Leith History, Scottish capital waterfront buildings photos, City architecture, Docks developments images

Leith, Edinburgh : Architecture

Waterfront Built Environment Information for Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

post updated 26 October 2023

Leith History

Edinburgh purchased the Shore of Leith from Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig in 1398 and 1414, and the harbour of Newhaven from James IV in 1510, Newhaven being founded by James IV just six years earlier in 1504. This waterfront community in the Scottish capital city was made a separate burgh by Act of Parliament in 1833.

Leith was a separate city from 1827 until 1921. The community is fortunate to have kept a sizeable proportion of old buildings and the area around the Shore is fascinating, helped by good refurbishments. Queen Mary (of Guise) had her base here, Charles I was fond of playing golf on Leith Links (1640s) and George IV chose to alight here (plaque on wall opposite grey ship) in 1822.

At the end of The Shore is the Signal Tower (1685, Mylne), a windmill then a defensive position in the Napoleonic Wars, now Fishers restaurant. The community was a walled town in the 16th century and the remains of Cromwell’s Citadel can be seen half way along Commercial Street on the left (1560).

Leith Buildings

Swing bridge at the east end of The Shore (towards the Firth of Forth):
The Shore, Leith
Leith Swing Bridge photo © Adrian Welch

Leith Buildings

Key Leith Property Developments – a recent Scottish capital waterfront development selection on this website:

Scottish Government
Scottish Government Leith
photo © Jason Baxter
Scottish Executive Building

Western Harbour, northeast Edinburgh
Western Harbour Leith
photo © Adrian Welch
Western Harbour

Ronaldson’s Wharf:
Edinburgh Docks
The Shore, Leith Buildings – photo © Adrian Welch

Former Signal Tower built in 1685 by architect Mylne:
Leith Architecture
photo © Adrian Welch

Ocean Terminal Building : shopping centre development on Western Harbour designed by Conrans (CDA)
Ocean Terminal Building
photo © Adrian Welch
Ocean Terminal Building

Coalhill Housing
Coalhill Housing
photo © Adrian Welch
Coalhill Housing

Ronaldson’s Wharf Housing, on the Water of Leith, in the centre of the community:
Ronaldson's Wharf
photo © Adrian Welch

Red Sandstone Building, located west of the area:
Red Sandstone Leith Walk Property Development
image courtesy of the Drum Property Group
Red Sandstone Building, Leith Walk

Scottish Capital Buildings

Edinburgh Property Developments – a recent selection on this website:

Scottish Parliament

Hotel Missoni

Comments / photos for the Leith history and architecture designs – Scottish capital waterfront property developments page welcome