The Dalkeith Scientific Association was established in September 1835 at a time when there were great breakthroughs in science and mathematics.
Its primary object was to educate its members by ‘providing instructions in science by means of popular lectures’.
Its founders were wealthier members of the community, as is testified to by this somewhat elaborate minute book cover.
This minute book cover is black, the spine and corners are burgundy. In the centre of the cover is a burgundy rectangle with embossed gold decoration, and, also printed in gold, is text: ‘Minute Book of the Dalkeith Scientific Association’.
Although education had always been seen as an important part of life by the wealthy in society, during the 19th century this ethos began to filter through to the working classes.
The result was an explosion of reading clubs, libraries, mutual improvement associations, and general educational groups throughout Scotland.
Photo: Dalkeith History Society/Scran