The History of Leith

August 7, 2004


JAMES HUME, 20 years of age, 13 Lindsay Road, Leith, on the 16th August 1911, rescued a child, 9 years of age, from drowning in Newhaven Harbour, Leith.

This case was reported on the 26th August 1911, by Police Inspector William Rae, Leith Police Headquarters, Constitution Street, Leith . The Police Inspector also furnished an account of the occurrence and statements by numerous witnesses.

‘’About seven o’clock in the evening of the 16th August 1911, a child was playing on the slipway at Newhaven Harbour, Leith, and accidentally fell into the water, which at the time was about eleven feet deep. James Hume was in Pier Place at the time, and, on hearing a cry for help, ran down the slip.

Without divesting himself of any clothing, he at once plunged into the water, and succeeded in getting hold of the boy, who was in a very exhausted condition. He brought the boy to the slip. The level of the water was eight feet below the top of the slip, and the slip is faced with stone, so that there is nothing to take hold of. Others had arrived at the place and rendered assistance in getting the boy pulled to the top of the slip.

Hume then swam to a ladder, which was about fifteen yards distant, and came ashore by it.

Inspector Rae was asked for information as any circumstances which rendered the action of Hume to his own life. In reply, he stated that he had no reason to suppose that Hume was in great danger of drowning, inasmuch as he was a good swimmer. At the same time, he pointed out that the water in the harbour was in a more or less dirty condition, and that the mooring ropes which intersected the harbour made a swimmer’s progress more difficult and dangerous.

Inspector Rae reported the case to the Royal Humane Society.

James Hume was awarded and presented with an inscribed silver pocket watch and chain, his name entered in the Roll of Honour Illustrated Book.

He Serves God Best Who Most Nobly Serves Humanity

He Serves God Best Who Most Nobly Serves Humanity

Pilot Hume was also awarded several awards for bravery by the Royal Humane Society, for rescuing a ships Captain who had fallen from a collapsed gangway into the murky oily waters of Leith Docks.

A further Parchment Certificate was presented for effecting the rescue of nine men stranded and foundering at the Pallas Rock off Inchkeith in tretcherous stormy conditions, on board a broken down converted lifeboat, the boat was towed into Leith Harbour, the bedraggled seasick occupants rushed ashore without as much as a backward glance.

Who was the nine year old boy?

Who were the nine Leith men?

Captain Savage was the fortunate man to be rescued from a filthy cold and deserted Imperial Dock in Leith, Pilot Hume was confined to bed for many days thereafter due to being affected with polluted oil infested water, he resumed normal duties without fuss.

Captain W.L Hume/Case number 739.

Some Text