Leith Walk forms a wide boulevard running from close to the E end of Edinburgh's Princes Street down to Leith. Providing a link between Edinburgh and its port, the street was built on the line of an embankment created in 1650 by General David Leslie (1601-82) as a defence against Oliver Cromwell's invading army. The buildings were mostly developed in the early 19th century, with Pilrig Street, approximately half-way down, representing the boundary between the City of Edinburgh and the old Burgh of Leith.
Today, Leith Walk is busy shopping street, with vernacular shops in contrast to Princes Street. It is also a popular residential street. At the top is the St. James Centre and hotel, just above the large roundabout at Picardy Place. Also close to the top is the Edinburgh's largest theatre, the Playhouse. Part way down is a prominent clock, mounted on a cast-iron pillar that was the work of the Shotts Iron Company. While at the bottom is a large statue of Queen Victoria (1907) and remnants of the old Leith Central Station.