Scottish shale Scottish shale

Mid Breich Rows

Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian
Probably built c.1885 with additional row c.1910
Cleared c.1960
Current status of site:
Wooded wasteland and yard


Probably built c.1885 to serve the Hermand Oil Company's Breich Oil Works. When the works closed c.1903, the mineral rights and workman's housing were purchased by the Pumpherston Oil Company. As built, Mid Breich consisted of three rows, with homes constructed back to back. From the 1897 OS map, one row appeared to contain14 two room and eight single room homes, a second consisted of eight double room houses, and a third had 14 two room homes with a larger dwelling at each end of the row.

Following purchase by the Pumpherston Oil Company, some internal divisions were knocked down to create larger homes. Two new rows were also constructed, each containing six homes with two rooms and scullery.

Above right: Mid Breich Rows Aerial photograph c. 1950.

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  • Newspaper references
    • "...twelve house consist of room, kitchen, attic, scullery with boiler, sink and w.c. Coal cellars and dust-bins are provided. Rental 4/- per week. There are 17 houses consisting of one room and kitchen, with scullery and boiler, and eight one-apartment houses with scullery. Rent for the former, 2/9, and the latter, 2/1 per week, inclusive of rates. For the latter 25 houses, privies only are provided, and three ashpits. The kitchen floors of these 25 houses are made of cement. The size of the kitchens os 17ft. x 14ft. and the rooms are of the same dimensions. There are no drying greens, but poles are put up for the ropes. The houses are owned by the Pumpherston Oil Company. There are forty-three houses in Breich, occupied by 224 persons."

      Theodore K. Irvine, Report on the Housing Conditions in the Scottish Shale Field, 1914



      "Thirteen houses have been officially closed. One block completely empty and can be demolished. Houses No. 33-44 to be maintained. The remaining houses to be closed when cacated. Demolition of the closed block to be carried out by the demolition squad after demolition at Pumpherston has been completed. Tennamts in Deans Village, employed at Westwwod should be considered for empty houses in this village."

      Meeting held at Middleton Hall on 9th September 1958, to review position of house properties etc.

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