About the Photopolis Project

Photopolis is a major photographic digitisation programme undertaken by Dundee City Council with funding from the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN). A selection of high-quality photographs from various collections in the Central Library and the City Archives have been digitised to a high resolution. This enables the Council to make large numbers of historical photographs available over the Internet in Community Libraries, the City Archives, and other venues. They are also available over the SCRAN Network for use by the education community.

The majority of photographs are the work of Alexander Wilson. Wilson was born in Duns, Berwickshire, and moved to Dundee in his twenties to become calender manager in the Baltic Street Calender of Baxter Brothers of Dundee. For over 30 years, he devoted his leisure time to photography. Many subjects were recorded over the years, but it is evident from the collection that his main interest was architecture. Alexander Wilson recorded the changing face of buildings in Dundee from the 1870s to 1905. It was fortunate that he was active at this time, since in the years that followed much redevelopment in Dundee resulted in elements of the City vanishing forever.

Before his death in 1922 he bequeathed the majority of his 5,000 glass negatives to the Free Library Committee of the Town Council, with the sum of £50 to assist with conservation.

The Collection is now stored in the Local History Centre of the Central Library. The slides have been catalogued and are preserved in archival boxes. Prints have been made of the glass negatives and can be viewed by the public.

Copies of any of the photographs in the bequest can be ordered online. Staff in the Local History Centre, Central Library will be able to provide a list of current charges.

These images were cropped and edited by David Stewart, a volunteer worker at Dundee Central Library.