Nostalgia: Fort walls come tumbling down

View of Leith Fort in December 1976

View of Leith Fort in December 1976

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CONSTRUCTED in the late 1950s, Leith Fort was acclaimed for its design, with its architect scooping a 750 guinea prize for the blueprint.

Half a century later and the estate – which earned a 
reputation for violence and drug-taking – is being razed to the ground, with many hoping its notoriety is buried alongside in the rubble.

Nighwatchman John McDonald at Leith Fort Flats in 1960

Nighwatchman John McDonald at Leith Fort Flats in 1960

It was originally created as military base, built in the 1780s after John Paul Jones – the Scot who founded the American navy – sailed up the Forth with three warships and threatened to attack Leith.

The fort was used as the base of the Royal Artillery in Scotland, with soldiers stationed at the barracks until the 1950s.

While most of the original fort’s interior was later demolished to make way for housing – namely the Fort House estate – the perimeter wall, entrance gate and guardhouse were all left standing and became listed buildings.

The site should provide about 100 new homes with plans showing Colony-style buildings.

Councillor Pat Rogan visits tenants at Leith Fort 1960

Councillor Pat Rogan visits tenants at Leith Fort 1960

The homes are likely to be split between the city council, which has secured funding to build social rented accommodation, and Port of Leith Housing Association aimed at mid-market rent.

Leith Fort under construction in 1958

Leith Fort under construction in 1958

Youngster Brian Pithie wearing a policeman's helmet in Leith in 1957

Youngster Brian Pithie wearing a policeman's helmet in Leith in 1957

Architect JEA Baikie (left) who won a 750 guinea prize for Leith Fort plan

Architect JEA Baikie (left) who won a 750 guinea prize for Leith Fort plan