The History of Leith

September 5, 2006

33 Bridge Street,North Leith, 1869-1902

Document 01 – 1869 Marriage
The Lockhart family had lived in Leith for only a short time. John, son of a farming family in Lanarkshire, had moved from there for personal and economic reasons in the early eighteen fifties with his first wife, Elizabeth, and three children – John, Thomas and Mary. John had known hard times, but life seemed to be improving for him, and in economic respects would continue to do so. He had once worked as a weaver, but in Leith had found employment in the iron business. By 1859 he seems to have been managing an ironstone facility. Between 1854 and 1859, three more daughters were born, at Yard Heads and Pillans Place, South Leith – Janet or Jessie, Christina and Elizabeth.
Some time around 1865, Elizabeth, John’s wife, died. His second – Marion – lived at 33 Bridge Streethad, since the death of her first husband, managed a wine and spirits business in Coburg Street. She lived in a house at 33 Bridge Street. In the marriage certificate, John is described as ‘Manager of the Coltness Iron Coy.’
The pub that the couple subsequently ran was not the Old Black Swan in Bridge Street, but a different one entirely, probably the establishment that lay on the corner of Coburg Street and Dock Street. This is shown on an Ordnance Survey map of around 1876.
John’s father was Robert, and not Ronald Lockhart; mistakes are made only too easily, as I can testify from personal experience!

Document 02 – 1871 Census Transcript
The whole Lockhart family had moved into Bridge Street, which seems to have been a very large property, housing several other families. Their accommodation is described as having five rooms with one or more windows – a size more appropriate to such a big and expanding family. Not only had John fathered another daughter, Helen, by Marion – with another on the way – but he had inherited three step-children. Also of note here is that Thomas is described as a boilermaker, having presumably served an apprenticeship. It was a job he would forsake temporarily for something else.

Document 03 – 1871 Birth
This was John’s second daughter by Marion – another Marion – referred to impersonally in the above paragraph. They would go on to have a third, Diana, a few years later. See 08 and 10.

Documents 04 – 1873 Marriage
On 16th February, Janet or Jessie, John’s second daughter, married John Scott, the son of a business man of South Leith, Andrew Scott, who manufactured and supplied waterproof clothing for seamen, and his wife, Georgina Wilson. The witnesses were Christina Lockhart, Janet’s younger sister and James Greenfield. This event was the beginning of an association between three families whose fates seem inextricably linked. Andrew’s business grew and broadened into chandlery. His eldest son took over the running of it about this time.

Document 05 – 1873 Marriage
The second marriage that year took place on 14th November. Thomas Lockhart, John’s second son, married Marion Wilson Scott, Andrew Scott’s elder daughter. Marion was now living at 33 Bridge Street with her father and youngest sister and was already pregnant with Thomas’s child. Significantly, the groom is now a ‘bridge erector.’ Included in the expansion of Leith Docks about this time was the construction of a hydraulic swing bridge. Whatever Thomas’s involvement in that project was, and whatever engineering skills he possessed, he would later revert to his earlier profession, boilermaker, which, a decade later, he would be practising in Middlesex.
The male witness, or best man, was again James Greenfield. Notice the other witness was also male – Marion’s eldest brother, Andrew.

Document 06 – 1875 Death
Andrew Scott moved into the flat at 33 Bridge Street with his son John and daughters Marion and Agnes after his wife’s death. As already mentioned, it was a large property containing several houses. They were not numbered A,B,C etc as they would be today.

Document 07 – 1876 Marriage
On 29th September, James Greenfield married Agnes Susan, Andrew Scott’s youngest daughter.
James’s father, John Greenfield, a bricklayer and furnace builder, was born in Edinburgh around 1811 and was married to (another) Marion at St Cuthberts in 1848. The Greenfield origins are unclear; Greenfield is not a common name in Scotland, even today, though some early records do exist. Two theories are worth exploring: that the first Greenfields came to East Lothian as workers on the Tweeddale estate, or that they were seamen. There may be other explanations.
The exact date of James’s birth is not known, but was some time between October 1851 and January 1852. The family moved to Surrey (where son John was born in 1854) but returned to Scotland in time to register the birth of their third child, Magdalane, in April 1856. James was by then four or five years old. By 1861, they were back in Leith, where they took up residence in Burns Street. By 1871, there were several other children. Some of those settled in Edinburgh.

Document 08 – 1881 Census Transcript
This shows the composition of the Lockhart family at this date.

Document 09 – 1890 Death
John Lockhart died on 27th December. John Greenfield, the informant, had married John’s daughter Christina in 1875. He was the second son of John Greenfield Senior, and James Greenfield’s younger brother. Both John Senior and James had died earlier in 1890, James before his father at the very young age of 38. The families had remained close for twenty years and, though scattered and separated by thousands of miles, several of their descendants still maintain contact today.
It is interesting to note that John and Christina Greenfield must have very proud of their names. She later began calling herself Christina Lockhart Greenfield, and several of the couple’s children were given multiple fore- and surnames. For example, there was a Janet Chalmers Lockhart Greenfield (Janet Chalmers having been the name of John Lockhart’s grandmother, who brought him up.)

Document 10 – 1891 Census
Agnes Cumming, Marion’s daughter by an earlier relationship (???), has taken the Lockhart name. Jessie (Janet), John’s daughter by his first marriage, now Mrs Scott, is working in the wines and spirits business. I do not know where John Scott was at this time, or whether alive or dead, but I believe that in 1881 he was lodging with Thomas and Marion Lockhart in Middlesex. Try finding John Scott in the records!!!
Marion retired and continued living at 33 Bridge Street until her death in 1902.

Quite literally, I owe my existence (half of it anyway) to 33 Bridge Street, North Leith. Thomas Lockhart, Marion Scott, James Greenfield and Agnes Scott were my great-grandparents. According to my count, they have about eighty living descendants scattered around the world today, and at least two in the pipeline, so to speak. There may be others I do not know about.

The above summary is not the whole Bridge Street story. Between 1870 and 1890, there were other marriages and births. I discovered that my own grandfather, John, was born there, though I had always believed he was born in London. His parents must have moved away from Leith while he was a babe in arms

(All the documents can be seen in the image gallery)

(c) Andrew Greenfield Lockhart
3rd September 2006

(Acknowledged with thanks)

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