The Leith Project

Industrial Ruins and Maritime Heritage

  • Hester Depel University of Edinburgh
Keywords: ruins, memory, nostalgia, industrialisation, leith


This essay reflects on the politics of abandoned buildings juxtaposed with memorials to a thriving industrial past whilst walking through Leith. I argue that these abandoned buildings reveal capitalism's inherent obsolescence and counteract its teleological version of time. Drawing on Ingold’s notion of a “taskscape”, I show how multiple temporalities are enfolded into these decaying structures, and how they provide a canvas for contemporary political critique. These ruins provide a counterpoint to the view of Leith that is crystallized in the public artwork, or lieux de memoire (Nora 1989) valorizing its maritime history.

How to Cite
Depel, H. (2019). The Leith Project. Re:Think - a Journal of Creative Ethnography, 2(1), 90-100. Retrieved from
Academic Essays