Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Memories of Maritime Leith project

From Historic Scotland (

Memories of Edinburgh’s maritime past explored in new project

A unique local community project has captured a series of personal stories, shedding new light on the rich history of Scotland’s once bustling chief port of Leith.

The Memories of Maritime Leith project saw members of the local Leith community invited to share their own personal tales and memories of the area, which was once the focus of the seafaring community for centuries.

Over a number of months, the project saw four residents of Leith share their own accounts, memories and experiences of the city’s nautical history, inspired by objects held at Trinity House Maritime Museum – once the former headquarters of the Incorporation of Masters and Mariners. The collection at Trinity House includes a vast array of objects and special items from naval history, from navigational instruments and models of ships to furniture, maps and even a 200-year-old harpoon.

These stories charting the memories of four ordinary people, have now been made into four special short-length films, capturing new insights into Edinburgh’s seafaring past.

The digital stories, featuring the participants’ memoirs are paired with personal photographs as well as other images, objects and paintings from the collection at Trinity House. All four short audio stories will be screened at a special event for those involved with the project to celebrate Leith’s maritime heritage and history.

The Memories of Maritime Leith films include:

A Bow-Tow Remembers by Sophia Abrahamsen
From Lerwick to Leith by Stephen Hall
Leith Docks by Ramsay Tubb
All at Sea by Andrew Grant

The Memories of Maritime Leith project was created in partnership with Historic Scotland, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and The Living Memory Association.

The completed films form a learning and educational resource, helping to raise awareness and engagement with Leith’s colourful maritime past. Trinity House will regularly screen the films as part of their community learning programmes and will be shared through talks for community groups and care homes in the area.

Commenting on the project, Craig Fletcher, Senior Learning Manager at Historic Scotland, said: “The Memories of Maritime Leith project engaged with older members of Leith’s community and encouraged them to share their own stories and memories of the area during the height of its maritime past.

“Each of the four films and story-tellers offer a truly unique perspective and insight into a different part of Edinburgh’s nautical heritage, bringing it to life with their own story and personal photographs.

“These digital stories will enable several individual’s personal accounts of Leith’s maritime past to be recorded and shared at a wider level for current and future generations.”

Miles Tubb, Project Coordinator at The Living Memory Association, added: “This community project provided the opportunity for Leith’s residents to revisit a part of their past and share their own individual account of their local community’s heritage with others around them.”

“We hope that people will enjoy hearing their stories first hand, and more about the objects which helped inspire them.”

The Memories of Maritime Leith project was funded by The Historic Scotland Foundation. The films will shortly be made available on the Historic Scotland website and YouTube channel; to learn more please visit: or

(With thanks to Grant Thomson)


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