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Seafield Rows

Location 55.877041, -3.591842; in Seafield village, about a mile west of Livingston show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Livingstone, Linlithgowshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history "Old Rows" built c.1874 ?, additional rows built c.1896 (48 homes) and c.1910 (24 homes)
Ownership history Seafield Patent Fuel Company, Bathgate Oil Company Ltd, Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd
Demolition history Rows north of main road demolished c.1960, other housing extant
Current status of site Site north of road occupied by Ritchie Bros. contractors

Background

The Old Rows at Seafield lay north of the Livingston - Blackburn road and originally consisted of six blocks, arranged in two parallel lines, each containing eight two-room homes. These were built either to serve the Seafield Patent Fuel Works, or the Bathgate Oil Company works that subsequently occupied the site. The works and houses were bought by the Pumpherston Oil Company c.1890 who rebuilt Seafield Crude Oil Works and improved the existing housing by adding sculleries to each home and providing wash houses at the end of each row.

A new line of three rows were built c. 1896 on the north side of the Old Rows, each containing eight two-room homes. At the same time, a line of three blocks of eight homes were built immediately south of the road. These two room homes were constructed with sculleries; those south of the road had attic bedrooms and south-facing dormer windows. A further three similar blocks of eight homes were constructed parallel and to the south of these c.1910.

This detailed plan, dated 1963, from the BP Archive, shows the layout of Seafield North (Seafield Rows and Seafield Cottages).

Maps

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

Archive Images

Plans & Drawings

Recent Images

Snippets

There are three rows of 24 houses each on one side of the main road and two rows of 24 houses each on the other. The houses are all built of brick, but some 72 of them have lately been rough-cast. The 72 consist of a room (12.5 x 11.5), kitchen (14.5 x 11.5 also bed recesses), scullery with sink, and w.c. A coal cellar for each house is provided and a wash-house for every four tenants, as also drying greens. For 24 houses gardens are provided. Rental - 2/9 and 3/- weekly, inclusive of rates. Cement pavements are laid between the houses. There are also 24 houses of room, kitchen, attic, with boiler in scullery, and a garden in front of house - rental 4/6 per week. Dust-bins are emptied daily by the Company. There is a good water supply and drainage system. An additional 24 new houses have just been built with similar accommodation as the foregoing, at rentals of 4/-, 4/6. and 5/-. The latter is for houses with two attics. Theodore K. Irvine, Report on the Housing Conditions in the Scottish Shale Field, 1914.

Seafield: On the north side of the Main Road 33 houses have been officially closed. Houses No.1 - 24 facing south to be maintained. No block is completedly empty at present. The houses on the south side to be maintained. Ritchie Bros. are still interested in a block of houses No.65 to 72, including shop, together with area of ground to the north of this block. Mr. Keddie to discuss this proposal with Ritchie Bros. Westwood to arrange to rehouse the tenants in this block as soon as possible by offering alternative accommodation. Meeting held at Middleton Hall on 9th September to review position of house properties etc.

When I was a Seafield we stayed in miners cottages. We had a room and a kitchen. We had running water and an inside toilet. The wash-house was around the corner and four of them used it. There were eight houses in a block, so four of them used one and the other four used the other one. There was nine of us in the family. We just had two beds in the kitchen and one bed in the room. We just all slept together. R.B, born 1906, recorded in 1983