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Principal Town: Dalkeith
Population (1991):
Area (hectares): 34966
Entry Updated: 15-JUL-2019
Local Authority Contact Information

Address: Midlothian Council
Midlothian House
Buccleuch Street
EH22 1DG
Midlothian is a landlocked region bounded on the north and west by Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills, on the north and east, by East Lothian, and on the south by the Scottish Borders and the Moorfoot Hills. Prior to 1890 Midlothian was known as Edinburghshire and included the city of Edinburgh. In 1975, the area became one of four districts of Lothian Region by removing parts of the Borders and East and West Lothian, notably Musselburgh. In 1996 Midlothian was reinstated as a unitary authority. The historical county, including Edinburgh, is still used for the purposes of land registration.

The area is 355 sq. km (137 sq. miles), 61% of which is open countryside, while 9% is developed and another 9% is woodland.

There are several streams and rivers running through the area, the largest being the North Esk and South Esk; there are also several reservoirs, which provide water to Edinburgh.

Some of the most wealthy and influential families in Scotland established ties with Midlothian, including the ancient house of Lothian as well as the Dukes of Buccleuch, Queensberry, and Douglas. In the Esk valley, Dalkeith Palace was an important power base, while nearby Newbattle Abbey was founded in 1140 by David I. Sir Walter Scott lived near Lasswade for several years, and the writer Thomas De Quincey lived in nearby Polton for almost 20 years before his death in 1859.
Midlothian has a mixed economy based on agriculture, biotechnology, tourism and 'animal welfare'. Its traditional industries have essentially disappeared, namely lime burning, carpet making, coal mining, paper making and heavy engineering, while gunpowder was manufactured at Roslin until 1954. Coal was mined by monks at Newbattle Abbey as early as the 13th century but today mining communities, such as Loanhead, are now facing up to a future without coal. Scientific research has become an important part of the economy, focussed on the University of Edinburgh's facilities at Bush, the adjacent Pentland Science Park and the Roslin BioCentre. A substantial retail park has developed at Straiton on the border with the City of Edinburgh, with Ikea and Costco warehouses on the innovatively titled Costkea Way, together with two large supermarkets. The Pentland Hills Regional Park, Dalkeith Country Park, Vogrie Country Park and the Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend are the principal leisure facilities. Tourism is focused on a handful of attractions including Rosslyn Chapel (at Roslin) and the Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange (now the Scottish Mining Museum).
References and Further Reading
Baldwin, John (1997) Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders. Second Edition, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Stationery Office, Edinburgh
Collard, Mark (1998) Lothian: A Historical Guide. Birlinn, Edinburgh
Craig, G.Y. and P.McL.D. Duff (1975) The Geology of the Lothians and South East Scotland. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh
McCallum, Alex. (1912) Cambridge County Geographies: Midlothian. The University Press, Cambridge
McWilliam, Colin (1978) The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian except Edinburgh. Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex
Thomas, Jane (1995) Midlothian: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Rutland Press, Edinburgh

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