The History of Leith

September 14, 2004

The Broad Wynd

The Broad Wynd was a noted place a long time ago. In it are yet to be seen many old houses which must have been important ones in their day. We find in the “Takes and Traditions of Leith” that in 1739 the declaration of war against Spain was declared in this year at the foot of the Brad Wynd and at the end of the pier.

Admiral Vernon’s victories on the Spanish Main and the taking of Carthagena took place in 1741; many rich families can date their wealth from ancestors having had their places of business in the Broad Wynd. Old Mr Sligo originally from Aberdeenshire settled in it after he /2gaed awa a’thegither”from his situation as a tidewaiter in the London Docks. He and his family acquired a deal of wealth in the wine and spirit trade which enabled him to purchase fine and large estates in Forfarshire and East Lothian of great value, The old firm of Messrs William and James Ainslie also wine and spirit merchants first had their place of business in a small way in the Broad Wynd. They later moved to larger premises in Water lane where for many years carried in an extensive and lucrative business. The Ainslie family now possess nearly 2000 acres of fine arable land in East Lothian alone. One Sandie Pirgivie succeeded the Ainslie’s as spirit dealer in the old premises in the broad Wynd h died wealthy in 1830.

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