To guard against a possible French invasion at the time of the Napoleonic wars towers were modelled on the original at Mortella Point in Corsica were built at strategic points around the east coast. One was constructed on mussel Cape Rock at the mouth of the harbour in 1807/9 at the cost of 17,000 pounds. Migrant labourers may have been used for carvings on the stonework describe Irish Folk Symbols.
Due to the construction of the breakwater (1936-43) the half buried tower is no longer surrounded by the sea. Known locally as the “Tally Toor” it is still remembered as a popular venue for picnics. “The whole of Leith used to head for this area on a Sunday. It was a stretch of bonnie sands on the west side of the docks and everybody was down there making tea, whole families came as this was their entertainment. Fish boxes were broken up to burn and the tea got a slight salty taste.
The Tower is now surrounded by concrete within Leith Docks
The Martello Tower early 19th century
From “Leith lives”