The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £90,100 to The Living Memory Association to create a unique experience of the streets, buildings and people of old Leith. The project, named Old Leith Rediscovered
, is a collaboration between the Living Memory Association and Spirit of Leithers Facebook page.
Much of old Leith was swept away as part of Edinburgh's 'improvements' of the 1920s and 1960s, and knowledge of what was lost now relies mainly on old street maps and photographs. One of these maps, a 'Fire Insurance Plan' dating to 1892, records significant details, such as building footprints, construction materials, number of storeys, room arrangements and function, location of doors and windows, and much, much more. For an example showing the old Kirkgate, click here
. Using a digital copy of this map created by the National Library of Scotland, Old Leith Rediscovered
will add a wealth of information, including hundreds of surviving images scattered across numerous collections, to bring the historic townscape of Leith to life.
The project team conceived of Old Leith Rediscovered
during lockdown as a way to celebrate the history of Leith and her people, to foster a pride and inquisitiveness about Leith's past, and to provide a focus for Leithers to share memories and stories of days gone by. The interactive web-based map of Leith will be published online at the end of 2022.
The Living Memory Association, in partnership with Spirit of Leithers, is excited to be opening a second Wee Museum of Memory in Ocean Terminal later this month which will be dedicated to the project. The new venue will also have a walk-in exhibition space to celebrate the memories, places and people of Leith.
Miles Tubb, project co-ordinator, The
Wee Museum of Memory, said: 'We are thrilled to have received funding for this exciting project, which will link these wonderful historical maps with the Leith community. We are especially delighted to be working in partnership with Spirit of Leithers Facebook page, National Library of Scotland and Ocean Terminal. Our Wee Museum of Memory has been based in Ocean Terminal for over seven years and this new unit dedicated to memories of Leith will bring different generations together to learn about the rich history of the Leith community'.
Christopher Fleet, map curator at the National Library of Scotland, added: 'We are delighted to be associated with this project, which will integrate our maps with related historical information, including photographs and oral history resources. Maps present the past in one of its most engaging forms, allowing endless insights into what was there, and into how people lived and worked. Moreover, the plans that form a focus of this project are one of the most detailed types of urban mapping ever surveyed of places such as Leith. We are thrilled that this project has been funded, as it will provide new ways of enjoying and understanding the maps, as well as gathering new information for further research'.
Fraser Parkinson, administrator of Spirit of Leithers Facebook page, said: 'Our page is dedicated not just to buildings and streets but to the people of Leith who have come before and are here today. This project is another huge step in building bridges across the globe between all those who wear their association with Leith as a badge of honour. We look forward to welcoming visitors and hearing from them at the new Spirit of Leithers and Living Memory Association unit at Ocean Terminal'.
The Living Memory Association (THELMA) brings people together through reminiscence. Based at the Wee Museum of Memory at Ocean Terminal and at The Centre, Livingston, THELMA has been involved in many projects since its inception in 1986. For more information, click here
Spirit of Leithers is a community Facebook group established in 2013 in tribute to the late John Stewart who developed Leith's first website bringing Leithers together. It currently has a following of some 23,000. For more information, click here