Livingston, West Lothian

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Scottish Gaelic: Baile Dhùn Lèibhe
Scots: Leivinstoun
Almondvale Boulevard.JPG
Almondvale Boulevard in Livingston
Livingston is located in West Lothian
 Livingston shown within West Lothian
Population 56,269 2011 Census[1]
Language English, Scots
OS grid reference NT054690
   – Edinburgh  13 mi (21 km) ENE 
   – London  321 mi (517 km) SSE 
Council area West Lothian
Lieutenancy area West Lothian
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district EH53, EH54
Dialling code 01506
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Livingston
Scottish Parliament Almond Valley
List of places

Coordinates: 55°53′00″N 3°30′57″W / 55.8834°N 3.5157°W / 55.8834; -3.5157

Livingston (Scots: Leivinstoun,[2] Scottish Gaelic: Baile Dhùn Lèibhe), is the largest town in West Lothian, Scotland. It is the fourth post-World War II new town to be built in Scotland, designated in 1962. It is about 15 miles (25 km) west of Edinburgh and 30 miles (50 km) east of Glasgow, and is bordered by the towns of Broxburn to the northeast and Bathgate to the northwest.

It was built around a collection of small villages, Livingston Village, Bellsquarry and Livingston Station (now part of Deans). It has a number of residential precincts or areas. These include Craigshill, Howden, Ladywell, Knightsridge, Deans, Dedridge, Murieston, Almondvale, Eliburn, Kirkton and Adambrae. To the north of Craigshill lies the Houstoun Industrial Estate. The core locality of Livingston is defined by the General Register Office for Scotland (GRO) as including Uphall Station and Pumpherston. The wider urban settlement area also includes Mid Calder and East Calder.[3] Other neighbouring villages include Kirknewton, Polbeth and West Calder. In 2001 the town had population of 50,826 according to the census. The 2011 census showed the population of Livingston had increased to 56,269.[1] Livingston is the second biggest settlement in the Lothians after Edinburgh. Until 1963 the area surrounding the ancient village of Livingston was open farm land and the ancient village is now called Livingston Village.


Before 1962[edit]

Main article: Livingston Village

The area around Livingston was previously an important shale oil area, the world's first oil boom occurred in West Lothian. This was based on oil extracted from shale, and by 1870 over 3 million tons of shale were being mined each year in the area around Livingston. Output declined with the discovery of liquid oil reserves around the world in the early 1900s, but shale mining only finally ceased in 1962. The "bings" that characterise oil shale mining in West Lothian have largely been flattened.

In 1898 Livingston had several houses, a Church of Scotland church, a United Free church and a school. Around 1 mile north of Livingston there was a railway station in a settlement called Livingston Station which is now part of Deans.[citation needed]

The old part of Livingston is now called Livingston Village.

New Town[edit]

New Town architecture in Deans

Livingston was built as part of the New Towns Act of 1946, in part to ease overcrowding in Glasgow. Livingston was the fourth new town of five. The others were East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Irvine. Livingston was designated as a New Town on 16 April 1962.[4] The first people moved into Livingston in April 1966.

Three villages (Livingston Village and Livingston Station in the old parish of Livingston and Bellsquarry in the parish of Mid Calder) and numerous farmsteads remain islands of old buildings within the new developments.

In 1984 Livingston gained its first railway station on the Shotts Line called Livingston South which was followed by Livingston North on the Edinburgh to Bathgate Line in 1986. These stations replaced the former Livingston and Newpark stations which had closed before the construction of the town.

In 1995 Livingston gained its professional football team, Livingston F.C. which was essentially the relocation of Meadowbank Thistle F.C. from Edinburgh.

Livingston Development Corporation[edit]

Logo of Livingston Development Corporation

In order to build, manage and promote Livingston a quango organisation was formed, the Livingston Development Corporation.[5]

The corporation guided Livingston until its mandate expired on 22 March 1997[6] and the town was transferred to West Lothian Council. The last major construction operation carried out by the LDC was the Almondvale Stadium, which was to become the home to the renamed Livingston F.C. A new purpose built campus for West Lothian College and other major developments have also taken place in Livingston over the last 10 years.

Construction in Livingston has continued under the management of West Lothian Council.

In 1979, an employee of the LDC claimed he was knocked unconscious after an alleged conflict with activities from a UFO. Robert Taylor, who was in his sixties at this point in time, was working as a Forester for Livingston Development Corporation near Dechmont Law when the supposed incident took place. The incident was reported to the police, but nearly 40 years after taking place, the incident has never been resolved. It remains one of the UK's most notable claimed UFO sightings.[7]


Livingston is the 7th largest settlement and the 3rd largest town in Scotland, it is also the 171st largest settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies 30 miles away from Glasgow and 15 miles from Edinburgh.


The districts which make up Livingston include:

Eliburn Reservoir


Tesco's Distribution Centre for Scotland and Northern Ireland between Livingston and Bathgate

The area where Livingston now sits was historically dominated by oil shale mining, which is evident from the bings which still exist on much of the surrounding landscape. The designation of Livingston in the 1960s attracted new light industries to the area, with high technology and pharmaceutical companies moving into the town. Livingston formed a major hub in Scotland's Silicon Glen. Like most other areas this went into a slow decline with the closures of companies including Motorola and NEC. Several multi-national companies still have factories in the town and BSkyB has its main call centre in Livingston and is the largest private sector employer in West Lothian. Other large employers include those in the retail sector and the National Health Service.

Town centre and shopping[edit]

Livingston town centre sits on the southern edge of the Almond Valley. It is bounded by a ring road and has been purposely planned, distinguishing it from West Lothian's other town centres. Howden Park is located immediately north of the town centre.

Livingston is the sub-regional centre serving West Lothian. It features one of the largest indoor shopping and leisure complexes in Scotland, The Centre (formerly Almondvale Shopping Centre) and the Livingston Designer Outlet (formerly McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Centre).

Aerial view of the north west of the town.

The Centre was completed in its current guise on 16 October 2008. The total development has around 155 shops and eating establishments. The Centre has a winter garden, an outdoor restaurant area, and several famous shopping names. Major shops include Asda Wal-mart Supercentre, Next, Topshop, M&S, River Island, Debenhams and Primark plus more.[citation needed].

The designer outlet mall contains a VUE multiplex cinema, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as around 100 outlet stores.

Livingston town centre has an abundance of car parking. The south western edge of the town centre is dominated by retail parks. These contain a number of well known retailers such as Pets at Home, Toys 'R' Us, PC World & Currys as well as fast food outlets like KFC and Frankie & Benny's.

There is also a large B&Q in the south-west of the town centre as well as a large Morrisons supermarket. The Homebase store closed in July 2010 and Argos moved across the road. The former Homebase and Argos stores were converted into a large Sainsburys supermarket that opened in December 2010. Also in the town centre are food stores such as Aldi and Lidl which is located beside the Almondvale Stadium.

Livingston's town centre also contains a large number of offices. Private sector offices are also concentrated at the eastern and western edges of the centre and along the Almondvale Boulevard. Other facilities in the centre include hotels, a swimming pool and local authority gym, restaurants, pubs and Club Earth. Almondvale Football Stadium and West Lothian College are located at the north western edge of the town centre.[citation needed].

The Livingston Civic Centre was completed in June 2009 and officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond on 25 November 2009. The Civic Centre is located just north of The Centre on the bank of the river Almond. It is home to the divisional headquarters of Lothian and Borders Police, as well as the sheriff and justice of the peace, West Lothian Council, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service and the West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership. The Livingston Civic Centre was completed on time and on budget. It is thought to be the first public sector partnership of its kind in the UK.[citation needed].

Sculpture, Livingston Square

Neighbourhood Shopping Centres are located at strategic points around the town. The first of these to be built was The Mall at Craigshill. This was followed by the Carmondean Centre in Deans and groupings of shops in Ladywell and Murieston.[citation needed].



Livingston has excellent connections to the central Scotland road network. The M8 bounds Livingston in the north. The A899 dual carriageway spine road passes north south along Livingston's eastern edge and connects the M8 in the north to the A71 in the south and has the A89 to the west.


Livingston has a central bus terminal located on Almondvale Avenue between the two shopping centres in the town centre. This provides regular services to surrounding towns and villages. First Edinburgh[8] are the main bus operator in Livingston, other operators include E&M Horsburgh,[9] Blue Bus, SD Travel and Stagecoach. Livingston has buses to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Lanark, Fife, Falkirk and most West Lothian towns and villages. There are 7 stances at the bus terminal.

Walking / Cycling[edit]

Livingston has an excellent 'core path network' which is shared use, and available to pedestrians, and cyclists. It connects all of the main areas of the town with shopping, and work areas. It is for the most part 'off road', and uses an extensive network of under/over pass systems to keep pedestrians and cyclists away from motorised traffic.


Livingston North after the completion of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link.

Livingston has two railway stations; Livingston North and Livingston South. Livingston North is located adjacent to the Carmondean Shopping Centre between Eliburn and Deans and is on the North Clyde Line and with the completion of the Airdrie-Bathgate Rail Link, on 12 December 2010 Livingston North is now served by trains running to Glasgow Queen Street and Airdrie. Livingston South is located at the Murieston Shops and is on the Shotts Line and has trains running between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley via Shotts.


Livingston is 6.9 miles (11.1 km) west of Edinburgh Airport and 35.5 miles (57.1 km) miles east of Glasgow Airport[10] both of which have regular flights to British and international destinations.


The local newspapers covering Livingston are the West Lothian Herald & Post, which is a free newspaper published by The Scotsman and the West Lothian Courier. There was previously a Livingston Post newspaper which was stopped in the early 1990s.[11] DEDRIDGE GRAPEVINE is a voluntary community magazine, 3,000 copies per month, delivered free of charge to each house in Dedridge, run and edited by Kathleen Ross-Hale since 1976.

Livingston previously had its own Radio Station called River FM that was broadcast from the Almondvale Stadium. River FM broadcast from 1 September 2003 until it was shut down on 29 January 2007.[12] Current local radio includes the local BBC station BBC Radio station is BBC Radio Scotland and Local Commercial radio includes Capital Scotland and 97.3 Forth One. Livingston also has a Hospital Radio station called Radio Grapevine which broadcasts to St John's Hospital.[13]

Livingston is covered by the BBC Scotland and STV Central regions.


Livingston is considered a Labour SNP Marginal seat and is often used as an election battleground.[14] Another party in the town is Action to Save St John's Hospital which is a Single issue party whose main campaign is to protect St John's Hospital.[15]


Livingston is the administrative centre of West Lothian.[16] Within West Lothian, Livingston is covered by three multi-member wards each electing four councillors. They are Livingston North, Livingston South and East Livingston and East Calder wards.[17] Both Livingston South[18] and East Livingston and East Calder[19] have two SNP and two Labour councillors. Livingston North ward has two SNP, one Labour and one Action to Save St John's Hospital.[20] Many of the responsibilities of West Lothian Council were previously the responsibility of the Livingston Development Corporation.

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Livingston is in the Almond Valley constituency for the Scottish Parliament, and the Member of the Scottish Parliament is Angela Constance[21] of the Scottish National Party.[22] Livingston is also covered by the Lothian electoral region which gives the area seven additional MSPs.[23]

West Lothian voted "Yes" by a margin of 79.6% to 20.4% in the Scottish devolution referendum, 1997.[24] Livingston was given a constituency the same name for the 1999 Scottish Parliament Election. The First MSP elected for Livingston was the Labour Bristow Muldoon who was re-elected for 2003 Scottish Parliament Election with a majority of 3,670.[25] For the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election the SNP took the seat with a majority of 870 and Angela Constance.[26] For the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election the seat was re-drawn and renamed Almond Valley and Angela Constance was again re-elected this time with a majority of 5,542.[27]

House of Commons[edit]

General election results since 1983

Livingston has its own constituency in the House of Commons ;Livingston,[28] and is represented by the Labour Member of Parliament Graeme Morrice.[29]

Livingston has only ever returned Labour MPs since the town was founded in 1962. When Livingston was founded in 1962 it was part of the West Lothian constituency and represented by the Labour MP Tam Dalyell.

For the 1983 General Election Livingston gained its own constituency at Westminster. The first MP elected for Livingston was Robin Cook[30] and held the seat for six consecutive elections and holding many government positions most notably Foreign Secretary between 1997 and 2001. In 2005 Robin Cook suddenly died of a heart attack[31] and a By-election was called[32] and won by the Labour Jim Devine.[33] Devine was deselected in 2009 after being caught up in the 2009 expenses scandal.[34] The current Member of Parliament for Livingston is Graeme Morrice of the Labour Party who has held the seat since the 2010 General Election.[35][36]

United Kingdom general election, 2010: Livingston[37][38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Graeme Morrice 23,215 48.5 -2.6
SNP Lis Bardell 12,424 25.9 +4.4
Liberal Democrat Charles Dundas 5,316 11.1 -4.3
Conservative Alison Adamson-Ross 5,158 10.8 +0.6
BNP David Orr 960 2.0 -
UKIP Alistair Forrest 443 0.9 -
Scottish Socialist Ally Hendry 242 0.5 -1.3
Independent Jim Slavin 149 0.3 -
Majority 10,791 22.5
Turnout 47,907 63.1 +4.6
Labour hold Swing -3.5

European Parliament[edit]

Livingston is part of the Scotland European Parliament constituency and is represented by six MEPs, The nearest ones to Livingston are Alyn Smith (SNP),[39] Struan Stevenson (Conservative)[40] who are both based in Edinburgh and David Martin (Labour)[41] who is based in Roslin.

Livingston used to be part of the Lothians European Parliament constituency.

Youth participation[edit]

West Lothian Youth Congress[edit]

West Lothian has a formal structure for engaging with young people and including them in the decision making process. The West Lothian Youth congress is a constituted group of young people between the ages of 12 and 26. It includes two democratically elected representatives from each of West Lothian’s High schools as well as young people representing youth/ specific interest groups, community councils or local areas from across West Lothian. The Youth Congress meets on a Tuesday evening every 4 to 6 weeks in the Council chambers of the West Lothian civic centre between 7pm and 9pm. The Congress is a full community planning partner and played an integral role in developing West Lothian’s 2010 community plan. The Congress also elects West Lothian’s four Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament who are elected to represent West Lothian’s young people at a national level.[citation needed]

Scottish Youth Parliament[edit]

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) is a body set up to represent Scotland’s young people. Its members are aged between 14 and 26 and are elected from Scottish parliamentary constituencies with each Member of the Scottish Parliament being shadowed by two Members of the Scottish Youth parliament. There are also representatives from several voluntary organisations. West Lothian has four Scottish youth parliament seats as it comprises two Scottish parliamentary constituencies.[citation needed]

West Lothian’s MSYPs are:

Anna Mcphail
David Leitch (Convener of the Education and lifelong learning committee)
Derek Couper (Chair)
Koren Hamilton


Primary schools[edit]

  • Bankton Primary School
  • Bellsquarry Primary School
  • Carmondean Primary School
  • Deans Primary School
  • Dedridge Primary School
  • Harrysmuir Primary School
  • Knightsridge Primary School
  • Letham Primary School
  • Livingston Village Primary School
  • Mid Calder Primary School
  • Meldrum Primary School
  • Peel Primary School
  • Riverside Primary School
  • Toronto Primary School
  • Howden St. Andrews RC Primary School
  • St John Ogilvie RC Primary School
  • St. Ninian's RC Primary School
  • Williamston Primary School

Special schools[edit]

  • Ogilvie School Campus
  • Beatlie School Campus
  • Cedarbank School
  • Autism resource classes at Dedridge Primary School

Secondary schools[edit]

West Lothian College

Further education[edit]


Livingston has three public libraries:

  • Almondbank Library, Craigshill
  • Lanthorn Library, Dedridge
  • Carmondean Library, Carmondean


Livingston is part of the NHS Lothian region in NHS Scotland. Livingston previously had a psychiatric hospital with general hospital in the Dechmont area of the town called Bangour Village Hospital, The hospital opened in 1904, and started closing in the 1990s.[42] It closed completely in 2004 after the remaining services were transferred to St John's Hospital.

St John's Hospital, Livingston[edit]

Livingston has a large hospital called St John's Hospital in the Howden. The hospital has its own Accident and Emergency and has 550[43] beds and opened in 1989.

Culture and recreation[edit]

Youth activities[edit]

Livingston has its own Air Training Corps squadron, 2535 (Livingston) Squadron (located in Craigshill) and Army Cadet Force unit (based at Dedridge). The town also has Cubs, Scouts, Boys Brigade, Brownies and Guides units, and other organisations such as LGBT Youth Scotland and the Youth Action Project (WLYAP),[44] and Firefly Youth Theatre (formerly West Lothian Youth Theatre) also operate in the area.

The youth action project involves a music session and many gigs and is widely attended by many teenagers from the surrounding area.

A leisure swimming pool and a Multiplex cinema are located in the town centre.

The Livingston Skatepark opened in 1981, at a time when most commercial skateparks were closing and was one of the most important facilities in Britain during a critical period in the development of skateboarding. It is an example of a free, unsupervised facility which achieved international status. In 2004 it was visited by the stars of the television series Dirty Sanchez, who described it as "The Best Skatepark in the world, apart from the ones in Wales".[citation needed]

Livingston Skatepark Bowls


The town has a local cricket club, Livingston Cricket Club, a rugby union club, Livingston Rugby Football Club, a professional football club, Livingston F.C., and a junior football club, Livingston United.

Livingston is also home to; two competitive swimming clubs, the Livingston & District Dolphins and the Aquanauts of Livingston; Livingston and West Lothian Hockey Club, which has several men's and women's teams and provides junior coaching; West Lothian Wolves Basketball Club, with men and women's teams at all age groups and two track and field athletics clubs Livingston & District AAC, and Lothian RC.

Livingston FC[edit]

Livingston F.C., known to locals as "Livi" or "The Lions", are the most notable sports team in the town. They were formed in 1995 on the relocation of Edinburgh-based side Meadowbank Thistle. They were Scottish Division Three champions in their first season, and in 2001 reached the SPL. They finished third in their first season in the top flight, qualifying for the UEFA Cup. In their ninth season of existence they won the CIS Cup, but were relegated two years later back to Division One.

In 1998-1999 Livingston were promoted to the Scottish First Division, after they were crowned champions of the Second Division. They spent two seasons in the second tier of Scottish football and in the 2000-2001 season they were promoted to the Scottish Premier League. In their first season in the top flight after they finished in third position behind Celtic and Rangers. The team also recorded a league victory over Rangers when a last-minute goal from Stuart Lovell secured a 2-1 victory.

Almondvale Stadium's East Stand - right section.

Livi kicked of the 2002-2003 season in the UEFA Cup. They got through to the second round of the competition after beating FC Vaduz of Liechtenstein in the first round on the away goals rule. The first leg finished 1-1 in Liechtenstein and the return leg finished in a goalless draw at the 'Vale. In the second round against Sturm Graz of Austria, they went out of the competition after an 8-6 aggregate loss, however recorded their first and only ever European victory in the return leg after a 4-3 win at the 'Vale.

The following season the club won the Scottish League Cup. They beat Hibs 2-0 in the final after knocking out Dundee in the semis. The goal scorers at Hampden Park were Derek Lilley and Jamie McAllister, on 14 March 2004. Relegation to the Scottish First Division in 2006 came after the club entered administration in 2004 as well as other financial problems. In July 2009 the club were hours away from going out of business but were saved by administrators. The Scottish Football League relegated the club back to the Scottish Third Division on 5 August 2009 due to insolvency problems. The Lions managed to gain promotion to the Scottish Second Division the following year, and returned to the First Division after back to back league championships, on 6 August 2011. They currently compete in the First Division.

Livingston Cricket Club[edit]

Livingston also has a popular cricket club known as the Kingfishers which fields teams for juniors and seniors and has fielded professional paid players in games over the years. The club plays in the East of Scotland Cricket Association and is based in Murieston.

Livingston Cricket Club was founded in 1981 by Dr Salem Patel and Doug Druce, playing its first match in August of that year in Armadale. Against Atlas Steelworks we were so bad that despite getting a second innings we still couldn’t manage more than 30. From that inauspicious start the club joined the East League for the 1982 season, winning Grade D and promotion despite, or perhaps because of, home matches played at Deans High School on some very dodgy wickets that often resulted in low scoring games.

In 1983 the club came second to Kirkcaldy’s 2nd XI in Grade C which was enough to win election to Division 4 following league reconstruction. Home games that season were played at Bankton Mains in Murieston. The changing facilities were a wooden Wimpey hut which was eventually flame-grilled by local vandals at the second attempt.

With no changing facilities for 1984 all matches had to be played away from home while renovations took place at Bangour Hospital sports field to enable cricket to be played there for the first time since the 1950s.

The club remained at Bangour from 1985 to the end of the 1998 season. Despite the occasional incursion from wandering patients (often difficult to distinguish from the players), Bangour was a smallish ground in a lovely setting with the pavilion situated on top of banking which ran almost half half-way round the ground. The colourful display of rhododendrons in June was often matched by the language of the players retrieving balls from the many sixes hit into the dense undergrowth!

By 1985 the increasing number of players enabled the club to start a 2nd XI which joined Grade D of the East League. Meanwhile, despite coming close on a couple of occasions, the 1st XI remained in Division 4 until winning the league in 1992. It was often said we had the strongest team on paper in the league during this period but unfortunately having to play on grass was our downfall. In contrast our stay in Division 3 in 1993 was the briefest possible with the league programme being negotiated with an unbeaten record.

In 1994 sponsorship by the Livingston Development Corporation enabled the club to successfully negotiate the big step up to Division 2 where half of the clubs employed paid professional players. West Indian Mark Harper became the club’s first paid player and regularly set new batting records throughout the season. The creation of the National leagues in 1996 and the subsequent re-organisation of feeder leagues saw Livingston become a Division 1 club due to reconstruction of the East League. In 1999 we finished third, our highest league position to date. This coincided with a move back into Livingston to a large new ground in the Murieston area. Temporary pavilion facilities and the recent run of wet summers added to the fact that the ground is over 500 ft above sea level mean that Dresselrigg has yet to realise its full potential. Being almost in the foothills of the Pentlands, rainfall is heavier and the growing season considerably shorter than most of the other grounds in the Central Belt which causes major problems in getting the ground ready for play in April.

From May 2002 to August 2004 a concerted effort was made to source funding and construct a permanent pavilion. The Gerry Toms Pavilion was officially opened on 22 August 2004.



Uniquely in Scotland, Livingston was from its formation designated an "Ecumenical Parish" in a joint initiative by the Church of Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Congregational Union of Scotland (which subsequently united with the United Reformed Church). The Ecumenical Parish has six places of worship.

Apart from the Ecumenical Parish, Livingston Old Parish is a congregation solely within the Church of Scotland. There are also churches of other denominations, notably the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church (who have two congregations in Dedridge and Ladywell), Jehovah's Witnesses (who have two congregations: Livingston Deans and Livingston Dedridge) and the Free Church.

In Livingston there are three Catholic Churches. Saint Peters, in Carmondean, Saint Andrews in Craigshill, and St Philips in Dedridge.[45]

Other religions[edit]

There is a mosque in the Craigshill area of the town called Livingston Mosque and Community Centre.[46]

Notable people from Livingston[edit]

Town twinnings[edit]

Livingston and West Lothian are twinned with:


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  19. ^ "East Livingston and East Lothian Ward". Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
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  37. ^ Livingston UKPolling
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  39. ^ Alyn Smith MEP
  40. ^ Struan Stevenson MEP
  41. ^ David Martin MEP
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  44. ^ "WLYAP". WLYAP. Retrieved 25 December 2011. 
  45. ^ "Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh". 
  46. ^ "UK Mosque searcher Livingston". Retrieved 25 December 2011. 

Primary sources[edit]

  • Wills, E (1996) Livingston: the Making of a Scottish New Town
  • Cowling, D (1997) An Essay for Today: the Scottish New Towns 1947-1997

External links[edit]