Diary of Alexander Oswald Brodie, 1843-1844.

Scope and Content

Diary of Alexander Oswald Brodie, 1843-1844.

Frequent mention of Mr 'D S' [David Stevenson]. His journal, which starts on 16 October 1843, includes detailed descriptions of civil engineering projects, notes on the local geology [including notes of geological expeditions undertaken with Mr Rose of Edinburgh] and other engineering considerations. Also notes on the costs of various building materials, notes on various surveying instruments. Included are a wide variety of social observations, memoirs of meetings of learned societies in Edinburgh, in particular the Speculative Society, with notes for speeches to be given to the society and reminiscences of individuals, including an evening of table talk with Thomas de Quincy, together with a description of his wife and children, and a meeting with the family of Hugh Miller [geologist, author and journalist].

The places mentioned in his journal are: Tobermory [Mull] [with mention of the lighthouse yacht Francis], Dunstaffnage [Argyllshire], Queensferry [W Lothian], Grangemouth [Stirlingshire], Dunbar [E Lothian], Haddington [E Lothian] with observations on the obstruction by Mr Ainslie of Elvingstone [E Lothian] to the proposed railway from Edinburgh to Dunbar via Longmiddry [E Lothian], Cockenzie [E Lothian]. Fisherrow harbour [Midlothian], Skerryvore Lighthouse [Argyllshire], Isle of May, Lasswade [Midlothian], Pennicuick [Midlothian], the Crinan Canal, Inverness, Chanonry Point [Cromarty], Elgin, Lossiemouth harbour [Morayshire] with further notes by D Scott, town clerk of Elgin, Forres [Morayshire], Fort George [Morayshire], and Cromarty. Indexed.

Also journal of a summer tour via the Tay to Perth and The Hermitage [Perthshire], Taymouth [Kenmore] [Perthshire], Killin [Perthshire], Callander [Perthshire], Aberfoyle [Perthshire], Brig O'Turk [Perthshire], Loch Lomond [aboard the Waterwitch], returning to Edinburgh, via Doune [Perthshire]. Table of expenses incurred appended.

Between p.36 and p.37 notes and drawings of specifications for cast iron bridge at Howth on Dublin - Drogheda railway [Eire].

Between p.44 and p.45: Plan of the harbour of Cherbourg [France].

Between p.60 and p.61: Copy of a letter from Fitzroy Somerset to the mother of Brodie, advising her that her son is too old to procure a commission in the army.Horse Guards, 7 May 1844.

Between p.110 and p.111: Invitation from [Mr Morris ?] to become a surveyor in Ceylon [Sri Lanka] outlining likely conditions of service and remuneration. (3pp.) nd.

Between p.122 and p.123: Copy of the specification of John MacNeill for a bridge over the Howth Brook on the line of the Dublin - Drogheda Railway [Eire]. 21 December 1841.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Oswald Brodie was a pupil of Alan Stevenson (1807-1865), civil engineer and specialist in lighthouses, working at the time of the diary for the Northern Lighthouse Board.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 22 July 1944


Call number used to be ms139

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: quarter morocco with marbled boards. Eight tracings, numerous line illustrations.Paper: 20.1x32.5cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Bookplate of James Sinton, Eastfield, Musselburgh.