Location: 1 Shore
A huge windmill was built by Robert Mylne in Leith in 1685. It was used as a windmill for oilseed rape, imported from the Baltic States. It is one of the oldest buildings in Leith and was originally known as Mylne’s Mill.
In 1805, the same year as the Battle of Trafalgar but also of Napoleon’s greatest victory at Austerlitz when he demolished a combined Russian/Austrian army, the sails were removed and the timber domed roof was replaced with battlements in response to the danger posed by Napoleon.
The tower was never required for defence so the ex-windmill was reconstructed as a Signal Tower, primarily to signal with flags to inbound ships that the tide was deep enough for them to enter harbour. Today the ground floor is used as a fish restaurant.
Linked to the various outbreaks of hot war (5 conflicts between 1803 and 1815) and running almost throughout was a trade war which pitted Britain’s naval blockade of French-controlled ports against Napoleon’s domination of Europe and imposition of sanctions forbidding trade with Britain.
Trade tensions with mainland Europe have always been risky and always been destructive. This relic of one especially destructive period should serve as a reminder of the importance of positive relationships with other countries.
Click this link to find out more about the tower.
The next location on this tour is the Salvesen’s Harpoon which is next to the harbour about 100 metres further along The Shore.
Picture Credits: Denise Fisher/Edinburgh4Europe 2021