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Papermaking on the Water of Leith
Out of Print

History, Social History
John Donald
Publication Date
25 October 2006
Out of Print
Birlinn Limited
Age Range
8pp b/w plates

Papermaking on the Water of Leith

by Alistair McCleery, David Finkelstein, Sarah Bromage, Editor(s) - Find out more about the author

’an important account of the working lives of paper mill employees in this major papermaking centre. The editors are to be congratulated for publishing a volume that clearly demonstrates the value of oral history as a tool for the book historian.’ – Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society

Up until the mid twentieth century the Water of Leith was an important industrial centre for Edinburgh, particularly in papermaking. At the height of industrial production there were 76 mills at work along this 24-mile stretch of river; many of those mills were papermills undertaking a range of production activities. These mills were at the heart of the communities along the Water of Leith, with most employees coming from the local area and many living in mill housing provided by the firms.

This book examines the papermaking industry on the Water of Leith during the twentieth century, from before the Second World War through to the closure of the last mill in the 1989. It focuses on what it was like to work in the mills, the technological change and innovations in papermaking that occurred in these mills, the range of paper and paper products produced in the Water of Leith area, how the mills shaped the communities along the river, and the effects on community life caused by the subsequent demise of the industry.

Sarah Bromage was researcher on the SAPPHIRE project from 1999 to 2004. David Finkelstein is Professor of Media and Print Culture at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh and Alistair McCleery is Director of the Scottish Centre for the Book at Napier University.