The Martello Tower
The Martello Tower now lies half buried in the reclaimed land on what is now the eastern breakwater. It was built in 1809 to a design used at Mortella in Corsica. There are many of them dotted around estuaries in Britain as a deterrent to the French Forces in the Napoleonic Wars.
The tower at Leith was to the east of the harbour to protect the town and the new docks (built 1806) from the French. Built on the Mussel Cape Rocks at a cost of £17,000, it was circular in shape and about 10 metres in height (approx 31 feet) and had walls 2 metres (6½ feet) thick. The real blockhouse of its day - but the French never came. The war ended in 1815 and like Leith Fort before, never a gun was fired in anger.
It was left to rot until 1850 when the Royal Engineers, under the command of Lt Col Yule reconstructed it and it was manned by the men of the Royal Artillery, based at Leith Fort until 1869 when they were withdrawn and the tower again left to the elements and to the generations of Leith laddies who fished for crab and mackerel off the east peir and round the “Tally To’or”.