Leith Place Names


Leith Place Names

Colloquial Names

Thank you to Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh, who wrote:

"In days of old, we had quaint ways of naming and identifying local geography."

Here are some of the names that I remember:

The Alabam

"This was the Alhambra Cinema, on the corner of Springfield, now gone."

Andy Dam

"This was the 'bridge crossing' section of Water of Leith at Anderson Place, a kids' fishing territory.

The Broad Pavement

Parliament Square (The Broady), Leith - 1950s ©

"This was Parliament Square, Henderson St opposite The Vaults."


Mary McLeod added:

"This photograph of 'The Broadie' (The Broad Pavement) shows Parliament Place which consisted of only two stairs, No.9 and No.11  ... "

Please scroll down this page to read more of Mary's comments in 'Recollections 1' below.


The Cappy

"This was the Capitol Cinema, now a bingo hall at  Gordon/Manderson Streets.

It was famous in the 1950s for its Cappy Concerts and talent contests on a Sunday night, and Kiddies' Film Club on Saturday mornings."

The Coalie

"Down Coburg Street, 100 yards on the right, formerly a coal yard used by a coal merchant.  It's now part of Water of Leith Walkway.

Locals still use the term."

Commando Buildings

These buildings were in East Cromwell Street, off Coburg Street, which was blocked off at both ends by a high brick wall.

The the old disbanded tenements there were used during the war for war games by the Home Guard."

The Coppy

This referred to the Corporation housing at the foot of Mill Lane/ Sheriff Brae.

The Eldo

"These were the Eldorado Dance and Wrestling Halls at Mill Lane, now gone."

The Laurie Street

"This was the old cinema behind Woolworths at Leith.  It had several names, one being the Salamander.

Up until the mid-1940s, you could get entry for a jam jar.  It was a bit of a flee pit.

Fire Brigade Street

"This was Junction Place at Dr Bell’s school, Great Junction Street.  The old Fire Station was there.  The building is still there."

The Hole in he Wall

"This was a pedestrian tunnel under Leith Central Railway Station, making a short cut from Leith Walk via the tunnel entrance at Crown Place to Glover Street, Ferrier St and Manderston Street and Gordon Street."

The Piggery

"This, probably so named because at one time pigs were kept here, was a large piece of waste ground at the foot of Ballantyne Road."


"This was on the Water of Leith at Warriston Road.  It was kids' fishing for tiddlers territory. It was where the bridge crossed a section of the Water of Leith, just past Warriston cemetery."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  Sep 17 + Oct 2 +  4, 2008

The Rooms

"These were the Assembly Rooms Dance Hall at the foot of Constitution Street, now housing."


"This was the  Council Public Wash House at Bonnington Road, behind Victoria Swimming Baths, where your mum piled her washing, clothes, sheets, blankets etc into a big bath and carted it in an old pram in the very early hours of the morning.  You could wash dry and iron there."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  September 17 + October 2 + October 4, 2008


I've recently received many more messages from Frank and others, giving the colloquial name of streets in Edinburgh and Leith.  So I've now added them all to this page on the web site:

Edinburgh Place Names

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  September 17 + October 2 + October 4, 2008


More Colloquial Names?


Do you know of any more colloquial names of places in Edinburgh or Leith.  If so, please email me.

Thank you.    - Peter Stubbs:  September 22, 2008.


Leith Street Names

Thank you to Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh for the details below.  Frank wrote:

"These streets were so named because of the port's association with foreign ports."

Baltic Street

off Salamander Street
Countries in Baltic Sea area.

Cadiz Street

  -  from Spain

Coburg Street

off Junction Street
from Germany

Elbe Street

off Assembly Street
from Germany

Hamburgh Place

at Lindsay Road / Portland Street
 -  from Germany.

Madeira St

off Ferry Road
  -  a Portuguese Island.




Mary McLeod (née Wilkie)

Barnton, Edinburgh

Thank you to Mary McLeod who wrote:

The Broadie

"The photograph of 'The Broadie' actually shows Parliament Place, which consisted of only two stairs, No. 9 and No. 11. 

Parliament Square (The Broady), Leith - 1950s ©

 It was located opposite No. 42 Giles Street (the stair next to Nelly Wells' shop) and went down towards Parliament Street and the Lodging House."

No 9

"No. 9 Parliament Place is to the left, just out of the picture.  It was above two shops.  The one on the corner had been Katie Conboy's grocery shop and latterly became 'The Cosy Corner Café'.

The other had windows which were always whitewashed-over and was a scrap metal shop of sorts, at one stage."

No 11

"The block shown in full is No. 11, which had balcony landings at the back.   The pub on the corner is Myles Dolan's.

There was a tiny roadway between the pub and the building opposite the Lodging House, but I can't recall what that building actually was."


"I was born in 1946 in the top flat (back) of No. 9, looking over a large area of waste ground to the Corporation Buildings.   We used to hold our bonfire on that ground.

Wingy Robertson once gave us huge wooden cable reels to burn.  We had the best bonfire in Leith that night!"

This waste ground may have been the original Parliament Square, but the only Parliament Square I actually knew of was in Edinburgh."

Family Homes

"My granny lived in the first flat (front) of 9 Parliament Place, overlooking the Broad Pavement and J.G. Thomson's; the Band of Hope to the left at the corner of St. Andrew's Street and Flannigan's pub (my Dad's local) to the right at the corner of Giles Street leading up, past the Saw Doctors, to St. Mary's Primary school.

My father was born in the first flat and, when my granny died, he asked the Landlords (Marshall and Mossman in Constitution Street), if he could rent it.  It had been well maintained and was the first in the block to have electricity installed.

They wanted to sell and very few people could afford to buy at that time.  My father had to threaten to strip out the electricity and all the nice fittings before the landlords eventually agreed to let him rent."

Move from Leith

St. Mary's School, Giles Street (which my Dad had also attended) was my primary.   My secondary was Holy Cross Academy.

I started at Holy Cross Academy at the age of 11.  The following February, after years on the waiting list, we finally moved into a Council house in Lochend Quadrant.

It was heaven - living room, two bedrooms, views to Arthur's Seat and even a piece of garden ground.  We had our first kitchenette, first inside toilet, first bath."

Memories of Leith

"However my fondest memories are of Leith -  'The Broadie' and the terrific neighbourhood spirit.

If anyone has other photographs of Parliament Place and the Broadie, I'd love to see them.

Mary McLeod, Barnton, Edinburgh, (née Wilkie), August 26, 2011


Edinburgh Names

Recollections  -  More Pages