Reevesey's recommended reading

Monday, 29 December 2008

Newhaven Harbour

Two of my Xmas stocking treats were books called "Bygone Leith" by Guthrie Hutton and "Port of Leith & Granton" by Graeme Somner.

I love to read the history of where I live, so was fascinated to see that the western breakwater on which my flat now sits is only 70 years old - I know the flat is new but actually the land is relatively new on the scale of things.

The Woolworths at the "Foot of the Walk" has been there many years, certainly it was there back in 1954 (I'm sure there will be many Leithers who will recall when it first opened) so it is a real tragedy its finally closing - let's hope its one of the 123 branches to continue.

I wonder how many people assume Ferry Road is something to do with the many ports, or ferries crossing the Forth? Well, you'd be wrong, apparently it is simply an extension of Queensferry Road! You live and learn.

And now for the bizarre political link, well there's two;

Outside the Woolies was a statue of Queen Victoria (I will have to check to see if its still there) where the men'o Leith would gather to put the world to rights.

The second concerns Newhaven Harbour, which is where I live round the corner from started life as a slipway and breakwater and was then extended to a harbour, still standing today although the lighthouse now has funky coloured lights!

The Harbour was an amazing fishing harbour and very busy but not the only sales outlet apparently.

Women (I assume mainly fishermens wives) strapped creels to their backs and then travel the country selling the herring. They had a sort of uniform and this along with their street cries became familiar on their travels.

Their songs were made famous by groups such as the Newhaven Fisherwomen's Choir, formed back in 1927 as the Newhaven Liberal Club Choir to support their local candidate - this choir remained in existence for over 50 years.

What a pity its not still around today for Kevin Lang, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh North & Leith.

I'm now searching to find which building was the Liberal Club, if anyone knows, do let me know.


Andrew Reeves said...

Yes - Queen Victoris still reigns outside Woolies

Duncan Borrowman said...

Grace's dad was assistant Harbour Master in Leith, and he grew up there. He great granddad was dockmaster.

Duncan Borrowman said...

...and you may bump into Grace's cousin Pringle and his partner Craig, they are both still there.

Related Posts with Thumbnails