Many Merchant Navy Deck, Engineer and Radio Officers, Cadets, Ratings, Engine Room and Victualling personnel of the British Merchant Navy received their formal naval education and seamanship instruction at Leith Nautical College. Both the students from all over Scotland and the College were integral and very important parts of Leith and its maritime history.
The College had its beginning in 1855 in the Mariners’ Church in Commercial Street. In 1882 it moved to other premises in Dock Place where it remained until a purpose-built college was constructed in 1903 almost opposite the Mariners' Church. Leith Nautical College remained there until 1977 when it moved again to purpose built accommodation at Milton Road East where it finally closed its doors ten years later in 1987. Nautical education in Scotland is currently and primarily centred on the Glasgow College of Nautical studies.
The role of the Trinity House of Leith, which was founded in 1380, is central to the entire vast maritime history of Leith. Nautical education at Leith goes back to 1680 when the Masters and Mariners of the Trinity House of Leith (before it became a Corporation under Charter in 1797) pioneered formal nautical training in Scotland by appointing a professor to teach the mathematics of navigation.