The History of Leith

June 9, 2004

The Bar of Leith

In 1820 Lord Erskine visited Leith after fifty years and a banquet was given in his honour in the assembly rooms at which many members of the Scottish Bar were in attendance. The following day he returned to London by sea from Leith taking ship on the famous fighting smack called the “Favourite” captained by a famous Leith Captain Mark Sanderson.

However as luck would have it on leaving the port the ship got stuck on the sand bar at the entrance and for days the ship was there stuck fast. Eventually the ship floated of and Lord Erskine sent the following verse;

“Of depth profound, overflowing far
I blessed the Edinburgh Bar;
While muttering oaths between my teeth
I cursed the shallow Bar of Leith”

However on his follow passengers wrote:

“To Lord Erskine

“Spare, spare, my Lord your angry feelings,
Nor lower us thus, as if at war,
Twas only to retain you with us
We at our harbour placed a Bar

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