Scottish shale Scottish shale

Mossend village

West Calder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
Built c.1870
Progressively demolished during 1950's, finally cleared c.1968
Current status of site:
Rough ground and grazing. New houses.

Constructed by Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company to house mining staff working the Polbeth shale pits that supplied Addiewell Chemical Works. Evidence presented to the Royal Commission on Housing Conditions on 25th March 1914 stated:

"There are 140 double-apartment houses. The water is supplied by four stand-pipes. The rental is 2/3 per week, inclusive of rates. There are no coal cellars, wash-houses, or sculleries. Dry privies exist, but are practically public nuisances. The refuse is removed weekly by the Oil Company. The sewage is disposed of in an open channel. There is a contrast in black and white about these houses - the gables are blackened with tar, whilst the fronts and backs of the house are whitewashed."

Comprising of:

  • Front Street; 58 houses, ten rows lining the west side of the West Calder to Gavieside Road, most containing six two-room homes
  • Mid Street: 48 houses, four rows on either side of the road, each with six two-room homes
  • East Street; 30 houses, a line of five rows each with six two-room homes

The population of the village in the 1881 census was 683. Sculleries were fitted to most homes c.1920.

  • Location map
  • Detailed maps
  • Recent images

  • Recent images of Mossend (Post archaeological survey, September 2020)
  • Official references
    • MOSSEND "East Street: 12 houses closed. Application for closing orders to be made when houses become vacant. No block completely empty. Front Street: Houses being maintained, one house has been closed because of excessive repairs necessary."

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

  • References
  • Additional Resources

    • Oral history transcript: Mr James Brown
    • Oral history transcript: Mr Ellis & Mr Ellis