Submitted by Editor on Sat, 08/02/2020 - 06:41


It’s not clear exactly what the latest graffiti at Warriston Junction refers to.

It could be Britain’s exit from the European Union, calls for another referendum on Scottish independence, or a recent plea in The Times for good sportsmanship at this afternoon’s Calcutta Cup encounter between ‘auld enemies’.

What is obvious, though, is that the educated author of this nicely punctuated exhortation is no admirer of Victorian civil engineering.

The Warriston Road Railway Bridge was constructed in 1841–43 by Grainger & Miller for the Leith & Granton Railway, later the Edinburgh Leith & Newhaven Railway.

It has been Category B-listed since 1965, with a description noting its ‘3-segmental skew arches with channelled voussoirs, coped semi-circular ashlar cutwater buttresses with piers dividing arches and band course above, below coped ashlar parapet. Channelled masonry to intrados.’

Spurtle has long admired the twisting masonry under its arches, reminiscent to some of a giant nautilus shell.

Anyway, our response to the high-minded spray painter of Warriston is this: ‘RESPECT BRIDGES, DON’T SCRIBBLE ON THEM!’

There is a place for everything. If he or she would like to send us an article on reconciliation, we’d gladly consider publishing it.


Dear Spurtle,

The first railway was the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway which ran from Canonmills to Newhaven to connect with the Old Chain Pier and thence to a ferry across the Forth. The terminus was just to the east of where the current station building is, where you can see a high retaining wall curving to the east – site now occupied by blocks of flats.

Granton Harbour was then developed, so the line was extended to Granton (the ferry ran from there) and the name changed to the Edinburgh, Leith and Granton Railway. This required another bridge (where that kink in the coast road used to be) and a long, descending embankment along where McKelvie Parade is now.

Your piece has the Railway names in the wrong order.

I fully agree with your admiration of the quality and ingenuity of the stonework of the bridge over the Water of Leith. Brilliant. I walk that way home from Tesco’s hoping to see a heron along by where B&Q used to be. Nothing yesterday except a pair of goosanders turning their beaks up at that stupid Gormley.

Fellow Traveller 

(real name and address supplied)