Close, No 28 Saltmarket

1868 in Saltmarket
Thomas Annan

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'Close, No.28 Saltmarket', 1868 A photograph of a close behind No. 28 Saltmarket in Glasgow, taken by Thomas Annan (1829-1887), in 1868
Science Museum Group Collection

A photograph entitled 'Close, No. 28 Saltmarket', taken by Thomas Annan in 1868. Two men stand and watch the photographer whilst children sit on the floor around them. Saltmarket Street crosses the High Street in the east end of Glasgow.

Thomas Annan (1829 - 1887) is best known for his photographs of Glasgow's slum housing. His striking and often moving images, produced between 1868 and 1871, were made at the request of the City of Glasgow Improvement Trust, who commissioned him to make a record of the housing conditions in the old town, prior to their demolition as part of an urban improvement scheme. The resulting images are some of the earliest examples of documentary photography.

Widely regarded as the first photographs of inner city slums, Annan's photographs were indicative of a growing public concern for the poor and dispossessed in society.

In this evocative image Annan demonstrates his skill with light and composition, balancing the scale of the foreboding tenement with groups of youthful inhabitants and other foreground details.


Object Number:
  • visual and verbal communication
National Media Museum, Bradford

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