Jan 152019
Photograph of a field with the harbour in the background; this was the original location of the quarry
The original location of the quarry, now near-invisible

West Shore Road, Edinburgh EH5 1QT

This stretch of grassy fields (Gypsy Brae) was the location of Granton Sea Quarry.  The earliest recorded use of stone from this quarry is for Holyrood Palace (1532) and Leith Bulwark (1552-53). Later, the stone was used for Granton Harbour’s pier and breakwater, the Granton Hotel, and even the statue on top of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The quarry, nearly 80 feet deep and over eight acres, collapsed and flooded after a storm in 1855. In 1884, it became the headquarters for the Scottish Marine Station for Scientific Research. This organisation carried out research on marine life in the quarry both from a floating platform and nearby buildings. The inconspicuous rock beds along the Forth shoreline are known as the Muirhouse ‘shrimp-bed’, in which geologists made a major discovery: a complete conodont, an eel-like creature whose teeth are the earliest found in the fossil record. The first trace fossils of the body of a conodont was unknowingly collected in the quarry in the 1920s. Starting in the 1980s, 11 more near-complete conodonts were found and identified, and then more again in 2013.

Extract from Mechanic’s Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal & Gazette, Jan-June 1842, p480
Extract from Mechanic’s Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal & Gazette, Jan-June 1842, p480
Black and white illustration of the Scottish Marine Station for Scientific Research in the quarry
Scottish Marine Station for Scientific Research in the quarry
Portrait of Patrick Geddes Inga Mantle
Patrick Geddes was the director of Education & Zoology of the Royal Scottish Marine Station (Laboratory) based at Old Sea Quarry in Granton 1884.
Jan 152019
Photograph overlooing the west harbour of Granton Harbour
This road is located on the original middle pier. Looking towards Leith, the west harbour is now used for leisure purposes

Lochinvar Drive, Edinburgh EH5 1GT

The idea of building a harbour at Granton is said to have been suggested in 1834 by R.W. Hamilton, the manager of the General Steam Navigation Company. A deep water port, unlike Leith harbour, which was tidal, would allow Edinburgh to import and export goods. The 5th Duke of Buccleuch, who owned land in the area, saw the opportunity to build this new harbour on part of the estate he owned, which included Caroline Park House. Robert Stevenson, the lighthouse engineer and grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, advised on the harbour’s design and it was built using stone from the Granton Sea Quarry. Construction was completed in 1863, although part of the harbour, the Central Pier, was opened much earlier on 28 June 1838, the day of Queen Victoria’s Coronation.

Color photograph of pilot boats on the Forth
Pilot Boats on the Forth
Vintage map of Granton Harbour and the surrounding neighbourhood
The development of Granton Harbour
Sepia photograph of Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch, 7th Duke of Queensberry
Colorful painting of two boats in Granton Harbour by Jenny Haslam
Red, yellow, and turquoise abstract illustration of boats in Granton Harbour by Louise Montgomery
Boats at Granton Harbour by Louise Montgomery