The History of Leith

May 28, 2007

Lucky Cruden’s Pow

I have been unable to find the origins of this story outside the history and traditions of Leith. However the details although meagre in the extreme tell a very interesting story. The Green Tree was an area in Giles Street and did exist and appears on old maps and stood near to vinegar Close which was removed during the Leith Improvement of 1880. Vinegar Close ran from the Yardheads to Giles Street across what is now Henderson Street.

According to some early writers Mrs Janet Cruden or “Lucky Cruden” was a very popular lady and she had a small Brewery in Giles Street. Next to her house in Green Tree she had a barn and in the barn on a shelf was a skull of undetermined age. However any attempts to remove it or smash it always failed. The point being nobody could understand why it was there in the first place and various stories abounded around the town.

However it appears Mrs Cruden was playing a joke on everybody because she was friendly with the local gravedigger who replaced it every time it was removed or damaged and was used to promote her business and this was the secret of “Lucky Cruden’s Pow”. The word “Pow” is old Scots for a Skull.

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