Nostalgia: No stopping trail-blazing town

A new building takes shape in Livingston New Town in November 1964

A new building takes shape in Livingston New Town in November 1964

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LIVINGSTON turned 50 on Tuesday, with residents organising a host of festivities to mark the milestone.

The town has long blazed a trail in the provision of modern housing and educational facilities as it grew to become the second largest settlement in the Lothians after Edinburgh.

Livingston Station showing the rear of the shale miners' rows in Glen Road

Livingston Station showing the rear of the shale miners' rows in Glen Road

Back in January 1966, the Evening News reported how Livingston’s concrete sprawl began to take shape, with houses in one of the earliest developments built to accommodate those about to disperse from overcrowded Glasgow.

A 1000-house, “factory-built” site, it was hailed as “one of the most significant developments in the history of home building in Britain”.

“The houses will look different,” we reported, “box-shaped, highly functional with a touch of Scandinavia about them.”

Livingston’s modernising influence in education had emerged even earlier. In August 1964, Midlothian County Council began work on Craigshill Primary – the town’s first school.

A model of Craigshill Primary, the first school to be built in Livingston

A model of Craigshill Primary, the first school to be built in Livingston

Costing £200,000, it contained 12 primary classrooms and four infant classrooms, and accommodated 680 children.

Among the facilities – which included a youth and community centre, and coffee bar – was a hairdressing salon. The aim, we reported, was “to enable young girls to learn the latest fashions”.

An aerial shot of the Cameron Ironworks in 1966

An aerial shot of the Cameron Ironworks in 1966