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Pumpherston North Village

Location 55.909008, -3.493519; in the village of Pumpherston show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Midcalder, Edinburghshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Built 1884 -85
Ownership history Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd
Demolition history Old Rows demolished c.1958, Works Rows still extant
Current status of site New housing (Drumshoreland Avenue) built c. 1964 on the site of the old rows


A substantial village constructed by the Pumpherston Oil Company to house the workforce of the Pumpherston Oil Works.

The area that came to be known as the Old Rows consisted of three lines of rows (each with four blocks) running parallel to Uphall Station Road. Six of these blocks contained six two-room homes arranged back to back, four blocks contained six two-room through houses, and two blocks contained twelve single room homes arranged back to back. There were also four blocks known as the Work Rows, beside the Drumshoreland Road which led to the oil works. Each block contained eight two-room homes. All 116 homes were complete by 1885. A Co-op store and two short rows to house coop staff were built close to the corner of Uphall Station Road and Drumshoreland Road.

Most of the Old Rows (No. 1 to No. 84 Pumpherston?) were uninhabited by 1958 while the Work Rows (No. 85 to No. 116 Pumpherston?) were "converted" in 1955 and still provide sturdy homes.

For details of other oil company housing in Pumpherston see pages for Pumpherston South, Letham and Erskine.


Ordnance Survey maps reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

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The Pumpherston Oil Company own 220 houses in this village, which is situated about one mile north from Mid Calder. These houses are built of brick, and rough-cast or cement-washed. In a number of cases, however, the back of the house, which faces the drying greens, is neither rough-cast nor cement-washed, and this presents an unfinished appearance. There are about 173 houses consisting of room (12 ft by 11 ft, also bed-recess and press), kitchen (14.5 ft by 11 ft, also two bed-recesses), scullery (7.5 ft by 6 feet) with sink and water-closet. A washhouse is provided for every four tenants. The rental is 2/6 to 2/9 per week, inclusive of rates. In the case of thirty-six of these houses, the room and kitchen are approximately 11 ft by 16.5 ft each, and the scullery is 10 ft 5 inches by 7 ft 8 inches, which contains sink, set-in tub, boiler, and water-closet. There are nineteen houses consisting of three apartments, and all conveniences as above, let at from 4/- to 4/9 per week. Then there are 27 single-apartment houses, with scullery and water-closet, let at 1/6 per week, inclusive of rates. Some sixty houses are built back to back. A good supply of gravitation water is obtained, and a good drainage system exists. The refuse is collected daily by the Company, from dustbins provided to each tenant. The gardens are made good use of by the workers, and present a good appearance in the season.An Institute, with a good library and hall, exists. There is also a bowling green in the centre of the village, for all of which the workers subscribe weekly.The total number of houses in Pumpherston district is 260, and in Mid Calder 335, with an approximate population in the two districts of 2990 persons. Theodore K. Irvine, Report on the Housing Conditions in the Scottish Shale Field, 1914 (describing collectively Pumpherston North and Pumpherston South villages.)

Pumpherston North Village: the houses numbered 1 - 24 adjacent to the main road are being maintained. When the occasion arrives the single apartments will be eliminated by reverting to the original arrangements, thus making all houses in the street of two apartments. In the remaining portion of the village 28 houses have been officially closed and four blocks completely vacated. Demolition may be carried out at any time. A few tenants have still to be rehoused to enable demolition to be completed in this area. Meeting held at Middleton Hall on 9th September 1958 to review position of house properties etc.


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