Edinburgh Sketches by Sir Daniel Wilson (1816-1892)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 83 separate original drawings and watercolour sketches of Edinburgh used in his Memorials of Edinburgh in the olden time published in 1848. The illustrations include buildings and streets in Edinburgh's old town as well as in the port of Leith, for example: the Council House of Mary of Lorraine when Queen Regent, Coal Hill, Leith; Roofs of houses, Grassmarket; John Knox's House; the Sanctuary, St. Anne's Yard, Holyrood; St. Giles'; a plan of old Edinburgh; and, many more.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Daniel Wilson, archaeologist and educational reformer, was born in Edinburgh on 5 January 1816. He was educated at Edinburgh's Royal High School and then at the University of Edinburgh. He followed a literary career first in London but returned to Edinburgh in 1842. He was interested in archaeological subjects and published Memorials of Edinburgh in the olden time (1848, and a revised edition 1891) which was in two volumes and illustrated with his own sketches. Next, he published Oliver Cromwell and the Protectorate (1848), then The archaeology and prehistoric annals of Scotland (1851). An appointment as Professor of History and English Literature at Toronto University followed in 1853. In Canada, Wilson devoted much time to the furtherance of education in the country, particularly to the maintenance of a national system of university education. The growth and prosperity of Toronto University is largely due to his efforts. Wilson was knighted in 1888 and he died in Toronto, Canada, on 6 August 1892.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details

Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H63; Another important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows at various shelfmarks references to letters of Wilson to a number of individuals.

Corporate Names