Anstruther House, Anstruther, Fife

Colour wash on paper, 1904
A Webster Walker
RCAHMS: National Art Survey of Scotland

The architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1834-1921) saw the recording of architectural heritage as a key to learning architecture. He set up the National Art Survey of Scotland which was to become, not just a means of learning architecture, but also a treasure of recorded architectural detail in Scotland. Each year, two of the most promising draughtsmen from amongst the pupils at the Edinburgh College of Applied Arts were appointed as bursars so they could make measured drawings from carefully selected examples of Scotland's historic architecture (two were required in order to use the tape measure).

This drawing of a house in Anstruther is just one of many detailed drawings contained in the National Art Survey collection, which provides us with an insight into historic buildings and their architectural details, some of which no longer survive.


Anstruther, Fife
Photograph printed from glass negative, c.1880s
Erskine Beveridge (1851-1920)
RCAHMS: Erskine Beveridge Collection

Fishing was once a major part of Scotland’s economy, reaching its peak around 1900. Numerous small ports lined the coast of the East Neuk of Fife, each a haven for its own small fishing fleet.  This photograph by Erskine Beveridge is one of many recording the busy harbours with their distinctive crow-stepped gables and pantiles.

Erskine Beveridge owned a Dunfermline-based company specialising in the production of fine table and bed linen. He had an active interest in history and archaeology and was also a prolific amateur photographer who took his camera on his travels. In the late 1880s, he spent several successive summers in the East Neuk of Fife taking more than 200 photographs of the fishing villages and historic buildings of the area.