The History of Leith

February 9, 2011

The Leith Chamber of Commerce

THE formation of the Leith Chamber of Commerce in the year 1840 followed logically on the decline and demise of the old Leith
Merchant Company. This was a local body of traders primarily united for the furtherance of business interests functioning within the Town and Port and concerned with the welfare of its Members and of their dependants when the need arose. Most probably, actuated by a desire on the part of Leith business men to fill the vacuum created by the failure of the old Company, they turned their thoughts to the formation of another and more efficient type of association which would provide
much greater scope for the furthering of their manufacturing and trading interests, and their choice was for a Chamber of Commerce on the lines already yielding happy results in Glasgow, Edinburgh and
elsewhere. Twelve years were, however, allowed to pass before the desirability of applying for incorporation was determined upon and a formal petition submitted to the proper quarter. The Charter sought
was granted on 2nd February 1852, and the centenary of this was duly celebrated in 1952. The ” humble petition” for the grant of incorporation submitted ” that Leith, being the principal Seaport on the East of Scotland, it would tend to the encouragement and promotion of Trade and Manufacture already extensively carried on there and in its vicinity, if the Petitioners were incorporated as a Chamber of Commerce and invested with the powers and privileges usually conferred on such bodies.” The objects stated in the Petition have been faithfully adhered to by the Chamber throughout all the intervening years to the present day, and will be its especial care in the days and years to come. During its long career, the Chamber has been consistently fortunate in being never without a pool of competent and devoted Members upon which to draw for the manning of its Board of Directors, and from these to select men of probity and resource to occupy its Chair as it becomes vacant every other year.

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