Extracts from ‘The Forth Corinthian Yacht Club’ by Jack Haldane.
Granton Harbour was an enterprising Victorian achievement by the Duke of Buccleuch, who owned the site. The middle pier was called Victoria Pier, as it was started in 1837, the year Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne. The Granton pier was built of stone from the Granton Sea Quarry. It cost £80,000 and was completed by 1845.
The world’s first train ferries, designed by Sir Thomas Bouch, were introduced between Granton and Burntisland in 1848. The Forth Steam Trawling Fleet also worked from Granton.
The outbreak of World War I saw the Middle Pier requisitioned. Fishing fleets based throughout the Forth were brought to Granton and stripped of their equipment and converted into minesweepers. By the end of the war only one third of the West Pier was used for commercial purposes.
In 1961 the harbour owners decided to claim 25 acres of land from the Western Harbour by infilling. This project took ten years. The Len Lothian warehouse was one of the first developments on the new industrial estate.
A bill was presented in parliament and in January 1968 a new body called Forth Ports Authority took over the management of most of the ports of the Forth. At this time Granton was one of two ports in Britain making a profit. When nationalised it employed 86 people, but by 1970 this had been reduced to two. The dredger Rockchime was sold off and the harbour began to silt up.
Granton Harbour closed as a commercial port in 1974. The following year the Northern Lighthouse Board’s tender Pharos was moved to Leith. It and its predecessors had been stationed at Granton for the previous one hundred years.
An excellent website of the history of Granton Harbour can be found here