Shore Leith Edinburgh

The Shore Leith Edinburgh, In 1827 Leith became an Burgh as Edinburgh was, this lasted for a short time as in 1920 Edinburgh took over. Leith was first mentioned in history in 1143 when King David I granted the monks lands at ‘Inverlet’ He also had a harbour built at the Shore for personal use. Leith has been a very important area due to its position on the forth and closeness to Edinburgh. The port of Leith has been attached by Spanish, French, English and American ships over the years and eventually taken by Edinburgh in 1920. Take a trip to the redeveloped area of the commercial quayside just over the bridge at the Shore, where you will find many types of open air restaurants and just a short stroll away from the Royal Yacht Britannia and the indoor shopping mall Ocean Terminal. On a Sunday there is a outdoor market. In 1813 a Mr William Crawford opened a small biscuit Shop on the Shore Leith  eventually merging with McVities circa 1960.

   Commercial Quay Dock Street Leith

King’s Landing Shore Leith Edinburgh

The King’s Landing is the historic occasion of George the IV becoming the first monarch to stand on Scottish shores since Charles II in 1651. It came about by an invitation from Sir Walter Scott on a suggestion by Henry Dundas, (a very powerful politician at the time). This is when the kilt and tartan wear became popular. The plaques can be seen on the Shore A     can be seen on the wall above the plaque.  

 George IV First step on Scottish Soil Shore Leith

King’s Landing Shore Leith Edinburgh

The Plaque reads;



King's Landing Plaque Shore Leith   Ship above George IV Plaque King's Landing Shore Leith


The Gates of Leith Shore Leith

The Gates of Leith stand with two cannon from the 16th century once part of the artillery that protected the Leith Docks from invaders. In the centre a bust of Governor John Hunter, son of a Leith ship master and second in command aboard H.M.S. Sirius when they found the colony of New South Wales in 1788. 

Original Gates of Leith with two canon 

Lighthouse Beacon Shore Leith

The original position of the lighthouse beacon was in Burntisland, Fife (1876) and was moved to its present position in 1990. The roman numerals that can be seen on the front of the lighthouse show the date when it was first used.

Lighthouse at the Shore Leith

Sandy Irvine Robertson OBE

Wine merchant, charity promoter and founder of the Scottish Business Achievements Awards Trust. After his premature death, his friends commissioned a bronze statue which sits on the waterfront at the estuary of the Water of Leith. Behind is a harpoon gun from Port Leith Whaling Station, and the Victoria Swing Bridge that was built in 1874.

Sandy Robertson Statue Shore Leith

Christian Salvesen Harpoon Gun Shore Leith Edinburgh

1851 Christian Salvesen arrived in Leith and set up in business as a shipowner and broker, later the family started the whaling from Leith in 1906 and by 1911  Christian Salvesen & Co had become the largest whaling company in the world. Whale Oil was a very important commodity as it was used for the oil for lamps, machine lubrication, margarine, soap and glycerine for explosives. The gun came from one of the whale catchers run by the Salvesen Company which was registered in Leith.       

Christian Salvesen Harpoon Gun Shore Leith  

Victoria Swing Bridge Shore Leith Edinburgh

This bridge formerly carried a road, railway crossing and footpaths and was the largest swing bridge in Great Britain. The original Victoria Swing Bridge across the Inner Harbour linked the Albert Dock to the Victoria Dock and was built in 1874. The bridge is now static and is used as a footpath to cross the mouth of the Water of Leith.

Victoria Swing Bridge 1874 Shore Leith

The Signal Tower Shore Leith Edinburgh

The Signal Tower built in 1685 had sails of a windmill. The stone tower you can see today was originally higher by at least two further floors. The battlements were built during the Napoleonic war when the tower became the signal tower relaying flag messages to incoming ships.

Signal Tower Shore Leith

The Sailor’s Home Shore Leith Edinburgh

The Sailors Home built in 1883 was accommodation for sailors whose ships were in port. Look for the angel above the door an emblem for the seaman’s mission, now a luxury hotel. The Memorial to merchant seamen can be seen in front of the building.

The Sailor's Home Shore Leith

Merchant Seamen’s Memorial Tower Shore Leith Edinburgh

The Memorial takes the form of a 5.5 metre sandstone column featuring seafaring scenes in bronze relief. It is possible to see navigators with charts, a ship’s cook, stokers, engineers, and seamen hauling lines. The Shore was chosen as the location for this new Memorial because Leith was Scotland’s premier port for more than 300 years, and served as Edinburgh’s trading port for more than 700 years. In addition, the Memorial recognises the 132 years of service dedicated to the Merchant Navy by Leith Nautical College (1855-1987) and its training ship, “Dolphin” (1944- 1979).

Merchant Seamen's Memorial Tower Shore Leith

     The working seamen showing their different duties

 Merchant Seamen's Memorial Miniatures of seamen at work   Merchant Seamen's Memorial Miniatures of seamen at work 

The working seamen showing their different duties

Merchant Seamen's Memorial Miniatures of seamen at work  Merchant Seamen's Memorial Miniatures of seamen at work

Governor John Hunter Bust Shore Leith Edinburgh

Vice Admiral |John Hunter R.N.| 1737-1821

Captain John Hunter was captain of the HMS Sirius and later became the 2nd Governor of New South Wales Australia from 1795 returning to Britain in 1800. New South Wales was the penal outpost of the British Empire. As a professional sailor John Hunter was involved in the American War of Independence and took part in Chesapeake and Sandy Hook He was appointed third lieutenant of his flagship HMS Victory and he received his first command in 1782. John Hunter ended his career as a Vice-Admiral and spent his final years in Leith in 6 Cassels Place (43 Leith Walk near the corner of Kirk Street) before returning to London where he died in 1821. The inscription on the plaque reads; Governor John Hunter | Governor of New South Wales 1795 – 1800 | Born Leith 29th August 1737 Died London 13th March 1821 | John Hunter, son of a Leith Ship Master, was Second in | command aboard H.M.S. Sirius to Governor Arthur Phillip | Who Founded the Colony in January 1788. He Returned to be | The Colony’s Second Governor and Conducted its Government | with Sense, Duty, And Humanity. | This bust was donated to the Scots Australian Council in | Edinburgh by its Sculptor, Victor Cusack, and the Scottish | Australian Heritage Council in Sydney and was unveiled on | 28th August 1994, by The Rt. Hon. Norman Irons, the | Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, and his | Excellency, The Hon. Neal Blewett, High | Commissioner for Australia.


   Governor John Hunter Shore Leith

 Fingal Luxury Hotel

Fingal was built in 1963 by Blythswood Shipbuilding Company, Scotstoun Glasgow. As steam tender vessel for the Northern Lighthouse Board. The ship was registered in Leith and based for most of its life in Oban (30 years) and 6 years in Stromness, Orkney. The ship on its retirement was sold in 2000 and moored in Cornwall. In 2014 the Britannia trust purchased the vessel which had been renamed Windsor Castle and brought it back to Leith. The ship is 239.01 feet (72.85 m) in length. Its breadth: Beam to Beam is 40.35 feet (12.30 m) and Depth 8.50 feet (5.64 m). The Name has reverted back to Fingal and is now a Luxury five star hotel, moored at the Alexandra Dock in the Port of Leith. Address and contact details :Alexandra Dock, Historic Port Of Leith 1, Edinburgh EH6 7DX · 0131 357 5000

Fingal Hotel Leith  Fingal Hotel Leith

Fingal Hotel Leith Fingal Hotel Boarding ramp Fingal Hotel Leith 

Queen’s Landing Shore Leith Edinburgh

This Plaque commemorates the landing in Leith of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots upon her return from France on 19th August 1561. Mary Stuart (Mary Queen of Scots)  was born on 8 December 1542. She was the queen of Scotland from December 1542 until July 1567. An infant Queen due to her father King James V death 6 days after her birth. Her reign ended on a forced abdication by Scottish nobles in 1567 at Carberry. Mary’s cousin Queen Elizabeth I had her arrested and she spent the rest of her life as a prisoner until her execution in 1587.

 Queen's Landing Shore Leith  Queens Landing Plaque Shore Leith

The King’s Wark Shore Leith Edinburgh

The King’s Wark has history from circa 1430 when its was built by order of James I and in 1590 King James VI his wife the Queen, Princess Anne of Denmark, and resided there for five nights. 1606 King’s Wark and lands were gifted to Bernard Lindsay  by James Vl. The King’s Wark was known to be rebuilt and extended by Mr Bernard Lindsay in 1613 with a tennis court and four Taverns for the King and a cellar for the King’s wines. In 1649 it became a weigh House for hemp and iron. The thoroughfare was known as Bernards Nook but in 1806 when improvements were being made the new thoroughfare was named Bernard Street after Bernard Lindsay. 

The King's Wark Shore Leith

The Musician’s Memorial Spiral Sculpture The Shore Leith Edinburgh

This sculpture of grey slate is a memorial to three musicians and was designed by the sculptor James Parker from Galloway Scotland.

Thomas (Tam) Bennett Sim White was a Blues and Jazz singer, TV personality and film actor. He was In many TV dramas and soaps performed on Top of the Pops. He was born in Grassmarket Edinburgh he went to the same secondary school (Darrock Academy) as Sean (007) Connery

Raymond (Boz) Burrell was born in Holbeach England. He was a musician, singer-songwriter and Guitar player.  He played with Ritchie Blackmore, King Crimson, Bad Company and Tam White.

Derek “Dell Boy” Allen 

Derek “Dell Boy” Allen 1933-2001                     Boz Burrell 1946- 2006                                           Tam White 1942- 2010



St Ninian’s Chapel The Shore Leith Edinburgh

St Ninian’s Chapel was established in 1493 by Robert Ballantyne, Abbot of Holyrood. When the English were on the rampage burning and destroying churches and castles in Scotland 1560-1 St Ninian’s was not spared In 1609 North Leith parish was a new parish and required a Church The ruins of St Ninian’s became the possession of the people of north Leith and rebuilt the chapel which became the parish Church. The Church was extended in 1675. As Leith grew the church became to small for the congregation and a new church was built in 1816. The church building was used by other church groups until 1825 when it was used for commercial purposes.


  St Ninian's Chapel Shore Leith  St Ninian's Chapel Shore Leith   

On the wall above the main entrance stones read;  Blessed  Are  | They Yet Heir | Yevord of God | And keep It |  Luke XI   | 1600


Royal Yacht Britannia Leith

The Royal Yacht Britannia is the former Royal Yacht of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The ship is now permanently moored at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh. The Britannia is the 83rd vessel since the first Royal yacht owned by King Charles II in 1660. It is the second Royal yacht to bear the name Britannia, the first being the famous racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893. Have a day out and look around the famous Yacht. See how the Royals travelled the world by ship.  


S S Explorer

The SS Explorer is the last surviving steam trawler in the world. It was a purpose built fishery research ship. She is on the National Historic Ships. Launched on 21 June 1955.  SS Explorer went out of service in 1984. The SS Explorer was a fishery research Ship which was to investigate fish breeding and feeding grounds which could establish fishing levels and types of fish that would suit the British markets. This would enable fishing boats to be more productive. The SS Explorer has been in Leith docks since 1996 being restored for historic purposes and would be a unique museum. She was one of the last ships built in Scotland equipped with a traditional (reciprocating) steam engine and was the last such vessel registered to the port of Leith. To help save this historic vessel the SS Explorer Preservation Society are all unpaid volunteers. They require funds to maintain and preserve for the history of fishing and science. The SS Explorer preservation Society are totally dependent on donations to maintain her. The members fund through membership fees and donations only. Dig deep if you eat fish, this vessel was what gave use the fish on our table.   Any donations use link below 

 SS Explorer

Reverend John Home Shore Leith Edinburgh

Reverend John Home was a poet and playwright and was born in Maritime Street  Leith in 1722. He is remember for his play Douglas which was first performed in the Playhouse Theatre Canongate in 1756

Rev John Home Plaque The Shore Leith Edinburgh

Old Leith Bridge Old Leith Bridge The Shore Leith Edinburgh

North Leith and “St Leonard’s Lands” or what became South Leith were joined by a bridge that connected the two areas in 1493. This was the first Stone bridge to be built over the inlet. Due to the shipbuilders operating upstream from the bridge and when the ships were ready to sail they would have to pass under the bridge, which stopped large ships from being built. The first bridge was replaced by a drawbridge which was built closer to the estuary. When shipbuilding stopped the bridge was replaced by what is in place today.

 Old Leith Bridge The Shore Leith Edinburgh   Old Leith Bridge downstream The Shore Leith Edinburgh


Link to Newhaven Leith

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