Broxburn, West Lothian

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West Lothian
Greendykes Road, Broxburn.jpg
Greendykes Road
Grid reference: NT081722
Location: 55°56’4"N, 3°28’17"W
Population: 12,892  (2001)
Post town: Broxburn
Postcode: EH52
Dialling code: 01506
Local Government
Council: West Lothian

Broxburn is a town in West Lothian, found 12 miles west of Edinburgh on the A8 road. It is some 5 miles from Edinburgh Airport, and to the north of Livingston.

As a commuter town serving the M8 corridor into Edinburgh and the industrial areas of Livingston, Broxburn has seen a recent increase in immigration, especially from Poland, broadening its cultural diversity.


The village that later became Broxburn probably originated around 1350 when Margery le Cheyne inherited the eastern half of the Barony of Strathbrock (Easter Strathbrock) on the death of her father, Sir Reginald le Cheyne III. The hamlet that grew up around her residence was then called Eastertoun after the land on which it stood. The lands of Strathbrock were earlier owned by Freskin the Fleming, granted to him under a charter from King David I of Scotland.

Eastertoun was burned to the ground at some time in 1443-4 during a conflict between William Douglas, Lieutenant-General of Scotland, and William Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland. It was destroyed again in 1455 during fighting between the Douglases and King James II of Scotland. After the conflict was resolved the village was gradually resettled.

The village was renamed Broxburn in 1600 by Sir Richard Cockburn of Clerkington, Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland, almost certainly after Broxburn, East Lothian, though interestingly today the East Lothiian Broxburn is little more than a hamlet while the village to which it lent its name has grown into a respectable town.


Broxburn has five churches:

  • Broxburn Baptist Church
  • Broxburn Roman Catholic Church
  • Broxburn Parish Church
  • Hopehall Evangelical Church
  • St Nicholas United Free Church of Scotland


Historical industries

Former Broxburn Shale Oil Works

Broxburn remained an agricultural community until the development of the oil shale industry in the area during the second half of the nineteenth century. This brought in a rapid influx of workers, greatly expanding the local population. Broxburn is still known for its association with the industry, pioneered by the inventor and industrialist James Young. Many shale spoil tips, known as bings, are still in evidence around the town.


Broxburn now has two separate industrial areas, the Greendykes Industrial Estate and the East Mains Industrial Estate, which provide employment for local people. The largest employers are Campbells Prime Meat Limited, Glenmorangie and Broxburn Bottlers Limited (part of Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd). The headquarters of Kwik-Fit, the automotive repair company, are also located in Broxburn.


The Union Canal passes through Broxburn. It no longer operates as a transport link, but is now used for fishing and some leisure boating. It has a towpath previously used by the horses which drew canal barges and which is now used as a footpath.

Outside links



  • Canule, Canule, Birnin Bricht by David Kerr, 2005
  • Discovering West Lothian by William F. Hendrie, John Donald Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh, 1986
  • A History of Broxburn by Peter Caldwell
  • Strathbrock Area Guide prepared and published by Uphall Community Council with assistance from Broxburn Community Council and Ecclesmachan & Threemiletown Community Council