AD Agricola invades Scotland and erects
a line of forts between Clyde and Forth.
Wall (or the Wall of Lollius Urbicus) connected the forts
built between the Clyde and the Forth. It is thought that number
24 was at Inveravon, 25 at Kinneil and 26 at Carriden. About 60
kilometres in length it was garrisoned by approximately 30,000
men. Hadrian's Wall had 83 soldiers per kilometres and it had
12,000 men man the wall with a further 8,000 in forward Forts
and in reserve. It is thought that Antonine Wall had 300 men every
Kilometre thus there would have been about 20,000 manning the
Wall at any given time. To man Forward garrisons and also have
soldiers in reserve a figure of 30,000 is reasonable, but some
estimate that it may have been 50,000. The Known forts along Antonine
Wall are: 1 Bishopton, 2 Old Kilpatrick, 3 Dutocher, 4 Cleddans
(fortlet), 5 Castilehill, 6 Bearsden, 7 Summerston, 8 Balmuidy,
9 Wilderness Plantation (fortlet), 10 Cadder, 11 Glasgow Bridge
(fortlet), 12 Bar Hill, 15 Croy Hill, 16 Westerwood, 17 Castecary,
18 Seabags (fortlet), 19 Rough Castle, 20 Watling Lodge, 21 Camlon,
22 Falkirk, 23 Mumrills, 24 Inveravon, 25 Kinneil (fortlet),
Note: Because the style
of Antonine Wall was not as structured as that of Hadrian's Wall,
it was not made of stone and was only in existence for a relatively
short period of time there is very little known about it by comparison.
As a result there could have been more forts north and south of
it that have not been detected. It is also now thought that it
may have extended to at least Blackness and possibly Cramond where
there is evidence of a Roman Fort.
Antonine Wall abandoned. It had been temporarily abandoned
and the forts destroyed in 154-5 AD, but was quickly rebuilt and
occupied until it was finally abandoned.
Century St. Serf reached the south shore of the
Forth (where Bo'ness is now) and on seeing a sunbeam light up
the Ochil Hills on the opposite side took this as a good omen
and founded Culross Abbey on the north bank of the Forth.
Another version is that St. Serf, standing at Kinneil,
threw his staff over the Forth. It landed in Culross and blossomed
and as a result the Saint founded an Abbey.
Century Kinneil Estate.The Venerable Bede
mentions Kinneil in the 8th Century; "called in
the Pictish language Peanfahel but in the English tongue Pennulton".
Century Salt production.The first royal charter for
the manufacture of salt was given by King David I and salt
was produced at Grangepans until 1889-90. It took 100 tons of
water and 50 tons of coal to produce 3 tons of salt: in later
years rock salt was added, imported from Liverpool and
Carrickfergus, to improve the yield.
Century Coal.Monks of Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, were
granted a tithe by William Di Vipont to dig coal from his
Carriden estate, which was then carried to Holyrood in panniers
strapped to the backs of their horses; later it was taken to Leith
by sailing ship. In 1291 monks from Dunfermline Abbey were also
given the right to dig coal from outcrops around Bo'ness.
Century Kinneil Church.It is believed that theKinneil
Church with its double belfrywas built about the middle of the
12th Century, in the reign of Malcolm IV, King of
Scots (1153-65), probably by Herbertus, Chamberlain
to the King. Herbertus granted "the Church of Kinneil
with all its dues and tithes, lands, wood and plain, pasture and
meadow" to Holyrood Abbey in 1158.
this time there was a substantial village to the south of the
church. It continued in use as a Parish Church until 1669 when
a new Parish church at Corbiehall was built. Even so the Kinneil
Church was used as a Hamilton family church until it was accidentally
destroyed by fire in 1745 by a troop of Dragons stationed at Kinneil
Carriden Church, believed to have been founded by St Ninian,
was built in 1243. The ruins and adjacent graveyard are located
immediately south west of Carriden House. The name Carriden may
have derived from Caer meaning fort and Edin or Edwin thus giving
Battle of Kinneil Muir. Sir Gilbert Hamilton, Royal
Bodyguard to Robert the Bruce, is recorded as having slain the
"Great General of England" at Kinneil Muir. For this
he was presented the Barony of Kinneil. This version conflicts
slightly with the recorded version that Gilbert's son Walter was
gifted Kinneil Estate by King Robert.
Kinneil Estate.It is recorded that, in 1323,
Walter Hamilton, the son of Sir Gilbert Hamilton,
was gifted Kinneil Estate by Robert the Bruce, and although Hamilton
House was the family's main seat, their house at Kinneil became
an important residence, conveniently located for Edinburgh and
the Royal Court. Walter fought on the side of the English at Bannockburn,
but changed allegiance after the capture of Bothwell Castle, for
which he was in charge of the defence, by King Roberts's soldiers.
later knighted him. Described by Sir Robert Sibbald as "This
Palace of Kinneil", the Hamilton family (particularly
Anna, Duches of Hamilton) constructed the existing building during
the 16th and 17th centuries. Prior to which it was a simple Keep
which forms the older part of the house to the north. The Hamilton's
probably had a residence on the site as far back as the 14th century.
The house was later leased to various tenants, including John
Roebuck, who was a partner in the Carron Company, and the philosopher
Dugald Stewart, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.
Dugald's family were the last residents to occupy Kinneil House
Sir Gilbert Hamilton gives the funeral oration at the
burial of King Robert the Bruce at Dunfermline Abbey.
Century Blackness Castlewas one of Scotland's most
important strongholds. Probably built in the 14th century by the
De Vipont family and strengthened in the 16th century as an artillery
fortress. Blackness was the port of Linlithgow and a key player
in mediaeval Scotland's trade with the Baltic. The castle is shaped
like a ship and juts out into the Forth to hold commanding views
along the coastline. Rebuilt in the 15th century (it was possibly
destroyed in 1481, but was quickly rebuilt and used as a State
prison in 1489), it has undergone many alterations over the last
500 years. The castle was used as a set for the film 'Hamlet'
starring Mel Gibson and directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
Coal and the Pope!Aeneas Sylvius, the future Pope Pius
II, visited the area and wrote in his journal "the poor,
who almost in a state of nakedness begged at the church door,
depart with joy in their faces on receiving stones as alms!"
This account reveals that although coal was commonly used as fuel
in Scotland it was yet unknown in many parts of Europe. This is
reinforced as in another account of his visit to Scotland the
future Pope wrote, "A sulphurous stone dug from the earth
is used by the people as fuel." Although Aeneas rode through
the Lothian's it is not clear that he visited Carriden, although
as an area mined by monks it is entirely possible.
Inveravon Castle, owned by the Douglas family it was
besieged by James II in 1454 during the destruction of the Black
Douglas family. Very little remains except the vaulted basement
of a tower. The tower has wrongly been identified as part of Antonine
Wall, which run close by.
Sir David Falconer. Although the author of "Robinson
Crusoe", Daniel Defoe, praised Bo'ness seamen when he visited
the town in the 18th Century the first recorded account
relating to Bo'ness seamanship may be seen in the commendation
given to Sir David Falconer, described as a "brave cavalier
and skilful mariner of Borrowstounesss". Sir David, second
in command to Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, routed the English fleet,
under the command of Sir Stephen Bull, in a fierce battle which
took place in the River Forth, on the 10th August,
Century Carriden House is a much altered 16th
Century tower house of five storeys to which a modern mansion
has been added, with vaulted basement. The lands were owned by
the Cockburn family from 1358 until 1541 when the were passed
to the Abercombies; sold to Sir John Hamilton of Lettrick in 1601,
who was made lord Bargany. He built most of the remaining house.
It was sold to the Setons, and then passed through many families,
including the Cornwall's of Bonhard, to the Hopes. Now used as
a Guest House/Hotel.
Century Salt Production.During the 16th
and 17th Centuries both sides of the Forth were dotted
with salt pans the product of which was mainly for export
to the extent that on the 13th October 1573 the lieges
complained to the Council, which prohibited the export of salt
for three years. The panmasters complained that they could not
live without the export trade and an agreement was made that they
should supply the natives with what salt they required at an agreed
price of 8s. the boll. At this time local pans included: Kinneil
pans (or the Duke's pans), situated in the vicinity of Corbiehall
Graveyard, where the slaughter-house stood in the early part of
the 20th century; Grange pans, which were the
pans connected with Grange Estate; Bonhard pans, connected
with the Bonhard Estate, but situated on Carriden shore; Caris
pans, which eventually became the pans of Carriden Estate
situated a few hundred yards to the east of Burnfoot. The last
pans operated till 1889-90, owned by the Cadell family.
First recorded reference to Bo'ness on 19th October
1565. "On this date the council appointed Patrick Cruming
of Carriden "keeper of the haven of Borrowistouness, and
all the bounds betwixt the same and Blakness for watching the
passage of any of the enemies of their Majesties" He
was also designed as "Patrick Crumbie in Carriden, First
Janitor to the then Queen's Majesty." " It is said
that in 1600 Bo'ness had only one inhabited house, but by 1691
it had replaced the village of Kinneil.
Sir David Falconer, was described as
a "brave cavalier and skilful mariner of Borrowstounesss"
on the 10th August 1490. This therefore is conflicting
evidence for the existence of Borrowstounness before 1565.
Bo'ness Port.Bo'ness was officially recognised as a
port, although it had been recognised as such since at least 1565.
Bo'ness Port.The Scottish Privy Council closed the
port of Bo'ness because of the enormous amount of smuggling that
was tacking place. It was reopened a few years later.
of miners and salters. A law was passed in 1606, which effectively
tied colliers and salters to their overlords. Naturally this greatly
effected the Bo'ness workforce.
The Binns probably incorporating part of a 15th
Century Castle. It is now a fortified Mansion House built between
1612 and 1630 by Thomas Dalyell (1572-1642), an Edinburgh butter
merchant. He purchased the land from Sir William Livingston of
Kilsyth for 38,000 merks. It was greatly extended by General Dalyell
(b.1615 d.1685) in the 17th Century: by whose ghost
it is rumoured to be haunted. Peacocks parade on the lawn and
like the apes of Gibraltar the legend states that while peacocks
are at The Binns it will remain in the Dalyell family. Currently
occupied by Sir Tam Dalyell Baronet (Bt NS 1685) MP.
General Tam Dalyell (b.1615 d.1685) was born to Thomas
Dalyell and his wife Janet Bruce. Known to the Covenanters as
"Bloody Tam, the Muscovy Brute" he was affectionately
called "Old Tom of Muscovy" by King Charles II.
Box Society was founded. Bo'ness skippers used to put one-tenth
of their profits from every successful voyage into an iron-bound
sea chest "for benevolent purposes, and for mutual help in
times of need".
The Church of Borrowstounness was built at Corbiehall
between 1636 and 1638 although it was in 1634 that the idea was
first proposed because of the rapid growth of the seaport. The
Minister of Kinneil first served it. About 1636 the movement to
erect the church began in earnest when about 160 contributors
amassed a sum of £160 sterling. The town's sailors had a contribution
box, which they and visitors to the town used for contributions,
which came to about £70 of the £230 total collected. The church,
the pulpit of which came from Holland, seems to have been completed
in 1638 when the sailors put up a loft for themselves at a cost
of £16 sterling and laid the passages for the church floor with
pavement, which cost £3 10 shillings sterling. An act was obtained
from the Scots Parliament in 1649 disjoining the parish of Bo'ness
from Kinneil in order to allow the inhabitants power to assess
themselves and raise the £44 8s 11d required for a ministers stipend
(salary). This act was later declared "illegal and wanting
lawful authority" since it was done in the absence of James
Duke of Hamilton who was imprisoned in England at the time. In
1669 William and Anna Duke and Duchess of Hamilton obtained an
act of Parliament declaring the new church to be the "Kirk
of the Barony of Kinneil and Borrowstounness", which became
known as the Parish of Bo'ness. A large aisle was added to the
church, which was built only man-high, in 1672 by the Duke of
Hamilton for himself and his tenants. The aisle was taken down
and the church was almost rebuilt in 1776 in an oblong figure
measuring 69 feet by 48 feet. The church served the needs of the
Parish until 1887 when the Old Kirk was built. The Kinneil and
Borrowstounness Church was sold to the Episcopal Church of Scotland.
It was later converted into the "Star" Cinema
when the Scottish Episcopal Church moved to Cadzow Crecent to
occupy what is now St Catherine's Church c. 1919. The first owners
name was Mr Torrence who married a Miss Duncan from Muirhouses.
Unlike many other cinemas of the day it was purpose built, having
no stage, and therefore was not used for other theatricals. The
Star closed as a Picture House in the late 1960's early 1970's,
but like the Hippodrome was used for several years as a
National Covenant signed in Grayfriars Church and Churchyard,
Edinburgh on 1st march 1638 (the Solemn League and
Covenant was signed in 1642). As one of Scotland most prosperous
seaports this had a great impact on Bo'ness. Holland was the favourite
destination for Covenanters fleeing Britain and as a result many
were transported back and forth through Bo'ness. Also because
there was a strict censorship much of the Presbyterians had literature
printed in Dutch cities and smuggled back to Scotland through
Thirling of miners, salters and other essential workers.
The Act of 1601 was further extended in 1641 to include other
Bo'ness became plague-infected, to the extent
that the Scottish Parliament appointed a Special Committee to
prevent its spread. The town was effectively quarantined when
gallows were constructed at the East and West ports of Linlithgow
in order to hang any Bo'nessian's which tried to leave.
Tolbooth. This is the probable date for the building
of the original Bo'ness Tolbooth.
The Carriden Witches. During 1648 a Commission of Gentlemen
from the Parish of Carriden found six women guilty of witchcraft,
all were found guilty and duly executed.
Although greatly altered in the first quarter of the 18th
Century Dymock's Building, North Street, was occupied by
a merchant's house before 1650. For safety reasons the height
of part of the yard's north wall has been reduced, but prior to
this a flattened arch framed the yard with the keystone inscribed
RG 1717 IO. This represented Robert Gregorie, merchant and his
wife Janet Osburn to whom the house was transferred in 1714.
Lilbourne, one of Oliver Cromwell's commanders, requisitions
Kinneil House as his headquarters. His young wife Lady Libourne
commits suicide by throwing herself out of an attic window into
the Gil burn almost 200 feet below. Lady Libourne is said
to still haunt the surrounding area.
The population of the Parish of Kinneil was 559.
Bo'ness becomes a Burgh of Regality on 8th
January. Prince William Duke of Hamiltoune in October 1661 tried
to get Bo'ness accepted as a Burgh Royal, but this was strongly
opposed by Linlithgow Council. The first meeting of the Regality
took place in Bo'ness Tolbooth in April 1669. This may have been
the same site as the new Tolbooth built in 1750, and what is now
13 South Street..
1668 First Bo'ness Fairs? Duchess Ann, Duchess
of Hamilton, was given permission by the Scottish Parliament to
hold four fairs per annum in the town. Duchess Ann was later given
permission by Parliament to change the date of the fourth fair
from 18th November to the second Tuesday in July. It
is interesting that the "Riding of the Marches", which
took its charter from Robert II in 1389, was held on Pasche Tuesday
in April until 1625, when due to possible inclement weather it
changed to the first Tuesday after the second Thursday in June.
Since these early fairs were places where local farm labourers
would come to seek employment the earlier date, approximately
a month after the "Marches", would seem a much more
Witchcraft. The Bo'ness Witches. On Tuesday
the 23rd December 1679 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. John
Craw, Annable Thomsone, Margaret Hamilton, Margaret Pringle, Bessie
Vicar and another Margaret Hamilton were taken from the Tollbooth
in South Street to the flat glebe land at the west end of Corbiehall
wirried at the steak till dead and thereafter have their bodies
The Bo'ness Martyrs (or Covenanters) who were victims
of the religious persecutions included: Archibald Stewart
who was tortured and hung at the cross of Edinburgh on 1st
December 1680, General Dalyell and The Duke of York - both arch
persecutors of the Covenanters- were present at most of these
examinations by torture; Marion Harvie hanged at the Grassmarket,
Edinburgh on 26th January 1681; William Gougar was
executed in Edinburgh on 11th March 1681; William Cuthill,
a Bo'ness seaman,was hanged and beheaded at the Grassmarket on
27th July 1681, his head was fixed upon the West port.
No memorial has ever been erected to these four Scottish Covenanters
Sir Tam Dalyell, the son of General Dalyell, was the 1st
Baronet of the Binns after the baronecy was granted to him by
James II. Charles II had intended on granting a baronetcy to General
Dalyell, but both men died before it was granted.
Witchcraft.In 1704 Anna Wood was accused by Robert
Nimmo to have been one of a group of six witches that chased him
when he was walking home from Linlithgow to Carriden shore. He
could however only identify Anna Wood and claimed to have witnessed
her changing from a cat to human form and from a bird to human
form. Anna was found guilty by Carriden Kirk Session, but fearing
for her life fled before hearing the verdict, and was never seen
in Bo'ness again: at least not in human form!
Bo'ness Harbour. The construction of the first harbour
at Bo'ness was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1707. Until
now ships could only load and unload using a long causeway, accessible
only at low tide and in calm weather. However, until 1733, this
amounted to a simple pier on the west side of the anchorage.
The Custom House moved from Blackness to Bo'ness
on 26th December due to the influence of the Hamilton's.
This is the probable date for the construction of what is
now part of Bo'ness Library, and previously the West Pier Tavern
as can be seen on a lintel over the first floor doorway inscribed
17 FMG MR 11. Although this is a "marriage-stone" with
the initials standing for the couple who occupied the house the
date is of the construction of the building.
John Roebuck was born (b. 1718 d. 1794). Despite having a
proven ability at school he could not go to Oxford or Cambridge,
as he was not a member of the Church of England. He therefore
studied medicine at Edinburgh before completing his studies at
Leyden in Holland.
(the author of "Robinson Crusoe" 1719) writes in his
"Tour Through Great Britain" (1724-26) "It has
been, and still is, a town of the greatest trade to Holland and
France of any in Scotland, except Leith."
Bo'ness Harbour. In 1733 the East Pier, some 368 feet
long was added to Bo'ness Harbour.
Beer Tax and Bo'ness Harbour. The shipowners and merchants
of Bo'ness were worried about the condition of Bo'ness Harbour,
the quays were in a poor state and the harbour was silting up.
Ships already paid 11/2d per ton for anchorage,
but this proved to insufficient funding for the purpose. After
due deliberation they decided to tax Bo'ness beer at the rate
of 2d Scots per pint (£1 Scots was 20 pennies compared to 240
pennies in £1 Sterling). An Act of Parliament was past and trustees
appointed, but needless to say there was great opposition from
the brewers and ale house keepers. Ironically it was through the
harbour for which the beer tax was imposed that most of the illicit
beer was to be smuggled into Bo'ness.
the mid eighteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century shipbuilding
was a major industry in Bo'ness. At the end of the 18th
century there were two builders worthy of note: Robert Hart and
Thomas Boag who each built vessels from 300 to 350 tons. The Greys
from Kincardine came later and the last builder worthy of a mention
was Meldrum who built a ship called the "Isabella"
and another called the "Ebenezer". Shipping belonging
to the town at this time consisted of 25 sail, 17 of them were
brigantines of 70 to 170 tons per register, 8 were sloops from
20 to 70 tons per register. Six of the brigantines ranging in
size from 147 to 167 tons were contracted to sail to and from
London every 14 days. The other 11 brigantines and 1 sloop were
mainly involved in Baltic trade, with the remaining 7 sloops involved
in canal and coastal trade. The shipping employed a total of approximately
170 men and boys.
New Tolbooth.The new town Tolbooth was built at 13
South Street. On the east gable wall there is a re-used lintel
stone dated 1647 which may have been from the original Tolbooth.
Bridgness Tower. What is now Bridgness Tower was originally
built as a windmill for milling grain, but for some time it was
thought that the Cadells used it to pump water from their mines
which ran under the Forth. This however is now in thought to be
erroneous. It wasn't used for this purpose for long as the Cadells
invested in more efficient steam power. Mr Robert Hughes purchased
it in the early 19th Century and changed it into an
observatory. Records show that there had been a windmill
on the site as far back as 1636.
Six whalers, with an approximate capacity of 330 tons set
sail from Scotland and by 1756 this had increased to sixteen.
In 1970 the government offered a bounty of £2 per ton, based on
the ships capacity, to encourage the industry. This meant even
if there was no catch a ship with a capacity of 330 tons would
receive a bounty of £660. Bo'ness whaling records however do not
extend this far back, although Bo'ness was a whaling port at the
time The largest cargo of blubber ever landed in Scotland was
landed at Peterhead by the "Resolution" which caught
44 whales in 1814. The oil yield was valued at £10,000 with a
further £1,000 for the bones which was used for furniture, waist
pinching stays and pandybats. Pandybats were long leather-covered
cane like instruments which Irish schoolmasters used as canes.
Alas the success of the 1860's large catches all but destroyed
the whale population, and by the 1890's despite steam powered
ships now being more efficient (faster, increased range and able
to go into more dangerous waters), the Arctic whaling industry
died. The River Tay, owned by Gilroy Brothers & Co.
of Dundee, but built at Kinghorn, was the first iron-hulled, steam
powered whaling ship built in 1868 for Arctic trade. Weighing
608 tons she was 145ft long with a 30ft beam and a draught of
18½ft, she had 6 separate watertight compartments and a reinforced
hull to withstand the pressures of the ice flows. Although her
first season was good due to her increased range and speed she
was able to make two Arctic voyages in the one season, but alas
over hunting made Arctic trade uneconomic.
1893 it was therefore decided to send 3 ships to the Antarctic.
This industry continued to the outbreak of the First World War,
but was never as profitable due to the distances involved. Between
1750 and 1780 Bo'ness ranked as the third port in Scotland.
Family. William Cadell (1708-1777) first moved to Bo'ness
from Cockenzie, East Lothian, in 1759. Mr Caddell was a member
of a merchant family whose main business was the import of iron
from Russia and Sweden. It was therefore in a venture to mine
and smelt ironstone, and not, as often thought, primarily coal,
that Caddell approached Dr Roebuck. The Seven Year's War meant
a high demand for weapons made from iron, but it also disrupted
the iron Baltic trade, thus the idea of Carron Iron Works was
Carron Company established as: Roebuck, Garbett
& Cadells. Dr Roebuck and Mr William Cadell agreed to locally
mine and smelt iron ore. The location was decided because of its
proximity to wood (charcoal), water for power, iron ore, coal
and water for transportation. What is not so well known is that
the first choice for the sighting of the iron works was not Stenhousemuir,
but a site near Jinkabout Mill. This choice was abandoned because
a lease was only available for 99 years.
Masonic Lodge.The "Pythogoric" Lodge, which
stood as No. 90 on the roll of the Grand Lodge had its first minuted
meeting dated 27th December 1768 and the last recorded
minute was dated 21st December 1789. It is probable
that the Lodge was founded in 1759 as one surviving page form
the minute book states "that from and after the 17th
of July 1760 every Brother upon being made a Royal Arch mason
in the Pythagoric Lodge shall pay dues thereto - five shillings."
The "Ancient Brazen" Lodge of Linlithgow dates back
to 2nd March 1654. By 1768 it owned its own Temple,
however by the 1780's attendance's had fallen from about 20 to
10 with the last initiation taking place on Christmas day 1787.
The Lodge was declared dormant by the Grand Lodge in 1799 and
erased from the roll in 1809. The Douglas Lodge (409) has
copies of these early Masonic minutes. Charles Addison, Dr J Short,
Dr John Roebuck and his brother Benjamin were all Brothers.
Year's Day saw the opening of Carron Company Iron Works,
by Dr Roebuck
The Anti-Burghers first meet in a barn at Little Carriden
in September 1762. Two years later they were to move to a property
acquired from the Sea Box at East Bog which they named Easter
Meeting-house. The yard on the north side was used as a graveyard.
Black first introduced James Watt (b.1736, d. 1819) to Dr Roebuck.
This period was to almost bankrupt Dr Roebuck and Watt was unfortunately
forced to Birmingham to perfect his steam engine with the firm
Boulton, Watt & Co. Although he was declared bankrupt in 1773
Roebuck did manage to survive his financial embarrassment founding
Scotland's first large commercial pottery at Bo'ness in 1787 under
his son's name. He was also responsible for the town's first
fresh water supply.
First Pottery.Around 1766 brown earthenware pottery
from local clay began to be produced in a Pottery on the south
side of Main Street.
Tobacco Warehouse. Thought to have been originally
built as a Tobacco Warehouse, when most of the North American
tobacco was shipped to France as raw-leaf via east Coast ports,
the ground floor of this four storey building in Scotland's close
is now occupied by Bo'ness Library. The keystone over the arch
over the doorway bears the initials I.C. and the date 1772. By
1850 the building was used as a granary and later as a bakehouse.
Thirling of miners and salters. In 1774 an attempt
was made to amend the law and forbid the thirling of miners and
their families to the coal pits.
Bridgeness Harbour. Bridgeness Pier first appears on
a map in 1775 and again on an Ordinance Survey map in 1856, but
by then the pier and its surroundings had substantially changed
being over 500 feet long. James John Cadell built a 3 feet gauge
railway to from the Meldrum Pit to the pier about 1845. The railway
was dismantled about 1890 when work on Philpingstone Road began.
The pier was mainly used for the export of coal and salt.
The second Carriden Church was built at the foot of
Carriden Brae, but the residents still wished to be interred at
the previous site. By the 1840's there was a congregation of 1104
made up of 259 families with a further 22 families from the United
The Borrowstounness Canal Company was formed presumably
sometime in the 1780's. Work had started on the Forth Clyde Canal
in 1768 which would obviously prove a threat to Bo'ness Harbour
since up to 50 carts of goods would regularly leave Glasgow in
the morning bound for Bo'ness. It was obvious that when the canal
was opened to Sealock (Grangemouth) that this and the packhorse
trade from Glasgow would cease.
Borrowstounness Canal Company was going to build a canal link
between Bo'ness Harbour and the "Great Canal" (as the
Forth & Clyde canal was called) It was initially estimated
that the work would cost about £10,000, but when not half completed
the cost was already £7,000 the work was abandoned. Meetings were
held to raise more money, but there were objections that the money
had not been well spent it was said that "some associated
with the project rendered themselves richer in pocket and poorer
in character by their conduct at that time."
the idea wasn't abandoned and it was agreed to employ Robert Whitworth
of Glasgow to give a report on the whole proposal and an estimate
of the cost to complete the work. Mr Whitworth was the engineer
responsible for the completion of the "Great Canal".
His report is dated 28th December 1789, but is outwith
the scope of this Timeline. The canal was to be 54ft wide at the
top, 27ft wide at the bottom and 8½ft deep to let vessels drawing
8ft to navigate it. The total cost estimated was £17,763 10s 0d.
Thus the idea was abandoned.
is interesting to note that by 1st December 1810 Grangemouth
had its own Custom House with jurisdiction for Alloa, Stirling
and Kincardine. In the same year the duties drawn from Bo'ness
were £30,485 17s 0½d, but 5 years later they had dropped to £3,835
the proposed route for the canal approximately 6 furlongs west
of Bo'ness Harbour a castle named Castle Lyon is mentioned,
this is probably the same castle as Karig Lion Castle with
Grid ref. NS 994817 OS: 65. No trace of either can be seen.
Robert Burns.The poet Robert Burns visited Bo'ness
in July describing it as "that dirty, ugly place, Borrowstounness".
Although some accounts of his visit indicate that he visited the
town in August he is reported to have attended the horse racing
on the foreshore, which would have taken place in the afternoon
of a Friday between the 12th and 19th of
July at the Miners Fair.
Bo'ness Pottery.Although he was declared bankrupt in
1773 Dr Roebuck, by using his sons name, developed Bo'ness Pottery
in Main Street, Bo'ness by leasing premises from the Duke of Hamilton.
By 1789 it was producing cream coloured and white stoneware by
importing clay from Dorset and Devon. In 1791 Dr Roebuck and 40
men, boys and girls operated 3 kilns. On his death in 1794 Roebucks
son sold the property to Thomas Cowan. In 1801 it was purchased
by Alex Cuming, a customs officer, for £300. He in turn gifted
it to his Nephew James Cumings. It was sold to Bo'ness Potters
Shaw and James Jamieson in 1827 and operated as James Jamieson,
or J.J., from 1827-1854. At this time about a third of the workforce
weren't local many coming from Staffordshire.
was Jamieson's brother in law John Marshal, a wealthy corn merchant
and J.P., who purchased the Pottery in 1854. The company operated
from 1854-1898 as John Marshall and Company. Now also occupying
ground on the north side of Main Street he built a reading room
for his workers in 1858, encouraged outings and helped found the
Potters Guild in 1860. On John Marshals death in 1879 his co-partner
William McNay took charge until his death the following in 1880,
when his brother Charles McNay and two sons John and James Managed
the Pottery. In 1886 Charles McNay founded Bridgeness Pottery
and left Bo'ness pottery in his sons care. They were however unsuccessful
and the pottery went into liquidation in 1898.
Bo'ness Harbour. The 368 feet long East Pier was extended
by a further 180 feet.
Forth & Clyde Canal. Although work began in 1768
under the guidance of the engineer John Smeaton it was 22 years
before the Forth & Clyde Canal was completed in 1790,
including the 4 mile branch in Glasgow. When the navigation from
Grangemouth to Bowling on the Clyde was opened, trade flourished
as ships seized this first opportunity to make their way coast-to-coast
across mainland Britain, and avoid the long and hazardous route
around the north coast of Scotland.
Charlotte Dundas, the world's first practical steamboat,
conducted trials on the Canal in 1802. The Vulcan,
Scotland's first iron boat, was built for canal passenger
service in 1818. Later, as with other canals, trade began to decline
in the face of competition from the railways. Canal cruises boosted
the Canal's popularity earlier this century, but the last pleasure
boat - the Gypsy Queen - made her final voyage in 1939.
Trade continued to decline after this until, in 1963, the Canal
was closed to navigation.
John Anderson Merchant and Banker (b.1794 d.14th
April 1870), "the King of Bo'ness" was born at
Bo'ness in 1794, the only son of John Anderson (teacher) and Jean
Paterson, he had a sister Margaret who was a Cloth Merchant and
Postmistress. He was probably Bo'ness's most successful businessman.
Interested in education he erected the Anderson Academy.
He was buried beside his father, mother and sister in the lower
churchyard on the Wynd, but his trustees erected a monument to
him and his aforementioned family at the entrance to the new cemetery,
which was unveiled on 24th December 1904.
Fishing.Quite unexpectedly the herring fishing season
of 1795-5 was so good that there were hopes that herring curing
would be added to the place industry.
Customs House.By about 1796 Grangemouth, South and
North Queensferry, St. David's, Inverkeithing, Limekilns, Torry
and Culross were all attached to the Bo'ness Custom House. At
this time there were 44 officers employed. Salt was still a precious
commodity the Bo'ness salt duty amounting to £3,000. Salt was
stored in cellars or "girnels" barred with strong doors
sealed by the Revenue Officer. It was only allowed to be taken
out when the duty was paid.
Craigmailen Church was built at the top of Providence
Brae. It later became St Mary's Church. The United Associate Congregation,
union of the Burger and Anti-Burger Congregations took place in
1820. The Burgher Meeting-house was built in 1796 at the top of
Providence Brae and the Anti-Burgher Meeting-house or Easter Meeting
House was on the East Bog.
First Miners Fair. A law was passed in 1606 which effectively
tied colliers and salters to their overlords. This was further
extended in 1641 to include other essential workers. In 1774 an
attempt was made to amend the law and forbid the thirling of miners
and their families to the coal pits. The Act was repealed in 1799.
To celebrate the Mines Emancipation Act of 1799 miners, as free
men, took a holiday to march through the town. The Act declared
that, "all the colliers in that part of Great Britain called
Scotland are hereby declared to be free from their servitude."
those already tied were not given their freedom straight away
as the legacy lingered long after in the minds of both mine and
landowners. This later developed into Bo'ness Children's Fair,
but at this time it was more of a drinking affair which by the
late 1800's was described as a "drunken orgy". Held
on the Friday between the 12th and 19th
July the march commenced at the miners rows at Borrowstoun and
Newton down to Corbiehall and out to Kinneil House where the Duke's
Estate Factor provided them with whisky toddy. From there it meandered
through the town to the Grange where the other main colliery owner
Cadell would also welcome his miners by serving whisky toddy.
by the town bands they would proceed to the banks of the Forth
where the afternoon's entertainment was provided by horse and
carriage racing. If this sounds grand it should be remembered
that these were working horses and not thoroughbreds. A fair ground
was also set up at Corbiehall where the day's events would be
rounded off before the evening dance in the Town Hall commenced.
By the 1890's the public criticism of the miner's boisterous and
drunken behaviour led the Newtown Miner's Fair Committee to approach
the local Police Commissioners to gain their support for the Miners
viewed with much scepticism in 1894 the first march, which resembled
a town parade, with all of its pageantry, took place. As usual
it was led by the miner's Deacon, but was now followed by Banner
Bearers with the town banner bearing the town coat of arms and
motto "Sine Metu", closely followed by the Provost and
Commissioners in open horse drawn carriages with outriders. This
then was the first town procession which could be linked to today's
Bo'ness Children's Fair.
1800 Distillery.Bo'ness Distillery opened in the
early1800's. malt duty was over £300 per week in 1845, but had
increased to £1,000,000 per annum by 1912. It was owned by Tod,
Padon & Vannan then A. & R. Vannan before being purchased
by James Calder in 1874. Early in the 20th century
(~ 1912) the weekly output was 50 tons of yeast, 25,000 gallons
of spirits, and 300 tons of grains for cattle feeding.
1800 Body Snatching.From the first quarter of this
century till the 1890's there stood at the gate of the South Churchyard,
at the Wynd, a small watch-house. This was used to shelter the
watchmen during the raids of the "Resurrectionists"
when corpses were stolen for anatomical purposes. Each householder
was required to take a turn or find a substitute; for which the
going rate was 1s and usually bred and porter for supper.
1800's Bridgeness Tower.Bridgeness Windmill/Tower
was purchased by Mr Robert Hughes it in the early 19th
Century, he changed the upper part of it into an observatory,
purchasing a six-inch telescope for £1,000, on his death this
was sold to Piazza Smith, the Astronomer Royal. Unable to install
the telescope himself Hughs hired an English Astronomer Mr Clark
to install it for him. Clark was originally to stay in the tower
for 6 months, but stayed 28 years. Hughes also built the "Secret
Factory" at the bottom of Links Braes where Vitriol (Sulphuric
Acid) and Iodine extracted from seaweed were manufactured.
Census: Bo'ness 2,790 Carriden 1,493 Total: 4,283
Salt Production.On the death of Sir Henry Seton in
1803, the Collector of Taxes, Cadell took possession of his dwelling
place, Grange House. Salt production was still a major industry
in Grangepans, but it was said that the seawater was "too
fresh" and rock salt was added to strengthen the Grange
salt: previously 100 tons of water would only yield 3 tons of
salt. The salt was regarded as being of the highest quality and
at 11s. per half cwt people came from far and near, a ton was
carted to Falkirk every week to supply the inhabitants at a cost
of £22 per cart or £1,232 per annum.
Admiral Sir William Dalyell 7th Baronet NS (1784-1865)was
badly wounded in 1805, having received 9 sabre wounds to his head.
It is thought that C S Forester was inspired by the exploits of
Sir William and modelled his fictional hero, Horatio Hornblower,
Admiral Sir James Hope was born at Carriden House (b.1808
d.1881). His father, who died when James was only 10, was Admiral
Sir George Hope who commanded the H.M.S. Defence at the Battle
of Trafalgar and was Commander-in-Chief of the British Baltic
Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. Sir George was the second son
of the first Earl of Hopetoun. James joined the Navy when 15 and
by 1838 had reached the rank of Captain. When retired he founded
a model village at Muirhouses.
On 1st December 1810Grangemouth gets its own
Custom House with jurisdiction for Alloa, Stirling and Kincardine.
Grangemouth probably owes its foundation because of the Forth
and Clyde Canal to Sir Lawrence Dundas of Kerse, an ancestor of
the Earl of Zetland, who was the districts main landowner at the
Henry Bell.The "Comet" (one of
the first practical steam powered boat), was launched on the
Clyde, designed by Henry Bell (b. 1767 d. 1830) who, a native
of Torphichen, learnt his trade in Bo'ness. It came to Bo'ness
from the Clyde via the Forth and Clyde Canal in 1813 for an overhaul
to be carried out by Henry's old employers, Shaw & Hart.
The building of the Union Canal was begun on Tuesday 3 March
1818, when following a prayer, Mr Downie of Appin, president of
the company, dug the first spadeful at what was to become Edinburgh's
Port Hopetoun. It was closed to navigation in 1965.
The New Shotts Iron Company were paid £38. 9. 4 to provide
a cistern and well at the Cross, which was a significant improvement
on the previous facilities.
The Binns Tower. This was built by Sir James Dalyell
(5th Baronet) as a wager with one of the Hope family
in 1826 for £29 10s.
The first outbreak of Cholera is recorded as 20th
December 1831; the more severe second outbreaktook place about
20 years later. It was because of this the graveyard on the shore
at Corbiehall was necessitated. Dr. Cowan noted that from the
time of seizure till death took a minimum of 11 hours a maximum
of 95 hours and an average of 33 hours.
Sir John Graham Dalyell 6th Baronet NS (1776-1851)
was knighted in 1836 for his services to science and literature.
He wrote an illustrated book "The Rare and Remarkable Animals
of Scotland" and is noted as having also taught Darwin.
First Bo'ness Iron Foundry, Steele Miller & Company
(later Bo'ness Foundry Company) was founded.
Bo'ness Gas Company.Formation of the Bo'ness Gas Company,
on Links Road, John Anderson was appointed Chairman.
Kinneil Furnaces.With the collapse of they local canal
scheme (the Forth Clyde Canal ending at Grangemouth or Sealock
as it was then known) Bo'ness Harbour fell on hard times. However
the return of better days when in 1843 John Wilson of Dundyvan
built Kinneil Furnaces. The four furnaces sat on the high ground
about a mile west of the town.
is said that the light they produced at night lit up the dark
places of the town. In these open top furnaces it was a hot-air
process that was used to melt the iron, and as a result columns
of flames shot high into the night sky, illuminating the Forth
Valley for miles. It was for John Wilson's employees that the
Snab or Kinneil Rows were built. They would include furnace workers
and ironstone (iron ore) miners.
Old St Andrew's Church (known as the Free Church of
Scotland). On 20th August 1844 Captain James Hope of
Carriden (later Admiral Sir James Hope) laid the foundation stone
of this church with Masonic honours. Beneath the foundation-stone
is a leaden case which contains copies of the Act of Separation
and deed of Demission, protest by the ministers and elders, copies
of the "Witness", the "Scottish Herald", and
the Edinburgh "Weekly Register", an almanac, and a list
of the office-bearers and managers of the congregation.
church was built at the east end of the Links on the west side
of the boundary line between the Parish of Bo'ness and Carriden
(west side of Boundary Street) at a cost of £365 17s 2d. The first
minister was Mr Alex P. Dempster.
1850 Second outbreak of Cholera. It is reputed
that Corbiehall Graveyard was set aside for the victims
of this cholera epidemic. Although in a poor state of repair many
of the gravestones, which have been laid flat, can still be read.
Whaling was taken up for the second time in Bo'ness and
records show that ships included: "Success", Captain
Jock Tamson; "Home Castle"; "Rattler", Captain
Stoddart; "Juno", Captain Lyle; "Larkins",
Captain Muirhead; "Alfred", Captain William Walker;
"Jean" Captain John Walker and the officers on the "Jean"
were William White, Alexander Donaldson, John McKenzie
(harpooner) and John Grant. Each whaler carried a crew of 50.
There were two boiling-houses in Bo'ness where the oil was extracted
from the whales blubber.
main one was on the Wynd where many of the whaling sailors were
employed off-season. Whaling soon proved unprofitable and by 1870
Bo'ness whaling had ceased. John Anderson owned the whalers "Success",
"Alfred", and "Jean"; he also had a large
interest in the boiling-house on the Wynd.
Census: Bo'ness 5,192 Carriden 1,724 Total: 6,916
Kinneil Railway opened 17th March.
Town Bands.The 30th Junewas the inauguration
of the Kinneil Reed Band at a meeting in the Old Schoolroom
at Newton. All the members were connected with Mr Wilson's ironworks
and not Kinneil Coal Colliery as many people assume. On the original
members roll there were 8 Sneddon's, 6 Robertson's, 2 Grant's,
and 2 Campbell's. In the same year Carriden Band was instituted,
members of which were mainly from Grange Colliery.
Indian Mutiny. The Hope Monument which was erected
on top of Airngath Hill, some 520 feet above see level, in 1859
is in memory of Brigadier-General the Hon. Adrian Hope of Hopetoun
House. He was killed in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny at the attack
on Fort Rooeah.
Second Masonic Lodge. A group of Bo'nessian Masons
applied to resurrect the "Pythagoric" Lodge in Bo'ness
in 1860, but were refused permission by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Permission was however granted on 5th November 1860
to open a new Lodge, which gave birth to the Douglas Lodge, probably
named after the Hamilton-Douglas family. Hence on Thursday 10th
January 1861 the first meeting of the Douglas Lodge took place
at 7.30 p.m. in the Freemasons Tavern for the purpose of Entering
new members were admitted, the first of 80 to be admitted in the
first year, the RWM was William Spence of the Star Lodge Glasgow.
It was not until 23rd May 1861 that the Douglas Lodge
received its official Charter from the Grand Lodge and the first
office-bearers were duly elected at a meeting on 28th
May when Brother Spence was officially appointed as the RWM.
a busy harbour Bo'ness had more than its fair share of visiting
Masons from abroad and because of this it received a communication
from the Grand Lodge about being cautious when admitting visitors
and especially French who did not adhere to one of the basic principals
of Scottish freemasonry.
- 74 Muirhouses. Admiral Sir James Hope rebuilt the
village of Muirhouses into a picturesque group of seven single-storied
cottages dated 1864-74. His sister was the benefactor of the former
Girls School in the centre dated 1865 and it's adjoining two-storey
Pit Prop Industry.From about 1840 the stoop and room method
of mining which left pillars of coal to hold up the mine roof
was replaced with the longwall system. This system replaced the
pillars of coal with timber props (pit props) which meant a much
greater yield of coal from the seams.
drawback was that before each shift each miner had to cut his
own props from imported tree trunks which left a considerable
amount of waste wood: a practice that may have been deliberate
since the miners were allowed to keep the waste as firewood. Grange
Colliery cashier and future Bo'ness Provost George Cadell Stewart
noticed this waste and went into partnership with James Love,
a Glasgow business man, setting up the first pitwood yard in Bo'ness
on reclaimed foreshore.
imported the props in a variety of lengths and diameters from
Scandinavia and other Baltic countries. Other companies soon followed
and this led to the new dock being built by the North British
Railway Company, to be completed in 1881. In its hay day there
were 120 acres of storage yards served by ten miles of railway
sidings employing about 1,000 people. Eventually the yards were
fitted with cutting equipment capable of producing vast quantities
of mining timber at short notice. By 1935 more than 140,000 tons
of pit props were imported per annum.
Bo'ness Harbour the west pier to be extended, a dry
dock constructed and hydraulic machinery installed.
Bo'ness Journal. Dated Saturday 21st September
1878, with a total of just four pages and costing 1/2d
"The Bo'ness Journal" was the first newspaper
published in Bo'ness.
Bo'ness Harbour.The new Bo'ness Dock was completed
in 1881 along with the rest of the work.
Town Hall.One Sunday evening a local preacher was giving
a sermon on the fall of the Tower of Siloam in the Old Town Hall
when the congregation started to feel the floor moving. There
was no alarm, but on further investigation the next day it was
found that a huge hole 60ft deep had formed just under the floor.
Sadly the Town Hall had to be demolished. A clock tower was built
in its place, but it too had to be demolished due to subsidence.
The existing clock replaced it.
Craigmailen United Free Church was built. Its name
is derived from a farmhouse situated midway between Bathgate and
Linlithgow. The congregation is a break away from a group that
worshiped there. They have been in Bo'ness since 1762.
Bridgeness Pottery. This was established by Charles
McNay, a previous employee of Bo'ness Pottery, in 1886. McNay
purchased machinery, moulds and transfer pattern printing plates
from Bo'ness Pottery when it went into liquidation in 1898, thus
securing much of its predecessors markets.
Bo'ness Old Kirk. With seating for up to 1,250Bo'ness
Old Kirk was built in a Norman style at a cost of over £8,000.
The Journal & Gazette building was built.
The Jubilee Drinking Fountain was given to the town
by James Allan on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
Designed by Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Fowler (Engineers)
and built by Sir William Arrol (Contractor) the Forth Rail
Bridge was opened in Tuesday 4th March, the last
rivet being inserted by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).
at a cost of £3,500,000 there were approximately 4,600 men employed
in the construction of the bridge, many of who were Irish. The
contract for the bridge was awarded on 21 December 1882 and work
on the bridge began in 1883, before completion in March 1990 there
had been about 500 accidents including 57 fatalities. The bridge
is 8,295 feet long and 361 feet above high water at its highest
was 54,000 tons of steel, 194,000 cubic yards of granite, stone
and concrete, 21,000 tons of cement and almost 7 million rivets
used in the construction of the bridge.
Birkhill Clay Mine.Towards the end of last century, Mark
Hurll, a firebrick manufacturer from Glenboig, Lanarkshire, arrived
at Birkhill in his quest for a source of high grade fireclay
to meet the demands of the booming refractory industry.
Anchor Tavern.The building which the Anchor Tavern
now occupies was built by Andrew Colville of Edinburgh in 1891.
Census: Bo'ness 6,399 Carriden 2,453 Total: 8,852
Industrial Co-operative Pottery Company Limited. The formation
of this company marked the Co-operative Societies short lived
venture into pottery manufacture. Although the pottery was of
good quality and the company was situated in a new factory, designed
by William Simpson, commissioned and built at Grangepans, it ceased
trading in 1894.
Whaling.The "Terra Nova" of Dundee, captured
a whale in which a harpoon was found. The harpoon bore the name
of the maker, William Cummings, blacksmith, Kinneil dated 1853
which had belonged to harpooner J. McKenzie, of the
"Jean" Bo'ness. A copy was made by Bo'ness Hotelier
John Jeffrey who had the original on loan.
West Lothian Pottery Company Limited. A group of business
men headed by James Hutton, of Culross Coal Co., purchased the
works formerly belonging to the Industrial Co-operative Pottery
Company Limited in 1894. Much of the original workforce was maintained,
the Works Manager being John McNay, son of Charles W. McNay of
Bridgeness Pottery. Producing reasonably priced tableware, mugs,
jugs, bowls and basins this company also ceased to exist in 1930,
mainly due to the depression between the wars.
Kinneil Mine, Kinneil Cannel and Coking Coal Co. Ltd., Bo'ness
had 310 Underground and 96 Surface workers, the Manager was Robert
Bridgeness Mine, Bridgeness Coal Co. Ltd had 193 Underground
and 39 Surface workers, the Manager was Wm. Lynn.
Reformation of the Miners Fair.Although viewed with
much scepticism in 1894 the first march, which resembled a town
parade, with all of its pageantry, took place. As usual it was
led by the miner's Deacon, but was now followed by Banner Bearers
with the town banner bearing the town coat of arms and motto "Sine
Metu", closely followed by the Provost and Commissioners
in open horse drawn carriages with outriders. This then was the
first town procession which could be linked to today's Bo'ness
Bo'ness Children's Fair was founded by one of the towns
first Provosts George Cadell Stewart, who was Provost of the Burgh
from 1894 to 1904. Modelled on Lanark's Lanimer Day, and probably
greatly encouraged by Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Provost
Cadell for the first time introduce the children of the town into
the festivities replacing the hose racing with a programme of
revels more suitable for children. Grace Strachan, from Anderson
Academy, was the first of many Bo'ness Fair "Queens"
to chosen by their fellow pupils.
due to a dispute about the order of precedence the Newtown miners
boycotted the Children's Fair taking no part in the proceedings.
In fact they carried on the old style miners march up until the
beginning of WWI.
Bo'ness Pottery. Under the ownership of John Marshal and
Company Bo'ness Pottery went into liquidation in 1898.
Shipbreaking at Bridgeness. Mr Turnbull established a shipbreaking
yard at Bridgeness in 1898. The first ship broken was the "Barracouta",
but without Oxy-acetalene (which was introduced in 1903) each
ship was taken appart plate by plate. At the end of the WWI a
flotilla of German submarines was broken at Bridgeness. Other
cargo ships and P&O liners such as the "Oriana and the
"Orvieto" were also dismantled at Bridgeness.
1904 the yard was taken over and renamed The Forth Shipbreaking
Company; it was absorbed into the P. & W. McLellan's Group
The Glebe Park was formally opened on Bo'ness Fair
Census: Bo'ness & Carriden 11,473
Bandstand.The cast iron bandstand, which is the centrepiece
of the Glebe Park, was erected in 1902, designed and built by
Walter McFarlane & Co. of Saracen Foundry in Glasgow.
Town Hall.The present town hall in the Glebe Park was built
with a public library; the Carnegie Library now closed. Restricted
to a budget of £10,000 the Town hall was designed by George Washington
Brown. The Town Council used the Harbour transfer Fund to pay
for most of the construction and the Library was financed by Andrew
St Andrews Church.Formerly the Free Church of Scotland,
formed in 1843,St Andrew Church was built with a cruciform design
at a cost of £6,400, including the hall.
Sea Box Society. The tenement block in Corbiehall with
the plaque commemorating the establishment of the Sea Box Society
in 1634 was built using Society funds in 1905.
Mathew Steel. Now S&J Studios (hairdressers) No.
11 South Street was designed by Mathew Steel for John Paris.
However until it was recently renovated, to include the original
ground floor design, only the upper floors were built as designed.
Foreign trade: Inward 691 ships, 378,654 tons; Outward 739
ships, 365,457 tons. Coastal trade: Inward 516 ships, 111,495
tons; Outward 558 ships, 122,367 tons. There were also Consulates
for: Denmark, Germany, Norway, The Netherlands, Russia and Sweden
in the town.
Masonic Lodge.In the first 50 years of its existence the
Douglas Lodge had no less that ten different meeting places, therefore
in 1908 a sub-committee was formed to find a more permanent building
or site suitable to build a Temple could be found. The first choice
was St Mary's Church, which was no longer being used by the Roman
Catholics, and a price of £425 was agreed on for the purchase
of the building.
plans were drawn up to convert the former Chapel work never started
as the church authorities had a last minute change of heart and
decided not to sell the premises.The current building was built
on land purchased from Brother Kilpatrick, and plans were quickly
drawn up for the construction of the Temple for an estimated cost
by Mathew Steele for a fee of £60 17s 0d, the foundation stone
for the 409 Douglas Lodge Temple sited in Stewart Avenue
was laid on 14th August 1909 by Provincial Grand Master
Brother Robert Kirk.
Carriden Church was built at a cost of £6,292 to replace
the one which stands adjacent to it. Three thousand pounds of
this money was raised by holding a three day bazaar in the Town
Hall and Mrs Dundas of Carriden had promised to double the final
sum. Designed by P. McGregor Chalmers in a Norman style it was
the Rev. William Dundas who was principally responsible for its
stone used was from Deanfield Quarry, Jimmy Mann being in charge
of the stone masons. David Aitken carved the bible texts onto
the pillars and the barrel shaped ceiling constructed in pitched
pine, and other woodwork was done by the Turnbull family. Brought
from the second Carriden Church, but possibly originating from
the earlier one, the bell was cast in Rotterdam, Holland by Peter
Ostens in 1674; "The Ranger" of Carriden, the wooden
sailing ship that hangs from the roof, was also from the previous
old Carriden Church, which was abandoned in 1770, stood in front
of Carriden House in the old churchyard. Only traces of the foundations
remain of this church which date back to 1243.
Masonic Lodge. On 9th February 1910 the new
Douglas Lodge Temple was officially opened by Provincial Grand
Master Brother Robert Kirk, the Douglas Lodge RWM at the time
was Brother John Oliver. The cost of the Temple, excluding the
purchase of the land, was £1,328 5s 2d.
The Battle of Slaghill. It is probable that more Bo'nessians
fought in this battle than in any other battle in history. For
more than two decades each spring, when the Baltic ice melted,
pit prop boats from Russia, Finland, Sweden, etc., were always
welcomed into Bo'ness Harbour, laden with pit props destined for
collieries throughout Scotland, but this year was different. Propyard
workers had had a reduction in salary from 6d to 5d/hour, but
only in Bo'ness: Alloa and Grangemouth were still being paid 6d.
600 Bo'ness workers became more disgruntled until by the end of
May, when their petition through their union was refused without
consideration, it resulted in them striking. On the day of the
Battle of Slaghill several hundred blacklegs were brought
in from Glasgow by train arriving just before 6 a.m. A strong
police presence was evident and although the blacklegs were greeted
with jeers and shouting the strikers soon dispersed, much to the
relief of the police. This was however only a temporary lull,
led by two pipers they marched through the streets of Bo'ness
to gain sufficient support for the impending battle. By mid morning
they had gained the required support, being joined by several
was a brief pause, when the police drew the truncheons, but urged
on by their women they charged the police who were quickly brushed
away. The ensuing battle resulted in the Glaswegians sustaining
50 serious injuries and 200 minor injuries before the employers
agreed to the Bo'nessians terms. Bo'ness GP, Dr.
made the Glaswegian injured as comfortable as possible before
the left to be treated at Glasgow Infirmary. Many of the participants
including future Provost "Jake" (John) McKenzie were
charged and several received prison sentences. Alas the outcome
was not a total success for the workers since they only received
half of the money that they expected and went on strike for.
Population of Bo'ness 14,034: 10,862 town (including 84
shipping) and 3,172 Parish landward.
Hippodrome Cinema,Designed by Mathew Steele and owned by Louis
Dickson the Hippodrome Theatre was opened in 1911. The ticket
office was added later, in 1926, by architect John Taylor.
Town Fire. Between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. a fire broke out
at the corner of East Pier Street destroying Dymock's grocer &
chandler, Hanson's drapers and a showroom for Singer Sewing Machines.
The damage was estimated at £6,000. To put that cost into perspective
it was more than four times the cost of building the Douglas Lodge
(Masonic Temple) in Stewart Avenue less than two years earlier.
Shops on register at 31st December included:
Bakers 9; Bootmakers 9; Butchers 14; Chemists 4; Confectioners
17; Cycle Agents 3; Drapers 18; Fishmongers 2; Fruiterers 9; Ironmongers
3; Stationers 3; Tobacconists and Stationers 5; Jewellers 3; Painters
3; Grocers 22; Restaurants 5; Miscellaneous 12.
The last miners fair or march took place just before WW I.
DuringWW I flotillas of destroyers were based at Bo'ness.
There are the names of 400 men who died in this war on the war
memorial at Stewart Avenue
The Pavilion Cinema opened opposite Cairns Lane, Grangepans.
It was unusual for its day in that it had a slopping floor so
that the screen would not obscured by those sitting in front.
Victoria Cross and Captain Strachan. Captain Harcus Strachan
had immigrated from Bo'ness to Canada by the time WWI was declared
and thus enlisted by joining the Fort Gray, Canadian Cavalry.
In the early years of the war he was awarded the Military Cross
for "conspicuous valour". It was for bravery at the
Battle of Cambria on the 20th November 1917 that Lt.
Strachan received the Victoria Cross.
taken command of the regiment when his Commanding Officer was
killed Lt. Strachan killed seven of the enemy with his sword,
destroyed an important gun emplacement, cut communications and
returned to his lines with prisoners. Prior to winning the V.C.
Harcus Strachan was initiated into freemasonry at the Douglas
Lodge on 22nd January 1917.
Coal Mining in Spitzbergen. Possibly encouraged by hearing
about the success of American miners, Mr Cadell and several other
associates formed the Scottish Spitzbergen Syndicate with the
intention of mining coal in Spitzbergen. In May 1920 a group of
12 Bo'ness miners, a colliery surveyor, Dr Bruce (a Geologist
from Edinburgh) and their piper set sail for Spitzbergen via Tromso,
Norway. Spirits were high when they set sail from Leith aboard
a minesweeper chartered from the Admiralty.
Tromso they played football against a local side and won before
departing for Spitzbergen. They did not find Spitzbergen at all
hospitable and even found making test bores very difficult in
the Arctic soil frozen to a depth of 4 feet. Unlike the American
miners based at Longyear City they did not find any large outcrops
of coal. Although another group of miners did return the following
year the venture did not prove viable and the Scottish Spitzbergen
Syndicate sold their interests to a Dutch company.
Census: Bo'ness & Carriden 13,394
Star Cinema.The Kinneil and Borrowstounness Church was
sold to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. It was later converted
into the "Star" Cinema when the Scottish Episcopal
Church moved to Cadzow Crescent to occupy what is now St Catherine's
Church. The first owner's name was Mr Torrence who married a Miss
Duncan from Muirhouses. Unlike many other cinemas of the day it
was purpose built, having no stage, and therefore was not used
for other theatricals. The Star closed as a Picture House in the
late 1960's early 1970's, but like the Hippodrome was used
for several years as a Bingo Theatre
Football. Bo'ness v Celtic in the fourth round of the Scottish
Cup. With a gate of 10,000 the final score was Celtic 5 Bo'ness
Thomas Foye swam the Forth from New Pit Bo'ness to
Blair Pier, taking three hours. This wasn't to be accomplished
again for over 50 years when Ken Wright swam it at its widest
point west of Queensferry. Swimming from Charlsetown to Blackness
it took him 1 hour 40 minutes on Sunday 12th August
Dam the Forth!During the work starved pre war years of
the early 1930's there was a proposal put forward by John Jeffrey
(a Bo'ness hotel owner) and Mathew Steel (an architect) to dam
the Forth at Queensferry. At the time this would have employed
thousands of labourers; given Bo'ness harbour a new lease of life,
since shipping could leave and enter at any time; encouraged shipbuilding
at Grangemouth; created a non tidal waterway in Britain, larger
than Loch Lomond, and which could rival any Swiss lake for amenities;
produced hydro-electric power, to power for all Forth Valley towns;
be used as a landing facility for sea-planes which were being
considered for commercial flights at that time.
Census: Bo'ness 14,098
Kinneil Estate. Kinneil Estate was purchased by Bo'ness and
Carriden Town Council in 1933 as a commercial enterprise. When
Kinneil House was being demolished by the Town Council traces
of mural paintings on wood panels and plaster were discovered.
Dr Richardson of the Ministry of Works recognised the importance
of these paintings and Kinneil House gained its reprieve.
already removed was retrieved from the yard of a Glasgow contractor
and thus the rooms in Kinneil House were restored to their original
state of decoration. The earlier of the two wall paintings, portraying
the work of the Good Samaritan, can be dated to the time of the
Earl of Arran Regent of Scotland or the mid 1500's. The wood panelled
room is dated about the first half of the 17th Century
to the time of Charles I.
Bo'ness Harbour declined for several reasons including
the following: it was closed to commercial trade during WW II,
the volume of coal business decreased dramatically, it was difficult
to keep free of silt and it was not large enough for modern commercial
traffic. It is hoped that it will once again find a use as a maritime
museum or for pleasure craft.
of ships entering the port
Kincardine Bridge is opened.
Colonel Gordon Dalyell. Prior to his assumption of the
name Dalyell on 1st March 1938 he had been known as
Lt. Colonel Gordon Loch C.I.E., and served in the Indian Army.
He is the father of Sir Tam Dalyell 10th Baronet (Bt
NS 1685) MP.
Bo'ness Home Guard.On Tuesday 11th August 1942
Major Gordon Dalyell (formerly as Lt. Colonel Gordon Loch C.I.E.,
and served in the Indian Army) of the Binns assumed command of
the "Bo'ness Home Guard".
The Binns was gifted to The National Trust for Scotland
by Eleanor Isabel Dalyell, only child and heiress of Sir James
Bruce Wilkie Dalyell 9th Baronet NS (1867-1935). The
familly retain the right to fly the Dalyell standard and to the
hidden treasure of the Binns should it be discovered.
WW II. A Tank Landing Craft Unit HMS Stopford converted
Bo'ness into a temporary Naval Base. This closed Bo'ness Docks
to commercial trade. There are the names of 137 men who died in
this war on the war memorial at Stewart Avenue.
World-famous worsted yarn spinners, Paton and Baldwins,
come to Bo'ness employing 125 people.
Census: Bo'ness 14,136
Colliery.On 25th June 1951, when the Countess of
Balfour cut the first sod, the National Coal Board launched a
major reorganisation at Kinneil to include two new shafts. It
was claimed that Kinneil would become a mining Mecca, which by
the early 1960's would be producing 3,000 tons of coal per day
with a workforce of 1,700 men. With estimated reserves of over
50,000,000 tons the pit would have enough reserves to last over
Countess of Balfour was presented with a gleaming new spade by
the oldest employee, 87 year old Tom Shaw, to cut the first sod.
This was followed by a presentation to the Countess of a bouquet
by the youngest employee Samuel Miller. After the ceremony there
was a function at the Leapark Hotel where Tom, who had spent 67
years in the mining industry, was presented with a new Bank of
England £5 note by the Earl of Balfour in appreciation of his
Kinneil Church was excavated in 1951. The excavation
revealed that the Church had consisted of an oblong nave and small
square ended chancel. The "laird's loft" was added at
a later date, possibly in the early 17th Century, and
may have provided a private gallery for the Hamilton family.
Kinneil Colliery. By the end of 1955 No.1 shaft, used
exclusively to wind coal, had reached a depth of 2,769 feet and
No.2 shaft, used for men and materials, had reached a depth of
2,580 feet. Both shafts were 22 feet in diameter and would eventually
be about 3,000 feet deep. Coal production had reached 600 tons
per day and this was estimated to increase to over 1,000 tons
per day by early 1957.
Passenger Railway. The last passenger train left Bo'ness via
the Edinburgh Glasgow connection at Polmont in 1956. In December
1963 a demolition firm started knocking down the Seaview Railway
Pottery. Opened in 1886 by Charles McNay the Pottery closed
in April 1958. The Pottery was situated on the North Side of Bridgeness
Road just west of Bridgeness Shipbreaking Yard.
Harbour closed on Tuesday, 30th June 1959.
Census: Bo'ness 14,207 By January 1964 it was estimated to
be 15400, due to the Glasgow over-spill of 600 families or 2,100
people. This was wrong.
Kinneil Ghost: Lady Alice Lilbourne the "White Lady.As
recently as October 1962 crowds gathered outside Kinneil House
because of eerie noises coming from the empty mansion. Police
were in attendance to control the 400 strong crowd on Monday 1st
October 1962. Press and TV were present with the celebrated TV
reporter Bill Tennant on the scene only to find that the culprit
was a small asthmatic barn owl.
Fisons Chemical Works closed as there was no ground to
West Lothian Golf Club. Sunday 2nd June 1963
West Lothian Golf Club is officially opened as an 18-Hole Course
with the start of a Pro/Am exhibition game.
Bridgeness Pottery. On Saturday 15th June the
75 year old Bridgeness Pottery was gutted by fire. Opened in 1886
the Pottery C. W. McNay and Sons closed for production in April
Forth & Clyde Canal opened in 1790 closes to navigation.
Bo'ness Potteries. Although the McNay's Potteries had been
closed since April 1958 due to staffing problems, not lack of
orders, it was damage due to a fire in 1963 that caused the building
to be demolished and with it the end of an industrial era.
Kinneil Colliery links up with Low Valleyfield,
Mining history was made on Thursday April 30th at 10.33a.m.
when Kinneil Colliery linked up with Low Valleyfield. At a depth
of 1800 feet 27 year old Martin "Tiger" Shaw broke through
the last few inches of the 4 mile tunnel to meet his Valley field
counterpart 34 year old Andrew Drysdale. Kinneil manager David
Archibald shook hand with his opposite number Norman Wallace reportedly
saying "I hope you have plenty of coal for me."
114-mile link between the two collieries workings took 27 men
18 months to complete at a cost of £500,000. William Rowell, general
manager of the Coal Board's Alloa Area said "This will be
a tonic to both collieries. Until now, the future of Kinneil was
extremely doubtful. Now the supply of coal under there is limitless."
The joining of the Preston Mine and Jewel Dook to Lochgelly Splint
and Seaward Mine (as the coal roads beneath the Forth are called)
was expected to give a combined output of 3,000 tons/day of the
richest coal in Scotland.
Road Bridge is opened on September 4th,
by Queen Elizabeth.
Canal opened in 1818 closes to navigation.
Deanburn Primary School opens Autumn 1970.West Lothian
Education Authority built its last school in Bo'ness at Deanburn.
After being introduced by County Education Convener, Mr Gavin
Howieson, Deanburn Primary School was officially opened by Provost
Charles Snedden on 15th January 1971. The school had
already been open for its first term and Provost Snedden went
on to praise his former classmate, the headmaster, Mr James Vallance,
saying " The first term has just been completed and in these
few short months he has worked wonders".
Vallance pointed out that a watercolour hung in the hall depicting
the school and grounds had been painted by Mr George Gould and
presented to the school by Provost Snedden.
main contractors were a Bathgate firm Hannah & Nicol, all
electrical work however was carried out by Bo'ness company G.
Census: Bo'ness 13,365
Martial Arts. "The Bo'ness Bando Club" was
formed in 1975 its inaugural meeting taking place in the senior
citizens hall situated in Jamieson Avenue.
Bo'ness Town Centre Rehabilitation. The first phase
of the seven-year town centre rehabilitation plan commenced with
the "Granary Project" in January 1978. The impressive
building dominating the west end of North Street was a 19th
Century granary, which once had double doors on each floor-facing
west through which grain could be hoisted. The second phase which
included Scotland's Close was to commence in January 1979.
Martial Arts:Seibukan Goshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu. Colin
Mercer and Andrew Strickland receive their 1st Dan
Black Belts in April 1978 and were the first students from Bo'ness
to gain this grade, Ken Wright received his 3rd Dan
(previously having trained in Edinburgh, London and the USA).
Ken also holds Dan (Black Belt) Grades in Judo, Aki-Jitsu, Bo-jitsu
Roman Fortlet The fortlet was attached to the rear of the
Antonine Wall, built AD 142, and would have housed about 20 soldiers.
A gravel road ran from the south to north through the fortlet
with gateways at either end, the positions of which are now marked
by timber posts. Within the fortlet, timber posts also mark the
positions of original Roman posts, which were found during the
1981 excavation. Some finds are on display in Kinneil Museum.
Army. The "new" £77,000 Bo'ness Salvation Army Hall
was officially opened on Saturday 17th Jun 1978 by
Territorial Commander Colonel Denis Hunter. Captain Colin Tucker,
who had been in Bo'ness for only 18 months ,was delighted that
the work, which began in October 1977 only took 8 months to complete.
Railway. Freight services to Bo'ness Kinneil Colliery ended
in June 1978, but the line was not officially closed until October
Bo'ness Journal celebrated its centenary year in 1978. Dated
Saturday 21st September 1878, with a total of just
four pages and costing 1/2d "The
Bo'ness Journal" was the first newspaper to be published
in Bo'ness. By 1978 however the price was 7p, more than a 33-fold
Bo'ness Recreation Centre.
The Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. Although not open
to the public until 1981, Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway has been
continually developed since 1979 on a landscaped site which had
previously been occupied by railway sidings, timber yards and
coal mines. The Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway boasts an
extensive double fan of sidings - possibly the largest in preservation
- to the north of Bo'ness Station.
is used for storing vehicles both in active service and awaiting
restoration, and is used for marshalling trains run on the Railway
and the national network. This intricate network of sidings has
been gradually established since the
created their base at Bo'ness in 1979. The collection includes
28 locomotives, 63 carriages and 95 wagons, cranes, etc.,
Census: Bo'ness 15,244
Ceasar's Palace, previously McTavish's, closed on December
31st 1981. The old hosiery at the bottom of the
Bog re-opened in the early 70's as the aptly named La Fabrique
- The Factory. At the time La Fabrique boasted on having the best
light show in Scotland and although people flocked to the doors
when big names like Lulu, Tommy Cooper and Des O'Connor performed
this was not sustained throughout the year.
a result it was closed for some time due to financial trouble
before being purchased in 1978 by McTavish Kitchens.
Kinneil Colliery. Kinneil Colliery officially closed
on 29th April 1983. It is claimed however that John
"Grant" Meikle, a "Banksman" in charge of
lanterns and detonators, was the last person to leave the pit
on 7th May 1983 after completing the last nightshift.
previous promises by the NCB in 1964, that the supply of coal
was limitless and that there would be available coal and secure
employment for the next 100 years, Kinneil Colliery was closed
because there were geological faults which would cost an estimated
£12,000,000 to overcome. This investment was necessary to complete
tunnels which would link Kinneil with Longannet under the Firth
Masonic. In 1983 the officials of the Douglas Lodge were:
L.Grant, RWM; J. Ritchie Depute Master; B. Cairns, Substitute
Master; G. Shephard, WSW; C. Campbell WJW; H. Scotland, Secretary;
D. Grant, Treasurer; D. Cumming, Almoner; David Inglis, Chaplain;
A. Neil, Senior Deacon; Brian McCartney, Junior Deacon; I Johnston,
Inner Guard; G. Meikle, Bible Bearer; F. Burrows, Sword Bearer;
A. Martin, Jeweller; E. Sneddon, Architect; J. Grant, D. of C.;
D. King, Senior Steward; J. Knox, Tyler.
Ken Wright swam the Forth, at its widest point west
of the Bridges, from Charlestown to Blackness taking 1 hour 40
minutes on 12th August 1984. It has been 56 years since
it was previously swam by Thomas Foye, who swam the Forth from
New Pit Bo'ness to Blair Pier.
Martial Arts. Representing Scotland, Ken Wright (Scottish
Team Manager) took the most medals of the day in the 1984 World
Jujitsu Championships, including the best technique of the day,
awarded by Professor Wally Jay 9th Dan. After the competition,
which was held in Canada, Professor Robert (Dick) Morris 8th Dan
(BJJA, MAC) promoted Ken to 4th Dan Ju-Jitsu. As such he held
the highest Ju-Jitsu grade in Scotland.
Kinneil Bar, which had been closed for almost 2 years,
and was in a very dilapidated state re-opens in late March as
the "Ingle Nook" . In December the adjoining
lounge is re-opened as "Visions" housing no less
than 5 video monitors.
The first "Victorian Street Fair" was held
Martial Arts. Ken Wright receives his 5th
Dan in Seibukan Goshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu.
Docks. After a gap of 30 years the first commercial ship,
the Balmoral, registered in Bristol visits Bo'ness Harbour,
although it did berth on the seaward side of the harbour. Built
by Thomycrofts Southampton for 800 passengers the twin screw ferry
& excursion ship was launched in 1949. 203.5 ft o.a.l, 736
Gross tonnage. Twin 6 cyl 600 bhp diesel engines. It is maintained
by (Registered Charity) the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society
and makes frequent trips & excursions from many UK locations
from April to October.
Martial Arts. Ken Wright is awarded his 6th
Dan in Seibukan Goshin Ryu Ju-Jitsu, after having been the Scottish
Team Manager for over 10 years since 1976.
Brian's Café opened on 14th December in
Hope Street in the same premises where his father opened the Arc'Ceil
many years before.
Borrowstounness and District by Thomas J. Salmon
Forth to the Sea by W.F. Hendrie
The Third Statistical Account of SCOTLAND Volume XXI The County
of West Lothian Section: Parishes of Bo'ness and Carriden
by Rev. John F. Bayne pre 1964 and W. F. Hendrie from 1964
Bo'ness 300 Years by William Fyfe Hendrie
REMINISCENCES - BO'NESS FROM 1900 to 1939 by Charles Martin
Scottish Biographical Dictionary by Chambers Editor Rosemary
by: Ken Wright (last revised 4th February 1999)