The History of Leith

July 12, 2011

The Gladstones of Leith

People of Leith are not likely to forget that the vicinity of the Sheriff Brae is a district inseparably, connected with the name of Gladstone, and readers of Hugh Miller’s interesting ” Schools and Schoolmasters” will scarcely require to be reminded of the experiences of the stone-mason of Cromarty, in his visit to this quarter of Leith.

In Peter Williamson’s Directory for Edinburgh and Leith, 1786-8, we find—”James Gladstones, schoolmaster, No. — Leith,” and ” Thomas Gladstones, flour and barley merchant, Coal Hill.” His shop, long since removed, stood where a wood-yard is now. James was uncle, and Thomas the father, of Sir John Gladstone of Fasque, who built the church and almshouses so near where his thrifty forefathers earned their bread.

The Gladstones, says a local writer, were of Clydesdale origin, and were land-owners there and on the Border. “Claiming descent from this ancient and not undistinguished stock, Mr. John Gladstones of Toftcombes, near Biggar, in the Upper Ward of Clydesdale, had, by his wife, Janet Aitken, a son, Thomas, a prosperous trader in Leith, who married Helen, daughter of Mr. Walter Neilson of Springfield, and died in the year 1809 ; of this marriage, the deceased baronet (Sir John) was the eldest son.” He was born in Leith on the 11th December, in the year 1764, and commenced business there at an early age, but soon removed to the more ample field of Liverpool, where, for more than half a century, he tqpk rank with the most successful traders of that opulent seaport, where he
amassed great wealth by his industry, enterprise, and skill, and he proved in after life munificent in its disposal.
The names of Thomas and Hugh Gladstones, merchants in North Leith, agpear in the Directory for 1811, and the marriage of Marion (a daughter of the former) to the Rev. John Watson, Minister of the Relief Congregation at Dunse

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

Some Text