Cleaning up on the Restalrig path

The railway cycle paths are a brilliant asset of living in Leith. But despite recent improvements – new benches – the Restalrig path is still in a bit of a state. So a much needed clean-up of that path will take place on May 11, organised by Councillor Adam McVey and Councillor Tymkewyc. Are you free? Fancy volunteering? If you do, head along to the Hawkhill Avenue end of the path at 11am. The usual kit will be provided: gloves, bags, litter pickers. The hope is that the whole path can be cleared so everyone is welcome.


Got questions about the Constitution Street improvements? Drop-in and ask…

On Monday 29 April and Wednesday 1 May there will be drop-in sessions held on the street, with council staff in attendance, where you can find out more about what’s going on with the repair work taking place. We know that plenty of people have concerns and questions – take a look through the posts on this site and you’ll find many of them – so please use these sessions as an opportunity to raise them with people who can help. The more of us who show an interest, the more likely we are to get what we want out of the improvements. It’s the least that we all deserve, don’t you think?
The main works on Constitution Street are due to start next Monday, 29th April, with the pavement and road resurfacing commencing in the sections between the Foot of the Walk and Coatfield Lane and the Old Dock Gates to Bernard Street. 
Monday 29 April – 3:00pm to 5:00pm in Printworks Coffee, 42 Constitution Street
Wednesday 1 May – 10:00am to 12:00 noon in The Constitution Bar, 48 Constitution Street

Is this what Constitution Street really needs? And will the Council listen?

In response to our recent Tweet we were delighted to receive the text of a letter sent by one Constitution Street resident as part of the council’s online consultation on the Leith Improvement programme. I’ve posted it below because I think you’ll agree it gets to the heart of what needs to be done by the Council in order to both ensure that the planned improvements really do impact positively on the the street and also that the concerns of residents are acted upon. (The final paragraph is crucially important.)
As far as we’re aware, the Council have not as yet responded to the questions raised, perhaps they will when given this second opportunity?
As a home-owning resident of Constitution Street, near the junction of Queen Charlotte St, on the eastern side of the street, opposite the St Mary’s Star of the Sea church, my primary concern is for a satisfactory reinstatement of the road surface and the pavements alongside it.
Since being dug up, filled in, dug up and filled in again repeatedly (for utilities work) during the period when the council still intended to run the tram down here, the street’s surface has been a widely acknowledged disgrace. Also, at times during this period, increased use of the street by HGVs and buses (when neighbouring streets used by certain buses were closed and the buses were rerouted down Constitution Street) the impact on residential properties along the street was frankly hellish. There were times when our house rumbled and shook more or less constantly day and night. 
Matters have improved since a big yellow sign was put up on Bernard Street stating that Constitution St was “unsuitable for HGVs”, and since further signs were put up restricting speed to 20mph – and I would sincerely urge the powers that be to retain the 20mph restriction once the reinstatement works are completed. If possible, making the speed restriction signage clearer and then enforcing it would be a big help locally as it is frequently ignored, particularly by the HGVs that still use the street and by buses. Incidentally, the speed-sensor unit fixed to a lamp-post directly opposite the Port of Leith Housing Association building has ceased to work.
I’d be very happy for a council official to visit our property and witness for themselves the physical disruption and noise nuisance in a building abutting this narrow section of Constitution Street. We have been here for nearly six years, we now have two small children aged 5 and 3, and there are many other families with young children in and around this area for whom the neglect and mismanagement of Constitution Street has been and remains a more or less constant thorn in our side. 
Finally, re the reinstatement works, I would urge the council to insist that the contractors look below the surface of the street, carrying out a proper structural survey and addressing any problems that may lie beneath the surface. I say this because on more than one occasion, in the aftermath of the successive waves of utility work carried out some three to four years ago, workmen had to return to fix holes that opened up in the street, discovering that the previous workmen had failed to properly fill in the holes they’d dug – and there were found to be “voids” left beneath the surface of the street, which exacerbated the percussive effects of traffic on the road. It would be a serious oversight – with likely unnecessary future cost implications – if the contractors (McNicholas Construction?) failed to deal properly with the underpinning of the street and simply addressed the cosmetic aspect of the street’s surface.
Andy Mackenzie, Constitution Street resident

Get your hands dirty

spring gardeningOk, it’s not quite Constitution Street, but we’re posting this in the hope that one day it might be. This Saturday (March 9) at 11am a group of locals are hoping to transform the gardens around old St Paul’s on Lorne Street. The plan is to grow veg, herbs and flowers to make a small oasis in the local area. If you fancy getting involved then head along to find out more or to help with some gardening. And if you need more of an incentive, hot soup will be provided for lunch.


Hooray for LeithLate 2012


If for no other reason that it offers a chance to post something that focuses on issues other than crappy road surfaces and vibrating buildings we are excited to be mention LeithLate 2012. But actually, it’s not just a welcome distraction from potholes, LeithLate is a properly exciting one-night festival of the arts. Programmed by Morvern Cunningham, on June 28, more than 10 venues will take part hosting gigs and exhibitions, site specific works and, of course, a party.   

It’s not just bigger than its first year either, new developments for 2012 include the launch of The Shutter Project in conjunction with iloveleith which will give a local artist the chance to create a permanent or semi-permanent artwork on the shutter of a Leith business each month. The work will be visible after business hours when the shops are closed and the first is to be done by Edinburgh-based illustrator Jamie Johnson on the shutter of Gamesmaster Games Exchange (287 Leith Walk) opposite the flat where Johnson grew up. The work will be unveiled on June 28. Further artworks will be appearing on local businesses on Leith Walk in the following months, including work by Leith artists Rabiya Choudhry and Bernie Reid.

So take a wander on Thursday and see what’s going on. Leith is just brilliant, isn’t it?


1 Whitespace Gallery, 11 Gayfield Square: Kevin Harman, new work

2 Superclub, 11a Gayfield Square: Open Studios

3 Windsor Buffet, 45 Elm Row: Live music showcase featuring Boy Up A Tree

4 The Old Ambulance Depot, 77 Brunswick Street: The Making of It, work by Joseph Calleja, Martin Campbell, Irfan Donmez, Deniz Guvensoy, Dominik Lipp, Scott McCracken, Eilidh McPherson, Roz McKenzie, Nikos Mantzios, Allan J. Robertson, Andrew Smith, and Augustus Veinoglou.

5 Word of Mouth Café, 3A Albert Street: Inky Fingers & Lowedef films hosted by Rachel McCrum and Paul Maguire

6 Brass Monkey Leith, 362 Leith Walk: Superclub exhibition + Black Diamond Express acoustic set

7 Elvis Shakespeare, 347 Leith Walk: Exhibition of Leith-based artists, plus the showcase of a new collection by JRF Rouge Milliner, plus live performances from The Last Battle, Blueflint and Edinburgh School for the Deaf

8 Rhubaba Gallery and Studios, 25 Arthur Street: Its Hard to Find a Good Lamp, featuring Jennifer Bailey, Emily Fogarty, Sadie Murdoch, Method Furniture, Alex Pollard and Oliver Smith

9 The Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street: QMU Art Therapy final year graduate exhibition, plus a night of ping pong shenanigans with special guest DJ

10 Victoria, 265 Leith Walk: Open exhibition plus music from Piece of Cake.

11 Boda, 229 Leith Walk: Exhibition by Steven Collier, plus music from folk duo Julias’ Daughters and Blues ‘n’ Two’s

12 Silverhub Studios, 130/7 Leith Walk: Residents exhibition plus acoustic set from Blueflint.

13 Leith Circle of Friends, 115 Leith Walk: Live music from rapper Zeba, singer-songwriter Jennifer Davidson and live African music performance.

So, what should we do? TAKE ACTION

There’s been quite a bit of chat here and on Twitter and Facebook about the last post which addressed the problems being caused by the high volume and speed of heavy traffic on Constitution Street. Thanks for getting in touch – it’s really helpful and it’s exactly what this blog is for. We said we’d come up with some practical ideas about how to move forward and we have. So here they are:

1. Contact Marshall Poulton, Head of Traffic at Edinburgh City Council (

2. Contact ward councillors, Gordon Munro, Chas Booth and Adam McVey (,,

3. Start a petition – both online and on paper

Below you’ll see a template for an email that can be sent to Mr Poulton. Please use it. Copy and paste until your heart is content. But also, feel free to add your own details or to write your own version. Perhaps you have kids and you’re worried for their safety? Perhaps you cycle and the traffic is causing you problems? It’s really important that we give council officials a real sense of the distress that the current situation is causing. Also, please spread the word. Not everyone is online, not everyone likes email (all of the people mentioned above can be reached at The City of Edinburgh Council, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ). The main thing is that now that we know who to contact, we do contact them. The state of the street and the way that it’s being used is ridiculous – so let’s get help to do something about it. 

Finally, we are in the process of setting up a petition, but if anyone would fancy helping – now’s your chance…



For the last few months the volume of traffic on Constitution Street – both buses and HGVs – has been significantly heavier than is usual. This increase in volume combined with the extremely poor road surface, which was laid as a temporary fix after the tram work utility access, means that residents are experiencing significant noise disruption and many of the buildings that we live in are shaking with the impact of the heavy traffic. There are growing concerns about irreparable structural damage and pollution damage to the street’s many historic, listed buildings. 

Please can you advise what might be done to address this situation?

– As many as 40 buses every hour are passing up and down Constitution Street during the day. Can these buses be re-routed as a matter of urgency?

– The advised route for HGVs is along Great Junction Street, North Junction Street and Commercial Street. Why are so many of them are choosing not to use that route? And how they might be encouraged to do so? 

– we don’t know what speed traffic is travelling at, but if the noise and rumbling in our buildings is anything to go by, the speed is inappropriate for a street that is both heavily populated and architecturally significant. Constitution Street has a nursery on one side and two primary schools on the other – shouldn’t we be a ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ area?

Constitution Street is one of the most historic streets in Edinburgh (only two buildings on the street are not Listed status) so to use it as merely a route for traffic with that taking precedence over everyone and everything else seems  entirely unacceptable – please help us to improve this situation.




Exhibition: Leith Hospital Remembered

This just arrived. Well worth a look…


invites you to the launch of


– an illustrated book of memories of Leith Hospital and what in meant to the people of Leith


on FRIDAY 28th OCT at 2.45pm

Also a showing of Stewart Emm’s documentary on LEITH HOSPITAL and a reading of a short scene by Laure C Paterson from the play she is writing based on some of the hospital memories.

RSVP to Liz Hare ( or 337 8570)