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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Volume 6 Page 265
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266 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. It was built accordingly, and is for the reception and maintenance of men and women in destitute circumstances, of fifty years of age and upwards, in the following priority : first, persons of the name of Watt; second, natives of the parish of South Leith, of whatever name ; third, persons, of whatever name, who have constantly resided in that parish, for at least ten years preceding their admission ; and fourth, natives of or persons who have constantly resided in the city of Edinburgh or county of Midlothian, provided such persons are not pensioners, or in receipt of an allowance from any charitable institution except the Parochial Board of South Leith. The trustees acquired what was formerly a golf house, with its ground, and there built the hospital, which was opened for inmates in the spring of 1862. There are eleven trustees and governors, including, ex o.$icw, the Provost of Leith, the Master of the Trinity House, and the Master cif the Merchant Company of Leith, with other officials, including a surgeon and matron. South Leith Free Church confronts the west side of the Links, and has a handsome treble-faced Saxon fapde. The year 1880 saw a literal network of new streets running up from the Links, in the direction of Hermitage Hill and Park. According to a statement in the Sotsman, an enterprising firm of builders, who had obtained, five years previously, a feu from an industrial society, which had started building on the ground known as the Hermitage, during that period had erected buildings which were roughly estimated at the value of A;35,ooo. These edifices included villas in East Hermitage Place, self-contained houses in Noble Place and Park Vale, while sixty houses had been erected in Rosevale Place, Fingzie Place, and Elm Place. A tenement of dwelling-houses, divided into halfflats, was subsequently constructed at Hermitage Terrace, and the remaining sites of this area have also now been occupied. Eastward from them, the villas of Claremont Park extend to Pimiefield and Seafield; and hence, the once lonely Links of Leith, where the plague-stricken found their graves, where duels might be fought, and deserters shot, are now enclosed by villas and houses of various kinds. At one part of the northern side there are a bowling-green and the extensive rope walks which adjoin the ropery and sail-cloth manufactory. The ?? walks? occupy ground averaging fifteen hundred feet in length, by five hundred in breadth. At th.e extreme east end of the Links stand Seafield Baths, built on the ground once attached to Seafield House, overlooking one of the finest parts of a delightful beach, They were built in 1813, at a cost of jt;8,000, in &so shares, each shareholder, or a member of his family, having a perpetual right to the use of the baths. The structure is capacious and neat, and the hotel, with its suite of baths, is arranged on a plan which has been thought worthy of imitation in more recent erections of the same class at other sea-bathing resorts. Their erection must have been deemed, though only in the early years of the present century, a vast improvement upon the primitive style of bathing which had been in use and wont during the early part of the century preceding, and before that time, if we may judge from the following suggestive advertisement in the Edinburgh Courant for 30th May, 1761 :- ?Uth Bathing in Sea Water-This sort of bathing is much recommended and approved of, but the want of a machine, or wooden house on wheels, such as are used at sea-baths in England, to undress and dress in, and to carry those who intend bathing to a proper depth of water, hath induced many in this part of the country to neglect the opportunity of trying to acquire the benefits to health it commonly gives. To accommodate those who intend bathing in the sea, a prpper house on wAeeZs, With horse and servants, are to be hired on application to James Morton, at Jarnes Farquharson?s, at the sign of the ?Royal Oak,? near the Glass House, who will give constant attendance during the remainder of the season; each person to pay one shilling for each time they bathe.? This, then, seems to have been the first bathingmachine ever seen in Scotland On the z 2nd December, I 789, the lonely waste where Seafield Baths stand now was the scene of a fatal duel, which took place on the forenoon of that day, between Mr. Francis Foulke, of Dublin, and an officer in the army, whose name is given in the Edinburgh Magazine of that year merely as ?Mr. G-.? They had quarrelled, and posted each other publicly at a coffee-house, in the fashion then common and for long after. A challenge ensued, and they met, attended each by a second. They fired their pistols twice without effect; but so bitter was their animosity, that they re-loaded, and fired a third time, when Foulke fell, with a ball in his heart. He was a medical student at the university, where he had exhibited considerable talent, and in the previous year had been elected President or the Natural History Society and of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh.
Volume 6 Page 266
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