The passing of the Edinburgh Boundaries Extension and Tramways Act of 1920 led to a major expansion of the city’s boundaries, including the amalgamation of a number of Midlothian parishes to the south and the fiercely independent burgh of Leith to the north.
Leithers were passionate about the sovereignty of their town and voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining separate from Edinburgh in two plebiscites held over the course of 1920. Controversially, the boundaries act still went through.
From boundary markers to fading street signage, we take a look at 11 remnants that serve as a reminder of the days when Leith was an independent burgh in its own right.
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1. Leith Town Hall
Carved into the stonework above the police station at Constitution Street are the words "TOWN HALL". Built in 1828 (Leith became an independent burgh in 1833) this was the original Leith Town Hall. The building still contains the old Victorian debating chamber within.
2. Boundary markers
The old boundary between Edinburgh and Leith was well-defined and we can still see evidence of this on many buildings. This plaque, fixed to a tenement frontage in Albion Road, bears the letters E and L to mark the frontier betwixt the two burghs.
3. Leith Corn Exchange
Edinburgh originally had its corn exchange at the Grass Market, but, prior to amalgamation, Leith had its very own. The former corn exchange building is situated at the corner of Constitution Street and Baltic Street.
Photo: Danny Lawson
4. South Leith Parish Church
Nowadays Leith is vast, but it once came to an end at what is now the Foot of Leith Walk. Consecrated in the 15th century, South Leith Parish Church is named as such because it really was at the south end of Leith and a full two miles from central Edinburgh. Today, we might consider it to be in north Leith.
Photo: JON SAVAGE