Leith Docks

Tug-of-War Team

Brown's Company Porters

Leith Docks  -  Tug-of-War Team  -  around 1900

Edinburgh Entertainment  -  Sport  -  Sparta Amateur Boxing Club

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to David J Scott, Haddington, East Lothian, grandson of Dave Scott, top-left in the picture.



Leith Docks

Tug-of-War Team

Thank you to David J Scott for providing the photograph above.

David wrote:

The Team

"Here is an Old Photograph of a Tug of War team in Leith Docks around 1900.

The team is called BROWN'S COMPANY PORTERS, the names of the men in the photograph are D. Scott, R. Frater, J. Bridges, J. Hermiston (capt) J. Johnston and D. Davie.

My Grandfather is the David ('Dave') Scott  in the photo.  He worked in Leith Docks for 12 years between 1897 and 1909."


David also provided an article giving further details of his grandfather.  Here are some extracts from his article:


Dave Scott:  1875-1958

"Dave was born at Samuelston South Mains on 6th April 1875, the son of a ploughman on the farm there and Isabella Cowan.  He died in 1958."

At School

"An Act was passed in 1872 that made attendance at school compulsory between the ages of 5 and 13.  Dave attended Saltoun Public School. 

His parents had to contribute towards the cost of their children's education at the rate of 1d per child per day and this, Dave told me, was taken to school every day."

In the Fields

"The ploughmen in those days had to go up to the stable at five o'clock in the morning to muck out and feed their horses ready to start work at six o' clock. 

Before going to school in the morning, Dave took his father's breakfast out to the field.  If his father was ploughing, Dave took he horses and the plough and did a round during the time that his father ate his breakfast.  This was how he learnt to plough


"The working folk must have been well enough fed i those days.  Dave often told me that he weighed twelve stone when he was twelve years old.

I can remember him when he was an old man. He was well built but not far, a little above average height with good strong arms that he would have needed in some of his occupations.

Move to Greenhead Farm

"The family moved to Greenhead, probably in 1892 or 1893.  At Greenhead, Dave drove a pair of horses and ploughed.  There, he earned 2 shillings and 8 pence per day,  23% more than he was earning at Samuelston. 

His father was employed as a horseman and later as grieve.

Move to Leith Docks

"Dave gave up working on farms in 1897 and took up work in the docks at Leith.  I know that at one time, while he was in the docks, he employed his own squad of men to unload ships.

Milk was available near or in the docks and he said that he drank a lot of it.  Carrying heavy bags of wheat, that weighed 18 stones, across a gangway from the ship to the shore was o easy task.

A keen sportsman, he was a m ember of the tug-of-war team and also took part in athletics at Hawkhill."


David J Scott, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland:  July 1 + 3 + 7, 2006


Larger Photo

Leith Docks