Blackburn – A Dramatic History

The name ‘Blachebrine’ was first recorded in 1152. It was at this early point in history that this little town started to make an important contribution to the Industrialization of central Scotland. The name ‘Blachebrine’ is Old English and it has since been modernized to ‘Blackburn’. When one looks at the etymology of the name, you’ll see that the word ‘Blcec’ means ‘black burn’ or ‘burnt black’ while the word ‘burna’ means ‘stream’. The name was originally given to a stream nearby and so the town was originally named after the ‘Black Burn Stream’.

Today this ancient town rests within the boundaries of West Lothian in Scotland. It is situated about five miles from the towns of Livingston and Bathgate and it is here that the renowned secondary school of St. Kentigern’s Academy can be found. The little town of Blackburn in Scotland started its industrial contribution through cotton manufacturing. This contribution was extended during the mid-nineteenth century when it became the main center of coal mining in Scotland. It was this sudden increase in jobs in Blackburn that lead to massive migrations of people and the subsequent growth of the town. Before long, the somewhat sleepy village of Blackburn had become a bustling industrial town. Starting in 1961, the local population rose from 4302 to more than double that in just four years. This growth was further aided by the overspill plan that was instated in Glasgow and other nearby towns such as Bathgate in the north.

Unfortunately the town suffered a massive setback in 1986 when the Leyland plant was shut down. The sudden loss of jobs resulted in many people leaving the area. Before long, a number of homes were demolished. By the early sixties Blackburn was nothing more than a little town once more. Fortunately the Bathgate railway station was reopened after a long period of closure creating new opportunities. The town was just a thirty-minute train ride from Edinburgh and this meant that those looking for a quite home-life away from the hustle and bustle of the city could now stay in Blackburn and commute to Glasgow. Today Blackburn remains a relatively small town complete with interesting town’s folk and fascinating tales about its rise and fall. It is only about 20 miles from Edinburgh by car and many people choose to visit it whilst exploring the country. So visit Blackburn and rediscover this once booming little industrial town.

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