West Calder

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Calder, West, a town and a parish in the extreme W of Edinburghshire. The town stands, at 550 feet above sea-level, on the right bank of the West Calder Burn, and has a station on the Edinburgh and Glasgow direct section of the Caledonian, 57/8 miles WSW of Midcalder Junction, 16 WSW of Edinburgh, and 31¼ W of Glasgow. Since 1861 it has undergone great and rapid extension, chiefly in connection with neighbouring mineral works; at it are a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Commercial Bank, a reading-room, a new parish church (1880), a new Free church (1880), a new U.P. church (1872), and the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady and St Bridget (1877). A public and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 516 and 204 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 481 and 131, and grants of £438,18s. 6d. and £99,17s. Pop. (1851) 434, (1861) 476, (1871) 2432, (1881) 2291. The parish, containing also the villages of Addiewell and Mossend, has a rudely triangular outline, and is bounded NE and E by Midcalder; SE by Linton, in Peeblesshire; S and SW by Dunsyre, Carluke, and Carnwath, in Lanarkshire; NW by Cambusnethan in Lanarkshire, and Whitburn in Linlithgowshire. Its greatest length from NE to SW is 10 miles; its width in an opposite direction varies between 1½ and 57/8 miles; and its area is 21,392¼ acres, of which 303¼ are water. Breich Water traces most of the Linlithgowshire border, and through the interior the West Calder, Harwood, Murieston, Linhouse, and two or three lesser burns flow northward or north-eastward to the Almond; whilst in the S, on the Carnwath boundary, lies Cobinshaw reservoir (1½ mile x 31/3 furlongs). The northern district is mainly low country, well cultivated and highly embellished; the southern consists of high, bleak moorland, incapable of cultivation. From less than 500 feet above sea-level along Breich Water, the surface rises south-eastward to the Pentlands, attaining 987 feet in Pearie Law, and 1700 in Craigengar on the boundary with Linton. The rocks to a great extent, especially in the N, belong to the Carboniferous formation, and include abundance of coal, ironstone, bituminous shale, and limestone. Mansions are Hermand, Harburn, Hartwood House, and Limefield; and 14 proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 16 of between £100 and £500,15 of from £50 to £100, and 21 of from £20 to £50. West Calder is in the presbytery of Linlithgow and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale; the value of the living is £220. The original church, a chapel of ease to Midcalder, stood at Chapelton, ¾ mile NE of the town; the next was built in 1646. Seven schools-the two at the town, Addiewell, Cobinshaw, Gavieside, Leavenseat, and Muldron-with total accommodation for 1654 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 1287, and grants amounting to £1135,10s. Valuation (1881) £43,846, including £10,200 for railways and waterworks. Pop. (1801) 1185, (1831) 1617, (1861) 1927, (1871) 7865, (1881) 7682.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32,1857.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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