In 1844, when photography was an exciting new phenomenon, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson came down to York from their studio in Edinburgh to photograph delegates attending the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The conference was centred on the Yorkshire Museum and Museum Gardens, where Hill and Adamson set up their equipment against the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. The photographs they took are the earliest known to have been taken in York.

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of this event, the Yorkshire Philosophical Society [YPS] has joined with York Museums Trust and York Explore to stage an outdoor exhibition of twelve of the surviving portraits. They form a trail of large weather-proof copies around the gardens and by the lawn next to the library. The exhibition runs until 4 November.

They include nationally famous scientists, as well as people of importance to York and the YPS which hosted the 1844 meeting.

Bob Hale, YPS archivist and a member of the exhibition project team, will lead a guided walk adding further detail to the stories of those who were photographed – some colourful, some aristocratic, some of humble origins, who all accepted the chance to be recorded for posterity

Meet on 14 October at 2.30pm at the YPS (Yorkshire Philosophical Society) Lodge to the gardens on Museum Street.

Please wear suitable footwear for this outdoor event.

For a detailed overview of the exhibition and the research behind it, please visit the YPS’s dedicated webpage for it.

Tickets are £10 and can be bought at the YCT event webpage.

Henry Baines, superintendent of Museum Gardens


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