A.C. Lamb Dundee Collection

Scope and Content

Print material relating to social, civic, cultural and political life in the city of Dundee and its immediate surroundings, mainly dating from 1800 onwards. The most common formats are newsprint cuttings, small booklets, pamphlets, flyers and posters, and single-sheet publications. Particular focuses of the collection include:

• The Tay Bridge Disaster (December 1879): news cuttings, poems, and illustrations in response to the disaster.

• The Tay Whale (December 1884): news cuttings, poems, articles and booklets outlining the Tay Whale's presence in Dundee, and its death and dissection.

• The Mars Training Ship: annual reports, magazines, event programmes and daily schedules from the Mars Training Ship, a boys' school ship stationed in the Tay 1869-1929.

• Broadside song sheets sold by the Dundee Poet's Box, c. 1870-1940

• Print and manuscript works by Dundee poets, c. 1800-1900

• Ecclesiastical history of Dundee: sermons, prayer books, and records and information from churches in several Christian denominations.

• The Temperance movement in Dundee c. 1860-1900

• Civic history of Dundee: records relating to the Town Council, water provision, sanitiation, police forces etc, c. 1800-1900

• Philanthropic organisations in Dundee in the 19th century

• The history of Dundee Free Libraries and succeeding organisations, c.1860-present

• Posters for theatrical and musical performances in Dundee, c.1840-present

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Crawford Lamb (21/2/1843-29/4/1897) ran Lamb's Temperance Hotel in Reform Street, Dundee, a family business inherited from his father Thomas. From 1867 onwards, A.C. Lamb collected material relating to Dundee's culture, politics and history, partly inspired by the changes in Dundee's historic landscape brought on by various Improvement Acts. He had a particular interest in the works of local writers and Lamb's Temperance Hotel became a centre for the creative community.

Further to the local material which comprises the Dundee collection, Lamb also collected rare books (in particular Burns and Shakespeare) and coins, and a large number of paintings which are now part of Dundee's art collections at the McManus Museum & Gallery.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

The A.C. Lamb Dundee collection, at the time numbering c.450 boxes, was put up for auction following Lamb's death and bought by Edward Cox of Cardean in 1901, who donated the collection to Dundee Public Libraries. This donation was in line with wishes Lamb had previously expressed, although he died suddenly without having made a will. Since 1901 the collection has been in the care of Dundee libraries.

Other Finding Aids

An item- level card catalogue is available in Dundee Central Library.


The A.C. Lamb collection is still actively growing. Contemporary print material, in particular flyers, posters, leaflets, articles, and booklets relating to Dundee's cultural life are regularly added.