The MacKinnon Collection | Can you help identify these images?

The National Galleries of Scotland and National Library of Scotland are in the process of cataloguing the 14,000-strong MacKinnon Collection of photographs. Jointly acquired by the organisations in 2018, the collection - also known as Scotland's Photos - provides a snapshot of life in Scotland between 1840 and 1940.

Unknown Man selling fruit and vegetables from a cart in a flooded street 1928

As we continue to open windows into the MacKinnon Collection, we are regularly posting images on this page and the Galleries' Facebook page in order to seek the public’s range of backgrounds and experiences to:

  • Identify unknown people and landmarks
  • Lend knowledge of historic industries, businesses, transport, costume, sport and more
  • Spot historic inaccuracies
  • Contribute relevant descriptive information.


Your diverse knowledge, expertise, insight and interest will help us document the MacKinnon Collection with the goal of providing greater access to this remarkable photographic resource. 


This week, we are sharing these wonderful images of Orkney for you to enjoy. We look forward to hearing your observations!

Unknown Bridge Street, Kirkwall early 20th century
Unknown Kirkwall Harbour early 20th century
George Washington Wilson St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall c 1860s-1880s
James Valentine Earl's Palace, Kirkwall c 1860s-1870s

Below are the images we have shared already, plus some of the information our visitors have been able to provide.

Photographer unknown Group with creels at Buckie Railway Station dated 1906; George Washington Wilson The First In and Buckie from the east c 1860s-1880s.


We were thrilled to share these images of Buckie, particularly those of the town's railway station, which closed in 1968.

The main image shows a group waiting on the station platform with creels. Professor Peter Reid of Robert Gordon University explained that they were likely to be travelling inland on the train to sell fish door to door. 

The other images, taken by George Washington Wilson, show views of the town that are little changed today. Professor Reid noted that the boats on the shore will be Zulus and Fifies. This could be ahead of the advent of the steam drifters in the 1900s, dating the image in the late 1880s.

Week one

We began this project in early May 2020 by sharing these three images. Almost immediately, visitors were able to identify the main photograph. It shows the path running between Crovie to Gardenstown, east of Banff.  We are updating the photograph's catalogue entry accordingly!

The MacKinnon Collection was acquired jointly with the National Library of Scotland with assistance from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Government and the Art Fund.