Alva, Clackmannanshire

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Alva
Scottish Gaelic: Allmhagh Beag[1]
Alva is in the west of Clackmannanshire in the centre of the Scottish mainland.
Alva is in the west of Clackmannanshire in the centre of the Scottish mainland.
Alva
 Alva shown within Clackmannanshire
Area  0.598 sq mi (1.55 km2)
Population 5,181 [2] (2001 census)
4,960[3] (2006)
   – density  8,664/sq mi (3,345/km2)
OS grid reference NS882970
Council area Clackmannanshire
Lieutenancy area Clackmannanshire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ALVA
Postcode district FK12
Dialling code 01259
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Ochil and South Perthshire
Scottish Parliament Clackmannanshire and Dunblane
List of places
UK
Scotland

Coordinates: 56°09′11″N 3°47′58″W / 56.153048°N 3.799565°W / 56.153048; -3.799565

Alva (Scottish Gaelic: Allamhagh Beag, meaning little plain of the rock) is a small town in Clackmannanshire, set in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It is one of a number of towns situated immediately to the south of the Ochil Hills, collectively referred to as the Hillfoots Villages or simply The Hillfoots. It is located between Tillicoultry and Menstrie. Alva had a resident population of 5,181 at the 2001 census but has since been revised to 4,960 in 2006.

History[edit]

During the Industrial Revolution, Alva developed as a textile manufacturing centre, with the, originally water-powered, woollen mills providing employment for locals and migrant workers to the area. The Mill Trail Centre is situated next to the Cochrane park and housed in the old Glentana Mill built in 1887. It houses permanent exhibitions about the history of the old woollen industry and the experiences of the many people employed in the industry. The Dalmore Works was built in 1874 for Wilson Brothers who produced textile products including tweed, woollen novelty fabrics and mohair and woollen rugs. The works were operated by Wilsons until 1964, when the failure of a joint company, Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd, set up with McBean and Bishop Ltd caused the firm to lose the works.[4]

Geography[edit]

Alva lies right at the foot of the Ochil Hills. The Ochil Fault, movement of which gave rise to the steep southern scarp of the Ochils, coincides approximately with the old road along the base of the hills. The rock beneath the carse in this area is carboniferous.

A view of Alva from Myreton Hill, facing east.

The town is situated on slightly higher ground than the surrounding carse, being on two overlapping alluvial fans, made up of material deposited by the Carnaughton Glen and Alva Glen burns. The spectacular Alva Glen cuts into the Ochils immediately north of the town. Alva Burn flows from the glen, through Alva, and into the River Devon.

To the east of Alva Glen, and parallel to it, is the Silver Glen, where silver was mined at one time.[5] In the 19th century coal was mined at the Caroline Pit to the south of the town beside the River Devon, and has been mined in the higher ground to the south for a much longer period.[citation needed] A more recent attempt, the Glenochil Colliery, was not a success, and the site is now a prison.

Facilities[edit]

Alva has many shops, three Christian places of worship: a small but growing Baptist fellowship, a well established Church of Scotland and St John Vianney Roman Catholic; a few pubs, a small library and a medical practice. There are two large parks - Johnstone Park and Cochrane Park, which contains the local hall (Cochrane Hall). Every second Saturday in July, Johnstone Park is host to the Famous Alva Games, the last highland games event in Clackmannanshire. The McArthur Braes, at the foot of Alva Glen, was once a formal park that has fallen into neglect; it is now being regenerated.

Map of Alva from 1945

The town has both a primary school and a secondary school. Alva Academy takes pupils from several primary schools in the Hillfoots area. The school was relocated on a new campus early in 2009. The new Alva Academy has been built at the end of Greenhead, a street on the south-east side of the town. [6]

Transport[edit]

Alva is on the main A91 Stirling to St Andrews road. Bus services run to Stirling and to Alloa (via Tillicoultry), and (less frequently) to St Andrews.

Recreation[edit]

For more than 150 years, the annual Alva Games have been held in the town.[7]

Between 1937 and 1954, Alva Glen was famed for its annual Illuminations, which drew visitors from across Scotland. In 2004 the Illuminations were revived.

Economy and industry[edit]

A bottle of Old Engine Oil

Harviestoun Brewery[edit]

Harviestoun is a small Scottish brewery founded in 1985 by Ken Brooker in a 200 year old stone barn on a farm on the Harviestoun estate near Dollar.[8] It moved in 2004 to Alva Industrial Estate in Alva, before being bought by Caledonian Brewery in 2006. It became independent again in 2008, when Caledonian was bought by Scottish & Newcastle, and the new owners didn't want to take on Harviestoun.[9]

Harviestoun produce cask ales and filtered bottled beers. The most notable brands are Schiehallion, Bitter & Twisted and Old Engine Oil.[10]

Architecture[edit]

The most prominent building in Alva is Strude Mill, a former woollen mill that has been restored and converted to flats. It stands above the town at the base of the hills, and is clearly visible from some distance away.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 2011-05-28
  2. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Alva Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  3. ^ http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/publications-and-data
  4. ^ "MS 82WB Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Moreton, Stephen (2007). Bonanzas and Jacobites: the story of the Silver Glen. Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland on behalf of Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society. 
  6. ^ "£60M New Schools Project Approved". BBC News. 2006-07-06. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  7. ^ http://www.alva.ukctest.co.uk/home/
  8. ^ "Harviestoun Brewery Ltd". www.quaffale.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Beer Blog with Roger Protz: Caledonian Brewery". www.beer-pages.com. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  10. ^ "Harviestoun". www.ratebeer.com. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 

External links[edit]