Glimpse Edinburgh's history from a different perspective

The capital’s history will be revealed from a whole new angle with an exhibition set to open in Edinburgh.

Historic Edinburgh from Above encapsulates the capital’s changing cityscape throughout the early 20th century with a series of stunning photographs.

Designed especially for display at the Museum of Edinburgh by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), the free-to-enter exhibition consists of aero-photographic images from the body’s archives and will open on 1st February.

Visitors to the museum will be able to zoom in on the dramatic shots, which capture some of the key industrial and social changes to have taken place in Edinburgh, and are accompanied by fascinating facts about the capital’s past.

Amongst the collection are an aerial shot of 1930s Leith, at the time a bustling centre for industry, an image portraying the construction of the iconic Jenners Furniture Depository from above and the west end of Princes Street in 1927, complete with horse-drawn vehicles and trams.

The exhibition, which will run until 26th April, is a local offshoot of RCAHM’s major UK-wide project Britain from Above, a partnership with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and English Heritage to present the Aerofilms collection of aerial photographs from 1919-1953. 

Last year, current-day Edinburgh was similarly caught from above when it played host to Britain from the Air, an outdoor street gallery of more than 100 aerial photographs of the British landscape, brought to the city by the Royal Geographical Society in collaboration with street gallery pioneers, Wecommunic8.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s rich heritage is part of its appeal and is appreciated by residents and visitors the world over, and this exhibition offers a new perspective on the city’s fascinating history.

“We are delighted with the gallery created for us by the Royal Commission, which showcases some of the amazing architecture, landscapes and thriving industry of our past. Historic Edinburgh from Above is a welcome addition to our busy calendar of sporting and cultural events marking the exciting year ahead.”

Lesley Ferguson, Head of Collections, RCAHMS said: “We are delighted to be exhibiting these wonderful images taken by Aerofilms in the Museum of Edinburgh. The ‘bird’s eye’ view provides a tantalising glimpse into this historic city and some of the changes that transformed Edinburgh in the twentieth century. 

“The exhibition represents just a small number of the photographs taken by Aerofilms and we hope that visitors will be inspired to discover more online at the project website”

Later this year, the Museum of Edinburgh will also host a Sporting Edinburgh exhibition to coincide with the Commonwealth Games and Scars on the City, commemorating the start of WW1.

For more information visit Edinburgh Museums and Galleries' website.

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