The History of Leith

May 3, 2012

“The Modern British Traveller,” folio-1779

We may quote the following rather melancholy account
given of the latter in 1779, in a work entitled “The
Modern British Traveller,” folio, and now probably
out of print.
” About a mile from the city is Leith, which may
be called the warehouse of Edinburgh. It is
divided into two parts by a small rivulet, over
which is a neat bridge of three arches. That part
called South Leith is both large and populous; it
has an exceeding handsome church, a jail, a
custom-house [the old one in the Tolbooth Wynd],
but the streets are irregular, nor do any of the
buildings merit particular attention. It was
formerly fortified, but the works were destroyed
by the English in 1559 [?], and not any remains
are now to be seen. That part called North
Leith is a very poor place, without any publick
building, except an old Gothic church ; there is a
small dock, but it is only capable of admitting
ships of a hundred and fifty tons. The harbour is
generally crowded with vessels from different parts;
and from here to Kinghorn, in Fifeshire, the
passage-boat crosses every tide, except on Sundays.
. . Great numbers of the citizens of Edinburgh
resort to Leith on parties of pleasure, and
to regale themselves with the sea air and oysters,
which are caught here in great abundance. . . .

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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