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Edinburgh, Leith Docks, Imperial Dock, Grain Elevator

Grain Elevator (20th Century), Grain Warehouse (20th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Leith Docks, Imperial Dock, Grain Elevator

Classification Grain Elevator (20th Century), Grain Warehouse (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Albert Dock, Granary; Imperial Dock, Grain Warehouse

Canmore ID 238155

Site Number NT27NE 57.23

NGR NT 27585 76902

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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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

Archaeology Notes

NT27NE 57.23 27585 76902

Formerly entered as NT27NE 1363, NT27NE 1411 (at cited location NT 2760 7693), and as NT27NE 57.20 at cited location NT 27600 76930. Name formerly cited as Albert Dock, granary or granaries.

See also NT27NE 57.04.

Graneries [sic.] [NAT]

OS 1:1250 map, 1969.

This building is situated away from the dock, rather than adjacent to the quay.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 13 June 2006.

Site Management (15 May 2012)

Monumental 15-bay flat-roofed concrete grain elevator and warehouse with front block rising 5-storeys over storage base, small power generating plan to NE, asbestos-clad grain conveyors on steel stilts connecting Imperial Dock.

A well preserved and early example of a concrete grain elevator, remarkable for the survival of its original machinery (still in use). Grain was Leith's main import. In the first half of the 20th century industrial buildings such as grain elevators provided a focus for the application of modern architectural styles and progressive technology. Architects like Walter Gropius saw the grain elevator and its family of industrial design as the embodiment of the new technological and rational age. (Historic Scotland)


Standing Building Recording (May 2016 - June 2016)

NT 27585 76902 A historic building survey was undertaken, May–June 2016, on a category B listed Imperial Grain Warehouse in advance of its demolition. The building was constructed in 1934 using reinforced concrete and included a grain distribution floor and grain supply belts to 70 individual grain silos. A delivery section, with seven individual floors, was accessed by a staircase and passenger lift. In 1957–9 a seven-bay extension was added and the building was extended again in 1968 with the addition of a further 12 bays. During the 1980s investment was made in improving the plant and machinery including a new dust extraction and

delivery system, and in 2004 a programme of concrete repairs was carried out. The warehouse continued in operation until the end of 2006, when the prohibitively expensive cost of upgrading it to meet new health and safety legislation together with uneconomic running costs forced its closure.

The survey has demonstrated that all four external elevations of the warehouse have remained largely unaltered since they were constructed. The largest modification occurred to the fenestration of the Phase 1 (1934) block when all the metal-framed windows were replaced by PVC windows in 1975. Presumably this not only allowed more light into the building but also ensured that the interior working floors were suitably pressurised for more efficient dust extraction. All the operational machinery within the

warehouse has remained untouched since the warehouse closed in 2006.

Archive: NRHE (intended). Reports: Edinburgh Council SMR and NRHE

Funder: Forth Ports Ltd

Michael Cressey – CFA Archaeology Ltd

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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