The History of Leith

May 17, 2004

How Leith was Governed 1833-1920

When Leith at last obtained its own Town Council the right of electing the Councillors lay with such of the citizens of leith as were qualified to vote for a member of Parliament, the town being divided into Wards for the purpose of the election.

The first Town Council which consisted of sixteen members met on the 12th May 1833 and elected a Provost, four Bailies and a treasurer. One of the first acts of the newly elected Council was to present an address to King William IV rejoicing in the liberty which the government had conferred up the people of Leith and assuring his Majesty that the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the Town would use their most zealous endeavours to suppress crime, to reclaim the vicious, to instruct the ignorant and give encouragement to every measure tending to promote the interests of the people over whom they had been chosen to preside.

The Council unanimously elected Adam White to be the first Provost of Leith. Adam White was one of the leith Merchants and was the founder of a large business dealing in Timber from the Baltic. He was a friend of Sir John Gladstone who was the father of William Gladstone the Liberal Prime Minister.

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