Leith could vote to leave the Capital next year as plans were put in place to mark 100 years of the city’s expansion, a councillor has warned.
The tongue in cheek caution came as councillors agreed to organise a series of events to show visitors and residents what life was like across the city in 1920 to mark the centenary next year. The authority could spend up to £100,000 to mark the occasion – but councillors urged sponsorship deals to be sought from local businesses.
Leith Cllr Gordon Murno said next year’s anniversary will be hard to swallow for Leithers.
He said: “This is a controversial issue and has been since 1920. There are some in Leith and its diaspora who would wear black armbands to mark this particular anniversary. I’m not suggesting that we do this, but it may come to pass.
“Personally I think we could look at how we mark the boundary between Leith and Edinburgh, which would help settle arguments about this which are still held in pubs and wider community life. Some of my fellow Hibs fans were relieved to hear Easter Road Stadium is largely in Leith with the away end appropriately in Edinburgh.
“There are also plans afoot in the People’s Republic of Leith. There is talk on another vote on amalgamation with Edinburgh. I can predict the result already.”
Cllr Murno pointed to an unsolved mystery dating back more than 60 years for adding to “the grudge”.
He said: “The Evening News reported on 8 December 1953 how the provost chains for Leith and Portobello was stolen from Huntly House Museum. ‘Daylight theft from Huntley House cases’, the News reported.
“While this mystery is still unsolved and neither chain found, one way this council could mark this anniversary would be to have all the Leith lampposts, which bear the Leith coat of arms, repainted in the civic colours of Leith as done on The Shore.”
Next year’s events could include the development of physical and on-line exhibitions, resource packs for schools, competitions, and a series of planned civic events throughout 2020.
Council leader Cllr Adam McVey said it was important to mark the anniversary.
He said: “As a Leith member, this is a touchy subject and I don’t want to say too much for fear of reprisals within my community.
“I think it’s important to mark when this city became this city. It’s important to mark when we came together as communities. We are a very large, diverse bunch of people from Murrayfield to Leith to Granton to Craigentinny to Ratho to Queensferry – there’s a whole host of demographics, a whole host of different personalities, traits and cultures which I think is to be absolutely celebrated.”
Cllr Gillian Gloyer, who represents Corstorphine, another community that joined the city in 1920, has helped the discussions on how the key date can be celebrated.
She said: “It’s an opportunity for people in these peripheral areas to feel that something is being done for them and by them and with their involvement.”
David Bol, Local Democracy Reporting Service
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