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Edinburgh, Leith, North Fort Street, Leith Fort

Barracks (19-20th Century), Barracks (First World War), Fort (18th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith, North Fort Street, Leith Fort

Classification Barracks (19-20th Century), Barracks (First World War), Fort (18th Century)

Alternative Name(s) R.a. (Royal Artillery) Depot

Canmore ID 145502

Site Number NT27NE 288

NGR NT 26186 76683

NGR Description centred on NT 26186 76683

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/145502

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Architecture Notes

NT27NE 288.00 26186 76683

NT27NE 288.01 26118 76618 and 26135 76598 Lodges

NT27NE 288.02 26115 76601 Gateway and Boundary Wall

NMRS REFERENCE:

Architect: John Mylne, 1650.

1. On new road to Edinburgh, Leith, and Queensferry.

In the National Library of Scotland is a series of Military Maps and Drawings (some are coloured) of the Board of Ordnance, relative to the Works carried out in Scotland in the 18th Century, Reference 'MSS.1645-1652'.

In Volume, or Case, No.1649 is this Drawing:-

No. Z.3/40 "Plan of the Inclosed Battery or Redoubt near Leith, built for the protection of the Harbour in the year 1780'

Scale three-eighth Inch to 10 Feet. Signed A.Frazer 31st Deer. 1785. Lies behind the shore road from Leith to Newhaven" and in volume, or case, No.1650, these:- No.Z.46/17. "Leith Fort" on 'New Road to edinburgh Leith and Queensferry. Block Plan of proposed buildings. Scale 24 Feet to an Inch. Docketted, in pencil, "WIth Capt. Watt's letter dated 1804". Signed by Henry Watt Captain Royal Engineer.

"Plan section and elevation of gaurd House for Leith Battery. Scale one and a half Inch to 10 feet. Coloured. Docketted, in pencil, "WIth Capt. Watt's letter 25th Novr, 1804" and signed by Henry Watt Captain Royal Engineers'.

Z.46/17 "Elevation of Mens Barracks: Officers Barracks: and Hospital: and Section" Scale five-eights Inch to 10 Feet, coloured. Docketted and signed as last.

"Large Plan of the Buildings of Leith Fort" on the Road from Leith to Newhaven, which road is marked as impassable for carriages West of the Fort. Scale as last. Coloured. With flaps showing Upper Floors. Docketted and signed as before.

Edinburgh, Leith Fort which was Category B listed was demolished c. 1960.

Activities

Watching Brief (11 October 2011 - 12 October 2011)

An evaluation was undertaken on the site of Fort House, Leith, prior to its demolition and redevelopment for housing. The work followed desk-based assessment, walkover survey and historic building recording of the site and was undertaken by Headland Archaeology on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council. The aim of the evaluation was to target the remains of the early 19th century extension to the fort, as shown on Kirkwood's map of 1817 and detailed on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1853. Sixteen trenches were excavated, located across 5 areas of the site (A to E), amounting to 4% of the area available for trenching. The trenches located walls and surfaces of the Ordnance Store, stable blocks and ancillary buildings as well as the parade ground surfaces and a possible 'target' location within the parade ground, mostly concentrated towards the southern end of the site. To the north a number of concrete wall bases were found, which may relate to the latter use of the fort, which was occupied until the 1950s. In the central part of the site, within the area of the parade ground, an east-west ditch was located. This contained oyster shell as well as demolition rubble within the fill and is not shown on any of the maps of the fort. It is likely that it pre-dates the fort buildings, with the finds suggesting a medieval or post-medieval date.

Headland Archaeology 2011 (E. Jones) OASIS ID: headland1-112551

Project (11 October 2011 - 12 October 2011)

An evaluation was undertaken on the site of Fort House, Leith, prior to its demolition and redevelopment for housing. The work followed a desk-based assessment, walkover survey and historic building recording

of the site and was undertaken by Headland Archaeology on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Headland Archaeology 2011

Watching Brief (8 January 2013 - 7 February 2013)

An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group on behalf of Edinburgh City Council during ground breaking works associated with the demolition of Fort House, Leith. The site was formerly a fort built in 1780, the boundary wall of which along with two gate house buildings still survive as B-Listed structures. A previous evaluation conducted around the modern flats indicated the survival of the fort buildings and also of earlier post medieval activity out with the modern building footprint. It was assumed that the modern piled foundations would have badly truncated the remains of the fort or earlier activity throughout the building footprint however the watching brief has proved otherwise. Several foundations and walls relating to different phases of the forts buildings were revealed throughout the site that match up with early maps of the site, and possibly pre-date the fort. Furthermore, a large post medieval pit was revealed next to the fort well that appears to pre-date the fort.

information from Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 25 February 2013. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-143752

Excavation (11 November 2013 - 29 November 2013)

An archaeological excavation was undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group on behalf of Edinburgh City Council prior to the redevelopment of Fort House, Leith. The site was previously utilised as an extension to the adjacent gun battery and fort built in 1780. It is contained to the SE, SW and NW by the original 19th century boundary wall which, along with two gate house buildings, still survive as B-Listed structures. A previous evaluation and watching brief conducted in 2012 and 2013 indicated that there had been survival of the fort buildings and possible earlier soil horizons underneath and out with the modern building footprint. Excavations of 6 areas within the development site revealed several phases of fort construction that coincide with the cartographic and historical evidence. Furthermore, the earlier soil horizons provided earlier ceramic and other artefacts that can help provide dates for the use of the area in the medieval and post medieval period. Finally, a boundary ditch relating to the earlier agricultural activity on the site and a series of post holes running parallel to it were revealed along the NW boundary of the site.

Information from Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 24 January 2014. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-166823

Excavation (11 November 2013 - 29 November 2013)

A second phase of archaeological excavation was undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group on behalf of Edinburgh City Council prior to the redevelopment of Fort House, Leith. Previous excavations of 6 areas within the development site revealed several phases of fort construction that coincide with the cartographic and historical evidence. Furthermore, a boundary ditch and earlier soil horizons provided earlier ceramic and other artefacts that can help provide dates for the use of the area in the medieval and post medieval period. This latest phase of excavation focussed on two areas that were previously avoided due to live services on site. One of these areas to the NE corner of the site revealed that modern construction had removed all traces of the fort in this area. However, the other area along the SE boundary wall was stripped of modern overburden revealing several buildings that abutted the perimeter wall along most of its length. One of these buildings contained three smaller structures that may be parts of a furnace and chimney related to a former blacksmith. A small field gun or cannon was found within the possible furnace that would relate to the earliest phase of the fort extension.

Information from Kevin Paton (AOC Archaeology Group) 24 January 2014. OASIS ID: aocarcha1-225327

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