West Old Dock [Leith]

Location type


Name and dates

West Old Dock [Leith] (1817-1967)

Note: text in square brackets is added for clarity and was not part of the location's name.


This wet dock was located in North Leith, west of the Water of Leith. It opened in 1817, work having begun in 1810. The engineer was John Rennie. The southern quayside had bonded warehousing and other warehousing, the northern side had a shipyard (the the west) and two graving docks. The eastern end had a passage through to East Old Dock [Leith] crossed by a swing bridge. The western portion (about a fifth), known as the Queen's Dock was Admiralty owned. Entry into the east dock was via a lock, allowing the water level to be maintained at low tide. A third, larger, dock was planned to the west but not built.

The southern quay was rail served by a short branch from the 1846 Leith [ELGR] terminus of the Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway. The dockside lines were extended west with the opening of the 1864 goods only (initially) Leith North Branch (Caledonian Railway), a branch of which served the west end of Victoria Dock [Leith]. To accommodate this the shipyard was moved north of the lines. An extension east was also made to the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway via a long removed swing bridge over the Water of Leith near the Custom House. (This was the original purpose of the disused siding still in place by 'Ocean Mist', the swing bridge being removed about 1920.)

In 1874 further lines, on reclaimed land, extended the Victoria Dock [Leith] lines, skirted the graving docks north of the west dock to reach the Victoria Swing Bridge [Leith] to the Albert Dock [Leith] and reached the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway.

The dock fell out of use and was closed in 1967 before being filled in around 1974, being largely filled in 1975. The site is now a hotel, housing and car parks. The warehousing on Commerce Street has been converted for various uses. Out of use track survives running east-west on the south side of the former east and west docks.

By 1900 the western graving dock north of the old west dock was Menzies & Co's dock and the eastern graving dock, enlarged pre 1876, was the Commercial Graving Dock.




Leith West Old Dock