The History of Leith

January 17, 2011

The Black Vouts

The oldest building associated with the wine trade in Leith is the Vaults between Giles Street and St. Andrew Street, for long years the business premises, as they are still, of Messrs. J. G. Thomson and Company. This building is locally known as the ” Vouts,” a name which,
in spelling and pronunciation, carries us back to the troubled days of Mary Queen of Scots, when this building seemed to be as gloomy in appearance as it is to-day, for, as we have already seen, it was then known as the Black Vouts. The oldest date on the Vaults to-day is
1682, when the great building, much lower then than now, was either reconstructed or rebuilt. Messrs. J. G. Thomson began business here in 1785. It was they who raised the Vaults to their present height. But this historic building had been associated with the wine trade long years before by the richly decorated walls and ceiling of the original office, small in size compared with the present countinghouse. The plaster decoration in the earlier office is very largely symbolical of the wine trade.

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