The History of Leith

July 11, 2011

North Leith in 1787

ON crossing the river we find ourselves in North Leith, which is thus described by Kincaid in 1787:—

” With regard to North Leith, very little alteration has taken place here for a century past. It consists of one street running north-east from the bridge, six hundred feet long, and about forty in breadth where broadest. On each side are many narrow lanes and closes, those on the south side leading down to the carpenters’ yards by the side of the river, and those on the north to the gardens belonging to the inhabitants. From the bridge a road leads to the citadel, in length 520 feet; then 100 feet west, and we enter the remains of the old fortification, on the top of which a dwelling-house is now erected. The buildings in this place are in general very mean in their appearance, and inhabited by people who let rooms during the summer season to persons who bathe in the salt water.”
One of the leading features ctf North Leith, when viewed from any point of view, is the quaint spire of its old church, on the west bank of the river, near the end of the upper drawbridge, abandoned
now to secular purposes, separated from its ancient burying-ground (which still remains, with its many tombstones, half sunk amid the long rank grass of ages), and lifting its withered and storm-worn
outline, as if in deprecation of the squalor by which it is surrounded, and the neglect and contumely heaped on its venerable history.

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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