West Lothian

Whitburn Town Hall, East Main Street
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Whitburn Town Hall, East Main Street

One of the small towns of West Lothian, Whitburn is situated on the River Almond and to the north of the M8 motorway, 8 miles (12 km) west of Livingston. Originally a crossroads settlement, it developed as a coal and iron mining town in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in association with the Polkemmet Colliery which was sunk in 1915 and operated from 1922 until the mid-1980s. The Baillie family, founders of the Baillie Institute community centres, were associated with the now demolished Polkemmet House. There is a 9-hole golf course at nearby Polkemmet Country Park and notable buildings include the parish church (1729), the Burgh Hall (c. 1830) and Whitburn Academy (1967). There was once a Levi Strauss & Co. jeans factory in Whitburn which employed 500 people between 1969 and its closure in 1999. The town holds its annual Gala Day on the third Saturday in June, which is the highlight at the end of Civic Week. This includes a parade and activities in King George V Park.

Both media executive Andrew Mooney (b. 1955) and singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi (b. 1996) was raised in Whitburn. In the churchyard there is a memorial to Elizabeth Burns (1785 - 1817), an illegitimate daughter of the poet Robert Burns (1759-96).

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