is West Lothian’s largest town and indeed, apart from Scotland’s
capital city, Edinburgh, by far the
largest in the whole of the Lothian’s. During the past forty odd years over
50,000 people have chosen to make it their home, which is a remarkable
achievement considering that before the 1960’s few beyond its immediate area
had ever heard of it. All that changed in 1962 when the government was seeking
a suitable place to relocate Glasgow’s over spill population and chose this
beautiful area on the banks of the River Almond with it beautiful scenery of
the Pentlands hills to the south and the Bathgate hills to the north, midway
between Glasgow and Edinburgh, to be the attractive site for the fourth of
Scotland’s five designated new towns. Other such towns which were created were
“East Kilbride, Irvine,
Cumbernauld and Glenrothes”. Livingston is one of the
most successful out of the five which is now the administrative, economic and
shopping centre for the whole of West Lothian.
wouldn’t be Livingston today if it wasn’t for the
“Livingston Development Corporation” more commonly known as the LDC, firstly
based at the top floor of the Scotsman buildings later to be moved to there
purpose built offices within Livingston village. From
the outset the Livingston master plan was that this
should be the first new town in Britain
designed to be a regional centre for the whole of its area. It was also highly
successful in regulating the growth and expansion of the new town, the scheme
dictating that it should grow in an orderly fashion from east to west.
Therefore, while the first new town residents were housed in the existing village
of Livingston station, the first
major housing development was begun on the hillside at Craigshill. There, in
order to meet the governments demand for one thousand new homes every year, a
Swedish industrialized method of building was used and the first occupants, MR
and Mrs James Gilchrist and their son Robert moved in on schedule in April 1966
to No.39, Broom Walk. Nearby the first shop was opened by former Rangers
goalkeeper Billy Ritchie and Craigshill covered shopping centre became one of
the wonders of the age. Howden, Ladywell, Knightsridge, Dedridge, Eliburn,
Deans and Carmondean, DeerPark, Bankton and Murieston all followed to become
well-known Livingston New Town place names.
The reason Livingston was so different and better than
other towns were because of the LDC’s up keeping of the town and the planning
and construction, it was based around neighbourhoods, each with its own
schools, shops, health services and other resources. The town was planned into
different districts with good road access and good pedestrian walk ways.
Other good transport links within the town are in the south
as Murieston which provides a rail links between Scotland’s
two biggest city’s Glasgow and Edinburgh. There’s a rail links to the town
Bathgate which also connects to Edinburgh.
Both provide good commuter links to the capital.
Also Livingston has close links with
the M8 motorway which goes through the north of the town which provides drivers
good access in and out of the town. The situation of Livingston
is one of the reasons the LDC had attracted such good employers such as Cameron
Iron works now called wyman and Gordon one of the first big company’s to settle
in the town. Other big company’s such as Motorola, NEC, Sky and Gore
Tex are just some of the biggest company’s
to settle within the town.
Livingston is more associated with shopping than anything else with its two
main shopping centres Almondvale was the first then it was extended with a
phase two about 7 years ago and the New McAurthur Glen shopping centre only 3
years old hosts a state of the art shopping centre with many shops,
restaurants, cafes, bars and a state of the art multiplex cinema. Around the
two centres there are many large shops such as Homebase, Curry’s and Asda
superstore the biggest in Scotland. Livingston is one of
the best places for shopping in West Lothian if not Scotland.
Livingston also promotes its name in football with the local team Livingston
F.C formally meadow Bank thistle based in Edinburgh brought to Livingston by
the LDC in 1993 to its purpose built stadium on the banks of the almond. From
the very early days Livingston Rugby club at the base of Craigshill has been in
Livingston from the very first years of the town the
very first rugby posts were four pine trees that were
donated by the L.D.C. the team has recently been promoted and hosts rugby
for all ages.
In 1996 the Livingston development
corporation wound down and West Lothian Council took over as Livingston
had its new town status removed. But there is much more to Livingston
than was mentioned within this article.
But all this
wouldn’t had been possible if the Livingston development corporation hadn’t
done what it had done, and bring from a field to a thriving community with such
little time just over 40 years and which the people of Livingston can truly call Livingston
For more on the history of Livingston