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Leith Fort

Leith Fort
©2015 Gazetteer for Scotland

Leith Fort

Located on North Fort Street, in North Leith, are the remnants of Leith Fort. Built to defend the Port of Leith in 1779, the architect was James Craig (1744 - 95), better known for his planning of Edinburgh's New Town. In the early 19th Century the fort was enlarged to act as a prison for French captives from the Napoleonic Wars. Leith Fort was used as an army base until after the Second World War, but most of it was demolished in the 1950s. The entrance and boundary wall of the old fort remain extant, with the original guardhouse and adjutant's office beyond, which are built in the Roman Doric style.

Today, what remains of the fortification 'protects' Fort House, quite the most awful immense 20th-century public housing block, unimproved by CCTV cameras and lights on oversized poles and an electronic access system.

Small overhanging drainage spouts on Fort House, and a few cannons lying in the grounds, represent a vague attempt to create a sympathetic juxtaposition in what is otherwise the most horrendously out of place brick-built structure. In addition to its architectural inadequacies, the housing block suffers from vandalism and graffiti.

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