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Leith

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Leith (anc. Let or Inverlet), the sixth largest town in Scotland, a seaport, a police and parliamentary burgh, and seat of manufactures, is situated in Edinburghshire, and stands on the Water of Leith at the point where it falls into the Firth of Forth. Between Leith-which lies 1½ mile N from the centre of Edinburgh, of which it is the port-and the capital communication is maintained by means of a double line of tramways, which traverses the long main thoroughfare called Leith Walk-partly in Leith and partly in Edinburgh-and by two lines of railways, the North British and the Caledonian. The former of these, 3¼ miles long, approaches the town from the E; while the latter, 5½ miles long, opened in 1879, approaches it from the W. A railway line, 27/8 miles long, connects South Leith with Portobello. These lines furnish easy communication with all parts of the country, and secure the speedy transmission of goods landed at the port. At the foot of Leith. Walk the tramway lines diverge in three directions. One line strikes off E, goes along Duke Street, and has its terminus at Seafield; another line goes by Constitution Street to Bernard Street; and the third goes to Newhaven by Great Junction Street and Ferry Road. A short line joins Commercial Street (North Leith) with Ferry Road. An omnibus runs between Leith and Granton. The Water of Leith, a small, sluggish stream, polluted with sewage and the discharge from factories, divides the town into two parts, called North Leith and South Leith, though they might more strictly be called West Leith and East Leith. The situation of Leith has been very much against it owing to its extreme flatness, which has made its drainage a difficult problem, and has retarded its growth as a port. In spite of its disadvantages the town has had, on the whole, and especially of late years, a prosperous career. Its appearance has recently undergone great change, owing to the improvement schemes that have been carried out. Although these have swept away many buildings of historical and antiquarian interest, still their removal has been more than made up for by the improved appearance of the town. New, well-built thoroughfares, straight and broad, have replaced closes and alleys and crooked, ill-paved streets; and the health of the town, as a consequence, has become markedly better, so that Leith appears to be, according to the Registrar-General's report, one of the healthiest towns in Scotland.

The usual approach to Leith from Edinburgh is by the broad street called Leith Walk, part of which belongs to the seaport and part to the capital, the division being where Pilrig Street strikes off it. Leith Walk, or Leith Loan, owed its origin to Sir Alexander Leslie, commander of the Scottish forces in 1650, when Cromwell led his army into Scotland. To protect his troops, Leslie threw up a strong breastwork of earth, and this in later days became the chief line of communication between Edinburgh and Leith, as the Long Walls between Athens and Piræus. Public conveyances ran between Edinburgh and its seaport as early as 1678. At the beginning of this century it was usual to spend 1½ hours on the journey from the High Street of Edinburgh to the Shore, Leith, a distance which a tramwaycar easily traverses in 20 minutes. Many interesting recollections have gathered about the 'Walk.' At Shrubhill, where the extensive stabling of the tramway company now is, once stood a gibbet, upon which not uncommonly there might be seen the body of some criminal hanging in chains. Leith Walk was frequented for many years by second-hand bookstalls, and 'shows,' and shooting-alleys, but these have now all but disappeared, owing to the rapid spread of new buildings. Besides these, on either side, stretched open spaces, used as nursery and market-gardens, and they also are all but covered over with blocks of houses. At the point where Leith Walk ends, four streets, Great Junction Street on the W, Constitution Street and Duke Street on the E, and Kirkgate in the centre, traverse the greater part of South Leith. Great Junction Street and Constitution Street, along with Bernard Street and the Water of Leith, form the boundaries of that part of the town which chiefly deserves the name of ' Old Leith.' It consists of a net-work of alleys, lanes, courts, and closes, with some narrow streets, and the Kirkgate and the Shore for its principal thoroughfares. The Kirkgate-367 yards long and 17 yards broad-is one of the oldest streets of Leith, and still contains some ancient houses. Three streets strike off it-viz., St Giles Street, St Andrews Street, and the Tolbooth Wynd. This last, 183 yards long, gives access to the Shore, and is next to the Kirkgate in point of age, and at one time was only second to it in importance. All the traffic to and from the harbour passed along it, and although that must have been small in comparison with the traffic of to-day, still it must have been quite enough to tax its narrow breadth. The Shore stretches S from the foot of Tolbooth Wynd along the right bank of the Water of Leith, and presents a single line of houses, some of which bear the marks of a considerable age. It is by far the most picturesque of the streets of Leith, and indeed, but for the familiar names upon the shops and warehouses, might well be mistaken for the quay-side street of some old French town. The Shore is continued in a westerly direction by the Coalhill, Sheriff Brae, Mill Lane, all of which have the same characteristics as the other streets of the Old Town-narrowness, dirtiness, dinginess. Of the streets mentioned above as forming the boundaries of this district. Constitution Street, 838 yards long, dates from the early part of the 19th century, runs parallel with the Kirkgate, but stretches farther eastward. Great Junction Street, 667 yards in length, is broad enough to allow of the immense traffic that passes along it going on without interruption. Striking off at the foot of Leith Walk, it extends NW to the Water of Leith, which it crosses by a bridge, and enters North Leith under the name of North Junction Street. The construction of Constitution Street and Great Junction Street must have tended in no slight degree to relieve the pressure of traffic once wont to pass over the Kirkgate and Tolbooth Wynd. Bernard Street, the third of the modern streets mentioned above, is like the other two, spacious and handsome. It contains some fine buildings, and in it is the terminus of one of the tramway lines. Between South Leith and North Leith there is communication by means of seven bridges, three of which cross the Water of Leith at the foot of Junction Road, Tolbooth Wynd, and Bernard Street. That at the foot of Tolbooth Wynd had a predecessor, which was built by Robert Ballantyne, abbot of Holyrood, in 1493. It consisted of 'three stonern arches, ' and its substantial nature is proved by the time it lasted. Some portions of the piers still remain. The bridge which crosses at Bernard Street leads directly into Commercial Street, part of which was built on land reclaimed from the sea. Near it are the Wet and Victoria docks, and in it is the Leith terminus of the North British railway, and a short way beyond it that of the Caledonian railway, in Lindsay Road. Commercial Street, the main thoroughfare of North Leith, is a very busy street, owing to its proximity to the docks. Of the other streets of North Leith, some are creditably built, as North Junction Street, North Fort Street, Albany Street, Lindsay Place; but the majority do not rise above the level of the ordinary seaport street. Some of them are able to show here and there a house of earlier date than any of those around it, but none of its streets have the same ancient characteristics that distinguish many of the streets of South Leith. Perhaps this may be so far explained by the fact that the harbour made the latter, and the docks the former- and the harbour is the older of the two. The Links of North Leith no longer exist, but those of South Leith still furnish an open space, deservedly valued by the townspeople.

An improvement scheme, first planned in 1877, may be fitly mentioned here. Although it has had several predecessors, one of which was devised as far back as 1818, yet, on account of its magnitude and thoroughness, the scheme of 1877 deserves special notice. By it, the part of the town to be improved, which is generally speaking that described above as ` Old Leith,' was divided into five districts, to be taken up in succession. The Leith Improvement Scheme Confirmation Act, 1880, provides chiefly for the construction of a new street to begin at the Leith Walk end of Great Junction Street, cut at right angles Yardheads, Giles Street, St Andrew Street, and end at Tolbooth Wynd. The construction of this street will require the removal of many closes, lanes, courts, and will therefore materially assist to open up the part of the town through which it is intended to pass. In 1883 work was begun on the first portion, between Great Junction Street and Yardheads, which required the removal of 81 dwelling-houses, with 405 inhabitants. Before the scheme is fully carried out, nearly 700 houses, which had, in March 1883, 2150 inhabitants, though able to contain a very much larger population, will have to be taken down. The parliamentary estimate for the scheme was £98, 000. It was calculated that £46, 000 would be made from the sale of feus, etc., which would leave a sum of £52, 000 to be found by the ratepayers. In 1881 the Public Works Loan Commissioners lent £70, 000 to carry out the scheme, a sum which, though large in itself, fell short by £28, 000 of the amount required. It is reckoned that an assessment of threepence per £ will be needed to cover the ratepayers' share of the expense, though it was estimated at first that an assessment of twopence per £ for 30 years would be sufficient. When this scheme has been carried out it will have removed many of the always decreasing number of the antiquities of Leith. The local authority, however, has very wisely and properly made it a condition with those engaged in the work that all sculptured stones, etc., found while the houses are being taken down, shall be handed over to the town for preservation.

The public buildings of Leith are such as one would expect to find in a busy seaport town. Many of them are very fine, and all are more or less connected with the trade and commerce of the town and port. The Exchange Buildings stand at the Bernard Street end of Constitution Street, were erected at a cost of £16,000, and contain an assembly room and a large public newsroom. Assemblies, however, are of rare occurrence now at Leith. This building presents a long facade, three stories high, with an Ionic portico of four pillars in the centre. The Corn Exchange, in Baltic Street, was built in 1860-62 at a cost of £7000. It is in the Roman style of architecture, and has a corn-hall 110 feet long by 70 feet broad and an octagonal tower. The Court House or Town Hall, situated at the point where Constitution Street cuts Charlotte Street, cost £3300, and was erected in 1827. From its position it faces both streets. On the Constitution Street side it is adorned with an Ionic front, and on the Charlotte Street side with a Doric porch. Both as regards size and finish, the Court House is finer than its small cost would lead one to suppose. There is accommodation in it for the sheriff court, the police court, and the police establishment. The Custom House was erected at the North Leith end of the lower drawbridge, near the harbour and docks, in 1812. It cost £12,000, and is a fine large building in the Grecian style. An approach, which was not in the original plan, was afterwards added for the sake of convenience. It consists of two short flights of steps, which lead up, one on each side, to a platform, from which another single flight of broad, shallow steps leads up to the entrance of the building. By way of ornament it has a representation of the royal arms in the tympanum, and is further adorned by fine pillars in its front. Trinity House, in Kirkgate, was erected in 1816 at a cost of £2500. The architecture is Grecian. It replaced another Trinity House built in 1555, and used as a seamen's hospital. From time immemorial the mariners and shipmasters of Leith were accustomed to receive from all vessels belonging to the port, and from all Scottish vessels visiting it, certain dues called ` prime gilt ' or ` primo gilt. ' The money thus acquired was employed in assisting poor sailors. About the middle of the 15th century a legal right to levy ` prime gilt ' was obtained, and it was directed that the money thus raised should be used in maintaining a hospital for ' poor, old, infirm, and weak mariners. ' In 1797 the association was legally constituted by a charter, and officebearers were appointed. Its character has since been considerably modified. ` Prime gilt ' was abolished in 1862, so that the association is now dependent upon the income it derives from certain properties in Leith, said to amount to about £2000 a year. This money is disbursed in small pensions to old members and their widows. The chief duty of the board now is the important one of licensing pilots. In the hall, in which their annual dinner takes place, there are some very fine paintings and interesting models of ships. The chief pictures are a portrait of Mary of Guise by Mytens, a portrait of Admiral Duncan by Raeburn, and David Scott's well-known picture of Vasco da Gama passing the Cape of Good Hope. Among the models are those of two or three line-of-battle ships and that of the vessel in which Mary of Guise is said to have come to Scotland. The floor of the hall is beautifully polished, and the mouldings upon the ceiling, which represent anchors, cables, etc., form an appropriate and unique design, which was specially made for the Trinity House. Leith Fort was built in 1779 to defend the harbour, when both it and the town were threatened by the ships of Paul Jones, the well-known privateer. At first merely a battery of nine guns, it afterwards became a large military barracks and the headquarters of the royal artillery in Scotland. It lies ½ mile W of the Custom House, and overlooks the shore. Other public buildings worthy of notice are the markets, occupying the site of the old Custom House and Excise Office in Tolbooth Wynd, and erected in 1818, partly by voluntary contributions and partly by a loan of £2000 from the Merchant Company; the Slaughter-House in Salamander Street, built in 1862 at a cost of £4000, and embracing a central building and two wings; and the new post office, situated at the corner of Constitution Street and Mitchell Street, and erected in 1875 in the Italian style.

In the town of Leith are 19 places of worship, divided among 10 denominations. The Established Church of Scotland, the Free and United Presbyterian Churches, have each 4, and the Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Independent, Baptist, Evangelical Union, Wesleyan Methodist, and Scandinavian Lutheran have each 1. North Leith parish church, built on rising-ground at the W end of the town, and situated in Madeira Street, had its foundation laid in March 1814, and was finished in 1826. Designed by W. Burn, it is oblong in form and of a Grecian style of architecture. The front is adorned by a portico of four Ionic pillars, and is surmounted by a tower of three stages, of which the two first are four-sided, while the third, which is eight-sided, is further heightened by a spire built upon it. The building cost £12,000, and has accommodation for 1700 persons. In 1881 it was reseated and renovated at an outlay of £1100. In 1880 an organ, with 33 stops, which cost £750. was introduced. This church supplanted the old parish church of St Ninian, which had sunk in 1883 to being a drysalter's store, after having served as a place of worship for more than 220 years. The building stands close beside the river, distinguished by its paltry spire from the surrounding works and houses, and having near it the old churchyard, now quite uncared for and desolate in the extreme. It contains, however, some curious tombstones, notably a few with nautical designs upon them. In it the poet Nicoll was buried in 1837. St Mary's, the parish church of South Leith, with its surrounding graveyard, occupies a stretch of land lying between Kirkgate and Constitution Street. It was erected into a parish in 1607, after having served as a chapel to the Virgin Mary, with altars to various saints, from the beginning of the 15th century. At first it was cruciform and of great size; but, owing to the rough usage which it underwent from time to time at the hands of the English, its extent has been somewhat curtailed, so that it now consists of central and side aisles, which are ancient, and of a western front and tower, which are modern. In 1848 it was restored, after designs furnished by Thomas Hamilton, which included the construction of a square tower, adorned at the top with a balustrade elaborately carved. St Mary's is seated for 1350 persons. David Lindsay, who baptized Charles I., and John Logan, known as a poet, but better known from his having assumed the authorship of certain pieces of poetry composed by Michael Bruce, ` the Scottish Kirk White, ' his friend and fellow student, were ministers of St Mary's. The body of John Home, the author of Douglas, lies buried in the churchyard, interred Sept. 1808. St Thomas's quoad sacra parish church, on the Sheriff Brae, was erected in 1843 at the expense of Sir John Gladstone of Fasque. The church, with the manse and a school and asylum, was designed by John Henderson of Edinburgh, and erected at a cost of £10,000. The four buildings form a harmonious whole, the style of their architecture being Gothic. St Thomas's served first as a chapel of ease, but was afterwards constituted a quoad sacra parish church by the General Assembly in 1840 and by the court of teinds in 1847. St John's quoad sacra parish church is situated on the E side of Constitution Street, adjoining the town hall. It was originally a large plain building, but it was afterwards adorned by the addition of a fine front in Early Gothic style and of a massive tower. The tower consists of two stages, the first of which is four-sided with pinnacles at the corners, and the second is eight-sided, surmounted by a balustrade and pinnacles. On either side of the main building are wings, built in a style which harmonises with the rest of the edifice, and used for schoolrooms. St John's was a Free church from the Disruption (1843) to 1867, when it reverted to the Church of Scotland. It was constituted a quoad sacra parish church in 1869, and was the church of which Dr Colquhoun was ordained pastor in 1781.

North Leith Free church stands at the north-western extremity of the town, in the Ferry Road; was built in 1858-59, after designs by Campbell Douglas; and is in the German Pointed style. A congregational hall was added to it in 1876. South Leith Free church is situated at the foot of Easter Road. Built in the Early English style, it is a handsome edifice, consisting of nave, aisles, transepts, and tower. The spire has yet to be added. It cost £4000, and was opened on 22 Dec. 1881. St Ninian's Free church, situated in Dock Street, is a conspicuous building in the Early Gothic style, with a handsome doorway and main window, flanked by two octagonal towers. It was reopened in October 1880, after alterations which cost £300. Free St John's church, in Charlotte Street, was built in 1870-71 in the Gothic style, after designs by John Patterson of Edinburgh. It cost nearly £7500. It is surmounted by a tower 130 feet high. North Leith U.P. church, in Coburg Street, was built in 1819, and has accommodation for 1100 persons. It has a Gothic front, with central pediment and balustrades and towers. The Rev. Dr Harper was minister of North Leith U.P. church in 1819. Junction Street U.P. church was built in 1825; has a Roman front with Doric pillars; and is able to contain 1230 persons. Kirkgate U.P. church is a plain, unadorned building. It was erected in 1775, and has 1025 sittings. St Andrews Place U.P. church, situated near the Links, was erected in 1826; has accommodation for 1254 persons; and has for chief architectural feature a tetrastyle Ionic portico. St James's Episcopal church, in Constitution Street, is a handsome building, erected in 1862-63 in the Pointed style of the 13th century after designs by the late Sir Gilbert Scott. It cost originally £6000; but, owing to the extensive interior decorations it underwent in 1869 at the hands of E. F. Clarke of London, its cost altogether amounted to nearly £14, 000. New vestries were added in 1881. It has a nave of five bays, N and S aisles, a chancel with semicircular apse, and a tower and spire 180 feet high, which contain a chime of bells. The chancel is adorned with figures of the saints in richly foliated niches. The present church of St James, which is able to hold 620 persons, supplanted a much smaller and plainer building of the same name, erected in 1805 at a cost of £1610, and associated with the name of the well-known Dr Michael Russell. The Roman Catholic chapel- the chapel of Maris Stella- stands in Constitution Street; was erected in 1850; and is a cruciform, high-roofed edifice, in coarse Early Gothic. The Independent chapel, in Constitution Street, was built in 1826 at a cost of £2000; has 520 sittings; and has its front, which is Roman in style, adorned with Ionic pilasters. The Evangelical Union church is situated in Duke Street; was erected about 1866; and is a fine building in the Pointed style. The Baptist church stands in Madeira Street; was erected in 1875; and contains 300 sittings. The church is formed of corrugated iron. The Wesleyan Methodist church is in Great Junction Street, and the Scandinavian Lutheran church, erected in 1869, in North Junction Street.

The following are the schools under the management of the Leith Burgh School Board:

Name. Accommo-
dation.
No. on
Roll.
Teachers. Grant.
North Fort Street, . 1040 1130 20 £832
Lorne Street, . . 706 869 18 604
Links Place, . . 776 773 13 492
Bonnington Road, . 799 880 13 421
Yardheads, . . 358 400 9 289
St Thomas's, . . 362 385 8 192
Duncan Place, . . 309 392 8 242
Victoria, Newhaven,. 247 280 6 173
High School, . . 584 175 9 nil.

The schools erected by the school board are, as a rule, well adapted for their purpose, lighting, heating, and ventilation being carefully attended to. The Yardheads school is a two-storied, square building, built at a cost of £3807 on a site which cost £12v50. One of its classrooms has accommodation for 126 children. The Lorne Street school cost £7000, and is a handsome T-shaped building. The Leith High School, erected in 1806, and situated on the SW corner of the Links, is a building of some size, oblong in form, two stories in height, and ornamented by a small cupola which rises from the centre of its front. The burgh school board consists of a chairman and ten members.

The landward school board of South Leith has one school, with accommodation for 144 boys and 144 girls. It is conducted by a headmaster, two assistants, and a sewing-mistress, and has an average attendance of about 200. In 1882, the grant earned amounted to £101. There is a residence for the head-master. The school contains 2 school-rooms, each 33 feet long, 20 broad, and 14½ high; 2 class-rooms, each 20 feet long, 14½ broad, and 14 high, and 2 galleries, each 20 feet in length, 14½ in breadth, and 14 in height. Two schools conducted on the Madras system of education were founded by Dr Bell, and are managed by trustees, consisting of the provost, magistrates, and town council for the time being. The first of these schools was built in 1839 in Junction Street. It is a large oblong building, with a full length statue of its founder in the centre. It has accommodation for 900 children, and is conducted by 3 male and 7 female teachers. The second is in South Fort Street. The Roman Catholic School-Maris Stella-situated in Constitution Street, is conducted by the Sisters, and has an average attendance of 396 children. The Episcopal School-St James -in Great Junction Street, has accommodation for 236 children in the mixed school, and 143 in the infant department, and is conducted by a master, a mistress, an assistant mistress, and 4 pupil teachers. The Ragged Industrial School Association maintains 100 boys and 50 girls. There are also a number of private schools.

Leith is able to boast as large a number of institutions as any town of the same size and character. The Leith Hospital, Humane Society and Casualty Hospital are in Mill Lane, Sheriff Brae, and together occupy a building of considerable extent, erected in 1850. When its foundation was being dug, a large deposit of sea-shells was uncovered, which is held to prove that at one time the sea must have flowed over the spot. The Humane Society is provided with the most approved apparatus for resuscitating the apparently drowned. In 1840, Mr (afterwards Sir John) Gladstone of Fasque, father of the premier, erected a church (St Thomas's), manse, schoolhouse, and asylum on the Sheriff Brae. The buildings, which are in the Gothic style of architecture, form a harmonious whole. The asylum, used as a hospital for women with incurable diseases, is fitted up for 10 patients, and has a revenue of £300 a year. The John Watt Hospital was opened in 1862 for the reception of men and women in destitute circumstances, who are maintained there. It stands at the SW corner of the Leith Links. John Scougall, a Leith merchant, left £2000, the interest of which is paid to daughters of Leith merchants who have not been shop-keepers. A preference is given to Episcopalians. The poorhouse, on the N side of Junction Street, is a long three-storied house with dormer windows. The Seafield Baths, on the links, were built in 1813 by a jointstock company at a cost of £8000, but they have not been successful, and at present (1883) they are closed. The institute and public library of Leith, with 5000 volumes, is in Tolbooth Wynd. The Leith Chamber of Commerce, in Constitution Street, instituted in 1840 and incorporated in 1852, is presided over by a chairman, deputy-chairman, and six directors. The Shipmasters' and Officers' Protection Association, founded in 1877, and generally known as the Scottish Shipmasters' Association, is presided over by an Hon. President and council of shipowners, ship-captains, etc. Its main object is to promote good maritime legislation, to render navigation safer by lighting and marking the Scottish coast, to provide for the widows of members, etc. Among charitable institutions may be mentioned- the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners' Royal Benevolent Society, the Leith Ragged Industrial School, the Leith Female Society, the Society for the Relief of the Destitute Sick, etc., etc. The Leith Sailors' Home was instituted about 1840, and conducted in premises in Dock Street, which it occupied until 1881 when the building was required for offices by the Mercantile Marine Board, and for class-rooms, etc., by the Government Navigation School. It was resolved in 1882 to erect a new home; and £9000, its estimated cost, was soon subscribed. The Dock Commissioners have granted a site at a nominal rent at the corner of Tower Street and Tower Place, and the erection of the Home will soon be proceeded with. Its foundationstone will be laid with Masonic honours in Sept. 1883. Built in the old Scottish Baronial style, it will not only be a great boon to sailors visiting the port, but will also be among the finest of Leith's public buildings. It will have accommodation for 56 seamen, 9 officers, and 50 shipwrecked seamen-for the last in dormitories in the attics. There will be a restaurant, dining-room, recreation-room, reading-room, officers' sitting-room, bath-rooms, lavatories, and many other conveniences, which will make it one of the most perfectly equipped buildings of the kind in the Kingdom. The Leith merchants' club has premises in Bernard Street. The Thistle Golf Club and the Seafield Golf Club were formed in 1815 and 1878 respectively. Other societies are The Young Men's Christian Association, the Sabbath School Society (1818), the Religious Tract Society. There are also numerous clubs for cricket, foot-ball, swimming, and other sports. The First Midlothian Rifle Volunteers, Leith, represent the volunteer movement in the seaport. Leith has 3 Masonic Lodges, as well as representatives of the associations of Good Templars, Foresters, Free Gardeners, and societies of a like nature. Leith races, once of considerable importance and high repute, have been suppressed.

The following banks have offices at Leith:—the Royal, British Linen Co., Commercial, National, Union, Clydesdale, and Bank of Scotland. The office of the National Bank of Scotland branch occupies the premises in which the business of the Leith Bank was once carried on. It is a building of small size, with a dome and a projection from the N front, with four Ionic columns. It is in Bernard Street, as are also the offices of the Clydesdale, British Linen Co., and Union Banks. The Union Bank, designed by James Simpson, and built in 1871 in the Italian style, is a handsome building of three stories, with a telling-room 34 feet long and 32 broad. There are also numerous agencies for fire, life, accident, and marine insurance, among the last being the Union Marine Insurance Co., the Reliance Marine Insurance Co., and the Standard Marine Insurance Co. Three newspapers are published in Leith-the Leith Burghs Pilot, Liberal (1864), on Saturday; the Leith Herald, neutral (1846), on Saturday; and the Leith Commercial Lists (1813), daily. The chief hotels are the Baltic in Commercial Street, and the Commercial in Sandport Street, while on the Shore are some curious old inns with quite a foreign aspect. The following countries and states have consuls at Leith:-Belgium, Brazil, Chili, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Norway, Turkey, and Uruguay. The consuls of Denmark and of Norway and Sweden act as consuls-general for Scotland.

In making the original harbour of Leith, man had but little part, and Nature's share was far from being able to render it of great use. It consisted at first solely of the channel worn out by the Water of Leith as it flowed to meet the sea across the broad beach called Leith Sands. This channel was tidal, and in consequence, though sufficiently deep at high water, depended entirely at ebb upon the small volume of fresh water that ran down it to the Firth. According to the season of the year or the state of the weather, the river was either in flood or dried up, and this, combined with the influence of winds and tides, was able to alter the local conditions of the channel, and to raise or lower the bar that stretched across its mouth. The first serious attempt to resist the action of the elements was made in 1544 by the Earl of Hertford, who, while holding Leith, ordered a wooden pier to be constructed. On his departure for England he ordered its destruction, so that it might not benefit his enemies. Early in the 17th century another pier, resting on strong pillars, was erected, and its substantial nature is shown by its lasting for fully 240 years. Between 1720-30 there were constructed a stone pier which was joined to the wooden pier so as to extend it by 300 feet, and a small dock on the W side of the river's mouth. In 1777 a short pier, afterwards known as the Custom House Quay, was built. These attempts helped in some degree to bring about the result after which their makers were striving. Through them Leith became a port more accessible to shipping than it had been before; but they were totally inadequate to make the approach to it at all a safe or certain matter. Sometimes the bar was impassable for days, and many found themselves in the position of Lord Erskine, who, anxious on one occasion to return to London by sea, was detained on account of the ` smack ' in which he was to sail being unable to cross the bar. This detention gave rise to the well-known impromptu in which, after blessing the Bar of Edinburgh, he banned ` the shallow bar of Leith.' In spite of these attempts to improve it, the accommodation of Leith harbour continued to be miserably inadequate, and the increase of trade only emphasised its deficiencies. In l799 John Rennie, a distinguished civil engineer, was employed to examine the ground and furnish designs for docks and extended piers, suited to the growing requirements of trade. The gist of his report was, that the only way to remove the bar would be to build a pier right across the sands on the E side of the channel, which is more exposed than the W side. Rennie anticipated that the construction of such a pier would give an increased depth of water, amounting to 3 or 4 feet, and later operations have shown conclusively the soundness and accuracy of his judgment. Although this part of Rennie's scheme was not taken up at the time, another part was forthwith carried into effect. It had been so far anticipated by the plans of another engineer, Robert Whitworth, who in 1788 designed a wet dock of 7 acres, to be made near the Sheriff Brae, at a cost of £30,000. Rennie's design was chosen, and the construction of two wet docks, covering together an area of 10 ¼ acres, and able to contain 150 vessels of the class generally visiting the port, was commenced. Parliament authorised the magistrates to borrow £160, 000 to carry it out; and the building of the eastern wet dock was begun in 1800 and finished in 1806. The construction of the western dock was begun in 1810 and ended in 1817. In addition to the two wet docks, which together cost £175, 086, the design also allowed for the building of three graving-docks at a cost of £18,198, and of drawbridges at a cost of £11, 281. Together with the sum of £80, 543 paid for the ground, the total cost was £285,108, to which very large amount of money, £8000, spent in building a new bridge over the Water of Leith must be added. The measurements of the docks are:-each of the wet docks, 250 yards long by 100 broad; each of the graving-docks, 136 feet long by 45 wide at the bottom, and 150 long by 70 wide at the top. The entrance is 36 feet wide. A strong retaining wall, in the building of which not less than 250,000 cubic feet of ashlar was employed, protects them from the sea. These docks are situated in North Leith, and lie to the N of Commercial Street. They are still known as the Wet Docks, the western basin being also sometimes called the Queen's Dock.

Immense as was the improvement effected by the carrying out of Rennie's scheme in some of its parts, still the construction of the wet docks only so far realised his wise and far-sighted plans. The erection of a new pier has been mentioned; but beside that Rennie had in view the construction of another basin, 500 yards long by 100 wide, to stretch westward from those already built to Leith Fort, with an opening to the sea on that side. The want of funds prevented more being done than had already been accomplished. To complete his design, the expenditure of £322, 000 at least would have. been necessary. The disbursement of so large a sum was absolutely impossible, owing to the expense already incurred in connection with the docks made, and the high rate of charges upon goods and shipping required to meet the interest upon the money that had been borrowed to build them. In 1824, however, a further attempt was made to improve Leith as a sea-port, by extending the eastern pier about 1500 feet, which gave it a total length of 2550 feet, by making a western pier and breakwater, and by using part of the Queen's Dock as a naval store-yard. The first pile was driven in on 15 Aug. 1826 by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and the initiation of this new work of improvement was attended with considerable pomp, which shows that its importance was fully realised. These improvements, the outcome of surveys and designs by Mr W. Chapman of Newcastle, were completed at a cost of £240,000 borrowed from Government on the security of the dock dues.

In 1838-39, two eminent London engineers, Messrs Walker and Cubbitt, were sent down by the Lords of the Treasury to undertake the task of providing their lordships ' with such a plan as will secure to the port of Leith the additional accommodation required by its shipping and commercial interests, including the provision of a low-water pier.' The engineers were not to exceed the sum of £l25,000 in their suggested improvements. Their mission was barren of results. They came and saw, but went away in disagreement as to w hat should be done. Mr Cubbitt sent in one report, and Mr Walker sent in two, which, like the one of Mr Cubbitt, came to nothing.

The report of the Tidal Harbours' Commission, published in 1848, is of great interest as regards Leith, whose claims, position, and possibilities are very fully treated of. It is impossible to give the report at full length, but what follows contains its chief points in regard to Leith. It begins by admitting the difficulties encountered by the town from its position, and goes on to say that these, while great, were not insuperable, but were of such a nature that they might be overcome ` by management, skilful engineering, and perseverance.' It next calls attention to what is, above all things, the most pressing need of the port, a deep-water entrance to the harbour channel, a want which had been recognised by all the engineers that had had to do with the harbour of Leith. It farther states that, in spite of all that had been done for it and spent upon it. its accommodation was very deficient, and its lack of all the conveniences common in ports, frequented by large steamers, notorious to all. As a consequence, vessels had been driven away from it, and the revenue diminished by £5000, owing to the loss of their traffic. The anomalous nature of the shores-dues, the foul state of the water in the harbour, the danger of getting strained, which fine steamers were exposed to by lying on the ground when the tide was low, are successively taken up and discussed. The above is hardly more than the bare outline of the commissioners' report; it is, however, full enough to indicate their views upon what was, and what ought to have been, the state of the port of Leith, and is a very heavy indictment against those who, at different times, had had the ordering of its circumstances. Blunders had been made, short-sighted plans had been adopted, regulations had been allowed to remain in force after they were quite out of date, and had become simply vexatious. A bill was passed in parliament in 1848 to revise the schedule of rates, and to allow the execution of Mr Rendall's scheme of improvements. The main features of his scheme were the extension by 1000 feet of the E pier, the conversion of the W breakwater into a pier, and its extension by 1750 feet. It further provided for the stronger construction of the latter, so that it might be able to bear the weight of a line of railway upon it, and for the formation of a low-water landingplace at the extremity of the W pier. This last was to be 350 feet long, well sheltered, furnished with all needful accommodation, and so arranged that it should never have less than 9 feet of water around it, even at the lowest tides. This scheme also had reference to the channel, which was to be deepened so as to have a depth of 20 feet at high water of neap tides, and 25 feet at high water of spring tides. These alterations and improvements referred solely to the approach to the docks. But the bill also allowed for the construction of a new dock at a cost of £56,000, over and above the different works just specified. The act of parliament for this new dock was passed in 1847, and building operations were forthwith begun by Mr Barry, who bad been successful in obtaining the contract. In 1851 the Victoria Dock, as it was called, was opened, the first vessel to enter it being the Royal Victoria, a steamer trading between Leith and London. This dock lies immediately to the N of the Wet Docks, has an area of nearly 4¾ acres, is 700 feet long by 300 broad, has wharfage 1900 feet in length and 100 in breadth, has a depth of 21 feet at the lowest neap tide, and an entrance which is 60 feet broad. In 1851 the E pier was 4550 feet in length, and the W pier was 3103½ feet in length, and in 1855 the various works of alteration and improvement became available for the trade and business of the port. Upon them a sum of £135, 000 was expended, of which £56,000 were spent in constructing the dock, and £79, 000 in extending the piers, deepening the channel, etc. This dock , which still continues one of, if not the busiest of the Leith docks, is chiefly occupied by the steamers of the London and Edinburgh, and of the Leith, Hull, and Hamburg steamship companies, the latter of which belong to the well-known firm of James Currie & Company.

In 1858 the Prince of Wales graving-dock was opened. It is 370 feet long by 60 broad at its entrance. It is worthy of notice not only on account of its size, but also because it was the first dock constructed on the South Leith side of the Water of Leith. It is capable of admitting vessels of a large tonnage.

The Victoria Dock helped materially to relieve the pressure upon the old docks, but, in the course of a few years, increase of trade made further extension an absolute necessity. Nevertheless nearly ten years were allowed to pass before any fresh undertaking was begun. In 1862, Mr Rendall of London and Mr Robertson of Leith, civil engineers, after having made a very careful survey of the ground, proposed to construct new docks which, with proper wharfage, etc., would require the reclamation of some 84 acres of sand that had once been the Leith race-course. The proposed docks were in South Leith, and the site went by the name of the East Sands. Its nearness to the half-tide level was greatly in its favour. So were its broad expanse and the comparatively small outlay required to reclaim it. The accepted contract for the work of excavation, embanking, masonry-that furnished by Mr W. Scott amounted to the considerable sum of £189,285, which was further increased by the addition of £35, 215 for cranes, sheds, etc. These two sums combined brought the expense up to £224, 500. Compared with the Victoria Dock, the largest of the old basins, the size of the new dock-the Albert, as it is named-becomes apparent. It covers an area of 10¾ acres, is 1100 feet long and 450 broad. At high-water of spring tides, there is in it a depth of water equal to 20½ feet, and its quayage measures 3049 lineal feet. The Albert Dock is approached from the W through an outer basin of more than 2 acres in extent, and by means of a lock 350 feet long and 60 broad. The wharfage round the dock is very spacious, the sheds are most commodious, and the appliances for unloading are of the most perfect description. Hydraulic cranes were fitted up on its quays for the first time in Scotland, and they have done more than anything else to hasten the discharge and loading of cargoes. Like the other docks, it is well supplied with water hydrants, and is lighted with gas and with the electric light. The Albert Dock was formally opened on the 21 Aug. 1869. It contains the berthage of Messrs Gibson's fine fleet of continental traders. The latest addition to the docks of Leith-the Edinburgh Dock-called after the Duke of Edinburgh, by whom it was christened and formally opened on 26 July 1881, has advanced Leith to a high position among the sea-ports of the Kingdom. Its extent, the completeness of its equipments, the broad stretch of reclaimed ground around it, are the main features of the Edinburgh Dock. It lies immediately to the E of the Albert Dock, to which it is joined by a channel 270 feet in length and 65 in breadth. A swingbridge, which weighs 400 tons, is worked by hydraulic power, and cost £15,000, has been made over this channel, and allows of easy communication with the N side of the dock. The work of construction was begun in 1874 by the building of a sea-wall, which stretches from the E end of the Albert Dock to a point near the place where the Seafield toll once stood. Like the dykes of Holland, this wall is extremely strong, and everything has been done to make it wave and weather proof. With a breadth of 30 feet at the bottom and 10½ at the top, it is built of dry rubble faced with ashlar, 2 feet thick, and to a certain extent with Portland cement concrete. Its solidity is further increased by the introduction of puddled clay, ½ foot thick, on the landward side, by the introduction of many tons of what are known as ` quarry shivers, ' and by the construction of a defence upon the seaward side, which breaks the waves before they reach the wall, and so diminishes their force. This embankment was completed in February 1877. It served to reclaim 108 acres of ground, out of which the dock was to be excavated. Digging was forthwith begun. An army of ` navvies ' with two steam ` navvies, ' able together to do as much work as 80 men, and to dig up 1100 tons of earth per day, immediately began operations, and rapid progress was made. The work went on smoothly. Neither hindrance from water or from any other cause was experienced, and hence the magnitude of the undertaking may be so far realised from the fact that it took 4 years and 4 months successfully to accomplish it. The dock is 162/3 acres in extent; the N and S walls have each a length of 1 500 feet; the greatest breadth is 750 feet, more by 50 than the greatest length of the Victoria Dock. The W end, 500 feet in length and 750 in breadth, is entirely open to shipping, and affords ample room for manœuvring even very large vessels. The E end is occupied by what may be described as an artificial peninsula, which stretches out into the dock for the length of 1000 feet, and has a uniform breadth of 250 feet. This peninsula has sheds all round it, and thus adds not a little to the accommodation. A splendid graving-dock, 350 feet long by 48 wide at the bottom, and 70 wide at the top, occupies its centre. The stone with which the walls of the Edinburgh Dock were built came from Craigmillar quarry, not far from the capital. The masonry extends 35 feet from the top to the bottom of the side. It has been estimated that the total amount of masonry employed was not less than 900, 000 cubic feet, while the length of quayage measures fully 6775 feet. At high tide the water in the dock is 27 feet deep. The S side is lined with sheds, each of which is 196 feet long and 80 broad. The coal export trade, which is engaged in on a large scale at Leith, has been not a little aided by the erection of a powerful coal-hoist worked by hydraulic power, and able to raise a railway truck full of coals into the air, and then shoot its contents into the hold of the vessel being loaded. When the work of reclamation was effected, a larger space of ground was saved from the sea than was required for the dock, and this additional ground-amounting to some 54 acres-was divided between the North British and Caledonian Railway Companies, who have filled it up, so as to make it of the same height as the quays. The companies use it for their goods traffic. The whole cost of the undertaking was £400, 000. The dock was opened in July 1881 by H.R. H. the Duke of Edinburgh, who happened to be in Scotch waters at the time in command of the Reserve Squadron. The ceremony attracted a vast crowd of people, and was performed with the usual formalities, breaking the ribbon stretched across its entrance, etc. The Duke of Edinburgh and a large company, including representatives of the many interests of Leith, were on board the Berlin, one of Messrs Currie's fine steamers. As she glided through the approach, her bow snapped the ribbon and allowed the Berlin to enter the dock. Just as she was floating into it, the Duke of Edinburgh said-` I declare this dock to be open, and name it the Edinburgh Dock. '

The docks of Leith, it has been said, are partly on one side of the Water of Leith and partly on the other. They are connected by a swing-bridge of great size. With a weight of 750 tons, it cost £32, 000, and has a double line of railway in the centre for goods traffic and space on either side for passenger traffic. It is constructed of iron. The stretch of water parallel with the town, and extending 2 miles or so out from the shore, is called Leith Roads. It affords a safe and sheltered anchoring-ground, especially from eastern gales, from which it is defended by Inchkeith. Steamers and sailing vessels can generally ride securely in them, either while waiting for the tide to suit for entering the docks or for a change of wind. During the European war an admiral's guardship and several cruisers were stationed off Leith, and in the Crimean war it was the winter station of some of the vessels belonging to the Baltic fleet. A Martello tower, built on the Black Rocks, a reef running out into the Firth, stands nearly 500 yards to the E and 165 feet to the S of the E pier-head. Erected by government at a cost of £17, 000 to defend Leith during the European war, the tower is circular in form, strongly built, and bomb-proof. It was the chief defence of the town until 1878, when Inchkeith was fortified. (See Inchkeith.) The long piers, the E of which has a length of 1177 yards and the W of 1041 yards, are carefully lighted. At the point of the W pier there is a fixed bright light, visible 10 miles off; and at the point of the E pier a fixed green light. From the inner lighthouse on the E pier a fixed red light is shown. When there is 10 feet of water on the sill of the Victoria Dock a green light is shown under the light on the W pier-head, and when the dock gates are opened a red light is shown in place of the green light. When the gates of the Victoria Dock are open a red light is shown on both of the Victoria Dock heads. In foggy weather the fog-bell is sounded from the lighthouse at the end of the W pier. During the day there are other signals by which captains are informed when there is sufficient water to allow their vessels to enter the docks. For some distance above the various docks the Water of Leith has been widened and deepened, and has a line of wharfs on one side and the Shore on the other. Small steamers, barges, and even large vessels, are able to pass up and down at certain states of the tide, owing to the bridges being so constructed that they can be raised or let fall at pleasure. As the largest of the shipbuilding yards of Leith is some way above the docks, it is very necessary to keep the passage clear. In connection with the docks should be mentioned the line of blank unornamental buildings that stretches along Commercial Street, and occupies the greater part of one side of it. They are the bonded stores of Leith, and are of great size. At the E end of Commercial Street the different lines of railway, which cover the quays with an iron network, converge in a point, and are carried over the street to the North British railway station, now a shabby building, though at one time it may have had some claim to be regarded as ornamental. The Caledonian railway station, at the W end of Commercial Street, is a plain brick building, but is clean and neat, if not pretentious.

The right of property over the harbour of Leith formerly belonged to the city of Edinburgh. This right extended back as far as the reign of Robert the Bruce, who in 1329 granted ` ane right of the harbour and mills of Leith, with their appurtenances, to the city of Edinburgh. ' The district referred to included the whole shore, beach, sands, and links between the point known as Seafield toll-bar on the E and that known as Wardie Burn on the W. All the shore dues levied within these limits, except a merk per ton, which helped to increase the stipends of the city clergy, passed into the coffers of the capital. In the account of the various schemes devised and carried out to improve the accommodation of Leith, mention was made of the sums expended upon new docks, improved machinery, etc. Previous to 1825 the magistrates and council of Edinburgh owed £25, 000 to government and £240, 000 to other parties; but in that year government advanced £240, 000 to enable them to meet their obligations to private parties. Various conditions had to be accepted before the advance was made. Interest at the rate of 3 per cent. was to be paid, and 2 per cent. was to go to a sinking fund; part of the W dock and shore around it was to be handed over to the admiralty for its own use, and government was to have a preferential claim over the entire dock and harbour property, and a concurrent claim with other creditors over the whole property of Edinburgh. In 1833 the city did become bankrupt, but by that time £25, 000 had been written off, leaving £240, 000 still due. Various negotiations were entered into, and at last an arrangement was carried out, which has been of no little benefit to Leith. By an act of parliament, passed in 1838, the petty customs of the town were transferred from the city of Edinburgh to the town council of Leith; the merk charged on each ton was abolished; the sum of £125, 000 was allowed to be expended in improvements; and the entire management of the docks and harbour was vested in a commission of 14 members. Three of these are elected by the town council of Edinburgh, 2 by that of Leith, 1 each by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Leith Chamber of Commerce, and the Edinburgh Merchant Company, 2 by the shipowners, and 4 by the ratepayers. The following table will give some idea of the way in which the prosperity of the port of Leith has grown and fluctuated since it was placed in charge of the commissioners just alluded to:—

Year. Revenue. Expenditure.
1839, . . . £17,057 £10,134
1845, . . . 23,520 24,170
1852, . . . 25,646 42,354
1858, . . . 33,164 20,797
1868, . . . 107,782 121,648
1875, . . . 74,484 79,449
1877, . . . 207,387 198,716
1879, . . . 100,553 125,865
1880, . . . 135,910 121,156
1881, . . . 107,491 89,865
1882, . . . 96,264 99,399

Taking the revenue for 1882, we find it made up for the most part of the following items:—Tonnage rates on vessels, £31, 900; rates on goods (inward and outward), £41,838; rates and charges for using graving-docks, £1558; crane rates, shed rates, and receipts for ballast, £4706; rates for quay rails, £2140; feu-duties, rents, etc., £7426; interest on monies in bank, £1127; incidental revenue, £365; moneys borrowed on debenture bonds, £5200. Calculated roughly, these separate items amount to nearly £96,264. The three largest items of expenditure were: - Ordinary expenditure, £32,941; money spent on new works, £39, 806; payments on account of debt interest, £26,658. From 1871 to 1882 £140, 700 have been repaid to the Public Works Loan Commissioners, which leaves £82, 299 still owing. During the same period £40,000 were repaid to the Edinburgh Life Assurance Company. £268,223 are due to the debenture holders. Latterly vessel dues have been reduced 20 per cent., cargo dues 12½ per cent., crane dues in proportion, the object being to encourage vessels to use the port, which the high rate of charges had deterred them from doing.

The following statistics show how the shipping registered at the port of Leith has grown since a record was first kept:—In 1692 there were 29 vessels of 1702 tons; in 1740, 47 vessels of 2628 tons; in 1752, 68 vessels of 6935 tons. In 1787 the tonnage was 14,150; in 1792, 18,468; in 1808, 18,241; in 1826, 25,674; in 1844, 25,427.

Year. Steamers. Tonnage. Sailing
Vessels.
Tonnage.
1854 28 3,946 181 24,357
1860 48 10,864 129 22,439
1868 75 21,805 136 23,087
1872 93 39,743 100 19,660
1875 105 47,075 91 16,513
1878 109 55,915 81 18,798
1880 117 64,181 71 16,069
1883 133 70,912 58 14,714

In Leith fishery district are 573 fishing-boats, handled by 1673 men and boys. See Newhaven.

As a sea-port, Leith depends very largely for its prosperity upon its continental trade. One firm, with 24 steamers, whose tonnage amounts to 22,000, maintains regular communication with Hamburg twice a week; with Christiansand, Copenhagen, Stettin, once a week; with Bremerhaven once a fortnight; and with Danzic, Königsberg, etc., as required. Another company, with a fleet of 8 steamers, whose united tonnage is 7150, maintains communication with Amsterdam fortnightly; with Antwerp and Dunkirk weekly; with Rotterdam bi-weekly. Steamers sail twice a week to London, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland; and once a week to Hull. In l880 a line of steamers began to run between Leith and New York with cargoes of grain and American produce. With the exception of the last, the various steamers mentioned carry passengers as well as goods, though mainly dependent upon the latter. Other steamers, which are cargo-carrying only, ply between Leith and the different ports on the Firth of Forth and the northern sea-board generally. In the summer, river steamers make regular trips to Aberdour, Queensferry, Stirling, and daily excursions, sometimes to Elie or North Berwick, St Andrews, etc.

The port of Leith in its custom house relations includes the creeks of Dunbar, North Berwick, Aberlady, Cockenzie, Morrison's Haven, Fisherrow, Granton, Cramond, which lie between St Abb's Head and Cramond Water. The amount of customs collected in 1864 was £431,610; in 1876, £411,391; in 1877, £368, 654; in 1878, £343,477; in 1881, £566, 312. The chief imports at Leith are grain, hemp, hides, tallow, timber, sugar, esparto grass, wine, wool, tobacco, flour, oil-cake, guano, linseed, tinned meats, grass seeds, fruits. From May 1881 to May 1882 331,727 qrs. wheat, v283,521 qrs. barley, 104,190 qrs. oats, 375,215 bags flour, 75,311 loads of wood, 9590 tons guano were imported. In 1882 1,329,210 cwts. of unrefined and 210,275 cwts. of refined sugar, 10,180 tons of oil-cake, 445,105 gallons of wine, 349, 511 gallons of spirits, 251, 530 bushels of various fruits were imported. The total value of exports from Leith in 1882 was £3,076,891, which shows an increase more than eight-fold within the last thirty years, the total value in 1851 having been £389,293. The total is mainly made up of £125, 382 for coals, £314, 961 for cotton goods, £96,050 for fish, £23, 816 for unwrought leather, £17, 500 for wrought leather, £175, 826 for linen yarn, £15, 595 for jute yarn, £173, 819 for linen in the piece, £25,937 for thread, etc., £143,685 for jute manufactures, £184,037 for machinery, £427,554 for iron, £24,163 for steel, £55,011 for spirits, £252, 603 for sugar, and £581, 223 for articles not enumerated. From May 1881 to May 1882 260,987 tons of coals and 147,033 tons of pig-iron were exported. The following table gives the aggregate tonnage of vessels that cleared and entered from and to foreign and colonial ports and coastwise in cargoes and ballast:

Year. Sailing Vessels. Steamers.
Entered.
Tonnage.
Cleared.
Tonnage.
Entered.
Tonnage.
Cleared.
Tonnage.
1876 342,166 353,546 598,095 596,318
1878 309,751 312,621 652,624 654,427
1879 250,343 252,062 595,258 593,751
1880 261,407 263,927 678,793 681,303
1881 262,871 259,143 711,282 712,056
1882 237,347 225,465 751,331 731,801

In 1882 2762 British vessels of 781,335 tons, and 906 foreign vessels of 207,343 tons, entered the port of Leith; and in the same year 2666 British vessels of 749,359 tons, and 884 foreign vessels of 207,907 tons, cleared from it.

Among the industries of Leith, ship-building takes a high place. In 1883 there were 7 ship-building yards, some of which were largely engaged in repairing and refitting vessels. In 1882 13 iron steam vessels, with a tonnage of 16,250, and 1 sailing vessel of 1032 tons, were launched at Leith. In addition to these, 4 yachts of 1699 tons were built in 1882, and 15 wooden steam trawlers between 1877-82. The first line-of-battle ship, the Fury, ever built in Scotland was launched at Leith.

Glass was at one time largely manufactured at Leith, the industry having been introduced, it is said, by English settlers in the time of Cromwell. Seven large cones on the shore of South Leith were employed in making various kinds of glass goods, In - 1790 these were all in operation, but since that time glass-making has gradually declined at Leith, until it has, in 1883, all but died out. Within a few years, bottles, glass globes, chandeliers, have been made on a small scale. In 1883, 9 saw-mills, 5 flour and meal mills, 2 sugar refineries, 17 engineer-works, 3 breweries, 6 distilleries, are at work in Leith. One flour-mill, the largest in Scotland, and one of the largest in the Kingdom, grinds 6000 sacks of flour per week, and employs more than 200 men, though most of the work is done by machinery; another mill, built in 1863, employs fully 40 hands, and has 24 pairs of stones at work; a third covers 1¾ acres, was built in 1855; and a fourth, built in 1824, covers 4 acres, has 29 stones, stores for 40,000 quarters of wheat, and employs over 160 hands. Sugar refining was carried on at Leith as early as 1800, and, in 1874, on so large a scale by one firm that it was able to turn out 300 tons per week of refined sugar. One sugar refinery is almost entirely carried on by the labour of Swedes. The largest of the engineer-works employs more than 400 hands, and is mainly engaged in fitting vessels with boilers, etc., and in repairing marine machinery. The most extensive of the Leith distilleries was erected in 1852, covers 1½ acres, has not fewer than 40 vats for British wines and cordials able to hold from 5000 to 1200 gallons each, employs in the warehouse department about 40 women, and paid, a few years ago, to the exchequer the large sum of £300, 000. Other industries are cement-making in 14 works, colour making in 7, leather manufacture in 8, preserved meat making in 1, rope, twine, and sail making in 12, coopering in 12, lime-juice making in 4. One firm, engaged in tanning and currying leather, has more than 330 pits, and can turn out 300 hides weekly. At one cooperage buoys for the Northern Lights Commissioners, as well as casks, are made, and, at another, 900 casks can be easily completed in a week by the employes who number about 100. Leith has 1 of the 3 or 4 works in Scotland in which the weaving of brass wire cloth is engaged in; the industry having been introduced in 1835, and prosecuted since that time with great success. The most extensive roperie work in Leith employs fully 1000 hands, turns out weekly, on an average, 30 tons of cordage, and yearly 2,000, 000 yards of sailcloth. It was established in 1750. Leith has also not fewer than 8 chemical works, besides other establishments in which various industries are carried on to a greater or less degree. There are in the best streets of the town many fine shops of all kinds, whose appearance, and the goods exhibited, would not disgrace even the better class streets of the capital.

Leith was constituted a parliamentary burgh by William IV. in 1833. Before that date its government had been very inefficient, owing to its consisting of a number of separate jurisdictions, all of which were under the power of Edinburgh. The Parliamentary Reform Bill (1832), the Burgh Reform Bill (1833), and the Act of 1838, which transferred to and vested in the provost and magistrates of Leith the common good of the burgh, embracing the customs, rates, imposts, market dues, freed Leith from this bondage. The municipal government consists of a provost (who is also admiral of Leith), 4 bailies, and 10 councillors. Among the town officials, who are 16 in number, are a town-clerk, treasurer, analyst, officer of health, assessor, inspector of cleaning, firemaster, registrar, etc. Admiral an d bailie courts are held by the provost and bailies, and there is a society of solicitors for practising before these courts. A sheriffcourt for t h e Leith district is held in the sheriffcourt room, Constitution Street, every Tuesday while the court sits; and a sheriff small debt court is held on Wednesday during session. The dean of guild court is presided over by the provost and magistrates for the time being, a committe attends to the licensing of public-houses, and the provost, magistrates, and town councillors act as the Leith road trustees. The Edinburgh and District Water Trust is composed of members elected from the town council of the capital, Leith, and Portobello, and all are supplied from the same reservoirs. The Water of Leith Sewerage Commission is drawn partly from the town council of Edinburgh, and partly from that of Leith. For municipal purposes Leith is divided into 5 wards. The police force numbers 92, including 32 officers and constables who form the dock division. The annual value of real property (including railways and tramways) in the burgh amounted, in 1882-83, to £377, 211 (£278, 245 in 1874-75); the corporation revenue for 1882 was £555. The municipal constituency numbers 10,245, which includes 1560 females. Leith unites with Musselburgh and Portobello (the Leith burghs) in returning one member to parliament (always a Liberal since 1837). The parliamentary constituency is 8685. Pop. of parliamentary burgh (1821) 26, 000, (1831) 25, 862, (1841) 26, 026, (1851) 30,919, (1861) 33, 628, (1871) 44,280, (1881) 58,196, of whom 28, 474 were males. The parliamentary burgh consists of parts of the parishes of Cramond (44), North Leith (17, 883), St Cuthbert's (10, 436), South Leith (29, 833). In 1881 the population of the town was 59, 485 (inclusive of shipping). Houses inhabited 12,069, uninhabited 951, building 266.

Until comparatively recently, Leith was able to make a very fair show of old houses and relics of the past, but the improvement schemes, carried out from time to time, though in themselves very great boons to the town, have gone far to remove all that was of an antiquarian nature. So that, notwithstanding the great advantages that have arisen from the opening up of the town, and the removal of narrow closes and noisome courts, it is impossible not to feel a shade of regret that, along with felt nuisances, much that was interesting and picturesque has been swept away. One of the old houses of Leith, of which a small part is still extant, is that which once was known as the mansion of Lord Balmerino. It stands at the corner of Coatfield Lane in the Kirkgate, was built for the Earl of Carrick in 1631, and passed into the possession of Lord Balmerino in 1643. The house, which had originally four floors, was of considerable size, oblong square in shape, and had two approaches-one from Kirkgate through a low, narrow archway, and the other on the E side through a garden. This garden must in by-gone days have been one of the chief attractions which the property presented, owing to its size and the seclusion it afforded. The architecture of the house was marked by traces of debased Gothic. Charles II. is said to have passed a night in it in 1650. It is impossible now to say in what house, or even in what part of Leith, Mary of Lorraine, the Queen Regent, lived during her sojourn in the seaport. Diverse houses in different localities lay claim to the honour of having sheltered her. Very likely it no longer exists, still as many houses compete for the distinction of having been the residence of Mary of Lorraine and of Oliver Cromwell as cities of Greece competed for having been the birthplace of Homer. A building at the head of Queen Street, formerly Paunch Market, which was demolished in 1849, has been considered by some authorities the most likely of these claimants. It certainly was distinguished from its neighbours by the finish of its different parts. In the oak panellings of its doors, the carving of its window frames, the ornamentation of its front, it was not difficult to discern that it must have been at one time the residence of some person of rank. It has been asserted further that the change of the name of the street from Paunch Market to Queen Street is an indication that it must once have contained the abode of royalty. This is plausible enough, but against it must be put the direct evidence of William Maitland, the historian and antiquarian, who wrote about the middle of the 18th century. He says, ` Mary of Lorraine, having chosen Leith for her residence, erected a house at the corner of Quality Wynd, in the Rotten Row, but the same being taken down and rebuilt, the Scottish arms, which were in front thereof, are erected in the wall of a house opposite thereto, on the southern side. 'The stone, upon which the arms of Guise, quartered with those of Scotland, had been carved, has fortunately been preserved, though it has had several narrow escapes from destruction. The Queen-regent is also credited with the erection on the Coalhill of a building in which her privy council might meet. Until within a few years this house was distinguished by the superior style of. ornamentation upon its walls, cornices, ceilings, visible even through the obscuring dirt that had accumulated upon them. It is supposed to have been used successively by Mary of Lorraine, the Earl of Lennox, the Earl of Mar, but the latest improvement scheme, when carried out, will require its removal. Perhaps along with it will perish the name of Parliament Square, which arose from its nearness to the place of deliberation on the Coalhill. The King's Work, a building probably 100 feet square, erected on ground between Bernard Street and Broad Wynd, was originally intended for a royal arsenal, with warehouses and dwellings for the permanent officials. In 1575 it was used as a convalescent hospital for those recovering from the plague. It was gifted by King James VI. to Bernard Lindsay, his groom of the chamber, after whom Bernard Street is called. He was permitted to keep four taverns in it. Nothing now remains of this building, once considered one of Leith's chief adornments, and the ground it occupied is covered with irregularly built houses of later date. To the E of the King's Work was the district called Little London, measuring 90 feet long by 75 broad. It has been said that its name was derived from some fancied likeness to the great metropolis, but such an explanation is hardly sufficient. It is far more likely that it got its name from the fact that in it were quartered the English soldiery, sent to aid the Earl of Morton in 1571, when he was trying to reduce Edinburgh Castle. The Old Tolbooth of Leith was finished in 1565, when Mary Queen of Scots was on the throne. It was taken down in 1819, and rebuilt on the same site. The building presented no particular architectural features. King James's Hospital was founded by the kirk-session of South Leith in 1614, confirmed by a charter of King James VI., and endowed with lands and tenements in Leith and Newhaven. The building stood on the E side of the Kirkgate, and was able to accommodate 12 poor women, each of whom had a separate apartment, enjoyed a small pension, and was provided with fuel and candles. The site of the hospital is marked by a stone, with the Scottish arms carved upon it, let into the wall of South Leith churchyard. Cromwell, it is known, lived for a time in Leith, but the same difficulty exists in regard to his place of abode as did in regard to that of the Queenregent. There almost appears to have been some affinity between them, to judge at least from the statement of a writer who, after considerable search, discovered that a majority of the houses which claimed to have received the one, claimed to have received the other also. The Old Grammar School of Leith stood in Kirkgate, and was an institution of some fame, since the post of teacher of Latin in it was much coveted. The Kantore or Kintore House, whose name is said to be derived from the Flemish word Kantoor (place of business), was the customary prison-house in which those were confined who had incurred the censure of the Church. Timberbush, another old locality of Leith, lying N of Queen Street, derives its name from the French word bourse (exchange). In Timberbush all the wood that came into Leith was stored, and doubtless it got its name from the occurrence in it of wood sales. The Preceptory of St Anthony was situated at the SW corner of St Anthony's Wynd. It was founded in 1435 by Robert Logan of Restalrig. A Catholic writer speaks of it as ` most magnificent, ' and regrets that, owing to the way in which ` the madness of the heretics had raged, ' no trace of it now remains. It was mainly supported by the contributions of seamen, who had escaped from the perils of the deep by the intervention of the saint, or sought his protection before they went to sea. To the E of the Trinity House, at the. head of Combe's Close, stands one of the oldest houses in Leith still extant, though probably soon to perish. It is remarkable for the way in which the ground has risen in and about it. In one passage, through which men were originally able to walk upright, the level has so greatly changed that it is only possible to traverse it crawling or stooping very low. The house which was inhabited by the parents of John Home, author of the tragedy of Douglas, etc., stood in Quality Street. It was pulled down some years ago to make way for new buildings. Before leaving the antiquities of Leith, some of the curious texts upon stones may be men tioned. Many are extremely quaint, and the majority are interesting as the sole relics of the houses to which they formerly belonged. In the S wall of the Trinity House is a stone with the following inscription, ` In the name of the Lord, ye Masteris and Marineris Bylis this Hous to ye pour; Anno Domini, 1551.' In the E wing is one with this inscription, ` Pervia, Virtuti, Sidera, Terra, Mare. ' It has also representations of various nautical instruments. Over a doorway in Burgess Close is ` Nisi Dns (dominus) Frustra (1573) '; over the doorway of the first Episcopal chapel, ` Thay ar welcum heir that God dois love and feir, 1590. ' Th. tablet of the Association of Porters, over the entrance to the Old Sugar House Close, is extremely interesting, since it shows pictorially how the wine ships that came into Leith were unloaded by a treadmill apparatus, and in what way the casks were carried about from place to place. The armorial bearings of the Queen-regent are now built into the window of St Mary's, in Albany Street. Leith became a walled town in 1549, when its fortifications, begun in 1548, were completed by D'Essé, the commander of the French troops then in Scotland. His object was to strengthen the position of Mary of Lorraine, who became regent in 1554. The rampart was octagonal in form, with a bastion at each of the eight angles. The first bastion, called Ramsay's Fort, and situated on the E side of the river, between the beach and the W end of the present Bernard Street, was intended to protect the harbour. The wall ran from it in a SE direction, parallel with the line of Bernard Street, and had a second bastion on the same site as that upon which the Exchange Buildings now stand, and a third where Coatfield Lane joins Constitution Street. The line of Constitution Street fairly represents the direction between the second and third bastions. From the third to the seventh, the direction was more or less NW. The fourth was at the top of Kirkgate, the position of the fifth is uncertain, the sixth was somewhere near the river on the W side of it, and the seventh stood beside the site on which the Citadel was afterwards built. The eighth bastion was at the Sandport, overlooking the harbour, and corresponding to Ramsay's Fort on the opposite side of the stream. Between the fifth and sixth bastions flowed the river, which broke of course the continuity of the wall. The two parts were joined by a wooden bridge, by which communication was maintained between them. The wall was built wholly of stone, and was pierced by six gates, or ` ports, ' as they were called. These were the Sandport, St Nicholas' Port, the gate for Bonnytown Road, St Anthony's Port, Coat-fold, Lady's Walk. St Anthony's Port was the chief, being the main entrance to the town on the line of Kirkgate. At it took place the severest fighting and the greatest bloodshed in the attack of 1560, when the Lords of the Congregation, assisted by the English, were worsted by the combined Scotch and French forces under the standard of Mary of Lorraine. The town was partly dismantled of its fortifications in 1560, after the signing of the treaty of Leith, but in 1571 the Earl of Morton so far rebuilt the wall as to make it again serviceable for defence. It has now totally disappeared, and its line can only be imperfectly guessed at, indications of it sometimes appearing when the ground is turned up. Traces still remain on the Links of the earthworks raised by the Protestant party. The names of three have come down - Mount Falcon, Mount Somerset, Mount Pelham. Mount Somerset is now known as the Giant's Brae. The Citadel of Leith, mainly constructed in 1650 by the forces of Oliver Cromwell, stood on the North Leith side of the river, and was of considerable .size. In form it was pentagonal, with a bastion at each of the angles. Its extent may be gathered from its comprising, besides magazines for gunpowder and stores for provisions, barracks for the garrison, a place of worship, and a courtyard. After the Restoration it was almost entirely destroyed, and its site granted by Charles II. to the Duke of Lauderdale. All that now remains of this once large building is only a Saxon archway and a few feet of the old wall.

Several circumstances combine to make the history of Leith both interesting and eventful. Its proximity to the capital, in whose fortunes, whether willingly or unwillingly, it had to share; its peculiar relation of dependence upon Edinburgh; its struggles after freedom, at last successful-all unite to increase the interest which it excites. The first mention of the town is found in the charter of the abbey of Holyrood (1128 or 1143-47), in which, along with other property, ` the lands of Inverlet or Leith, in the neighbourhood of the harbour, with the said harbour, ' are granted to the monastery. This charter is mentioned in all the charters which refer to Leith that succeeded it, and hence there is strong presumptive evidence of its genuineness. If its validity be unquestioned, it may safely be concluded that there was at that time some kind of harbour at the mouth of the Leyt or Leith. That there was a harbour in 1313 is certain, for at that date all the ships in it were burned by the English invaders. A transaction took place in 1329 between King Robert the Bruce and the town council of Edinburgh, which decided the fate of Leith for long years to come. In it the capital had all the advantage; and, had the King foreseen its consequences, such an agreement would never have been ratified. By it the port of Leith, its mills and pertinents, were gifted to the burgesses of Edinburgh and their successors, to have and to hold in all time coming for the yearly payment of 52 merks, which, considering the value of money then and now, would certainly be less than £300, and might be about £280. This sum was to be paid twice a year, one-half at Whitsunday and the other half at Martinmas. The next step of the city of Edinburgh was to strengthen its hold by getting into its hands the ground that lay around the harbour. In 1398 a dispute arose between Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, the superior of the lands, and the town council of Edinburgh as to the legal rights of the latter. Only in so far as it was the cause of the disagreement had Leith any interest in the quarrel, which was simply a struggle for the mastery between a grasping individual and an equally grasping corporation. Sir Robert Logan was so far successful, in that he was able to force his opponents to buy from him, by purchase and charter, waste lands on which to build shops and granaries and construct quays and wharfs. Lawsuits arose from time to time between the baron and the burgesses, until in 1413, when Logan of Restalrig, by ` an exclusive, ruinous, and enslaving bond, ' restrained the inhabitants of Leith from carrying on any trade, from possessing warehouses and shops, and from keeping houses of entertainment for strangers. For executing this deed, which one would hardly have expected to find in a country whose freedom has always been its boast, this autocratic baron was paid a very large sum out of the coffers of the city of Edinburgh. In 1428 King James I. allowed a tax or toll to be levied upon all ships and boats entering the port or harbour of Leith. The money that was the fruit of this tax was to be spent in improving and repairing the harbour. The abbot of Holyrood appointed Sir Robert Logan in 1439 to the office of bailie over the abbey lands of St Leonards, which lay in the town of Leith. Forty-six years later the Edinburgh town council, acting most despotically, ordained, ` That no merchant of Edinburgh presume to take into partnership any indweller of the town of Leith under pain of forty pounds to the Kirkwark and to be deprived of the freedom (of the city) for ane zeare. ' This was surely severe enough a punishment; but the number of restrictions had not yet reached an end. Further orders prohibited the farming of the revenue of the city to an inhabitant of Leith or any one in partnership with a native of Leith, or the selling of goods in the seaport, or the depositing of them in its warehouses. Royal charters confirmed these far-reaching rights. James I., by a charter dated 4 Nov. 1454, granted to Edinburgh ` the haven-siller, customs and duties of ships, vessels, and merchandize coming to the road and harbour of Leith. ' James I II., on 16 Nov. 1482, granted the burgesses of the capital a detailed account of the customs, profits, exactions, commodities, and revenues of the port and roads of Leith. In 1497 the civic authorities took a step which was kind, though apparently cruel. They obtained a writ from the privy council, which bade all persons afflicted with contagious diseases appear on the Sands of Leith. They were examined, and those whose condition was dangerous to their neighbours were taken to Inchkeith, there to die or to remain till they recovered. James IV., on 9 March 1510, granted to the city of Edinburgh a right to the new port called Newhaven, with the lands belonging to it, and certain faculties and privileges. He also confirmed the charter of Feb. 1413, granted by Logan of Restalrig. This custom of granting charters was continued by Mary, Queen of Scots, who, on 8 Oct. 1550, confirmed an act of the lords of session against the inhabitants of North Leith, by which the provost and bailies of Edinburgh were held proper judges of the said inhabitants in the petty customs of Leith belonging to the town of Edinburgh. Mary of Lorraine may perhaps be credited with good intentions towards Leith. When acting as queen regent in 1555, she contracted with the inhabitants to erect the town into a burgh of barony, which was to continue valid until she could erect it into a royal burgh. To further this object, which must have appeared to the inhabitants a way of escape from many troubles, they agreed to lend her the sum of money necessary to purchase the superiority of the town from Logan of Restalrig. This engagement was never fulfilled. The disorder of the times doubtless served the regent as a sufficient excuse for not implementing it; but the Leith people in their disappointment declared that she had been bribed by the city of Edinburgh to break her plighted word. Mary, Queen of Scots, when pressed for money, mortgaged the superiority of Leith to the city of Edinburgh, redeemable for 1000 merks. Conscious of what would be the fruit of her action, she besought the town council to delay asserting their rights, and to give her a chance of redeeming the superiority. She was, however, quite unable to prevent the burgesses from assuming by open demonstration the powers and rights over the unhappy seaport, which, owing to her needs and difficulties, they were tacitly holding. On 2 July 1567 they marched to Leith in military order, and went through some evolutions, intended to represent the capture of a hostile town. This might appear harmless and empty pantomime; but the superiority of the capital over the seaport, and the way in which the stronger exercised its power over the weaker, was a stern reality, and no mere show. King Jame VI. of Scotland was entreated by the unfortunate Leith people to interfere on their behalf, and to relieve them from a part of their burden. The King did interpose, but his interference was no boon, since it only added to the weight imposed upon them. By a letter of gift under the privy seal, dated 25 March 1596, he empowered the corporation of Edinburgh to levy a tax during a certain period, to support, erect, and repair the bulwark pier and the port of Leith; and, by a charter of confirmation and of novo damus (1607), he confirmed anew all the grants made to them. On this occasion Leith made a great effort to free itself from the thraldom to which it had been so long subjected. Bribes were offered on both sides; but, as might have been expected, the wealthier party won. Charles I. followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. By the payment of £42, 000 Scots to the Earl of Roxburgh, who was acting in 1638 as treasurer of the King, the superiority of the Canongate and of North Leith was secured to the magistrates of Edinburgh. In 1661, on payment of £6000, the city of Edinburgh obtained possession of the Citadel of Leith from the Earl of Lauderdale, to whom it had been granted by Charles II. It was not until the 19th century had passed into its third decade that Leith obtained relief from its ` auld enemies, ' as the burgesses and council of Edinburgh may well be called. In 1832 the Reform Bill was passed, and set Leith free from those who had too often ruled it with unnecessary rigour. The first representative of Leith was John Archibald Murray, afterwards Lord Murray, who contested the seat against Mr Aitchison of Drummore. The first provost, appointed in 1833, was Adam Whyte. ` In 1838 the petty customs of Leith were transferred by act of parliament from the city of Edinburgh to the town council of Leith; Leith Links were acquired on payment of £25 per annum, along with the Council Chambers and Tolbooth; and the merk, (13½d.), per ton upon all goods imported was abolished. ' In the course of time other changes were effected which materially improved the position of the town, and gave it an impetus the effects of which have not yet ceased to be felt.

The above gives in brief outline the municipal history of. Leith, and for the sake of clearness it has been kept apart as far as possible from its political and social history. Although the fortunes of the seaport were greatly influenced by its peculiar municipal relationship to the capital, yet it had so far a distinct political existence. Leith, it has been said, was first mentioned either in 11 28 or 1143. In 1313 and 1410 the ships in its harbour were burned by the English-at the first date, during the campaign in Scotland of Edward II., which ended so disastrously for him at Bannockburn. Nothing worthy of special note occurred in Leith until the century had almost closed. In 1493, however, Robert Ballantyne, Abbot of Holyrood, built the chapel of St Ninian's, which afterwards became North Leith parish church, and erected a bridge of 'three stonern arches' to connect North Leith with South Leith. This was the first bridge thrown across the Water of Leith, and its stability and endurance have been fully proved by the length of time it has been available as a means of crossing the river. From 1506 to 1510, under the enlightened administration of King James IV., whose efforts to raise Scotland in the scale of civilisation as well as among the nations were ably seconded by the famous sailor Sir Andrew Wood, progress was made in maritime affairs that deeply affected the fortunes of the sea-port. Either at Leith or near it was built the Great Michael, in the building of which, by a pardonable hyperbole, it was said that nearly all the woods of Fife had been wasted. In 1544 the Earl of Hertford, in command of 10, 000 men, seized Leith, with the shipping in its harbour, held it for a time, plundered and ravaged it and the surrounding country, and then withdrew, leaving the port in flames. The same general, when Duke of Somerset, performed nearly the identical action in 1547, less damage, however, being done in 1547 than in 1544. On the latter occasion he carried off 35 vessels. A year later, D'Essé, the French general, began to construct the fortifications of Leith, and Mary of Lorraine commenced to regard it as a place of shelter from the coming storm. But before entering upon the history of that troubled time, we may turn aside to look upon Leith from a different stand-point, as the port at which royalty generally landed when passing to and from the Continent and elsewhere. At Leith James I. and his queen, Jane, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, landed on 20 March 1423; from it James II. was borne by sea to Stirling, after his abduction from Edinburgh Castle in 1438; there Mary of Gueldres, queen of James II., landed on 1 April 1449; and Margaret of Denmark, queen of James III., in 1469. Sixty-eight years later Magdalene of France, consort of James V., ` the queen of twenty summer days, ' landed upon the same pier that was burned by Hertford in 1544. The chronicler records that as soon as her foot touched the ground, the queen knelt, kissed the ground, and prayed God to bless her adopted people. In 1548 Mary, Queen of Scots, sailed from Leith for France; and there, too, after thirteen years spent at the French court, she landed again in 1561, when-

'after a youth by woes o'ercast,
After a thousand sorrows past,
The lovely Mary once again
Sets foot upon her native plain;
Kneel'd on the pier with modest grace,
And turned to heaven her beauteous face.

There rode the lords of France and Spain,
Of England. Flanders. and Lorraine;
while serried thousands round them stood,
From Shore of Leith to Holyrood'

The lines quoted express what history has recorded of the warm welcome and the loyal devotion lavished upon Mary Stuart when she returned to sit upon the throne of her fathers. It was at Leith that Mary's daughter-in-law, Anne of Denmark, landed in May 1589, after her marriage to James VI. of Scotland in Norway. Other sovereigns who have landed at Leith are James VII. of Scotland in 1682 (while Duke of York), on which occasion he played golf on the links, and Mons Meg, fired in his honour, was damaged beyond repair; George IV., who arrived on 15 Aug. 1822; and Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort on 3 Sept. 1842. The Queen recorded her opinion of Leith in a single sentence, which was the reverse of favourable.

The historical account of Leith was brought down to 1548, in which year the fortifications began to rise around the town. In the contest between Mary of Lorraine and the Lords of the Congregation, Leith would have been extremely useful to either party, but its importance was far greater to the Regent than to the Lords. Holding it, she was able to draw from France provisions, munitious of war, troops; and, if the worst did come to the worst, it left a way of escape open by sea back to her native country. These reasons encouraged Mary in her attempt to make the inhabitants of the seaport friendly to her and her party. Mary's action with regard to the superiority of the town, and her promise to erect it into a royal burgh, have already been noticed. The goodwill she manifested towards them impressed the inhabitants with the belief that to the Queen Regent, rather than to another, should they look for help. Her frequent presence in the town, her gracious and winning ways, added not a little to her popularity. Mary of Lorraine had therefore acted wisely when she chose Leith as the ` nest ' to which she, the ` linnet, ' was compelled to fly for refuge from those birds of prey hovering over her.-the Lords of Arran, Argyll, Ochiltree, and Ruthven. André de Montalevmbert, Sieur D.Essé, had, in 1548-49, constructed the fortifications of Leith, and made it the French 'place off arms' in Scotland. During the ten years that had elapsed between their erection and the siege of Leith, the fortifications had fallen out of repair, and the Regent at once set about putting them into a state of efficiency. Some preliminary negotiations were conducted, but without avail, and the Lords began to besiege the town in October 1559. Everything went against them. They tried to storm it, but were repulsed; the besieged made a sortie, and drove back the Protestant forces with great loss; an emissary, sent to England to beg assistance, was waylaid as he returned with a large sum of money to pay the forces, and robbed and wounded. In their need the Lords looked for help to Elizabeth, who sent (1 April 1560) an English reinforcement of 6000 men under the command of Lord Grey of Wilton. But, before their arrival, the ` linnet,' finding her nest no longer tenable, had abandoned it, and betaken herself to the Castle of Edinburgh. For two months the siege lasted, success now declaring for the one side and now for the other. The loss of both parties in men was considerable, and the besieged found that they had not only to fight against the English, but against famine too. Still they fought on with undiminished spirit. At last both French and English saw that it was advisable to put a stop to this continued strife, and a treaty was arranged by the Bishop of Valence and Lord Burleigh. It stipulated that the two parties should return to their own lands on the same day, and this arrangement was carried into effect on 16 July 1560. Soon after, the walls were ordered to be destroyed, and Leith sank from being a fortified to being a commercial town. The Regent did not see these plans carried out. Her health had long been breaking, and the contention, rivalry, and bloodshed by which her term of office had been marked, doubtless hastened her end. She died on 10 June 1560, in the Castle of Edinburgh.

Mary, Queen of Scots, landed at Leith on 19 Aug. 1561, and rode to Holyrood on the next day amid the acclamations of the ` serried thousands ' assembled to do her honour. Her mortgaging Leith, her chief act in reference to the town, has already been noticed. At that time Edinburgh was the natural centre of faction and intrigue, and Leith was peculiarly sensitive to every change of feeling in the capital. It was generally in opposition, so that if Edinburgh was held by one party, it was all but certain that Leith would contain the headquarters of the other. In the minority of James VI. the seaport was held by the Earl of Morton nominally for the King, and soon became the centre round which there gathered from Edinburgh and elsewhere the party opposed to the imprisoned Queen. Their council-chamber on the Coalbill has been alluded to under the antiquities. In 1571 the Edinburgh party made a sudden attack upon their opponents, in which, though at first victorious, they were afterwards worsted and driven back upon the capital. This was the ` Lang Fight, ' in which the duration of the struggle was in inverse proportion to the number of the slain, the former having continued all day long, while the latter only numbered 36. As the war dragged on, feelings became embittered, and great cruelty and harshness were practised. Men and women were burned on the cheek, whipped through the town, drowned and hanged on the most trivial grounds. Even to belong to Edinburgh or Leith was crime enough to cost a man his life. It required very strong representations on the part of the French and English ambassadors to repress these barbarous acts, and to secure a cessation of hostilities between the Queen's men and the King's men.

In 1572 Leith was the scene of a meeting very different from any that had previously taken place in it, for in that year there was held in it an ecclesiastical convocation, in which superintendents, commissioners, and ministers took part. In the following year Maitland of Lethington died of poison in the Tolbooth of Leith (1573). An act of parliament, passed in 1578, is curiously illustrative of a time in which protection was considered a first law of nature. Its purpose was to prevent the export of butcher-meat, and one clause enjoined that the bailies of Leith should take care that no ship carried off more meat than was sufficient to serve its crew until they reached their next port. Leith was made, in 1584, the chief market for herring and other fish caught in the Firth of Forth, and this doubtless helped to increase the trade of the port. In 1610, not fewer than 35 English sailors were hanged on the Sands of Leith for piracy, whose prevalence required stern measures of repression.

1643 is a memorable date in the history of Leith, for in October of that year the Solemn League and Covenant was signed by the inhabitants, the subscription being preceded by prayer, preaching, and fasting. Two years after Leith was visited by a terrible plague which, in nine months, carried off fully one-half of the population. Famine accompanied the plague, and had its own victims. Between them, in South Leith parish, the death-roll numbered 2421; in Restalrig 160; in Craigend (Calton) 155. Many of the dead were buried in the Links, and even now it is not unusual, when the ground is opened, to find bones, and even, it is said, fragments of the blankets or other material in which the bodies were hastily wrapped and buried. One result of the calamity was the passing of an act of parliament which allowed the magistrates to seize whatever grain they could find in granaries or store-houses for the use of the survivors. They were also given permission to seek help from the charitable in their distress, both to pay for the borrowed corn, and to help them to tide over their time of trouble.

Five years elapsed between the stamping-out of the plague and the occupation of Leith by Major-General Lambert, acting for Oliver Cromwell. Disease and famine had thinned the population, and even those who survived bore the marks of the trial they had passed through. They were powerless to resist the exactions of their conquerors. Besides having to pay its share of the assessment of £200 levied upon the capital and seaport, Leith had also to find a monthly sum of £22, 7s. 6d. This does not appear a very large amount of money, still, when all the circumstances of the case are taken into account, £22, 7s. 6d. does not seem so insignificant a sum after all. When Cromwell returned to England he left General Monk commander-in-chief in Scotland. Monk made Leith his headquarters, and the Citadel, erected by Cromwell in 1650, contained a garrison of regular soldiers. Fully aware of the capabilities of Leith as a seaport, Monk exerted his influence to induce a number of Englishmen, of wealth and position, to settle there as immigrants. Those who came throve in their new home, much to the disgust of the people of Edinburgh, who did everything in their power to thwart them and keep them from prospering. Their attempts to hurt the English settlers became at last so notorious, that Cromwell himself had to interfere. At the instance of Monk, he appointed him and two of the Scotch judges referees in all matters of dispute. It might have been expected, and the action of the English make's it almost certain that they did expect, that Monk would have taken more than usual care to secure their interests. It seems more than probable that he was bribed by the city of Edinburgh. A memorial, prepared by the Southerns and the people of Leith, set forth their common grievances, but was unsuccessful in obtaining for them any redress. Still, so far as the Leith people were concerned, their position was not a little improved by the tranquillity of the times, the freer circulation of money, and the presence in their midst of an industrious, peaceful living community.

On 26 July 1698, the ill-fated Darien expedition of 5 frigates, with 1200 men and 300 gentlemen, sailed from Leith Roads. On 4 April 1705, Captain Green of the Worcester and two of his crew were hanged on Leith Sands for murder and piracy, committed on the high seas in 1703. In 1715, during the rebellion, Brigadier Mackintosh of Borlum, with a party of Highlanders, seized the Citadel, and held it for a day. The Duke of Argyll, who was then in Edinburgh, threatened to attack the Highlanders, but the marauders did not wait for battle. Having plundered the Custom-house, and broken open the prison, they gathered together as much booty as they could conveniently carry, and beat a hasty retreat across Leith Sands at low water. A mutiny of the Seaforth Highlanders occurred in 1778, but was suppressed without bloodshed by the officers granting their demands. Twenty-one years later a party of Highland recruits, which was to sail from Leith, also mutinied, refused to embark, and took up a position on the shore. This affair did not end so easily, as the mutiny was not quelled until 12 of the Highlanders were killed and 20 were wounded, while, of the Fencibles sent to subdue them, 2 were killed and 1 was wounded. On 17 Sept. 1779, Leith, like other towns on both sides of the Firth of Forth, was much disturbed by the appearance of Paul Jones. Three batteries were quickly raised, two at Leith and one at Newhaven, but their services were fortunately not required, as the privateer's ships were blown out of the Firth by a strong westerly gale. Since the beginning of the present century Leith has had that form of good fortune which needs no annals to record it. In quieter times, and freed from the jealous rule of the city of Edinburgh, it has made advances which cannot fail to excite astonishment. In its docks, with the ships of all nations floating in them, in its warehouses and works, and in its busy streets, there is sure indication of its prosperity. And there can be no greater difference than between the attitude which Edinburgh sustains to Leith at the present day, and that which it sustained towards it during the centuries of its dominion and mis-rule. Petty jealousies do occasionally arise, but, on all important questions, there is commonly an unanimity of opinion and of sentiment which one would scarcely expect to see, after the bitter feeling of resentment with which Leith had learned to regard the capital, as the source of most of its woes, as the check upon its growth, and as the main cause of its degradation.

Of the natives of Leith, the following may be noted as the most famous. John Home (1722-1808), born in a house in Quality Street, became minister of Athelstaneford, wrote Agis and Douglas, and, owing to his having written these stage-plays, was regarded with disapproval by the Church. He gave up his charge, resided in Edinburgh until his death, and wrote other works, chiefly dramatic. Douglas, his best, was played at Edinburgh in 1756. Hugo Arnot (174986) wrote a History of Edinburgh (1779) and Criminal Trials (1785). Sir John Gladstone of Fasque (17641851) made a large fortune at Liverpool in the shipping trade, sat as member of parliament for Lancaster, Wood.stock, Berwick, purchased the estate of Fasque, and avas made a baronet in 1846. His fourth son, William Ewart (b. 1809), is the present Premier. Robert Jameson (17741 854) acted as keeper of the Edinburgh University Museum (1792), professor of Natural History (1804), established the Wernerian Society (1808), and began the Philosophical Magazine (1819). Jameson wrote two works on mineralogy. David Cousin (1809-78) was an eminent architect. Erskine Nicol (b. 1825) is a well-known Scotch artist and member of the Royal Scottish Academy. James Marwick (b. 1826) acted as townclerk of Edinburgh (1860-1873), and of Glasgow from 1873 onwards. He has edited numerous works on subjects upon which his position, first in Edinburgh and then in Glasgow, has made him an authority. Such are Records of the City and Royal Burgh of Edinburgh (4 volumes, quarto, 1869-80), Records of the City and Royal Burgh of Glasgow (2 volumes, quarto, 1876-80), and Charters of the City of Glasgow (1879). Other well-known character's connected with Leith, though not by birth, are Secretary Maitland (1525-73), who died of poison in the old Tolbooth to escape being executed; John Kay (1742-1826), the drawer of the ` Edinburgh Portraits,, who was brought up at Leith; Robert Nicoll (1814-37), ` Scotland's second Burns,' who lies buried in the old churchyard of St Ninians; John Logan (174888), ordained to South Leith parish in 1773, the composer of some of the Paraphrases and editor of an edition of Michael Bruce's Poems; Dr Colquhoun (1748-1827), who succeeded Logan in the charge; and Dr Harper (1794-1879), minister of the first Secession charge of North Leith (1819), professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology in the United Presbyterian Theological Hall (1847), and moderator of the U.P. Synod (1860).

The parish of North Leith is bounded on the N by the Firth of Forth; on the E and SE by the Water of Leith, which divides it from the parish of South Leith; and on the S and W by the parish of St Cuthbert's. The outline is most irregular. It follows the windings of the Water of Leith from its mouth no a point near the Bonnington Mills, then strikes down in a NNW direction to within about ¼ mile of the shore; then stretches in zig-zag fashion along the course of the Anchorfield Burn SW to Innerleith Row, whence it strikes off due N and reaches the Firth at Wardie. Its surface is on the whole level, with a tendency to rise, at first abruptly, then gradually as it retreats from the Firth. It is mainly covered by the town of North Leith, the village of Newhaven, the suburbs of Bonnington and Trinity, and numerous villas with their grounds. Within late years the building of houses, chiefly of the villa class, has been largely carried on. In extent it is 1½ mile long, ½ mile broad, and has an area of 349 acres. A powerful breakwater on the seaward side of the parish has been built to defend the land against the encroachments of the Firth. North Leith Links, originally ¼ mile long and 200 yards broad, have entirely disappeared. The parish is partly traversed by the lines of the North British and Caledonian Railway Companies. The land in it has greatly increased in value of late years on account of the demand for ground to build upon, and this explains the disappearance of nurseries and market gardens which once occupied the ground now covered with houses. Pop. of North Leith quoad civilia parish (1801) 3228, (1831) 7416, (1861) 10,903, (1871) 14,828, (1881) 18,732, of whom 9304 were females, whilst 14,038 were in North Leith ecclesiastical parish, and 4694 in that of Newhaven. Houses (1881) 3743 inhabited, 230 vacant, 24 building. This parish is in the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The living is worth about £700, made up of £285 of stipend and £395 from seat rents, fees, etc. There are an Established church of Newhaven and 4 Free churches-North Leith, income £1774, stipeud£870; St Ninian's, income £227; Trinity, income £212, stipend £160; Newhaven, income £1129, stipend £381. North Leith United Presbyterian church has an income of£1721, and the Baptist church has 163 members. The parish contains 3 board schools, 1 navigation school (opened 1855), 1 of Dr Bell s schools, and some private schools.

Previous to the Reformation North Leith belonged partly to the parish of Holyrood house, and partly to that of St Cuthbert's, David I. having endowed the monastery of Holyrood, with considerable property on the shores of the Firth, of which North Leith, etc., formed a part. The chapel of St Ninian was built and endowed by Robert Ballantyne, abbot of Holyrood. It was purchased from John Bothwell, commendator o Holyrood, by the inhabitants of Leith in 1609. The district was there upon erected into a parish by act of parliament, and in 1630 the commissioners for teinds and planting further extended its limit by adding to it Newhaven and the rest of the area that had belonged to St Cuthbert's. In 1633 the parish was joined to the episcopate of Edinburgh.

The parish of South Leith is bounded on the NE by the Firth of Forth, on the S by Duddingston and Canongate, on the W by some parishes of the royalty of Edinburgh, by St Cuthbert's and North Leith. Nearly triangular in form, and with an area of 1629 acres, the parish is 2½ miles long on the NE side, 2¾ on the S side, and 1¾i on the W side. The boundary is traced for some way with Duddingston by the Fishwives' Causeway, then passes along the Portobello road as far as Jock's Lodge, where it strikes off, and, after skirting Arthur's Seat, mainly on the line of the Queen's Drive, trends almost due N to Abbeyhill, whence it runs along the North Back of the Canongate, passes through Low Calton, then down Leith Walk to its foot, strikes of westward to the Water of Leith, and follows its windings to the sea. It thus includes, besides its landward districts, Calton Hill, parts of Calton and Canongate, Abbeyhill, Jock's Lodge, Restalrig, the E side of Leith Walk, and the town of South Leith. Part of this district is described under Edinburgh, and separate articles treat of Jock's Lodge, Lochend, and Restalrig. Where not built upon, the ground has been brought to a high state of cultivation, but a great part of it is taken up by villas and mansions, among which may be mentioned Craigentinny House, Restalrig House, Lochend House, Hawkhill, Mariomille. In a field which lies to the N of the Portobello road, a little way past Piershill, and belongs to the Craigentinny estate, stands the splendid mausoleum of William Miller, Esq., at one time M.P. for Newcastle - under - Lyne. the 'Craigentinny marbles,' as the 'reliefs' which are on two sides of the mausoleum are called, represent the destruction of the Egyptians and the triumphant song of Miriam on their overthrow. Their execution is at once striking and artistic. The beach of South Leith, once fine, has been much spoiled of late years. Pop. of quoad civilia parish (1801) 12,044, (1831) 18, 439, (1861) 26,170, (1871) 30, 079, (1881) 44,783, of whom 22, 454 were females, whilst 30, 848 were in the ecclesiastical parish of South Leith, 4405 of St John's, 4368 of St Thomas, 5051 of Abbey, and 111 of Portobello. Houses (1881) 8938 inhabited, 830 vacant, 326 building.

This parish is in the presbytery of Edinburgh and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale. The living is worth £920, made up of teinds £690, communion elements £20, manse £90, glebe £120. The parish church, as well as St Thomas's and St John's Established Churches, are described under the town of Leith. There are also Established churches at Restalrig and Lorne Street. Two Free churches are-South Leith (income £1755) and St John's (income £1183, stipend £175). Three United Presbyterian churches are-Junction Street (income £1267, stipend £500), Kirkgate (income £827, stipend £400), and St Andrew's Place (income £1322). Other churches in the parish are mentioned under the town of Leith, and the various schools, board and otherwise, are also referred to there.

Restalrig was the ancient name of the parish of South Leith, a church having existed there as early as 1296, when Adam of St Edmunds, 'pastor of Restalric,' swore fealty to Edward I. From an early date in the 14th century to 1600, the patronage of this living was in the hands of the Logans of Restalrig, who lost it owing to the share which the then head of the family took in Gowrie's conspiracy. The establishment, which was collegiate, consisting of a dean and canon, was first set up by James III., was afterwards increased by James IV., who added 6 prebendaries, and by James V., who added singing boys. The three kings enriched it by grants of land, etc. A chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and situated in the town of South Leith, was erected, probably in 1483, and became the parish church after the Reformation, while the revenues derived from the altarages and other sources were so far employed in the support of the ministers of the reformed church. In 1609 it was formally constituted the parish church by act of parliament, and endowed with the revenues and pertinents of Restalrig. Of the Preceptory of St Anthony, founded by Logan of Restalrig in 1435, and suppressed in 1614, hardly any vestiges remain. The seal of the coment is, however, still preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857.

See The History of Leith from the Earliest Accounts to 1827, by Alexander Campbell (1827); Antiquities of Leith, by D. H. Robertson, M.D., F.S.A. (1851); Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Times, by Daniel Wilson, LL.D. (Edinb. 1875); and James Grant's Old and New Edinburgh (Lond. 1883).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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