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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 851459

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT37SW 172.00 centred 30435 74255

NT37SW 172.01 NT 30451 74262 and NT 30460 74256 Kilns

(Location cited as NT 304 742 and name as Portobello Pottery). Founded c. 1879. Formerly a complex of 1- and 2-storey brick and rubble buildings, some with pantiled roofs. The buildings have been demolished, leaving the two bottle kilns (dated 1906 and 1909) which are to be preserved as free-standing monuments.

J R Hume 1976.

Late 18th- and 19th-century buildings, single and two-storey, mostly of brick with pantiled roofs, partly replaced by asbestos. Two bottle-kilns remain, dated 1906 and 1909 respectively.

W Baird 1898; J A Fleming 1923; G D Hay and G P Stell 1986.

172.1 Two bottle-kilns dated 1906 and 1909 are the only visible remains of the Thistle Pottery. They have recently been restored and the flues and doorways blocked up with bricks.

Site recorded by GUARD during the Coastal Assessment Survey for Historic Scotland, 'The Firth of Forth from Dunbar to the Coast of Fife' 23rd February 1996.

NT 3047 7424 (centre) An evaluation was undertaken in October and November 2005 to locate and assess part of Portobello Harbour wall structure and recover pottery from deposits of kiln waste used for land reclamation, prior to a proposed development adjacent to the evaluation area.

The evaluation site is located on open ground on the SE side of two restored Scheduled pottery kilns (NT37SW 172.01) on the former site of the Waverley Pottery. Based on cartographic evidence, two trenches were located so as to overlie the projected line of the E wall of Portobello Harbour channel. The two trenches were handexcavated, one reaching a maximum sondage depth of 2.2m and then probed with an auger for a further 0.33m.

Excavation revealed that, below topsoil, waste from the pottery had been dumped to infill and level the ground. The dumps comprised clinker, ash, cinders, bricks and cobbles as well as silt, gravel, sand and clay. Pottery sherds recovered from the dumping date from the early to late 19th century. Tip lines formed by the dumping descended to the NW, tentatively indicating dumping over the E quayside and into the channel between the harbour walls.

The pottery waste dumping overlay loose sand containing early 19th-century pottery, large pantile fragments, and cobbles. No structural evidence of the harbour was located. It was concluded that the E harbour wall may lie below trench depth, be located further to the E (perhaps under Pipe Lane), or the stonework has been robbed out at this location.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Lothian Amusements Ltd.

R Cachart 2005.

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