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Church of Scotland Slide and Visual Collection

Identifier: CSWC 47

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of: (1) Lantern slides and glass plate negatives of: China (Charles Somerville collection, Dugald Christie); Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria); India; and Jamaica. Most sets come with indexes and commentaries and date from late 19th century to early-mid twentieth century. (2) Slides (35 mm) of: Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan and Egypt); Far East (including Taiwan and Hong Kong); Holy Land; Middle East; India (including Western India, Assam, Rajasthan, South India, Nagpur and Seoni, North India and Bengal, and Sentalia); Pakistan; Bangladesh; Eastern Himalayas and Nepal; Wets Indies and Jamaica; and home organisation and general material. Some slides have commentaries or detailed indexes and all slides date from circa 1950s-1980s. (3) Display photographs of India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; Africa; and Church and mission in general. Many are captioned, they date from circa 1960s-1980s.


  • Creation: 19th century-20th century


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details.

Conditions Governing Use

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Biographical / Historical

The Foreign Mission Committee (later Overseas Council then Board of World Mission and Unity) of the Church of Scotland was responsible for the Church's mission work around the world. In 1824 the Church's General Assembly resolved to send its first missionary to India and appointed Alexander Duff who arrived in Bombay in 1830. Other missionaries were sent to Calcutta (1830), Poona (1834), and Madras (1837). The Disruption of 1843 which saw the separation of the Free Church of Scotland from the main Church caused the loss of most missionaries and the missionary spirit, as the work continued but under the umbrella of the Free Church. The United Presbyterian Church, formed in 1847, inherited some existing missionaries in the West Indies and in Calabar, Nigeria and by the 1870s was active in Jamaica, India, South Africa, Japan and Manchuria, China. The Church of Scotland resumed its missionary work in 1857 in the Punjab and in the 1870s established its first stations in Nyasaland (Malawi, 1876) and China (1878). In 1900 the Free Church joined with the United Presbyterians to form the United Free Church but remained separate from the Church of Scotland. Co-operation between the two Churches was secured in some areas, in India, for example, joint colleges were formed in Madras and Calcutta. However it was not until 1929 that the Free Church and the Church of Scotland joined as the Church of Scotland.


38 boxes (approx) (16 lantern slide boxes)


The material was deposited on several occasions. Some of the later deposits were in better order than the earlier ones. All material relating to a particular country has now been boxed together.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was presented to the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World by the Church of Scotland in the 1990s. Many of the slides duplicate ones sent to the National Library of Scotland.


None expected.

Related Materials

The archives of the foreign missions of the Church of Scotland are held by the National Library of Scotland, some of the material in that collection duplicates this material. The Centre has several other collections relating to the Church of Scotland's mission work.

Also within the ArchivesHub the Edinburgh University Library collection of Records of the Church of Scotland General Assembly may be of interest.


The administrative history was compiled using the National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts. Vol.6. Edinburgh: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1984.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379