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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
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240 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith is in the Gothic style, with a tower 130 feet high, surmounted by an open crown. On the east side of this street, and near its northern end, stood the house in which John Home, the author of ?( Douglas ? and other tragedies, was born, on the 13th September, 1724. His father, Alexander Home, was Town Clerk of Leith, and his mother was Christian Hay, daughter of a writer in Edinburgh. He was educated at the Grammar School in the Kirkgate, and subsequently succeeded in carrying Thomas Barrow, who had dislocated his ankle in the descent, to Alloa, where they were received on board the YuZture, sloopofwar, commanded by Captain Falconer, who landed them in his barge at the Queen?s Ferry, from whence Home rFturned to his father?s house in Leith. Subsequently he became the associate and friend of Drs. Robertson and Blair, David Hume, Adam Fergusson, Adam Smith, and other eminent Ziterati ST. JAMES?S CHAPEL, 1820. (Aftcr Stow.) at the university of the capital. His father was a son of Home of Flass (says Henry Mackenzie, in his ? Memoirs ?1, a lineal descendant of Sir James Home of Cowdenknowes, ancestor of the Earls of Home. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Edinburgh on the 4th of April, in the memorable year 1745, and became a volunteer in the corps so futilely formed to assist in the defence of Edinburgh against Prince Charles Edward Serving as a volunteer in the Hanoverian interest, he was taken prisoner at thevictory of Falkirk, and committed to the castle of Doune in hlonteith, from whence, with some others, he effected an escape by forming ropes of the bedclothes-an adventure which he details in his own history of the civil strife. They of whom the Edinburgh of that day could boast ; and in 1746 he was inducted as minister at Athelstaneford, his immediate predecessor being Robert Blair, author of ? The Grab-e," and there he produced his first drama, founded on the death of Agis, King of Sparta, which Gamck declined when offered for representation in I 749. In 1755 Home set off on horseback to London from his house in East Lothian, with the tragedy of ?Ilouglas? in his pocket, says Henry Mackenzie. ?? His habitual carelessness was strongly shown by his having thought of no better conveyance for this MS.-by which he #vas to acquire all the fame and future success of which his friends were so confident-than the pocket of the great- .
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