Old pictures of Bathgate

BATHGATE is a market town, police burgh and parish, on the middle road betwixt Edinburgh and Glasgow, with stations on the Bathgate branch of the Edinburgh and Glasgow and Monklands sections of the North British railway, in Linlithgow poor combination, 18 miles west from Edinburgh, 24 east from Glasgow, 14 east from Airdrie and 7 south from Linlithgow. The Couston water, a tributary of the river Clyde, flows through the centre of the parish, which is bounded on the west by the Barbaulchlaw brook. The town occupies a pleasant site near the southern base of a great ridge of hills extending across the county, and sheltering the town on the north and east, and at the same time it has a fine southern aspect, possessing several good streets, Hopetoun, Engine, Mid and Jarvey streets being the principal thoroughfares ; it is lighted with gas from works the property of a local company, and abundantly supplied with water of excellent quality from works erected at a cost of £6,000, and in 1903, an additional supply was obtained at a further cost of £13,600.

Bathgate was made a burgh of barony by Charles II. In 1661, and created a free and independent burgh of barony by Act of Parliament in 1824 ; subsequently the burgh adopted Provost Lindsay's Police Act of 1822, and is now governed by a provost, two bailies and twelve commissioners. A small debt court is held in the burgh once a quarter. The old parish church, erected about 1737, was taken down in 1882. The present church, erected on the same site at a cost of upwards of £8,000, and opened in 1884, is a handsome edifice of stone, chiefly in the Norman style, and has a square tower at the south-west angle, rising to a height of 108 feet and ornamented with cricketed pinnacles. The tower contains a bell and an illuminated clock, presented by the late John Waddell esq. of Inch, the estimated cost of which was over £250; a gallery is carried round three sides of the church, and the east gable is relieved by a semi-circular apse with five memorial stained windows. The church affords about 1,100 sittings, and adjoining are vestries and a hall. The Evangelical union church, in Marjoribanks street, rebuilt on the old site in 1895 at a cost of upwards of £2,200, is an edifice in the Early English style from designs by Mr. J. Graham Fairley, architect, of Edinburgh. The United Free church, erected in 1894-5, and opened in October, 1895, at an estimated cost of £3,700, is an edifice in a plain Gothic style, and has a tower of three stages with octagonal broach spire, and containing one bell, weighing nearly a ton ; various gifts have been made to the church, including a communion service and font basin of solid. silver.

The Bathgate Academy, which stands on a commanding and healthy site in the immediate vicinity of the town, was endowed by a bequest of the late John Newland, of Kingston, Jamaica, a native of this town, with a sum of between £16,000 and £17,000; the building is an elegant and extensive structure, comprising seven large class-rooms, library, trustees' room and a janitor's house. It is now under Government inspection, and is managed by a body of trustees, one of whom represents the lord of .the manor and another is appointed by the Commissioners. The neighbouring hills abound with limestone quarries yielding fine specimens of fossil remains. Paraffin oil and candles are manufactured here from the Torbanehill shale, which is largely found in the county, and Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co. Limited has extensive works in the vicinity.

At Westfield, about two and a half miles distant, is an extensive mill of the Westfield Paper Co. Limited. The weaving of goods for the Glasgow manufacturers, was at one time very active, Is now carried on only to a very limited extent. In the town is an iron foundry, two spade and shovel works and a large distillery, and in the district are many large collieries, and coal and ironstone &c. are much worked in the immediate neighbourhood. On the north border of the parish are ancient silver mines worked In the early part of the 17th century, and a few years ago re-opened,

The market day is Tuesday, when a large supply of grain of all kinds is brought from the surrounding country to the Corn Exchange, in Jarvey street. A cattle auction is also held at the mart in Whitburn road on market day. The authorities of the burgh are entitled by Act of Parliament to hold seven annual fairs—namely, on the third Wednesdays in April, July and August, on the first Wednesdays after Whit-Sunday and Martinmas (o. s.), and the fourth Wednesdays in June and October ; the principal fairs are those held at Whitsuntide and Martinmas, which are well attended by cattle dealers. There are branches here of the National Bank of Sootland Limited, the Royal Bank of Scotland Limited and the Union Bank of Scotland Limited. The "West Lothian Courier " is published here every Saturday.

The following eminent men were born in the parish—Dr. John Fleming, professor of natural science, Aberdeen; Dr. John Reid, professor of anatomy, St.Andrews, and Sir James Young Simpson bart. M.D. the discoverer, in 1847, of the anaesthetical properties of chloroform ; he was born here 7th June, 1811, and died at Edinburgh 6th May, 1870. Boghead is the residence of J. A. Robertson Durham esq.J.P. The principal landowners are the Marquess of Linlithgow K.T. , P. C., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O. ; J. A. Robertson Durham esq. J.P. of Boghead and Foulshields; the trustees of the late Sir William Baillie bart. of Polkemmet (d. 1890); Maj. James Henry Cowan; Geo. Readman esq. and Alexander Russell esq.of Moss Side. The land is fairly productive, while the surface is largely undulating. The parish of Bathgate has an area of 10,875 acres, of the burgh 401 acres ; rateable value of the landward part of the parish (excluding the burgh of Armadale), £30,751; the burgh of Bathgate, £15,688; in 1891 the civil parish contained a population of 11,359, and in 1901 was, parish police burgh, 6,786 ; beyond police burgh, 763; landward, 2,534; total, 14,004; the population of the ecclesiastical parish in 1901 was 9,371.

Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory of Scotland, 1903

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