Newhaven, Edinburgh

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Newhaven is a district in the City of Edinburgh, Scotland, between Leith and Granton. Formerly a village and harbour on the Firth of Forth, it currently has approximately 5000 inhabitants.

Newhaven is a conservation area, about two miles to the north of the city centre. Newhaven is one of 40 Conservation Areas in Edinburgh. The Newhaven Conservation Area was designated in 1977.[1]

It has a very distinctive building form, typical of many Scottish fishing villages, with a 'forestair' leading to accommodation at first floor level. The lower ground floor was used for storing nets.

Victoria Primary School, established in the 1850s, is a historic building in Newhaven Main Street, and is the oldest local authority Primary School still in use within in the City of Edinburgh. It has a school roll of around 120 children.

The new Western Harbour development extends north into the Firth of Forth from Newhaven. It is also the home of Next Generation Sports Centre (now named David Lloyd Newhaven Harbour), where the tennis player Andy Murray regularly played as a youngster.


Contents

History

The village lies at the line of a prehistoric raised beach.

It was part of the North Leith Parish being North of the river. It was once a thriving fishing village and a centre for shipbuilding. King James IV had wanted to build a Scottish navy, but the existing port of Leith had proved unsuitable for large warships. In 1504 he created Newhaven (literally meaning new harbour) as a custom-built port, specifically to build the warship Michael (popularly called the "Great Michael"). The ship was built between 1507 and 1511. The site of the original harbour is the current open space at Fishmarket Square.

Many of the founding families came from across the North Sea bringing their shipbuilding and rope making skills and customs and dress with them. As a result the town was well documented in photographs with many of the earliest photos being taken of the people in the area.[2]

The Society of Free Fishermen of Newhaven dates from at least 1572 and was one of the oldest friendly societies in Scotland.[3] It survived until 1989. Many of the Forth shipping pilot boats were based here.

The village was once connected by the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway to Edinburgh and Leith, but it was shut down in 1956.

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