The History of Leith

October 18, 2011

Little London

Eastward of the King’s Wark, between Bernard’s Street and chapel, lies the locality once so curiously designated Little London, and which, according to Kincaid, measured ninety feet from east to west, by seventy-five broad over the walls. ” How it acquired the name of Little London is now unknown,” *says Campbell, in his “History”;
“but it was so-called in the year 1674. We do not see, however,” he absurdly remarks, “that it could have obtained this appellation from any other circumstance than its having had some real or supposed resemblance to the [English] metropolis.”
As the views preserved of Little London show it to have consisted of only four houses or so, and these of two storeys high, connected by a dead wall with one doorway, facing Bernard Street in 1800, Campbell’s theory is untenable. It is much more probable that it derived its name from being the quarters or cantonments of those 1,500 English soldiers who, under Sir William Drury, Marshal of
Berwick, came from England in April, 1573, to assist the Regent Morton’s Scottish Companies in the reduction of Edinburgh Castle. These men departed from Leith on the i6th of the following June, and it has been supposed that a few of them may have been induced to remain, and the locality thus won the name of Little London

source-old and New Edinburgh

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