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Shale Villages


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Starlaw Rows

Location 55.890264, -3.587283; between Bathgate and Livingston show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Livingstone, Linlithgowshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Probably built c.1868
Ownership history Uphall Oil Company Ltd, Youngs Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd
Demolition history Demolished 1920's ? other than Starlaw Cottage.
Current status of site Agriculture


Starlaw Rows were probably constructed to house those employed at Boghall Shale Oil Works and associated Starlaw Mine. Maps suggest there were two rows with six two-room homes, one row with eight two-room homes and two rows of single room dwellings with four and five homes. A larger building at the west end of the rows, perhaps an office or officials house, appears to survive incorporated into Starlaw Cottage.


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

Recent Images


At Starlaw the rows consist of thirty houses, twenty of which consist of a room and kitchen, and ten consist of a single apartment. Coal-cellars are provided, but no washhouses. The rental is 2s. 9d. and 1s. 10 1/2d. per week respectively, inclusive of rates. Water is supplied by stand-pipes. The privies and ash-pits are very unsatisfactory. There are four privies for the thirty houses. The sewage is by open channel.These houses are old, and of a poor type, and ought to be replaced by a much better standard at once. We understand these houses are leased by the Pumpherston Oil Company, and they certainly are by far the most unsatisfactory of this Company's houses. Theodore K. Irvine, Report on the Housing Conditions in the Scottish Shale Field, 1914.

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