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West Lothian

Roundabout Art, Livingston North
©2018 Gazetteer for Scotland

Roundabout Art, Livingston North

Located 13 miles (21 km) west of Edinburgh in the Almond Valley between the M8 motorway and the A71 road. Scotland's fourth New Town of Livingston was created in 1962 around a pair of villages; Livingston, the site of the parish church, and Livingston Station, associated with the railway and oil-shale industry. The town now covers some 10 sq. miles (22.9 sq. km) and is at the centre of Scotland's 'Silicon Glen' where numerous computer software and hardware firms are based. The town was designed for motor transport and pedestrians, rather than for railways, although two awkwardly-placed stations did eventually open in the mid-1980s; Livingston North Station and Livingston South Station. It is roads that define the town's distinct areas while Greenways (paths described as 'fingers of countryside') keep pedestrians away from traffic.

The town was formally designated on 7th April 1962 and developed from east to west along the Almond Valley. Its housing changed over the decades from high rises in the 1960s to 'low density, low rise' in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The original village at Livingston Peel still contains 18th Century cottages, a village green and the parish kirk (1732). Other notable buildings include the Almond Valley Heritage Centre, the Old Tollhouse (c.1800), Alderstone House (early 17th century, including parts of an early 16th century tower), the dramatic St. Andrews Roman Catholic Church (1968), the enormous Almondvale Shopping Centre (1976), which effectively forms the town centre, and West Lothian Civic Centre (2009).

There are five main industrial parks and other smaller office areas, including Howden Park Centre built near the 18th century mansion Howden House, associated with the family of the painter Sir Henry Raeburn. West Lothian College is based in the town, which is also served by five secondary schools; namely Deans Community High School, Inveralmond Community High School, The James Young High School, St. Margaret's Academy and West Calder High School. The Kirkton Campus on the north side of Livingston provides high technology training. Other landmarks include MOTEC (Multi-Occupational Training and Educational Centre) with a see-through boiler house, the Old Cameron Ironworks next to the motorway and the Norgate Sculpture, in the form of a whalebone arch. Other industries include pharmaceuticals, several distribution centres and a large call centre.

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