The History of Leith

July 2, 2007

Sign up now for the campaign to establish museum

FOR decades, there have been repeated calls for the establishment of a Leith Museum. Campaigns have been launched, studies carried out, promises made – but Leith, one of the most historic communities in Scotland, still does not have a permanent, full-time, museum. There are no shortage of fine historic buildings that would be suitable.

The Leith Burgh chambers, now part of Leith Police Station, has been suggested by some; and another obvious location is the Custom House. That is already used by the National Museums of Scotland – as a storage facility! Or what about a new purposebuilt facility somewhere in the
new waterfront developments? I know setting up a museum isn’t easy. It’s not just a question of getting a building and exhibits. The cost of running and maintaining a museum is not cheap, and there’s no point in opening a museum if you can’t afford to run it. But with all these notes
of caution, it’s still my view that now, as Leith undergoes massive change, the case for the
port to have its own museum is stronger than ever. A museum could be a showcase of Leith’s
heritage to the Leith Leithers of many generations with those who have settled in Leith only recently. It could tell children about the lives of Leithers – very different lives only a few decades ago. It would be an opportunity, of course, to show Leith’s links with the sea; but it could also tell about some of the historic events which have taken place in Leith over the centuries. A museum for Leith needn’t look just to the past, either. It would be an opportunity to show the lives of the very many different communities that helped build Leith in the past,
and at the same time inform about, and bring together, the different communities helping to shape the Leith of today. In short, Leith deserves a museum which will appeal to both young and old, strengthen community links at a time of rapid social change, and highlight Leith’s important role in the history of Scotland. Now is the time for government and public agencies, with the support also of the big developers who are transforming Leith, to make a real commitment to help establish a real museum for Leith. To get this campaign under way, I’ve launched a petition to call for a Leith Museum, in association with a number of other people active in our community. Our aim is to get a lot of support for this petition, to underline our message to the powers that be that, after so many years, Leith now wants its own museum. You can show your support by signing the epetition at
You can also get copies of the petition from: Mark Lazarowicz MP constituency office, 86-88
Brunswick Street, Edinburgh
EH7 5HU.


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