Photograph by Lees, 23 Bath Street, Portobello


Where and When?

Lees' Postcard

Postcard by Lees, 23 Bath Street, Portobello  -  Tobacconist  -  where?

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh



Lees Photographers

Thank you to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh for sending me this photo, taken by Lees Photographers, 23 Bath Street Portobello.

There were two photographers at this address (sometimes numbered 23a in the early years).  They were:

-   1898 until 1919:  William Lees. 

-   1920 until 1952:  John Lees (possibly William's son?).

Judging by the dress of the man, I assume that this photo comes from towards the end of the second period above.



Archie Foley wrote:

Where?  Who?  When?

"This photograph is printed on postcard stock.

The cigarettes advertised in the display case on the right include Capstan, Players, Prize Crop and De Reszke and the prices shown at the bottom of the case are sixpence for 10 and a shilling for 20, which could help a tobacco historian to suggest a date.

Can anyone identify the subject and location?"

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh, December 22, 2007

If you can help with identifying this photo, please e-mail me and I'll pass on the details to Archie.

Thank you.  -  Peter Stubbs:  December 22, 2007


Reply 1

Thank you to D Richard Torrance, Grange, Edinburgh who replied:

"There are only two Goldsbroughs listed in the 1950 Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directory.

They are:

-  James Goldsbrough, 42 Joppa Road

-  W K Goldsbrough, 36 Promenade

I don't know if either of the addresses was a shop.

W K Goldsbrough was listed at 36 and 37a Promenade in 1927.  Neither name appears in the 1953 directory.

My guess is that James could be the one in the photo, and possibly a son of the other.  It's fairly speculative, I know, but it may help."

D Richard Torrance, Grange, Edinburgh, December 23, 2007


Reply 2

Thank you to Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh who replied:

"I remember going for ciggies for my granny and my dad.

'Sixpence for five Woodies' sticks in my mind.  That would be in the early -1940s."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh, December 23, 2007


Reply 3

Archie Foley wrote:

"Further to Richard Torrance's helpful reply, I went for a walk on Boxing Day and checked that number 42 Joppa Road is a tenement entry next door to the Ormelie Tavern.

I had already worked out that 36 Promenade would have been in the Marlborough Mansions block, which was demolished about 40 years ago.

I agree:  I believe that Marlborough Mansions were numbered approx 29-41, Promenade, the lower numbers near Bath Street and the higher numbers near Regent Street.  - Peter Stubbs.

This picture postcard from 1925 was published by Steedman's Beach Bazaar, clearly seen in the photograph, whose address is given as 33 Promenade.

There is still work to be done but it looks like the tobacconist could have been on the Promenade"

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh:  December 26, 2007


Reply 4

Thank you to Archie Foley who wrote again:

Not James Goldsbrough

"While we haven't identified the individual standing in the tobacconist's doorway, we do know that it's not James Goldsbrough, as suggested.

Mr Goldsbrough's nephew contacted me to say that his uncle did live at 42 Joppa Road but owned an ironmonger's shop in Portobello High Street and had no connection, as far as he knew, with the Goldsbroughs on the Promenade.  He died in 1996.


"I've also been informed that cigarette prices were raised to those shown in the display by the Budget of 1938, so the photograph may well be dated in that year or 1939."

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh:  March 24, 2008


Reply 5

Thank you to Margaret Hedley who wrote:

The Sweet Shop

Bath Street

"Is this not the little sweet shop at the top of Bath Street?  It looks like the same frontage, next to the toilets.

This wee shop has been there for years.  Inside, it has never changed."

Margaret Hedley, Edinburgh:  November 19, 2010


Reply 6

Thank you to John J Hadden who wrote:


Postcard by Lees, 23 Bath Street, Portobello  -  Tobacconist  -  where?

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh

"I think there could be a recognisable reflection in the window in this photo.  To the right of the door, I think I can make out the photographer.  He is standing just to the right of his apparatus, which is on a tripod."

John J Hadden, Edinburgh:  November 25, 2010

Thank you to John for providing the two images below:

-  an enlargement of the part of the window that includes the reflection.

-  as above, but with the shadow darkened.

Reflections in a shop window in a photo by Lees of a Tobacconist's Shop              Reflections in a shop window in a photo by Lees of a Tobacconist's Shop

John added:


"As everything else in the window seems to be visible at lower contrast, I think this could suggest a lot of sky being reflected behind the photographer.

That could also support the suggestion that it may have been taken on the Promenade."

John J Hadden, Edinburgh:  November 25, 2010


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