The Old Chain Pier, between Granton and Newhaven harbours was
known as Newhaven Chain Pier. It was used by steamers giving pleasure trips
in the Firth of Forth, but was destroyed in a storm in the 19th century.
The pier with its three spans extended 700 ft into the Firth of Forth.
It was built in 1821 and was used by steamers giving pleasure trips in the
Firth of Forth.
After the steamers had stopped using the pier, it became a centre for sea
bathing. Some railway advertisements referred to early morning trains
to Trinity for sea bathing.
Swimming competitions were held from the pier and the building at the end
was used a s a gymnasium [Gutrhrie Hutton: 'Old
Leith' published by Richard Stenlake]]
The pier was badly damaged in a storm that lasted for four days,
beginning on 15 October 1898. When the storm abated only the central
support, bathing station at the end of the pier and the booking office were
Damage was estimated at £500. The pier was never rebuilt.
Old Chain Bar
The Old Chain Pier booking office is still
standing. It is now the 'Old Chain Pier' bar, situated in Trinity
Crescent, overlooking the Firth of Forth. It has a restaurant
conservatory attached - but see below!
Acknowledgement: Thank you to Gutrhrie
Hutton for comments on the swimming competitions and the storm that damaged
the pier. These comments are taken from his book 'Old Leith' published
by Richard Stenlake, 1995.
Old Chain Pier Bar
The original Booking Office, built in 1821, was converted into a pub
after the Second World War. The building is immediately behind the
large telegraph pole in the postcard above. The Firth of Forth is just
over the wall on the right of the picture
The Evening News reports that the pub
"... gained notoriety due to the eccentric behaviour of
former publican, Betty Moss, who wore bamboo framed spectacles and reputedly
called time by firing a starting pistol and brandishing a sword.
festooned the pub with mementoes, including shrunken heads, and it became
one of the most atmospheric in Scotland."
Edinburgh Evening News, 29 April 2004, p.5
More recently, a conservatory has been added to the pub. Both the original building and the conservatory overlook the Firth of
Fire - 2004
was shocked to discover that the Old Chain Pier Bar was gutted by fire
yesterday morning. The fire is believed to have been started by an
The roof of the old building (the original
ticket office, built for the pier in 1821) has been destroyed and the inside
of the building has been blackened with the loss of many old pictures.
The new conservatory beside the pub has
survived, but it is not clear yet what will be the fate of the original
Restoration - 2004
Work began on restoration of the Old Chain Pier bar during summer 2004.
The photograph above was taken on 9 July 2004. The pier, with a new
roof and newly refurbished interior re-opened in mid-November 2004.
I was surprised to receive a
message from Edith Johnston, Edinburgh, on September 8, 2011, telling me that the Old
Chain Pier had closed again.
After reading Edith's message, I
drove past the Old Chain Pier again on September 9 and it looked a sorry
site. All the windows in the pub and its conservatory had been boarded
up, and there was a sign on the door advertising for a new Manager to run
September 14, 2011
To Open Again
I'm pleased to say that The Old
Chain Pier appears to have found a new owner. I've seen activity both
outside and inside the building over the past month. It now has a new
coat of paint and smart signs and appears to be being refurbished inside, so
we may see it open again soon.
Edinburgh: May 1 2012
I visited the Old Chain Pier
today to see how the refurbishment was progressing, and was told that they
hope to re-open next
Monday, 7 May Wednesday or
Thursday 9 or 10 May, 2012
Edinburgh: May 3 2012