Leith Miscellany goes online – part 3

This blog post highlights items found in the last 5 volumes of the Leith Miscellany (volumes IX – XIII) – and there is a lot to cover!

There are images of various shops in Leith. One photo shows David Ford’s fruit and veg shop which was in the Kirkgate. Two female shopkeepers are captured standing proudly outside alongside their display of produce. In another, the Leith Walk Co-op state firmly “SCWS (Scottish Wholesale Co-Operative) Goods Are All Scottish Made”.

Ford’s shopfront – Kirkgate grocer

The Leith Hospital Pageant was held each June from the 1890s for many years to collect money for the hospital. Floats and employees representing many of the businesses in Leith took part. In the image below from around 1931, we can see Leith bakers leaving the Bakers’ Rooms in North Fort Street to join the Pageant.

Leith bakers

Trams and transport feature a lot in these five volumes. During World War One, Leith Corporation employed women as conductresses and drivers to replace men who had joined the armed services. You can view a picture of a group of wartime conductresses as well as tickets for a journey from Junction Bridge to Granton costing 1d.

Tramway Ticket Junction Bridge – Granton

The last batch of photographs are taken from various productions from the Leith Amateur Opera Company. These cards show the performers and costumes of the various productions including The Mikado.

Leith Amateur Opera Company – Mikado

We hope you have enjoyed looking at some of the material from the Leith Miscellany volumes. To see the items from all thirteen volumes visit Capital Collections.

To see more highlights from the collection catch up with the previous posts in this series:
Leith Miscellany part one, volumes I – IV
Leith Miscellany part two, volumes V – VIII

Leith Miscellany goes online – part 2

Continuing our short series of posts about the Leith Miscellany volumes, the next four volumes in the series (volumes V – VIII) again show various aspects of Leith and environs. We see images of Newhaven, featuring the Newhaven Fishwives’ Choir. Unfortunately, these are in black and white so we are unable to get the full impact of how they really looked, dressed in their traditional costume of striped coloured petticoats under a gathered skirt and brightly coloured tops with shawls over their heads and shoulders.

Newhaven Fishwives’ Choir

There are pictures of another Leith Harbour, this one in South Georgia in the south Atlantic. This was a whaling station run by Christian Salvesen Ltd between 1909-1965. Salvesen’s whaling ships brought the first penguins back and donated them to Edinburgh Zoo, which became the first zoo in the world to keep and breed penguins.

Leith Harbour, South Georgia

The photographs and newspaper cuttings in the thirteen volumes of Leith Miscellany were collected by the Reverend Dr James Scot Marshall.The depth of knowledge of the history of Leith earned Dr Marshall a reputation as the area’s historian. He completed his doctorate on the history of Leith and wrote histories of South Leith and Kirkgate Church, The Church in the Midst and The Story of North Leith Church.  Various churches in and around Leith also feature among this set. One grand looking church, Leith Kirkgate Church which was demolished in 1975, stood at the beginning of Henderson Street where South Leith Parish Church Halls stand now. We can also view various plans of South Leith Parish Church.

South Leith Parish Church

These volumes truly are eclectic, offering something for everyone. Did you know that Leith had its own Olympian back in 1920? Another picture here depicts Alec Ireland in true fighting pose, commemorating his silver medal win in the 7th Olympiad, which was held in Antwerp in 1920. He lost out on a gold medal by one point!

Alec Ireland (1903-1966)

Keeping with the sporting theme, there are several images of local football teams. Does anyone remember Leith Hawthorn, Leith Rosebery  or Leith Athletic football teams?

Leith Athletic football team, c1924

View all the volumes on Capital Collections and look out for the third and final installment previewing volumes IX – XIII.

Read more about the Leith Miscellany project in the first blog post in this series:
Leith Miscellany goes online – part 1.

Leith Miscellany goes online – part 1

We’ve recently undertaken a large project to digitise and make available online thirteen albums relating to Leith. We’ve named them the Leith Miscellany volumes I – XIII as the contents cover basically everything and anything to do with Leith. They provide an extraordinary and unique insight into the social history of the area.

Originally collected in shop-bought photograph albums, the sticky album pages and damp had caused minor damage to some of the contents, so as well as digitising the photographs, postcards, presscuttings and ephemera, we have remounted the items on archival cardboard and rehoused them in conservation boxes.

The Fish Quay, – looking up-river, c1830

This is the first in a series of three blog posts highlighting the material and covers volumes I – IV. Inside, you get a real feel of what it was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with photographs of cargo boats and steamers and images of the bustling port of Leith.

View in Leith Docks, c1865

There are photographs of streets in Leith that no longer exist. Adults and children caught in blurry images standing in cobbled streets with washing hanging above them. Bartenders stand proudly behind the bar of a local pub waiting for the next customer to come in. Outside the Custom House (image below), a large group of men have gathered. What are they doing – gambling, perhaps?.You find yourself wishing that you could just squeeze in among them to find out. Meanwhile people pass by, going about their own business.

Leith Custom House

In another image we see the many flat capped dockers on strike in 1913, with banners proclaiming, ‘We Are Out For A Living Wage’. The strike lasted from 26 June to 14 August. The dockers wanted an increase in pay (a penny per hour on the day rate), better conditions, a ban on hiring non-union workers and shorter hours. We get a glimpse of what working life was like in a busy shipbuilders, with a look in the Henry Robb shipwrights shop in 1921. We can see a dozen men going about their daily job of sawing and shaping wood, with piles of wood shavings at their feet.

Messrs Henry Robb Ltd, Shipwrights’ Shop at Albert Road

View the full albums on Capital Collections and look out for the next blog post in this series for more on this collection.

Read the second part in this series about the Leith Miscellany project and volumes V – VIII.

 

One Hundred Years of Beekeeping in Edinburgh

Varroa mites on a honey bee

This year beekeepers in Edinburgh are marking the Centenary of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association. To celebrate, Edinburgh City Libraries are hosting an exhibition about Bees, Beekeeping and Edinburgh Beekeepers and will be running a series of talks and honey tasting sessions across the city from April until December. In addition, candle-making sessions will be available for children.

Although people in Edinburgh have kept bees for many years it was not until December 1918 that they came together to form the Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association. Local Association meetings provided a time for discussion and learning, whether at the winter lectures or summer apiary outings.  In 1928, Edinburgh & District Beekeepers Association merged with the longer established Midlothian Beekeepers to form Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association (EMBA) which continues to thrive today. EMBA has almost 200 members who have between 1 and 30 colonies of bees. Overall in Scotland, there are about 3,000 hobby beekeepers.

John Moir, a founder member of the Edinburgh Beekeepers Association, was not only an enthusiastic beekeeper, but also a prestigious collector of books on the topic and his collection is now housed in Fountainbridge Library with the rare items being held in the National Library of Scotland.

A century ago there were more than a million hives in the UK – today there are about 100,000 non-commercial hives. But we need more if we are to stop the honey bee’s decline. Our native bees are more endangered now than 100 years ago. They face threats from bees imported from abroad, from parasitic mites, and potentially from Asian Hornets. Increased use of pesticides in agriculture and loss of habitat also threaten our bees.

EMBA Apiary

If you want to find out more about bees and beekeeping, and what we can do to encourage bees, then why not visit our exhibition which is currently in the foyer of Central Library, George IV Bridge. In May it will move to Blackhall Library then to Stockbridge, Newington, Leith, Currie, Colinton, Corstorphine or Drumbrae, and Portobello before returning to the Central Library in December. At each Library there will be talks, honey tasting and candle making sessions organised. Details will be available via each library.

For more information about EMBA and beekeeping locally visit www.edinburghbeekeepers.org.uk

EMBA is also affiliated to the Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA) which is the national honeybee and beekeeping charity for Scotland. Details can be found at www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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Gaelic songs and rhymes for under fives

Rannagan na chloinne: Seinn comhla rinn!

Sing with us at our Gaelic song and rhyme times for under fives at Blackhall and Leith Libraries.

The sessions take place at the following dates and times:

bookbug gaelic
Thursday 28th April, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 30th April, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 12th May, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library

Saturday 14th May, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Saturday 21st May, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 26th May, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 4th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 9th June, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library

Saturday 11th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 23rd June, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Leith Library

Saturday 25th June, 11.00 – 11.30 am: Leith Library

Thursday 7th july, 10.30 – 11.00 am: Blackhall Library

 

Author David Munro at Leith Library

STOP PRESS: UNFORTUNATELY THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Ex Granton schoolboy David Munro is coming to Leith Library to talk about his debut novel The Time Jigsaw and recently published sequel The Time Jigsaw Deliverance.

The books have a Scottish theme with some scenes in Leith.

David will talk about his path from business professional to published author.  He is now based in the west of Scotland and has done talks in a number of libraries in Glasgow and Ayrshire. For more information visit David’s web site

Leith Library, 28 Ferry Road

Wed 7 Oct 2:30 to 3:30pm

The talk is free but please book a seat by emailing leith.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or call 0131 529 5517.

Refreshments will be provided.

“Wow… she’s posh!”

Some great moments in this short film of Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve’s visit to Leith Library to present our Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge winners with their medals. As you can see a great time was had by all, so much so some interviewees were lost for words!