The History of Leith

December 9, 2004

Writing history

RECENTLY you had an article on an exhibition about the paper mills on the Water of Leith (News, March 18).

I was born in Leith 100 years ago. I started working in 1917 with Macniven & Cameron in Blair Street. I worked there for 56 years. The firm then were printers and lithographers.

We also made ink in our Leith factory. We made the famous Waverley pen nibs in our Birmingham factory. We supplied every school in Britain with pen nibs.

In my office in Blair Street I had newspaper cuttings about us opening a shop in Blair Street (1770).

It was a rag store to supply our paper mill in Balerno, on the Water of Leith. All good paper was made of rags. There were dozens of rag stores then.

A few hundred years ago all factories were built on streams and rivers as they got the power from them.

Our famous slogan on our pen nibs, which were displayed in every railway station “They come as a boon and a blessing to men/the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen”.

John Wilson Bayswell Park, Dunbar, East Lothian


Some Text