Leith Local History Society

An ‘Astonishing Discovery’

From Leith Burghs Pilot - Saturday 11th July 1914

The committees of both Houses of Parliament unanimously agreed to pass a Bill for the withdrawal of sewage from the Water of Leith.

Unable to prevent the Bill being carried the Town Councillors tried everything to prevent its conditions being acted on because they thought there was no need for the contemplated works. Some three of four years earlier a very learned professor at the university had led several councillors to imagine that he was able to render the Water of Leith so pure and sweet that its water was quite delightful to drink. A committee went with him to observe his experiment and those who tasted the water confirmed that it was good.

So highly indeed did the committee praise the discovery that it is a wonder that the Edinburgh Water Company did not immediately buy up the Water of Leith and pump it to the reservoir at Castle Hill.

And now in 2005 - this summer past Smirnoff (the people who make vodka) set up an experiment where they withdrew water for the Water of Leith and after passing it through ten filters, just as they do with their vodka, they ended up with clear water – and our chairman drank the result to prove the claim.