Looking At Edinburgh

7 October 2008

Persevere: the seal of the town of Leith

Filed under: history, photos — Tags: , , , , , , — EdinburghEye @ 8:00 am

A boat in port of Leith and an old lamp-post with the Leith Port shield

Leith became a Parliamentary Burgh in 1833 (that is, a burgh upon which an elected town council was imposed by Parliament in their reforms of 1832-33), uniting the parishes North Leith and South Leith (separated by the Water of Leith). The name Leith was once Leyt, Let, or Inverlet. King David (1083 – 1153) gave the water, fishings and meadows to Holyrood Abbey by charter, and then “and that Inverlet which is nearest the harbour, and with the half of the fishing, and with a whole tithe of all of the fishing that belongs to the church of St. Cuthbert“.

Leith ceased to be an independent town in 1927, but here and there around Leith (such as the lamp-posts that line the lower river) you can see the Seal of the Burgh “A shield bearing a galley on the sea. At each end of the galley is a mast with furled sail and flag flying. In the centre is the Virgin seated, bearing the Holy Child in her arms, and a cloud rests above their heads. Above, on a scroll, are the words Sigillum oppidi de Leith, and beneath, on a scroll, the motto Persevere“. Despite a discouraging discussion on blipfoto, a bit of google-fu and a scrap of Latin established that, well, it just means “the seal of the town of Leith”. A bit dull, but not at all mysterious.

Burghs were essentially urban settlements which enjoyed trading privileges from medieval times until 1832 and which regulated their own affairs to a greater or lesser extent (depending on the type of burgh) until the abolition of Scottish burghs in 1975. Burgh status has implications for historical records. Separate valuation rolls and electoral rolls were compiled by royal and police burghs until 1975. Burgh Records: Burghs produced characteristic forms of historical record, such as court books, guild records, registers of deeds, financial accounts, and, latterly, records of burgh institutions such as schools and libraries. VisionofBritain

This photo is available on Redbubble: Persevere: Leith is still a port.

22 August 2008

When it rained (and rained)

Filed under: art, photos — Tags: , , — EdinburghEye @ 8:00 am

A gutter and a pipe and an oil slick in the rain

It was still raining a little when I saw this, but not as heavily as earlier. It’s a pipe from the roof feeding rainwater into the gutter, which has turned into a lake with oil slick. It’s a harbour with a stone seawall and metal buildings. And clinging to the stone and metal, in either view of this, sharp bright green plants.

This photo is available on Redbubble: Leith Port in minature.

24 June 2008

City Clover

Filed under: photos, plants — Tags: , , — EdinburghEye @ 8:00 am

city clover

Between two new developments in Leith, there’s a stretch of short grass rich with patches of clover. Just down the road there’s Ocean Terminal: and beyond, the port.


31 May 2008

Origins: Leith stones

Filed under: photos — Tags: , , , — EdinburghEye @ 8:07 am

The original stones from Port of Leith, fenced off inside a housing estate garden.

I took this photo here. It’s available on Redbubble: Foundations behind fences.

27 February 2008

Fort House, Leith

Filed under: buildings, history, photos — Tags: , , , , , , — EdinburghEye @ 12:11 am

This photo was taken here. It’s on Redbubble: Fort House, Leith.

The remnants of Leith Fort (built 1779) still stand on North Fort Street in Leith. The Fort was built to defend the Port of Leith (the architect was James Craig (1744 – 95) who planned the layout of Edinburgh’s New Town). Leith Fort was used as a prison for the French during the Napoleonic Wars and as an army base until the end of WWII, but it was mostly demolished in the 1950s, leaving only the original entrance and boundary wall with the original guardhouse and adjutant’s office just inside the gate. This photograph shows the iron gates and the adjutant’s office, now the concierge office for the red brick tower blocks of Fort House, the worst housing estate in Edinburgh. The black cannon are a modern addition.

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