I have been exploring the archives of the Glasgow School of Art. In doing so I have come across a  pioneer photographer.

Duncan Brown [1819-1897] was a pioneer amateur photographer. Between 1845 and 1862 he was employed as the Janitor at the Glasgow School of Art.Sometime in 1855 he visited the Wallace Oak at Elderslie and took this photograph. It is the only photograph of this tree.

The Wallace Oak was  reputed to have seeded around 1100 and by the late 13th-century grew on the estate of Scottish independence leader William Wallace’s father. Wallace is reputed to have hidden himself within the tree to escape from English soldiers.

This account of the tree was published in October 1826:

At the beginning of February 1856 a terrible storm hit Scotland and the Wallace Oak was uprooted:

In the days after, a 13 year old girl wrote this poem, which was published in the newspapers of the day:

An old inhabitant of Elderslie – who quite possibly out-survived the 13 year old poet –  recalled, in his last years of life, the uprooting of the Wallace Oak:

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