Key dates in Blackburn’s History

by • November 12, 2013 • HistoryComments (1)8457

Below are some key dates from the history of Blackburn. Unfortunately the list has not been updated since 2005, however we are looking into updating it with your help.

Do you know of any key events that can be added to the list? If you can help, please contact us either through the contact us page, the comments section below this post or message us on Facebook.


1764 Turnpike Trust set up to build the Great Road, the Edinburgh / Glasgow road via Livingston, Blackburn and Whitburn
1766 Publication of book of poems by Alexander Cuthbertson, Blackburn schoolmaster
1765 Regular stagecoach service begins on the Great Road
1769 George Moncrieff concludes his purchase of Blackburn
1770 ‘New Town’ of Blackburn is begun
1770 Earliest known feuars of New Blackburn, James Hamilton and Henry Davie
1772 Blackburn House built
1773 New Inn (Redhouse) established by 1773
1774 Blackburn Bridge built (Mill Road Bridge)
1700s The old fermtoun of Blackburn moves to its new site
1770-1800 Agricultural improvements to Blackburn estate
1788 Riddochhill, Langdalehead and Faulheads sold to William Honyman
1791 William Honyman begins to feu the west end of Blackburn
1793 Cotton Mill built
1798 George Moncrieff dies; Thomas Clarkson Moncrieff inherits Blackburn
1799 Blackburn Friendly Society established


1802 Blackburn Common divided up and enclosed
1803 William Kelly buys the Cotton Mill
1805 Start of Royal Mail coach services through Blackburn
1805 Thomas Douglas buys Blackburn
1806 Thomas Douglas sells Torr, Toshackbrae, Whitehill and Tailend
1806 Thomas Douglas sells Seafield
1808 Robert Thom was managing partner of the Cotton Mill by 1808
1808 Thomas Douglas sells Redhouse
1808 Thomas Douglas sells the Mill of Blackburn to William Callendar, who converts it into a distillery
1810 James Bristow Fraser buys Blackburn estate
1817 William Kelly and RobertThom had moved to Rothesay by 1817
1822 Great Road straightened and new bridge over the Almond built at West End
1823 James Sceales buys the Mill of Blackburn and Hopefield Mill and converts them into a flax spinning, dyeing and weaving works
1824 Congregational chapel set up in Blackburn
1832 William Erskine buys Blackburn estate
1834 Robert Thom had disposed of his interests in the Cotton Mill by 1834
1834 Post Office opens in Blackburn
1836 100 people employed at the Cotton Mill
1838 ca Church of Scotland sets up a chapel of ease
1830s/1840s Cotton Mill converted from water power to steam power
1840 The flax spinning and weaving works close down
1840s New road built to connect Blackburn Cross with the West Calder Road
1842 A new Blackburn Friendly Society set. up. Wound up in 1854
1845 Andrew Sceales buys Blackburn estate
1845 Railway proposed through Blackburn and Whitburn, but never built
1846 The Hopefield Mill is sold to John Sayer and converted to a grain mill; the Mill of Blackburn is converted to housing
1850 118 people employed at the Cotton Mill
1850s First miners settle in Blackburn
1853 Robert Gilkison & Co. buy the Cotton Mill and a considerable portion of the village
1855 Robert Gilkison marries the Ettrick Shepherd’s daughter
1856 Cotton Mill workforce reaches its highest level – c. 200
1860’s Crown Inn open
1868 Hopefield Mill is converted from a grain mill to a paper mill
1872 The State takes over responsibility for education, through School Boards
1872 Police Station built in Bathgate Road, near the Cross
1873-7 ca Livingston School Board builds a public school in Kidd Street
1877 Cotton Mill destroyed by a fire
1880 The Cotton Mill building patched up and used as a paper mill (Hope field Millboard Co.)
1880 First RC school in Blackburn opens. Closes in 1887
1880s Coal mining becomes Blackburn’s major employer
1880s Blackburn Friendly and Deposit Society set up
1882-1894 Hopefield Mill empty
1886 Blackburn’s first football team set up – Blackburn Thistle
1887 Blackburn Savings Bank set up
1891 Coal first produced at Riddochhill Colliery
1891 Establishment of a UP IUF mission
1891 West Calder Co-operative Society opens a store in Blackburn
1893 Blackburn branch of the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds established
1894 Hopefield Mill again used as a paper mill
1896 Free library set up in old village school
1897 Sub post office in Blackburn sets up a savings bank
1898 ca Present Almond Inn built
1899 The Turf opens

1900's - 1950

1901 The former Cotton Mill in ruins
1905 Establishment of a Catholic parish covering Blackburn, Livingston,

Whitburn, etc.

1907 Hopefield Mill in ruins
1908 Sinking of the Lady Pit begins
1908 Opening of Blackburn UF Parish Church
1909 Redheugh houses built
1911 Redhouse Public School opens
1911 Baillie Institute opens
1912 First Gala Day
1913 George Terrace, May Terrace and Mosshall Place being built
1913 Picturedrome (the first cinema) opens
1914 Lakestone quarry closes after some 75 years in operation
1916 ca Midland Moss Litter Co. begins to dig peat at Easter Inch Moss
1920 Commercial Bank of Scotland offers banking service in Blackburn for 11/2 hours a week
1921 Miners’ strike, April-July
1922 Founding of the Almond Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star
1924 Opening of the RC Church in West Main Street
1924 Appointment of first district nurse
1924 County Library service begins in Blackburn, at Redhouse School
1925 Opening of Miners’ Welfare Hall
1925 War Memorial plaque fixed to Baillie Institute
1926 General Strike, miners remain out May-December
1927 First Council houses
1929 Opening of the Gospel Hall in the old village hall
1930s RC school opens in the old public school in Kidd Street (the old Murrayfield school)
1930s Old houses in Main Street demolished under ‘slum clearance’, including DookRaw
1930s Riddochhill scheme begun
1932 Blackburn Athletic Football Club set up Founding of the Blackburn branch of the SWRI
1934 600 men employed at Whitrigg
1935 Blackburnhall Farm’ divided up into smallholdings
1936 Rev. John Lindsay gifts the Lindsay Hall to the Church
1936 Miners’ Welfare Hall opens
1938 Pithead baths built at Riddochhill
1940 George V Park opens
1940s-1950s Riddochhill scheme completed, Mosside SSHA houses built
1944 Founding of the Blackburn Women’s Social Services Club
1945-1946 Murrayfield Rovers F.C. undefeated; wins many trophies including Lord Weir Cup
1946 Electricity comes to Blackburn houses
1946-7 Pre-fabs built in Ladeside Avenue
1947 Nationalisation of coal mines
1947 Death of Councillor Ninian Yule
1949 Blackburn becomes a Catholic parish on its own, with Father McNulty as its priest
1949 Tommy Miller wins several British boxing titles, and is voted ‘Boxer of the Year’

1950's - 2000

1953 RC Primary school opens in Hopefield Road (Our Lady of Lourdes)
1953 First Gala Day Queen – Christina Anderson
1954 Catholic Church burns down
1955 1,300 employed at Whitrigg
1955 The County Tavern opens
1950s 2,000 children regularly take part in Gala Days
1956 ca Moss Litter operations cease
1956 Present Police Station opens
1959 Blackburn Primary School opens
1959 West Lothian County Council agrees to take Glasgow Overspill families
1950s/1960s George and May Terraces, and Redheugh houses demolished
1960 Riddochhill Pit fully mechanised
1960 British Motor Company (BMC) comes to Bathgate
1960 Murrayfleld Farm and part of Riddochhill Farm acquired by Council for the building of 1,200 new homes
1961 First truck rolls off the line at BMC
1961 Consecration of the new Catholic Chapel in Bathgate Road
1960s Efforts to drain Easter Inch Moss
1960s Murrayfield estate built
1962 Blackburn Bowling Club founded
1962 Livingston New Town designated
1963 Consecration of Lodge Lord Bruce 1601
1964 Golden Circle Hotel opens
1964 The Rev Arnold Fletcher inducted to Blackburn Parish Church
1964 Murrayfield Primary School opens
1964 Almondvale Old People’s Home opens
1964 New Blackburn Athletic Football Club formed
1965 First sites ready on Whitehill Industrial Estate
1965 Scotmid Store opens
1966 Community Centre opens
1966 Public Library opens
1966 Opening of Shopping Centre
1967 Opening of first proper bank – National Commercial Bank (later the Royal Bank)
1967 Golden Hind Hotel
1967 Opening of adult occupation centre
1967 Opening of Pinewood School
1968 Riddochhill Pit closes
1969 Rattray Gardens built
1970 96% public ownership of housing (Councilor SSHA), and 4% owner occupied
1970s Whitrigg Fireclay mine closes
1972 Blackburn Academy opens
1970s/80s Efforts to solve problems of Murrayfield estate
1971 Blackburn House A-listed
1971 British Leyland Social Club opens
1972 Whitrigg Pit closes
1973 St Kentigern’s Academy opens
1973 ca Blackburn House ceases to be occupied
1974 Gala Day committee distribute 2,500 children’s lunch boxes
1974 Opening of Trinleyknowe as an old folk’s centre
1976 First Gala Civic Week
1976 Opening of the Masonic Lodge (formerly the Lindsay Hall)
1976 Lothian Regional Council designates Blackburn an ‘area of multiple deprivation’
1978 Blackburn United Football Club set up
1981 British Leyland Social Club closes
1981 Father McNulty retires after 32 years in Blackburn
1982 BLES project set up
1984 Closure of British- Leyland announced
1984 Opening of the Bield Sheltered Housing, Mosside Road
1985 Start of the Young Families Project
1985 Opening of Blackburn Community Block, Murrayfield
1985 Redhouse School closes
1986 Final closure of British Leyland
1988 No Gala Day
1992 Blackburn Academy closes
1994 Blackburn and Seafield Credit Union set up
1997 Library Headquarters moves to Hopefield Road
1997 Rev. Arnold Fletcher retires
1997 The Royal Bank of Scotland closes its Blackburn branch
1998 Golden Circle re-opens as the Cairn Hotel
1999 Shopping Centre re-built and re-opens as the Mill Centre


2000 Trinleyknowe Centre becomes the Blackburn Family Centre
2001 48% public ownership of housing, 47 % owner occupied
2004 Community wardens appointed
2005 Work begins on restoration of Blackburn House

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Your Comments

  • John Hardie

    2012: Blackburn House fully refurbished and open again.

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