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LEITH, the seaport of Edinburgh, a parliamentary burgh
and a coast guard station, is situated on the south shore of
the Firth of Forth, at the mouth of the Water of Leith, a
stream which rises in the Pentland Hills and Hows through
the north-west of Edinburgh. It is distant from the Royal
Exchange of Edinburgh rather more than one mile and a half ;
the road between the two is called Leith walk, and is a noble
street. The North British railway has two stations in the
town and the Caledonian one near the docks. The original
name of this town was InverUith, which signifies the mouth
of the Leith ; and though it is indebted to its proximity to
Edinburgh for its commercial prosperity, it has often suffered
greatly from being involred in the fate of that city, and from
the jealousy of its inhabitants. In 1485 the magistrates of
Edinburgh ordained that no merchant of the city should take
an inhabitant of Leith into partnership, and that none of the
revenues of Edinburgh should be farmed by an inhabitant
of Leith. The first great disaster which befell this rising
town was its seizure and burning by the Earl of Hertford, in
1344. Three years afterwards Leith was again visited and
injured by the same general, and m the year 1549 it became
involved in almost every transaction of importance during
the regency of Mary of Lorraine, in her efforts to oppose the
Reformation, and sustained the horrors of a protracted siege,
a garrison of French troops holding it in the interests of the
Regent, while it was assailed by the Reformers and their
English auxiliaries. Mary Queen of Scots mortgaged the
superiority of Leith to Edinburgh, redeemable for one
thousand merks, with reversion in favour of Bothwell, upon
which the citizens of Edinburgh marched to Leith, and by
taldng possession of it, destroyed its independence. In 1643
the Solemn League and Covenant was signed at Leith, and
the inhabitants have ever evinced the sincerity of their
attachment to it. In 1650, Lambert, the parliamentary
general, took possession of the toivn, and when Monk became
commander-in-chief, he resided for some time in it, and by
order of Cromwell the citadel was repaired and greatly
strengthened. During General Monk's residence he induced
a number of English to reside here, who infused a spirit of
mercantile adventure into the inhabitants. In 1715 the
citadel, or Leith Fort, was seized by the Jacobites, who after
holding it a short time, and plundering the custom house,
hurriedly evacuated it during the night. This fortress was
situated about a quarter of a mile to the west of the custom
house, and there only remains of it now the arched gateway.
Towards the close of the last century the celebrated Paul
Jones threatened it, but a sudden storm coming on, the
buccaneer was obliged to make a precipitate retreat. Its
subsequent history is involved with that of Edinburgh. The
town is irregularly built, most of the older streets being
crooked and narrow, and it is divided by the river, here
crossed by a stone bridge and three drawbridges, into two
parts, called North Leith and South Leith. Leith in 1838
was, by the Act i and 2 Vict. c. 355, separated from Edin-
burgh, to which it had been sold in 1567, and the common
goods and rates were vested in the provost and magistrates.
By the Act 3 and 4 William IV. c. 77, the burgh was divided
into live wards, and the town comprises part of the parishes
of North and South Leith, Cramond and St. Cuthberts, now
governed by a provost, four bailies and 10 councillors. The
parliamentary burgh was erected in 1 832, and in conjunction
with Musselburgh and PortobeUo returns one member. An
Act of Parliament was obtained in 1864, tor a great scheme
of drainage, for the conveyance of the sewage by pipes into
the sea to the eastward of the east pier, far from the shore,
at the Black Rocks. Gas and water are supplied conjointly
with Edinburgh. A new street has been made from Great
Junction street to Tolbooth wynd, thus getting rid of many
ruinous tenements lying in the oldest part of the town.
The tidal harbour of Leith is formed by two piers, the
East and West piers, each about three-quarters of a mile long,
and vessels of 6,000 tons now frequent the port. In 1799
the Edinburgh Town Council obtained an Act authorising
them to borrow to construct two wet docks on the west
side of the harbour ; these were designed by John Rennie
esq. civil engineer, the East dock being opened in i3o6,
and the West dock in 1817. The cost of the whole was
j^28s,io8, exclusive of ^8,000 for building a bridge over
the Water of Leith. By an Act of ParUament, passed in
1826, the debt of the docks was settled at ^265,000, lent
by Government to Edinburgh at the rate of ^^3 per cent,
to be redeemed by a sinking fund formed by a deposit of one
per cent, for 12 years and two per cent, afterwards till the
debt is extinguished, after which the docks to revert to the
city of Edinburgh. Government also agreed to expend
;^i9,ooo for the extension of the western pier, and the city
;£2,8oo on the eastern. In 1847 an Act was obtained for the
construction of additional docks, and the extension of the
east pier. Government granting ;f 135,000 for the purpose.
From 1S3S the docks were under the control of Harbour
and Dock Commissioners, appointed by the town councils
of Edinburgh and Leith and the Treasury, but since 1875
the Treasury ceased to appoint and the Commissioners are
now appointed by the town councils and by the chambers
of commerce and the shipowners and the payers of dock
rates. The Victoria dock lies immediately to the north of
Rennie's eastern wet dock, and was built by the late James M.
Rendel esq. c. E. and opened about 1855. It is 700 feet long by
300 feet broad ; the entrance being 60 feet wide and 24 feet
deep at high water, or 6 feet deeper than that of the old dock
built by Rennie. Vessels drawing 22 feet are frequently ad-
mitted. On the western quay is a twenty-ton steam crane,
used for shipping coals &c. There are five graving docks, the
largest, called the Prince of Wales dock, was opened 2nd Feb.
1863, ^nd is 400 feet long, 60 wide and 24 deep at spring
tides. The dock is closed by an iron caisson. Another
graving dock, called the Alexandra, 335 feet long and 48 feet
wide, built at a cost of ^^42,000, was finished in 1896 : both
these docks are entered direct from the harbour. In the
beginning of the year 1863, the Leith Dock Commissioners
obtained from the Government Public Works Loan Com-
missioners a grant of ^£223, 000 for the construction of further
works. These included the reclamation embankment on
the east sands, 3,500 feet long, enclosing 36 acres, a wet
dock nearly eleven acres in extent, with an entrance basin
of about two acres, and a lock of 350 feet by 60 feet. The
plans were prepared by Sir A. M. Rendel and Mr. Robertson.
The dock, which is called the Albert, and connected with the
harbour by a lock opening from the entrance basin, is 1,100
feet long and 450 feet wide, and has 26 J feet of water at high-
water spring tides, the coping being 6^ feet above high water.
The breadth of quay all round the dock is about 200 feet,
affording room for both road and railway. The Edinburgh
dock, commenced in 1874, and opened by H.R.H. the late
Duke of Edinburgh in July, 1881, lies south-eastof the Albert
dock, and consists of a main basin 500 feet long and 650 feet
wide, from the eastern side of which run two other basins,
each 1 ,000 feet long by 200 feet broad and divided by a jetty
250 feet broad : the north and south quays are each 1,500
feet long, and the two sides of the jetty i ,000 feet long each,
having a total quayage in connection with the dock of 6,775
feet : this dock cost altogether over ^£400, 000. Leith now
possesses live docks and a total quayage of 3 miles 8o3
yards. An extensive range of warehouses lines the whole
length of the south side of the old docks, and branch lines
of the North British and Caledonian railways are brought
direct on to the quays. Another dock, i,goo feet long and
550 feet wide, was opened for traffic in 1901 ; the depth on
sill is 3i| feet at spring tides. The revenue last year
was ^109^118. Leith Port limits defined August, 1847,
and legal quays appointed June, 1853. Fishing boats and
implements distinguished by the letters "L. H."
Shipping fob 1902-3.
Entries and clearances of vessels : —
Leith, Foreign and British ports, entered 1,693, ton-
nage 1,077,970 ; cleared 1,478, tonnage 870,211. Coastwise,
entered 4,334, tonnage 754,634 ; cleared 4,549, tonnage
954,848, or a total of vessels entered 6,027, tonnage
1,832,604; vessels cleared 6,027, tonnage 1,825,059. Of
these 5,293 steamers, tonnage 1,735,509; and 734 sailing
ships, tonnage 97,095, were entered, and 5,296 steamers,

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