Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Karen Petrone


In 1504, King James IV of Scotland founded the village of Newhaven, three miles north of Edinburgh on the shores of the Firth of Forth. Newhaven rose to prominence as the most well-known of Scotland’s fishing villages and reached its zenith in 1928 with the launching of its last ship, the Reliance. It was the beginning of the end of the Newhavener way of life, their twilight. This is the story of decline and domicide as economic forces and the City of Edinburgh Council transformed the ancient village of Newhaven into a modern neighborhood. This small fishing community, with its own unique culture and traditions, such as its famous fishwives, became just another tourist attraction in the Scottish capital.

Newhaven began experiencing decline around 1928 due to four main factors: technological advances in fishing, overfishing, extreme pollution, and generational disinterest in perpetuating the Newhavener way-of-life. The City of Edinburgh Council’s urban renewal program forced the modernization of Newhaven between 1958 and 1978. This urban renewal program, together with the Scottish Presbyterian Church’s involuntary amalgamation of Newhaven’s two churches in 1974, ensured Newhaven’s destruction by joining with the decline of fishing to end the village’s distinctive economic, social, and political patterns. My research concludes with the efforts of the inhabitants of Newhaven the neighborhood to forge a new community in the post-1978 years and preserve a legacy of their past for future generations to enjoy.

Newhaven joins the ranks of many other small places cleared away by those in power, proving that the Newhavens of the world are “especially vulnerable to extinction.” Learning from Newhaven’s pattern of destruction will help prevent future injustices against small communities. My research preserves Newhaven’s memory and documents the nature of its struggles through the use of oral histories, primary and secondary sources, and preserved media.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)