Annfield Street

Route Stop 7

Next Stop -#08 New Lane
Overview Newhaven and Leith Hospital Esther Liston Jimmy Rutherford

Formerly known as Ann Street

Annfield Street was called Ann Street until 1965 when it was renamed to avoid confusion with a street of the same name in Edinburgh city.  No rationale has been given as to why it should not have been the other way around. Postcodes, which may have helped avoid errors in delivery, did not become commonplace until the 1970s.

3_5131 This c 1968 picture of the entrance to Ann Street (Annfield Street since 1975) from Hawthornvale has little changed in this aspect over the years.
3_5227 Ann Street. In this section of Ann Street, two blocks of tenements faced opposite each other,
3_5275 The tenement block on the left (south) side was adjacent to a grassy bank, a well-used play area for local children,
3_5270 The housewives living in the tenements in Ann Street were able to dry their washing in their shared rear gardens, commonly known as backgreens.

Trinity Laundry

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.

3_5239 Ann St and the Trinity Laundry the tall chimney of which dominated the skyline.

A Safe Place To Be

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.

3_5224 The Grassy Bank on Annfield Street’s south side was a convenient play area for the children who lived in the street.

Humble Homes But Sparkling

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.

3_5225 Attractive windows and clean homes were the order of the day in Ann Street and throughout Newhaven.
Previous Stop - #06 HawthornvaleNext Stop -#08 New Lane