Leith

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Coordinates: 55°59′N 3°10′W / 55.98°N 3.17°W / 55.98; -3.17

Leith (pronounced /ˈliːθ/ leeth; Scottish Gaelic: Lìte) is a district and former municipal burgh[1] in the north of the city of Edinburgh at the mouth of the Water of Leith and is the port of Edinburgh, Scotland. It lies on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, in the unitary local authority of the City of Edinburgh.

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South Leith v. North Leith

Up until the late 16th century Leith operated as two separate towns, on either side of the Water of Leith.

South Leith was the larger, coming under the jurisdiction of St. Cuthbert's in Edinburgh. It was based on trade and had many merchants' houses and warehouses. This was the main side for ships offloading cargoes.

North Leith was smaller but proportionately richer, coming under the jurisdiction of Holyrood Abbey. It was effectively one street: now Sandport Street and Quayside Lane. Long riggs ran down to the river from each house.[2] This was the shipbuilding side of Leith. Several wet and dry docks existed, including the first dry dock in Scotland (1720). A small peninsula of land on the east bank also came under the same jurisdiction, on what is now Sherrif Brae/Sherrif Bank. This led to the first bridge being built in 1496 to link the pieces. It was built by Abbot Bellenden, who controlled the church at North Leith built at the same time, and Leith's oldest building (albeit somewhat altered). The bridge built here was demolished in 1780 to allow ships to get further upstream. The bridge to that date was a toll bridge, the income supplementing the church's income.

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