Leith Fort




Jim Macfarlane


Thank you to Jim Macfarlane who wrote:

Return to Leith Fort area

    Fort House - built on the site of Leith Fort

"I returned to have a look around the Leith Fort  area this summer.  I found that the Fort wall has been preserved as has the guard house - but this was always out of bounds to me as a child, and not an area I ever entered inside."

Jim MacFarlane, Edinburgh:  September 16, 2009




Marc Day

Bristol, Avon, England

Thank you to Marc Day who wrote:


"I lived in Edinburgh for three years from 2004.  I greatly miss the city and people and am now very eager to return to make it my home.

Leith Fort  -  2006

"In 2006, I met someone who lived in Leith Fort.  They became a good friend.  The first time I visited them, I thought Leith Fort was an extraordinary place -  the preservation of the old walls and gatehouse to become the Concierge House.

Negative Comments

Leith Fort has been described on one web page as 'quite the most hideous 20th century social housing block with a few pitiful attempts to preserve it's history with reproduction cannons scattered around the grounds'.  Others have described it as 'notorious' and given other negative descriptions.

My Experience

Well true, it isn't the most salubrious of places, but really it isn't that bad once you get in the flats themselves.  The residents are friendly to strangers visiting and largely know each other.  To me as an outsider I thought the place was absolutely unique.


The Fort is being demolished in a year or two, I will be very curious to know if the residents choose to rehoused in the new flats to be built there or if they choose to take their chances elsewhere!

Marc Day, Bristol, Avon, England:  September 28+29, 2009




John Cavanagh

County Durham, England

Thank you to John Cavanagh who wrote:

"I left Leith aged 17 to join the Army.  Now, 40 years later and part-retire, I take a keen interest in anything to do with my birthplace.

I have looked everywhere for information and photos of Leith Fort.  Being being brought up in Hamilton Street we were in the shadow of the fort walls, but when I was young the fort was still occupied by the Army and was a 'no go' area.

Hamilton Street

    Hamilton Street, Leith  -  December 1976

The people who lived in the top flats would have had a bird's eye view of inside the fort.  It was just my luck to live in a ground floor flat."

John Cavanagh, County Durham, England:  September 27, 2010



Ronnie Elder

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Thank you to Ronnie Elder who wrote

National Service

"During national service I spent the last few months of service attached to the RASC (run away someone's coming) detachment in Leith Fort."

New Recruit

"I was the British Army's disappointment.  On reporting for basic training I weighed seven stone, and stood just over five foot in height.

Once shoe-horned into full equipment and greatcoat, my blood circulation ground almost to a halt, making it impossible for me to lift my rifle (weighing around 10 pounds or so) to the shoulder arms position.

This drove the regimental team, from lance corporal up to adjutant, puce with frustration. I suffered accordingly, but in due course the army answered the problem by posting me into the depths of Surrey, to languish as the forgotten soldier.

I settled down quite well, and relished the quiet sanctity of this particular small camp, until one day the chief clerk ( known as the iron duke for some obtuse reason) informed me that I was to be cross-posted to Scotland, no argument   -  or else!"

Transfer to Leith Fort

"It turned out that I was being posted to be Leith Fort, only a tram ride from my late father's home, which, as I found out on arrival, was little benefit, as he had already moved to Ayr a month before.  Our letters were few and far between."

Petrol, Oil and Lubricants

"Leith Fort was hilariousI was just as useless there also, but for some unknown reason I was put in charge of the petrol, oil, and lubricants (POL) stores, issuing such to many other Edinburgh units, many of them exotic, such as the army kinematic corps who each day brought their small trucks loaded with Jerri cans to be filled, as they produced signed chits, I accommodated them. Of course I didn't realize until later the scam being indulged."

Overnight Guard

"Being on overnight guard duty wasn't unduly tiring.  One could manage plenty of rest, for nothing stirred in Leith Fort during the night, especially the Duty Officer.

If you happened to draw the 'final gate shift' before standing down, after reveille, you might here a hissing noise coming from outside. This would be the provost corporal who lived next door to the Fort, he would in a loud whisper ask if the adjutant had come on duty. (His office was in the guard room area.)

We always said no, as the adjutant was never known to surface before ten in the morning. The provost would sidle into the guardroom, and ten minutes later would sally forth suitably decked in all his martial glory ready for action, first to receive a volley would be us poor gate guard.

'Hey you, get yer hair cut or ah'll put you on a charge.' As we always helped him to arrive late on duty without anyone being aware, we thought this was rather unfair."


"I managed to survive until release came along, but the army did manage to increase my weight to nine stone and I gained almost four inches in height.

Leith Fort was a wonderful military relic of bygone days, it should have been retained as was, and developed as a military museum."

Ronnie Elder, Kandy, Sri Lanka:  September 28, 2010



Barry Rafferty

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Barry Rafferty is looking for an old photo of Leith Fort.

He explains:

Leith Fort School

"Many years ago I was a school kid at Leith Fort School.  That was about 1953.  I know because we all got Coronation Mugs.

 My dad was in the army and was in Leith Fort and our married quarters was next to the back wall of the school.  If I forgot my 'piece' my mum would lean out of the window and throw it to me.  (We lived about 3-4 stories up.)

 I am trying to get pictures of my life while I living in Scotland, Yes I know it was almost 60 years ago but I hope you might know were I can find a picture

Barry Rafferty, Windsor, Ontario, Canada:  March 24, 2011

Reply to Danny

If you go to the Scran web site and search for Leith Fort, it will being up a few images.  There may be something of interest there.

Peter Stubbs, Edinbrgh:  March 27, 2011



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