon give a lecture on Scottish Castles

Members’ Transparencies

One meeting each year was devoted to showing slides by Edinburgh Photographic Society Members, by the oxyhydrogen light.  In the early 1880s, there were a little over 100 slides.  By 1888, the number had increased to almost 200:

"including a remarkable couple of slides of the late eclipse of the moon from negatives by Mr William Peck who promises at a future meeting to exhibit a set of 12 views of the progress of the eclipse."

The Audience

By the start of the 1880s, fourteen hundred tickets were being distributed to EPS Members for each Popular Meeting.  The average attendances was eight hundred to nine hundred.  A report of the 1884 Popular Meeting, showing of Members’ transparencies said:

The large audience liberally applauded when well known scenes or pleasing effects were represented, and it is gratifying to note that there was an entire absence of the interruptions by juveniles, which at one time were not uncommon during the prolonged dark séance.

At an earlier meeting there had been a report of pea shooters being used by juveniles in the gallery.


In 1882, Mr Chadwick of Manchester provided transparencies that were said to be coloured in a most delicate and careful manner.

In 1885, the Members’ transparencies included gelatino chloride transparencies by James McGhie and Mr Briglemen.

The Magic Lantern

1884:  Messrs JM Turnbull and J McKean manipulated the lantern.

1885: The lantern was splendidly managed by Messrs Turnbull & Dickson.

1888: Mr Turnbull presided at the oxyhydrogen lantern , and very materially contributed to the success of the evening.

1889: The proceedings were further slightly enlivened by a declaration of independence on the part of the lantern, largely due, however, to the inexperience of the Secretary, but with the exception that the slides were passed through somewhat too rapidly, nothing occurred to mar the success of a very enjoyable evening.

Andrew Pringle

Andrew Pringle  -  Amateur photographer

©  Reproduced by courtesy of Edinburgh Photographic Society

Andrew (or Andrie) Pringle, was born in 1850.  He was educated at Eton,, at Trinity College Cambridge, and at The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and  settled in Roxburghshire, apart from the times when he was travelling around the world with his camera.  

He featured in several of the EPS Popular Meetings, including one in  1884 on return from one of his trips around the world.

He was a well known amateur photographer and writer, contributing many articles to the British Journal of Photography.  This photograph was published in the British Journal of Photography in 1884.

1st Popular Meeting of 1886:

Andrew Pringle presented:

The Life, Land and Lyrics of Robert Burns

to an audience of about 900. This meeting, which lasted for two hours, was held on 26 January so as to coincide as closely as possible with the poet’s birthday.

At this meeting Mr Pringle sang, in admirable voice and feeling, seven or eight of Burns’ songs to the evident delight of all present.  The songs included:

There was a Lad

-  Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled”

-  A’ the airts the wind can blaw”

-  Willie brewed a peck o’ maut”

Mr W T Bashford read the major part of the lecture, in order to lighten Mr Pringle’s vocal task.  A choir under Mr J Dowie, also assisted in part singing, while Messrs Turnbull and Dickson managed the lantern

The meeting concluded with Mr Pringle reciting one of  Burns' humorous pieces, and singing Auld lang syne 

H Darling acted as accompanist for the evening and Mr J Dowie provided a choir.  Following the success of this meeting, musical entertainment became a regular feature.

More Musical Evenings

At the second Popular Meeting of 1886:

in front of a large audience, it was reported that:

"From a large number of Transparencies sent in for approbation, a suitable selection had been made for exhibition, and the quality of these was generally considered excellent.

During the course of the evening, a number of songs were sung by friends and members of the Society.  Mrs Spiers, Miss Musitano, Miss Grant and Mr Cooke each contributed to the entertainment and pleasure of the large audience.  Mr Drysdale and Mr A Watson accompanied, the former playing a pianoforte solo.

Those present, the exhibitors and the musical friends dispersed to the strains of the National Anthem"

3rd Popular Meeting of 1886

again in front of a large audience:

-  Mr & Mrs Robert Sinclair sang songs from Tennyson, etc.

-  Wm Dougal accompanied, and also gave a selection of Scotch airs.

-  Several encores were demanded

1st Popular Meeting of 1887

George JL Drysdale was the accompanist while Mr Pringle sang:

 -  The Troubadour

-  Jack o’ Hazeldean

 -  Bonnie Dundee

-  Hail to the Chief!

-  When the Kye comes Hame

-  Bonnie Prince Charlie

-  Auld Joe Nicolson’s Nannie

-  Lock the Door, Lauriston

2nd Popular Meeting of 1887

Miss Hamilton, Mr and Mrs Sinclair, and Mr Wright were the vocalists

Miss Shepherd was accompanist

ex-Baillie Powrie, of Leith, played in excellent style some Scotch airs upon the violin.

-  Several encores were called for and all the arrangements went smoothly.

1st Popular Meeting of 1888

Mr TW Wright sang with effect “The Yeoman’s Wedding”

Miss Breyen  sang two Norwegian songs which were highly appreciated:
“Satergjarnsten’s Sondag” and “Vassevanger”.

-  Mr Brucewitz sang two songs, the first of which was encored:
“Per Svinaherde”
and “Ich Hab’ihren Mamen Geschriben”

-   Ex-Baillie Pourie gave a violin solo on national airs. 

This was redemanded and responded to by other airs, ending up with reels and strathspeys, fairly bringing down the house.

-  Miss Darling gave in her usual effective style:
“The Beautiful” and “Sunshine and Rain”

-   Mrs Logan, the wife of the lecturer gave a
Chopin Pianoforte solo

-  Mrs W Dougal accompanied the singers throughout

2nd Popular Meeting of 1888

Mr Dougall played a selection of Scotch airs on the piano.

-  Miss Musitano, Miss Duncan, Mr Boyack and Mr Brucewitz sang 

1st Popular Meeting of 1889

McGlashan gave a short musical entertainment.  The singing was very well received by the audience, especially:

- "The Laird o’ Cockpen” by Miss Bessie Simpson

-  The duet “Maiden Fair” by Mrs Wilson and Mr Barr 

-  The song “O why left I my Hame?” by Mrs Wilson, which was enthusiastically  encored.

2nd Popular Meeting of 1889

The singers on this occasion were Miss Brown, Miss Carracher and Miss Pearson; Mr Barr, Mr Brown and Mr Meldrum.

-  McGlashan gave a short musical entertainment.


Popular Meeting Comments:   Intro        1860s       1870s       1880s       1890s       1900s

Popular Meeting Lists               1860s      1870s       1880s       1890s       1900s