The History of Leith

May 18, 2012

North Leith described in 1883

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
too 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 of 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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