John McDonald, the nightwatchman at Leith Fort Flats, April 1960.
John McDonald, the nightwatchman at Leith Fort Flats, April 1960.

A century of Leith celebrated in 10 photographs

Featuring dockers, Hibees and elephants in libraries, Samuel Wilson of Historic Environment Scotland heads into the archives to take a look at life in Leith during the 20th century.

By Alison Campsie
Friday, 27th November 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 5:22 pm

A century ago this month, big changes were afoot in the Capital.

The Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act of 1920 expanded the city boundaries to include Cramond and Corstophine to the west and Colinton and Liberton to the south.

To the north, along the wide thoroughfare of Leith Walk, the Burgh of Leith was also annexed, controversially.

Leith had been an independent burgh with its own town council since 1833 – and a majority of Leithers wanted things to stay that way.

A plebiscite held in 1920 returned a result of 29,891 against compared to just 5357 in favour.

Banners reading “Leith Forever, We protest against Amalgamation” were held up at public protests.

One hundred years later, much has changed in Leith – but it’s sense of identity and independence remains

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