The William Graham Collection

A collection of negatives and prints of photographs taken by William Graham.

About William Graham

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William Graham, photographer on the banks of the River Kelvin.

William Graham, born in 1845, lived most of his life in the Springburn area of Glasgow. He was employed as a printer with Bell and Bain. He went on to work for the North British Railway Company as an engine driver and locomotive fireman.

His life-long hobby was photography. In 1893, when he was suspended following a railway strike, he left his job as an engine driver and took up the full-time profession of photographer which he continued until his death in 1914. He was a freemason, a member of Lodge Athole, No. 413. He was known for his topographical knowledge of Glasgow and was an original member of the Old Glasgow Club.

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William Graham's studio in Vulcan Street Springburn. Dog in doorway. No date.

On 13th Feb 1909, the Weekly Herald reported, “Mr William Graham, photographer, 463 Springburn Road, Glasgow is well-known to many in the city, and will perhaps be better known a hundred years hence, when the folks of 2009 may be studying his curious collection of pictures of the Glasgow of today and of the past hundred years. His pictorial stories have been frequently called on to supply material for illustrated lectures, and they are always available for the newspaper press of the city.”

About the collection

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Bonanza Department Store, St. Enoch's Square, 1901

In 1916, negotiations were underway to purchase his collection of negatives and lantern slides for The Mitchell Library because of their Glasgow interest. However, Bailie Hutchison, Convenor of the Libraries Committee, decided to purchase the collection privately and presented it to The Mitchell Library as a memento of his three years’ service as Convenor. Some time later, the widow of William Graham handed over a number of prints that had been made from these negatives.

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People's Palace staff, photographed in the Winter Gardens. 1903

Finding aid

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Bobbin Winding. Young girl winding bobbins from hanks in an attic workshop in 8 Buchanan Street, 1909

William Graham Collection listing (PDF, 5.8 MB)

Further reading

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Photograph of William Graham. From William Young Scrapbook 25

William Graham, Glasgow Story

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