St Andrews by the sea

Wednesday 20 July 2005

An exhibition which focuses on the sea and coastline around St Andrews has opened at the University Library.

The exhibition entitled ‘St Andrews by the Sea’ provides an overview of St Andrews and its coastal environs and runs until 31 August. It showcases many items from the University Library’s Department of Special Collections, including postcards, images from the photographic archives, rare books and manuscripts, plus guidebooks, poems and many unusual items of interest.

The exhibition looks at the short and long term impact people have, or have had, on the area and vice versa. Those interested in natural history will be intrigued by aerial photographs showing the unique geology of the place.

There are also examples of stones found locally, some of which are fossilised. Flora and fauna are represented by exhibits of photographs of Professor William Carmichael McIntosh (1838-1931) and his 1907 Vacation Natural History class collecting specimens from the shore. His sister Roberta’s seaweed album and some of her artwork also feature, as do rare books on birds and plants.

Student activities are represented with songbooks, images of Pier Walks and the University Battery, circa 1900, plus an original 1882 Fife Muster Roll, and a model student.

Scattered throughout are various postcards from the Valentine archive. Examples of poems inspired by the area include several penned by ex St Andrews students, including anthropologist and author, Andrew Lang (1844- 1912). An illustrated version of his famous poem ‘St Andrews by the Northern Sea’, made by another ex- student also features.

Mid 19th century scientists at the University of St Andrews played a major part in the development of photography, largely as a result of Sir David Brewster’s interest in chemistry and optics and his close association with Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the Negative/Positive process. As a result, St Andrews has, over the years, steadily acquired a vast archive of photography, ranging from individual pieces to entire collections, and currently holds one of the largest and most important photographic archives in Scotland.

Many images from various collections have been digitised and can be viewed on the photographic section of the Department of Special Collections website.

‘St Andrews by the Sea’ runs at the University of St Andrews Library until 31st August. Opening hours are Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat-9am-1pm. This exhibition is open to the public and entry is free.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st- Ref: St Andrews by the Sea 210705.doc View the latest University press releases at

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