New exhibition Leith For Ever to mark 100 years of port's amalgamation with Edinburgh

Mary Moriarty, the Queen of Leith, features in new Leith For Ever ExhibitionMary Moriarty, the Queen of Leith, features in new Leith For Ever Exhibition
Mary Moriarty, the Queen of Leith, features in new Leith For Ever Exhibition
100 years ago, Edinburgh annexed Leith. Now, organisers of a new exhibition celebrating the people, objects and stories that make the port unique are looking for 100 Leithers past and present to share their thoughts and memories.

Leith For Ever is an evolving online exhibition which will feature 100 people, places, objects and events which represent the independent spirit of Leith.

Launched on the centenary of Leith becoming part of Edinburgh on November 5, 1920, it takes its title from a protest banner of the time which read: “Leith For Ever. We protest against Amalgamation.”

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Co-producer Barbara Kerr said: “We want people to make suggestions of people, places, stories and facts that make Leith what it is. Leith For Ever will celebrate what makes Leith special.”

1920 anti-amalgamation banner1920 anti-amalgamation banner
1920 anti-amalgamation banner

The exhibition is the brainchild of a group of local organisations, including Leith Civic Trust, Yardheads productions, Leith Festival and Cinetopia.

The idea of presenting One Hundred Days of Leith originally suggested by Duncan Bremner, Executive Director of Citizen Curator, a cultural organisation investigating history, identity and creativity in the area.

Mr Bremner said: “I guess Leith has always had a different feeling from Edinburgh.

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"In many ways Edinburgh history is the Castle, the crown, the law, but Leith has always been a working community so the history is more about the social history of everyday folk.

"The idea was partly inspired by the BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects. What would Leith be in 100 things - particularly when you think not just of objects but of people and places and stories.

"Leith is not just about its history, it is also about its community and it has a fantastic mix of assets. A project like this will allow people to talk about the things they love about Leith.”

Mary Moriarty, known to many as the Queen of Leith, is one of the local characters to be featured in the online exhibition. She said: “My understanding of it is that Leithers have created for themselves a little piece of land that they call heaven - and I think the Leither in people does not leave them. They take it with them to America, they take it with them to Australia and they come back when they can.”

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Leith For Ever has been created as a response to Redrawing Edinburgh, the City of Edinburgh Council Archive project commemorating the centenary of the amalgamation and co-producer Amanda Rogers of Cinetopia explains that the project would begin online and then move towards staging live events as soon as Covid restrictions allow.

She said: “We’ve been working with Leith Theatre for some time and we have started to collect archive footage of Leith and to interview Leithers about what Leith means to them and how it has changed.

"Leith For Ever will begin as an online project which will bring the community together but in the future we hope to stage live projections in some iconic Leith locations.”

For details of how to become involved visit

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