In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Portobello like this:
Portobello, watering-place, parl. burgh, and quoad sacra par., partly in South Leith par. but chiefly in Duddingston par., Edinburghshire, on Firth of Forth, 3 miles E. of Edinburgh by rail - quoad sacra par., pop. 4504; parl. burgh, pop. 6794; town, pop. 6926; P.O., T.O., 3 Banks, 1 newspaper. Portobello, according to tradition, took its name from a cottage erected there in 1742 by a sailor, who so named it from his having served at the capture of Porto-Bello in South America under Admiral Vernon; was a small vil. ...
about 1765, when the first brick and tile work was established there, and attracted attention as a watering-place about the beginning of the present century; has fine sands, an esplanade nearly a mile long, and a promenade pier, and has brick-works, potteries, bottle-works, and a papermill. Portobello is one of the Leith Burghs, which return 1 member to Parliament.
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 Portobello 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 Portobello and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Portobello, in Edinburgh and Midlothian | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th November 2015
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