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Stewartfield Rows

Location 55.937244, -3.463375; in the eastern part of Broxburn show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Uphall, Linlithgowshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Built c.1883
Ownership history Broxburn Oil Company Ltd
Demolition history One row demolished c.1930?, remainder c.1965
Current status of site 1960's housing (Aitken Orr Road, Hobart Square) and public open space


Built to house workers of the local mines and Broxburn Oil Works, Stewartfield consisted of three parallel lines of rows. The western most line of rows consisted of four blocks, each with twelve single-room homes built back-to-back. The middle line consisted of four blocks, each with six two-room homes built back-to-back, while the eastern line consisted of three blocks, apparently two-room through houses, two with six homes and one with eight. The latter block seems to have been demolished pre-WW2 and the site partly covered by the advancing bing.


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

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BROXBURN MODEL LODGING-HOUSE. Yesterday afternoon Broxburn model lodging-house, a new building erected at Stewartfield Broxburn was formally opened. The building is of a most substantial character, and provides accommodation for 150 lodgers, with every modern convenience.Edinburgh Evening News, 6th August 1904

The Broxburn Oil Company are gradually substituting water-closets and sculleries for the present privies, but at a rate which is too slow, considering the existing conditions. At Stewartfield Rows this Company have just built water-closets, but the method taken ought to be condemned. There are eighteen closets facing each other, nine on each side of the gables of two blocks of houses. Each closet serves two households, thus you have the occupiers, of all ages and sexes, from thirty-six houses, compelled to come in contact. Such affords neither privacy nor decency. Water-closets should be provided in each house. Theodore K. Irvine, Report on the Housing Conditions in the Scottish Shale Field, 1914.

No. 77 was a "back to back" home with a kitchen / living room and another room alongside that. Gas lighting was installed in both rooms. The kitchen had a coal-fired range and water had to be fetched from a standpipe. I think there was a sink under the window and I certainly remember an enamel bowl for hand washing. There were two bed recesses in this room and, as a child, I enjoyed being put to bed in one of them and having the curtains drawn across so that I could go to sleep and the adults could continue chatting. The other room had an open fire and one bed recess. The toilets and wash-house were in a block, somewhere behind the row. I remember being taken to the toilet by Granny so that she could unlock the door for me and make sure it was clean before I was allowed to go in - she also checked to see that I had not left any puddles behind! She was an extremely houseproud person - her home was clean, polished and tidy. It must have been very hard work to keep it like that, especially as the paths around the houses, and out to the drying green were made of ashes. Mrs P. Charlton, Memories from visits to No. 77 Stewartfield in 1946 and 1949.

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