About this site

Welcome to this digital version of the 1882 Gazetteer of Scotland. Please browse, study and enjoy this glimpse of Scotland 140 years ago.

In 1882 W & AK Johnston of Edinburgh published this gazetteer compiled by Rev John Wilson.  It is clear from the publisher’s preface, that John Wilson had compiled similar works before. This volume has 12391 entries detailing, in the publisher’s words, “every Town and Village in the Country“, and many rivers and mountains as well.

Compiling definitive data is challenging in the current day with word processors, spreadsheets and databases at hand, but so much more impressive in the late 19th Century, when the technology available was the pen and card file.

Happily things are easier in the 21st Century. The volume was scanned by the University of Toronto Library and the full text is available at the Internet Archive.  Many thanks to the librarians there for making this available, including re-scanning it when some of the pages from the original scan were not of sufficient quality.  Without this first and time consuming digitisation the further processing to create this digital version would not be possible.

A work in progress

At present you can browse by page or entry, and there is some minimal interlinking of ‘see’ links between entries.

Things on the roadmap:

  • basic search by place name (especially useful for alternative names) and content of entries
  • more interlinking of place names mentioned within entries
  • links to external resources (e.g. geonames)
  • extraction of semi-structured data, e.g. population figures

Hopefully these will not take another 10 years!

Do feel free to suggest things that would be useful or tell me about your use of this as it is.