Independent Liberal candidate Sir Andrew Murray is pictured giving a speech at the Queen Victoria statue at the bottom of Leith Walk during the 1955 General election campaign.
Independent Liberal candidate Sir Andrew Murray is pictured giving a speech at the Queen Victoria statue at the bottom of Leith Walk during the 1955 General election campaign.

Edinburgh's Leith Walk: 21 images of one the Capital's longest and most vibrant streets in the 50s and 60s

It’s a historic thoroughfare that dates back centuries, connecting Edinburgh City Centre with the now-fashionable neighbourhood of Leith – and in the 1950s and 1960s Leith Walk was home to a vibrant mix of shops, small businesses and residential properties.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 5:03 pm

Leith Walk dates as far back as the mid-15th century when historians believe there was a rough pathway following the route of the modern road.

Then, in 1650, a defensive rampart which was constructed between Calton Hill and Leith, successfully repelled Oliver Cromwell's army before the Parliamentarian’s New Model Army secured victory in the Battle of Dunbar in the invasion of Scotland of the same year.

The rampart developed into the a footpath described by writer Daniel Defoe in 1725 as “a very handsome gravel walk, 20 feet broad, continued to the Town of Leith, which is kept in good repair at the public charge, and no horse suffered to come upon it”.

The fact that no vehicles were allowed on the route led to it becoming known as ‘The Walk’, and it was limited to pedestrians until the latter part of the 18th century.

When wheeled traffic eventually arrived, it quickly became a busy route – by 1779 a total of 156 coaches travelled up and down Leith Walk each day, charging around 3d per passenger, and taking them from Edinburgh to Leith, which didn’t officially become part of the Capital until 1920.

By the 1960s it was a thriving part of town, bustling with residents and businesses.

Here are 21 pictures to take you back to those days.

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