The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Leith

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Edition of 1920. See also Leith on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

LEITH, Scotland, a seaport and parliamentary burgh in the county of Midlothian, encircled on three sides by Edinburgh, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, on the Water of Leith. It is connected with Edinburgh by Leith Walk — originally a line of earthworks built during the Cromwellian occupation, and by branch lines of the railways centering in Edinburgh. It is the principal seaport in the east of Scotland. Among the principal public buildings are the stately old parish church of Saint Mary's, custom-house, Trinity House, corn exchange, the new and well-equipped Leith Academy, including the Leith Technical College, and there are fine parks and public golf links. The chief manufactures are ropes, sail cloth, oil cake, paints, colors, artificial manures, and there are shipbuilding yards, iron foundries, engine works, flour mills, oil mills and refineries, steam saw mills, large maltings, an ice factory, etc. The foreign trade is chiefly with the Baltic and the principal French and German ports, and there is a trade in grain, flour, etc., with the United States and Canada. There are extensive wet docks and a fine roadstead, and several public graving docks, capable of receiving the largest vessels. It is the first of the fishery districts of Scotland. The quaint fishing village of Newhaven, on the west, is part of the burgh. The municipality is one of the most progressive in the kingdom; the water and gas undertakings are conjoined with Edinburgh, and it owns and operates its own electric plant and cable car systems.

Leith is a very ancient town its earliest charter dating from 1128.

It was besieged by the Lords of the Congregation during the Reformation period, and of the landing of Mary Queen of Scots on 1 Sept. 1561. Little of the old town remains, the narrow streets and alleys having been swept away by a great municipal improvement scheme. Leith, Portobello and Musselburgh, known as the Leith Burghs, return one member to the House of Commons. Pop. over 80,000. Consult Stevenson, ‘Annals of Edinburgh and Leith’ (1839); Irons, J. C, ‘Leith and Its Antiquities’ (1898).