The entrance to Ann Street — Annfield Street — stood a large brick built building called Trinity Laundry. This commercial laundry, the chimney of which dominated the Newhaven skyline, was a major employer in the area of predominantly women “who did not take up the creel”.
The major client of Trinity Laundry was Leith Hospital for its sheets, pillowcases, and uniforms of its staff were required to be spotlessly clean on a daily basis. Its client base extended to Edinburgh’s hotels too.
As far back as 1804 there was a tenement located here. The land used to be owned in the late 18th century by a John Steuart whose wife was called Ann, the source of the area’s name.
The grassed area — a remnant of the links that stretched to the harbour area — named with rich imagination and known by all the local children as ” the bankin’ “, was a favourite play area for them such as the tragic hero of the Spanish Civil War, Jimmy Rutherford.
Ann Street had two rows of tenements which was reached by passing Trinity Laundry. The tenements were a close-knit society. Being a cul de sac with no through traffic, the children could play safely in the street but for the busy housewife, the shops were just a short stroll to the Store (Leith Provident Co-operative Society) at Anchorfield which was a general grocery as well as the “Provie” bakery and butcher shops.
Alternatively, a walk through The Pend, which we will go through soon, brought the shopper onto Annfield and Main Street with the range of shops to be found there.
The homes may have been humble but the housewife, such as Esther Liston, Newhaven’s last working fishwife, had immense pride in the way her home was kept clean and well presented. The image here show attractive net curtains and sparkling windows.
Now walk past the last remanining tenement and you will see a pathway on the right going downhill. Go through the short tunnel — The Pend — and you return into Main Street at New Lane, our next stop.