The year 2020 marked the 100 year anniversary of a piece of a city ordinance that saw the incorporation of several outlying suburbs being assimilated into the confines of Scotland’s capital. These separate municipalities included: Liberton, Colinton, Corstorphine, and Cramond.
However, Leith, a residential neighborhood to the north and the area’s thriving port district, voted on a referendum to remain an independent entity. The people of Leith voted 26,810 to 4,340 against the merger. Unfortunately, Leith lost the battle for sovereignty and was absorbed into the sprawling metropolis.
It’s this fighting spirit that is depicted on this mural crafted by Tim Chalk and Paul Grime. These Scottish born artists would form the company known as Chalk and Grime. However, during the late 1980s, they were known as Street Artworks. These two creators collaborated with a group known as the Leith Local History Project to illustrate, “A forward-looking celebration, an encapsulation of how ‘Leithers’ saw themselves in the past and which was projected into the future.”
Weekly meetings took place between the two groups, ideas were shared and input sought. Together, the artists and this working-class community came together to create a patchwork of events and concepts that would be reflected in this massive public work of art.
The images on the mural include the dockyard strikes, the Carters’ Day Out, and the Leith Hospital Gala. There are also sections that include the area’s racial diversity, as well as an exploration of how the residents saw their future. The final drawings were put on display at the neighboring library for final collective approval.
Know Before You Go
The mural is located on the corner of Ferry Road and North Junction Street, next to Leith Library and Leith Theatre. It's worthwhile to check out the website for the Leith Theatre, as it's an active performance venue offering a variety of entertainment and festivals. https://www.leiththeatretrust.org/