Blackridge, West Lothian
The village name dates to 1581, first recorded as Blakrig. Later, Blackrig and then Blackrigg became the standard spelling until Blackridge became the norm in official documents after about 1840. Blackrig remains the local pronunciation.
The modern village dates from the building of the new Edinburgh-Glasgow road in 1796 and the building of a coaching inn midway between the cities, officially Westcraigs Inn but known locally as the Craig Inn. The inn now serves as housing, a community centre and library.
After the arrival of the railway line linking Airdrie and Bathgate in 1862, the exploitation of local coal reserves became more practicable although it was not until the late 1880s that the first local colliery was sunk at Westrigg. The village grew from a population of under 200 to over 2,000 by World War I with coal mining and whinstone quarrying the main employments.
The last colliery closed in the late 1950s and Blackridge became a dormitory for nearby towns with, for much of the 1960s and 1970s, the British Leyland truck and tractor assembly plant at Bathgate the principal employer.
The building of council housing from the late 1920s until the late 1960s established the modern village with 85% of residents renting from the local authority. Small scale private house building in the 1980s gave way to more substantial developments in the 1990s and early 21st century and the current local plan visualises a doubling of the number of dwellings to around 1,500 by the early 2010s.
Religion and culture
There is one church remaining in the village (Church of Scotland) The present stone building was built by public subscription and donations and is situated on the Main street in the middle of the village and celebrated its centenary in 2001.
The Scottish Government previously excluded Blackridge from the stations to be created on the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link, due to be reopened in 2010 but this decision was later reversed. The campaign group Platform Blackridge eventually achieved victory in the campaign and the station was confirmed on 14 October 2008 and opened on 12 December 2010.
Blackridge forms part of Armadale and Blackridge Ward and is represented on West Lothian Council by Stuart Borrowman (Independent); Jim Dixon (Labour); and Isabella Hutton (Scottish National Party). The MP is Michael Connarty (Labour) and the MSP is Fiona Hyslop (Scottish National Party).
The local community council is chaired by Marion Stewart. Members of the Community Council are Clark Steele (Vice-Chair), Lynn Woodside (Secretary), Paul Turner (Treasurer), Kate Strachan (Planning), Sadie Montgomery, Lilian Donoghue, Norman Sinnet, Bill Whalley, James Robertson and John Ramsey.
- The Online Scots Dictionary
- List of railway station names in English, Scots and Gaelic - NewsNetScotland
- Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba ~ Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland