Step inside the HES Archives and Library in Edinburgh and explore Scotland's past through over five million historic photographs, drawings and more.
Our extensive archive in Edinburgh spans a whole range of buildings, archaeological monuments and industrial and maritime sites, giving unparalleled insight into Scotland’s stories.
The archives – compiled and managed by HES – first began in 1908. Today, we hold more than five million items and continue to record all aspects of the historic environment.
What to see and do
- Discover information about Scotland's places through documents and books
- Browse architects’ drawings, historic photographs or excavation archives
- Trace our changing landscape through historic and modern maps and photographs
- Consult the National Collection of Aerial Photography - advance bookings are required
- Access online resources such as Canmore and Scran
Unable to visit in person?
If you are unable to visit us in person, our enquiries and digitisation services are available to help you access the collections.
Enquiries can be made by email, and staff will search the archives on your behalf. Please note staff cannot carry out research on your behalf.
Digitisation and licensing requests can be made by emailing email@example.com, or through Canmore.
Archives House project
This is an exciting project, which will see the HES archive move to a building in Bonnyrigg that is being converted into a world-class facility. A new reading room will also be created in Longmore House. Access to John Sinclair House will continue as normal.
Find out more about the project
The HES Archives holds photographs from our surveys of places in Scotland - like this building designed by famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, House for an Art Lover in Glasgow.
Discover Scotland's maritime history in the HES Archives. We care for photographs, detailed survey information and data relating to Scotland’s marine historic environment, including shipwrecks.
We record history as it's happening. All the photographs, survey information and research about Scotland's historic environment are held in the HES Archives.