The History of Leith

March 7, 2013

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 ad New Edinburgh

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