In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Leith like this:
Leith, parl. burgh, seaport, and manufacturing town, in Cramond, North Leith, St Cuthberts, and South Leith pars., Edinburghshire, on S. side of Firth of Forth, 1½ mile N. of centre of Edinburgh - parl. burgh, pop. 58,196; town, pop. 59,485; 7 Banks, 3 news-papers. Marketday, Wednesday. Leith is divided by the Water of Leith into two parts, called North Leith and South Leith. It is connected with Edinburgh, (of which it is the port) by Leith Walk and other lines of streets, and by railway and tramway. ...
Leith is first mentioned, in a charter of 1128, as Inverleith. It early rose to commercial importance, but suffered repeatedly by war. Leith is the chief seaport on the E. coast of Scotland, and has a splendid roadstead and extensive docks. (On the E. pier are two fixed lights, each seen 8 miles, and at the extremity of the W. pier is a fixed light seen 10 miles.) It carries on a large foreign, colonial, and coasting trade, and has regular steam communication with London, Hull, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland, and the Baltic ports. In 1880 a line of cargo-carrying steamers began to run to New York. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) The industrial establishments include shipbuilding-yards, sawmills, flour mills, sugar refineries, engineering works, breweries, distilleries, chemical works, &c. Leith is the head of one of the 25 fishery districts of Scotland. On the SE. side of the town are extensive golfing links. Leith Fort (1779) is the headquarters of the Royal Artillery in Scotland. The Leith District of Parliamentary Burghs (Leith, Portobello, and Musselburgh, all in Mid-Lothian) returns 1 member.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Leith has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Edinburgh. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Leith and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Leith, in Edinburgh and Midlothian | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 23rd May 2013
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