RNW Smith photographic collection

Scope and Content

Over half the collection relates to steamers on the River Clyde. Most of the remainder are coastal passenger ships from other areas of Britain, although some are foreign and others are ocean liners. There are a small number of topographical postcards.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Norville Watson (Dick) Smith (1916-1999) was born in October 1916 at Lenzie, Lanarkshire. He studied at Glasgow Academy and the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. He was lecturer and senior lecturer in Logic at the University of St Andrews from 1949-1977. He had a lifelong interest in ships which was reinforced by his war service as an officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. In particular he was an expert on Clyde steamers and collected pictures of ships for many years.


Some of the images are preserved in albums. The albums were sorted into order and the contents listed sequentially. Boxes of loose images were roughly sorted into groups which reflected the subject matter of the albums and then listed sequentially.

Access Information

The photographic collections are currently the subject of a major digitisation project. It is the intention to have the entire archive captured in electronic form, and available (with sophisticated searching facilities) on line via the web. A full version of the software can be accessed in the Library and researchers are welcome to visit the library to use it but it is important that appointments are made in advance. Access to original photographic material may be restricted.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives HUB Project Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

Hand list / database listing in preparation.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies of images held in the photographic collection (with the exception of any photographs which are held either without copyright or under other restrictions imposed by the donor or photographer) can be ordered. Photographs thus provided for purely personal or research purposes are not subject to any fee beyond the photographic costs (for which a scale of charges is available). Prior written permission must be obtained before any further reproduction is undertaken of images supplied, for commercial or non-commercial purposes. Reproduction fees may be charged.

True photographic reprints of most images can be provided, or computer-generated prints of an increasing proportion of the collection at low, medium or high resolution. Given the fragility of the original material our preference is to provide computer prints where possible. We can also provide transparencies and a range of electronic formats.

Custodial History

The collection was gifted to the University in 2000 by Mrs Margaret Smith.



Related Material

The remainder of the letters and papers of RNW Smith relating to the history of Clyde shipping services from 1870 are held as GB 227 ms38512.


Obituary notice in Clyde Steamers, no. 36, Summer 2000

Geographical Names