Plan for online archive of Leith

Workers stand outside a shop on Leith Walk. Picture submitted by Doreen McTernan.
Workers stand outside a shop on Leith Walk. Picture submitted by Doreen McTernan.
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A CAMPAIGNER behind one of the most popular nostalgia webpages in Scotland is set to create Leith’s first online archive.

The Spirit of Leithers Facebook page played a central role in gaining support for a Leith Museum and boasts 11,000 followers from all over the world.

But administrator Fraser Parkinson, 55, now wants to create a new website – also called The Spirit of Leithers – to run alongside it.

The site could be launched as early as the end of April, subject to funding, and would aim to cater for a growing interest in the port’s history.

Mr Parkinson said: “Facebook is just not big enough, and we need to present the information gathered in a different easy-to-access format.

“This would not just be a simple website, but one that has capacity to grow and is designed for simplicity to allow everyone to access it.

“At nearly 11,000 followers, the history of Leith is of huge interest to not just Leithers but many others.

“We are inundated with their photographs of Leith and the people of Leith through the years. The information that people provide is gold dust and deserves to be collated into a website archive where others can refer to it in future years.”

Ultimately, Mr Parkinson hopes that the searchable collection would be used at Custom House after its planned conversion into a museum telling the story of Leith.

Mr Parkinson claimed photographs and comments tended to be “lost” on social media, and that finding information can be difficult.

He said the website would be divided into sections, featuring images, reminiscences, genealogy, maps and a chat room.

However, he said that creating a website with an extensive archive “may not be cheap”, and is now looking at ways to raise the money needed.

The original Spirit of Leithers page was inspired by John Stewart, who established and ran the webpage Old Leithers from 2001. Following his death in 2013, his son Alan Stewart established The Spirit of Leithers, to continue his father’s work.

Fraser Parkinson, formerly of Lost Edinburgh, joined the Spirit of Leithers in February 2013 as administrator.