The Transition Years

by Malcolm Fife

Leith has been Edinburgh’s main port since the Middle Ages. It is one of the oldest harbours in the country, dating back to the 11th century. Modern Leith Docks took shape in the nineteenth century with the construction of stone quays and breakwaters. The number of ships it handled declined rapidly in the latter part of the twentieth century. It was generally bypassed by the container revolution with most ships steaming past Leith to Grangemouth instead.

Today, it is the largest enclosed deep-water port in Scotland. The port, was transformed in 1969 when a large state of the art sea lock was installed, transforming the tidal harbour into a deepwater docks. Its fortunes were further boosted with the discovery of oil in the southern North Sea. A motley collection of vessels operated out of Leith to supply and service the oil rigs. There were further ships involved in the construction of the vast undersea pipeline network. Cruise ships also began to call at Leith in the 1970s and this has now become one of its main activities.

This is a nice coffee-table type book with some good photograph and I would highly recommend it.

Published by:

Amberley Publications,


The Hill, Merrywalks, Stroud, Glos. GL5 4EP


Paperback: 234mm x 165mm, 96 pp illustrated

Price: £14.99



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