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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith] THE GLASS WORKS. 2 3 9 fashion that the hamlet near Craigmillar was namec ?Little France? from the French servants o Mary. U In a small garden attached to one of the house: in Little London,? says a writer, whose anecdote we give for what it is worth, ? there was a flowerplot which was tended with peculiar care long after its original possessors had gone the way 01 all flesh, and it was believed that the body of a young and beautiful female who committed suicide was interred here. The peculiar circumstances attending her death, and the locality made choice of for her interment, combined to throw romantic interest over her fate and fortunes, and her story was handed-down from one generation to another.? In Bernard Street, a spacious and well-edificed thoroughfare, was built, in 1806, the office of the Leith Bank, a neat but small edifice, consisting of two floors ; a handsome dome rises from the north front, and a projection ornamented with four Ionic columns, and having thin pilasters of the same. decorates the building. It is now the National Bank of Scotland Branch. Since then, many other banking offices have been established in the same street, including that of the Union Bank, built in 1871 after designs by James Simpson, having a three-storeyed front in the Italian style, with a handsome cornice and balustrade, and a telling-room measuring 34 feet by 32 ; the National Bank of Scotland ; the Clydesdale and British Linen Company?s Banks; many insurance offices; and in No. 37 is the house of the Leith Merchants? Club. Bernard Street joins Baltic Street, at the southeast corner of which is the spacious and stately Corn Exchange, which is so ample in extent as to be frequently used as a drill-hall by the entire battalion of Leith Rifle Volunteers. North of Baltic Street are the old Glass Works The Bottle House Company, as it was named, began to manufacture glass vessels in North Leith in 1746, but their establishment was burnt down during the first year of the partnership. Thus, in 1747 the new brick houses were built on the sands of South Leith, near the present Salamander Street, and as ~e demand for bottles increased, they built an additional one in 1764, though, according to Bremner, glass was manufactured in Leith so early as 1682. Seven cones, or furnaces, were built, but in later years only two have been in operation. In the year 1777 CO less -than 15,8834 cwts. were made here in Leith, the Government duty on which amounted to A2,779 odd ; but as there are now many other bottle manufactories in Scotland, thetrade is no longer confined to the old houses that. adjoin Baltic and Salamander Streets. A writer in the Bet, an old extinct &dinburgh, periodical, writing in 1792, says that about thirty years before there was only one glass company in. Scotland, the hands working one-half the year in Glasgow, and the other half at Leith, and adds :- ?NOW there are six glass-houses in Leith alone,. besides many others in different parts of the tountry. At the time I mention nothing else than bottles of coarse green glass were made there, and to that article the Glass House Company in Leith confined their efforts, till about a dozen yearsagoI when they began to make fine glass for phials. and other articles of that nature. About four yearsago they introduced the manufacture of crown glass for windows, which they now make in great perfection, and in considerable quantities. After they began to manufacture white glass, they fzll into the way of cutting it for ornament and engraving upon it. In this last department they havereached a higher degree of perfection than it hasperhaps anywhere else ever attained. A young man who was bred to that business, having discovered a taste in designing, and an elegance of execution that was very uncommon, the proprietors of the works were at pains to give him every aid in the art of drawing that this place can afford, and he has exhibited some specimens of his powers in that line that are believed to be unrivalled. It is. but yesterday that this Glass House Company (who are in a very flourishing state), encouraged by their success in other respects, introduced the art of preparing glass in imitation of gems, and of cutting it in facets, and working it into elegant fomis for chandeliers and other ornamental kinds of furniture. In this department their first attempts have been highly successful, and they have now executed some pieces of work that they need not be ashamed to compare with the best that can be procured elsewhere.? The works of the Glass House Company at Leith were advertised as for sale in the Courani of 1813, which stated that they were valued at ~40,000, with a valuable steam-engine of sixteen horse power, valued at E2 1,000. Quality Street, and the fine long thoroughfare named Constitution Street, open into Bernard Street. Robertson gives us a drawing of an old and richly-moulded doorway of a tenement, in the rorrner street, having on its lintel the initials P. P., E. G., and the date 1710. At the corner of Quality Street stands St. John?s Free Church, which was built in 1870-1, at a cost of about A7,500, and
Volume 6 Page 239
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