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F. M. Chrystal's Union Canal

F. M. Chrystal's Union Canal
F. M. Chrystal's Union Canal
Frances Maxwell Chrystal was born on 23 December 1882 at 5. Belgrade Crescent in Edinburgh. He was the second son of Professor of Mathematics at Edinburgh University, George Chrystal and his wife, Margaret.

He attended George Watson’s College and then studied Medicine at Edinburgh University graduating in 1912. He served in World War One as a surgeon and later practiced as a doctor in Edinburgh until he retired.

He was one of the founder members of The Old Edinburgh Club and contributed views of historic buildings and closes to the Club’s volumes. Although photography was not his profession he was noted as being an expert photographer.

He never married and died in Edinburgh on 11 May 1944 aged 62.

For many years, F. M. Chrystal resided at 187 Gilmore Place, very near where many of these photographs were taken along and around the banks of the Union Canal at Fountainbridge.

He has captured the atmosphere and every day activity of life around the Canal. By the time the photographs were taken the Union Canal had ceased to be the working canal it once was, although many factories and breweries were still located in the nearby areas of Fountainbridge and Slateford. Buildings and houses surrounding the Canal had fallen into disrepair and were starting to be demolished to make way for new streets.

Some of the images show the leisure side to the canal, where pleasure boat companies were starting to offer boat trips and rowing boat hire.