Following the completion of the reclassification project for the Scottish local collection, the IHR Library team have discovered some exciting volumes within the library’s holdings. Examples of some of these are detailed below.

The Book of DumbartonThe Book of Dumbartonshire: a history of the county, burghs, parishes, and lands, memoirs of families, and notices of industries carried on in the Lennox district.

This three volume work by Joseph Irving dates from 1879 and comprises a comprehensive history of the region, complemented by in-depth parish reports and intricate maps. The work encompasses genealogical history, ecclesiastical notes and architectural observations on the area. In addition, the volumes include multiple images and illustrations beautifully documenting the history of Dumbartonshire.

Caledonia: or, A historical and topographical account of North Britain, from the most ancient to the present times with a dictionary of places chorographical and philological. 


This eight volume work by George Chalmers includes maps of the country, a dictionary of places and also documents civil, agricultural, ecclesiastical, and trade history. The library’s copy of the work also contains a wonderful array of ephemeral sources including marginalia, newspaper cuttings and letters. Of particular interest, is a letter dating from June 1900 from Paisley-based publisher Alexander Gardner detailing the trials of attempting to publish for the first time an index volume to accompany the work and the time-scale of publication for the final volume.

List of the Deans of Guild of the city of Edinburgh from M.CCCC.III to M.DCCC.IC: with introductory remarks. 

deansDespite being just eighteen pages long, this work is nonetheless a valuable and rare holding in the library’s collections. Drawn up by Thomas George Stevenson in 1890, only fifty copies were printed for private circulation. The volume is an insight into the trading history of Edinburgh from 1403-1890. It includes an introduction to the origins of the word ‘Gild (with its varieties, Gield, Gilde, Gulde, Gyld)’, the origin of the gilde of the city of Edinburgh, a list of the ‘Denes of Gilde’ of the city of Edinburgh, and ‘a list of publications as to the guildry’. The library holds copy number one and the volume also bears an inscription from the compiler Thomas George Stevenson, who was then secretary to the Council of the Guildry of the City of Edinburgh, to the Right Honourable John Inglis Lord Justice General.

Map of the Environs of Edinburgh


This single map of Edinburgh published in Edinburgh and Glasgow by John Menzies & Co. was an intriguing find during the reclassification project. Whilst the map itself unfortunately bears no date, the work has been in the IHR Library collections since 1922 when it was gifted to the library as part of the Martin Conway bequests. Measuring 56cm x 44cm with a scale of 2 miles to an inch, the map encompasses not only Edinburgh but also as far as Peebles in the south, Fife in the north and Alloa in the west.








For more information on holdings, click on the additional illustrations and maps from the works detailed above.

For more information on the Library’s Scottish and Scottish local collections more generally, please refer to the Scottish History collection guide.

More information on the Martin Conway Bequest is available on the collections pages of the IHR website: