"Edinburgh Airport Through Time" by Peter C. Brown is a pictorial history of an airport which, from humble military beginnings, is now handling nearly 10 million passengers each year. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable read for anyone with an interest in aviation or in Edinburgh (or, still better, in both). In the best traditions of Amberley's "Through Time" series, the books uses excellent photographs to illustrate the accompanying text. The usual format of the series, of contrasting old and new photographs of the same locations has not been followed. Instead, an approach has been adopted that suits the subject far better.
The book is divided into a series of chronological chapters. We start with "The Beginning", the establishment at Turnhouse Farm of a military airfield in 1916 to defend Edinburgh and the Forth Estuary against air raids following a Zeppelin attack on the city on 2 April 1916. We then move onto RAF Turnhouse's role during the Second World War, including the shooting down of the first enemy aircraft of the war on 16 October 1939. A fairly complex story of unit comings and goings is condensed into eight pages of text, but there is still room for some nice detail, like the RAF's displeasure about their airfield becoming clogged up by US military aircraft carrying airmen on rest and recreation in the city towards the end of the war. A sign of things to come, perhaps, if you think of these American visitors as Edinburgh's first airborne tourists.
Post war development at RAF Turnhouse, and later at Edinburgh Airport, is divided into four more chronological chapters. Throughout the book, each chapter begins with a text section running through the period covered, before moving on to a photographic section of a similar size illustrating the text. What is nice is the way developments like 24 hour operations and the discussions about the building of the second (now the main) runway are charted. Taken together, the outstanding collection of images in the book certainly set out the story of the development of the airport in a very immediate way, and they also serve to illustrate a slice of Scottish aviation history as a whole over the past century.