Blackburn, West Lothian

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The approach to Blackburn from the South
Blackburn is located in West Lothian
Blackburn shown within West Lothian
Population 4,761 (2001 census)[1]
4,970 (2006 estimate)[2]
OS grid reference NS985655
Civil parish
Council area
Lieutenancy area
  • West Lothian
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BATHGATE
Postcode district EH47
Dialling code 01506
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°52′19″N 3°37′16″W / 55.872°N 3.621°W / 55.872; -3.621Coordinates: 55°52′19″N 3°37′16″W / 55.872°N 3.621°W / 55.872; -3.621

Blackburn is a town[3] in West Lothian, Scotland local to both Bathgate and Livingston, two of the larger towns in the county. It is situated approximately 32 kilometres (20 mi) west of Edinburgh and 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Glasgow on the old A8 road.


Blackburn means "the black stream", from the Old English blæc "black" and burna "stream". The name was recorded as Blachebrine in 1152. As a small industrial centre, Blackburn originally developed as a cotton-manufacturing town. In the mid-19th century, it became a centre for coal mining.

Its small population expanded rapidly from 4,302 in 1961 to around 9,000 by 1965 as a result of employment opportunities in Bathgate to the north and through in-migration following the inception of the Glasgow Overspill Plan.

The closure of the British Leyland plant in 1986 brought decline to the area, along with the destruction of many homes built during the 1960s.

The railway station at Bathgate attracts commuters to live in Blackburn and provides easy access to both Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Blackburn and Seafield Parish Church (Church of Scotland) is located in Blackburn. The congregation celebrated its centenary in 2008. Blackburn Gospel Hall (Christian Brethren) meets for worship services and Bible studies in a well-kept church building originally constructed as Blackburn's village school in the late 18th century. Our Lady of Lourdes, a Roman Catholic church located in Blackburn, also serves neighbouring communities and partners with a branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Educational facilities[edit]

The village has the Roman Catholic secondary St. Kentigern's Academy, which serves students from the surrounding areas of West Lothian.

Blackburn is also in the catchment area of the non-denominational secondary Bathgate Academy, which is 2 miles (3 km) away.

The village also houses three primary schools: Murrayfield Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, Blackburn Primary, and a combination primary/secondary special needs school called Pinewood School.

Formerly the village had its own Blackburn Academy which was a non-denominational secondary school but it closed in 1992.



Blackburn is home to Tier 6 Scottish football club Blackburn United who play at New Murrayfield Park near the centre of the town and compete in the East of Scotland Football League (Conference C). The Club forms the pinnacle of the Blackburn United Community Sports Club.


Blackburn is a big part of Scotia TaeKwonDo, with national competitions regularly held in the Blackburn Community Centre. Classes are also a big part of the Taekwondo activity in the area.

Famous natives[edit]

  • Michael Gallagher, Australian paralympic gold medallist.
  • Susan Boyle, singer who first came to fame as a contestant on Britain's Got Talent and whose 2009 debut album I Dreamed a Dream became the fastest selling UK debut album of all time.
  • John Brown, footballer who attended Blackburn Academy and subsequently played for Rangers when the club won nine consecutive Scottish League titles.
  • Brian Carty, athlete who competed for Glasgow based Shettleston Harriers and won the SAAA Marathon in 1986 in a time of 2.23.42.

In British political culture[edit]

The town was notably mentioned in a famous speech by MP Tam Dalyell in the House of Commons on 14 November 1977 in which he posed what would become known as the West Lothian question.


  1. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Blackburn Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 29 April 2001. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-09. 
  3. ^ Blackburn - VisitScotland Archived 12 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]