The History of Leith

November 16, 2004

The Ancient Town of Leith

Ancient town of Leith, most wonderful to be seen,
With your many handsome buildings, and lovely links so green,
And the first buildings I may mention are the Courthouse and Town Hall,
Also Trinity House, and the Sailors’ Home of Call.
Then as for Leith Fort, it was erected in 1779, which is really grand,
And which is now the artillery headquarters in Bonnie Scotland;
And as for the Docks, they are magnificent to see,
They comprise five docks, two piers, 1,141 yards long respectively.

And there’s steam boat communication with London and the North of Scotland,
And the fares are really cheap and the accommodation most grand;
Then there’s many public works in Leith, such as flour mills,
And chemical works, where medicines are made for curing many ills.

Then there’s Bailie Gibson’s fish shop, most elegant to be seen,
And the fish he sells there are beautiful and clean;
And for himself, he is a very good man,
And to deny it there’s few people can.

The suburban villas of Leith are elegant and grand,
With accommodation that might suit the greatest lady in the land;
And the air is pure and good for the people’s health, —
And health, I’m sure, is better by far than wealth.

The old town of Leith is situated at the junction of the River of Leith,
Which springs from the land of heather and heath;
And no part in the Empire is growing so rapidly,
Which the inhabitants of Leith are right glad to see.

Ancient town of Leith, I must now conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse,
Because the inhabitants to me have been very kind,
And I’m sure more generous people would be hard to find.

They are very affable in temper and void of pride,
And I hope God will always for them provide;
May He shower His blessings upon them by land and sea,
Because they have always been very kind to me.

William McGonagal (1825-1902)

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