Leith Edinburgh

The Shore, Newhaven, History, Attractions and Activities

 Leith Date Line

 

The first recorded mention of Leith was in 1143, when the area near the river estuary was granted to the Holyrood monks by David I, under the name of Inverlet.

The port of Leith has had a long history as a port and has been mentioned several times in history one of which was

Edward II in 1313 before the Battle of Bannockburn.

1380 the incorporation of  institution of the Mariners' 

1520 leith started building ships

1548 the French arrive in Leith

1560 after many battles and a siege the french finally left Leith not before destroying everything they could. 

1561 Mary Queen of Scots came ashore at the queens landing

1650 Cromwell occupied Leith

1806 Leith had its own bank and money  

1822 King George IV set foot on Scottish soil at the Kings Landing 

1827 Parliament passed the  "Leith Act" 

1855 Leith Nautical College was opened

1880 The Leith Improvement Act was passed

1883 A home for Sailors' was built now the building is a 4 star Hotel

1903 Leith Central station opened

1920 Leith became a part of Edinburgh

Leith Links Edinburgh

Where the Rules of Golf were Written

click on link above for more on Golf @ Leith Links

Queen Victoria's Statue Edinburgh   

(24 May 1819 – 22 Jan 1901) This Statue was to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria and her visit to Leith in 1842. She died in 1901. It is also a war memorial to the memory of the Scots Guards from the area that died in the Boar War. It was unveiled by Lord Roseberry who was the Liberal Prime Minister 1894-5 and the ceremony was watched by a crowd of over 20,000 people. Leith became a part of Edinburgh in 1920. The meaning of Leith is broad river.

Edinburgh Airport Statue

Captain Eric Melrose Brown  C.B.E, M.B.E and O.B.E

21 January 1919 - 21 February 2016

Eric Melrose Brown was born in Leith a port outside of Edinburgh. Now a part of Edinburgh. He was born in 1919.  From an early age he was involved in aviation due to his father being a pilot. His first time flying was with his father as a small boy not knowing that he was later to become the most decorated test pilot in the Royal Air Force. Nicknamed Winkle due to is minute stature.

 

He went on to fly 487 different types of aircraft, to be the first person to land a plane on an aircraft carrier and receive the CBE, MBE and OBE. He saw Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics, witnessed the horrors of Belsen and continued flying till he was 70 years old. He was an author of many books and lived till he was 97 years of age.

King Edward VII  Statue Victoria Park Leith

There is a statue of Queen Victoria’s eldest son Edward who became king on her death in Victoria Park, Newhaven Road Edinburgh. King Edward VII was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Oxford University and Cambridge University and went on to marry Alexandra, eldest daughter of King Kristian IX of Denmark.

Royal Yacht Britannia Ocean Terminal Leith

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The ship is now permanently moored at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh. The Britannia is the 83rd vessel since the first Royal yacht owned by King Charles II in 1660. It is the second Royal yacht to bear the name Britannia, the first being the famous racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. Have a day out and look around the famous Yacht. Now the rich and famous hire the ship for the evening for dinner parties.                   

Take a trip to the redeveloped area of the commercial quayside just over the bridge at the Shore, where you will find many types of open air restaurants and just a short stroll away from the Royal Yacht Britannia and the indoor shopping mall Ocean Terminal.

TRINITY HOUSE MUSEUM EDINBURGH

The original mariner’s house built in 1555 on this site was an Almshouse for the retired and poor that wished to stay within the seafaring community. The present building replacing the original Almshouse was built in 1816. Explore Trinity house and see the treasures the mariners returned home with from their travels. There are old marine maps, navigation equipment and ships models. There are also paintings and manuscripts that tell the stories of the sailors of the 14th century to this day. 

THE CITADEL ARCHWAY

The Citadel Archway is the only remains of Leith Citadel built by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1656.

Located next to what was St Ninian’s Church. When the Citadel was first built it stood alone next to the beach. Leith was fought over by the English and French and eventually a treaty was signed. The Citadel was a fortification where retreating troops would go when the main walls of the city defences were breached.

Leith Citadel was one of the largest as its location to Edinburgh made it an important site to control. The other Citadels that were built were in Perth Inverness, Ayr and (Inverlochy) now Fort William. In 1827 Leith became an independent Parliamentary Burgh which lasted less than 100 years as in 1920 it became a part of Edinburgh. The first recorded mention of Leith was in 1143. Leith was so important that even the American Navy under John Paul Jones tried to capture the port of Leith.

ROBERT BURNS (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)

RObert Burns died at the age of 37.

He was known as the Ploughman poet. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. Burns was born two miles south of Ayr, in Alloway South Ayrshire, Scotland. Robert Burns was the eldest of seven children.  He travelled the world and had many love interests and had 9 children. Robert Burns is buried in St. Michael's Churchyard, Dumfries, Scotland. Robert Burns’ brother Gilbert Burns (1760 – 1827) and mother, Agnes Broun 17 March 1732 – 14 January 1820 (and later his sister Annabella) moved to Bolton East Lothian from Ayrshire. Gilbert oversaw the building of the new Bolton parish church which was completed in 1809. The cottage at Grant’s Brae is no longer there, the house was demolished and a roadside monument stands in its place. No more than one hundred yards northeast lies the drinking well used by the Burns family. It was lovingly restored in 1932 and dedicated to Agnes Broun. The dedication states:

“Drink of the pure crystals and not only be ye succoured but also refreshed in the mind. To the mortal and immortal memory and in noble tribute to her, who not only gave a son to Scotland but to the whole world and whose own doctrines he preached to humanity that we might learn?           

THE WORDS FROM THE MONUMENT

AT GRANT’S BRAE

NEAR THIS SPOT STOOD THE HOUSE IN WHICH,

LIVED AND DIED, THE MOTHER,

BROTHER AND SISTER OF

SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL

POET

 ROBERT BURNS

THE WELL

The well pictured right is where Robert Burns mother Agnes Burns

(nee Broun) collected the water for the household needs.

The house where she lived (Grants Brae) with her son Gilbert and daughter Annabella, brother and sister of Robert Burns is near to Bolton East Lothian. Agnes Burns died 14 January 1820 age 88 years and is buried in Bolton Church yard as are Gilbert, Annabella and Gilbert’s daughter.

KING’S LANDING

OPPOSITE THIS SPOT KING GEORGE IV LANDED ON 15th AUGUST 1822. AN HISTORIC VISIT ARRANGED MAINLY BY SIR WALTER SCOTT

FOR THE BICENTENARY OF WHOSE BIRTH

THIS PLAQUE WAS ERECTED

KING’S LANDING

The King’s Landing is the historic occasion of George the IV becoming the first monarch to stand on Scottish shores since Charles II in 1651. It came about by an invitation from Sir Walter Scott on a suggestion by

Henry Dundas, (a very powerful politician at the time). This is when the kilt and tartan wear became popular.

The plaques can be seen on the Shore where the Cruz Restaurant is berthed.

GURU NANAK GURDWARA EDINBURGH

The first Sikh families to arrive in Edinburgh were in 1958 from the Punjab. The Sikh place of worship is a Gurdwara and the first Gurdwara was a house in Leith in 1964. In 1976 the present Gurdwara was opened at 1 Sheriff Brae Edinburgh. Previous to the Gurdwara it was St Thomas’s Church which was built in 1843.

The Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak, he was born in 1469 A.D. It is believed that the Sikh religion was first preached in 1496 in the Punjab by Guru Nanak.

SOUTH LEITH PARISH CHURCH

SOUTH LEITH PARISH CHURCH

The first mention of Leith in history was when David I gave the lands to the monks of Holyrood in the middle of the 12th century. The first church built was St Mary’s in 1483, over the centuries famous people have used the church such as Mary of Guise and Oliver Cromwell. The church has been used as a prison and the General Assembly was held here. Many parts of the church have been replaced since first built, with the ceiling being replace during the renovations of 1847, a Hammer beam ceiling was installed which is still present and will take your breath away.

THE BANK OF LEITH

Leith Bank was established in 1792 and printed Leith bank notes and was trading from its premises in Bernard Street from 1806. It was common place for towns in Scotland to print their own money.

The funding would come from local wealth merchants.  Leith Bank did not stay open long as it closed due to lack of funds in 1842.

THE GATES TO LEITH stand with two cannon from the 16th century once part of the artillery that protected the Leith Docks from invaders. In the centre a bust of Governor John Hunter, son of a Leith ship master and second in command aboard H.M.S. Sirius when they found the colony of New South Wales in 1788. John Hunter became the Governor of New South Wales from 1795-1800.

BUST OF GOVERNOR JOHN HUNTER LEITH EDINBURGH
HMS SIRIUS

HMS Sirius built in Leith was the flagship of the First Fleet. The HMS Sirius set out from Portsmouth, England, in 1787 to establish the first European colony in New South Wales, Australia.

LIGHTHOUSE BEACON

The original position of the lighthouse beacon was in Burntisland, Fife (1876) and was moved to its present position in 1990. The roman numerals that can be seen on the front of the lighthouse show the date when it was first used.

VICTORIA SWING BRIDGE 1874

This bridge formerly carried a road, railway crossing and footpaths and was the largest swing bridge in Great Britain. The original Victoria Swing Bridge across the Inner Harbour linked the Albert Dock to the Victoria Dock and was built in 1874. The bridge is now static and is used as a footpath to cross the mouth of the Water of Leith.

SANDY IRVINE ROBERTSON OBE,

Wine merchant, charity promoter and founder of the Scottish Business Achievements Awards Trust. After his

premature death, his friends commissioned a bronze statue which sits on the waterfront at the estuary of the

Water of Leith. Behind is a harpoon gun from Port Leith Whaling Station, and the Victoria Swing Bridge that

was built in 1874.

CHRISTIAN SALVESEN HARPOON GUN.

Christian Salvesen ran a Whaling company from Leith in the late 1800s. Whale Oil was a very important commodity as it was used for the oil for lamps, machine lubrication, margarine, soap and glycerine for explosives. The gun came from one of the whale catchers run by the Salvesen Company who ran one of the world’s largest Whaling fleets, all registered in Leith.         

THE SIGNAL TOWER

The Signal Tower built in 1685. The stone tower you can see today was originally higher by at least two further floors. The battlements were built during the Napoleonic war when the tower became the signal tower relaying flag messages to incoming ships.

THE SAILOR’S HOME

The Sailors Home built in 1883 was accommodation for sailors whose ships were in port. Look for the angel above the door an emblem for the seaman’s mission, now a luxury hotel. The Memorial to merchant seamen can be seen in front of the building.

The Memorial takes the form of a 5.5 metre sandstone column featuring seafaring scenes in bronze relief. It is possible to see navigators with charts, a ship’s cook, stokers, engineers, and seamen hauling lines. The Shore was chosen as the location for this new Memorial because Leith was Scotland's premier port for more than 300 years, and served as Edinburgh's trading port for more than 700 years. In addition, the Memorial recognises the 132 years of service dedicated to the Merchant Navy by Leith Nautical College (1855-1987) and its training ship, "Dolphin" (1944- 1979).

NEWHAVEN HARBOUR AND VILLAGE

Newhaven (new harbour) is located on the River Forth and has a small harbour that services a number of local fishing boats. It is now part of Edinburgh but once was a small independent village where the local people lived of the sea, between fishing and ship building. The reason that ship building took place here was due to the depth of the sea.

The locals were called Bow tows. The Newhaven area has history as far back as the 1400s and connections with King James III and James IV who had the largest ships of their time built in Newhaven. One of which was the Great Michael, a Man-O-War which was part of the Royal Scottish Navy. Now around the Harbour are a number of restaurants and a hotel on the sea side.

CATHERINE SINCLAIR FOUNTAIN EDINBURGH

The Sinclair Drinking Fountain one of many donated by Catherine Sinclair to Edinburgh Stood in the centre of the junction between Lothian Road and Princes Street in Edinburgh . Close to the walkway at the corner where St John’s Church stands. The Sinclair Fountain was to give water to the public dogs and horses. The Sinclair Fountain stood circa 14 foot high, the top part can be seen in Gosford Place Gardens of Ferry Road near to the Water of Leith Walkway.

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