Linlithgow ‘now and then’ photos unveiled online

The changing face of Linlithgow has been revealed online. Picture: Contributed
The changing face of Linlithgow has been revealed online. Picture: Contributed
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AN EXTRAORDINARY record of the changes wrought on a Scottish town by a century of modernisation has been unveiled online.

While some aspects of the royal birthplace of Linlithgow, in West Lothian, remain relatively unchanged, others are unrecognisable.

Local photographer Gordon Jack took pictures from the same spot as old images and compared the results on a Facebook page. He gives an eye-opening look at how modern times have transformed a community and asks the question, was it out with the old and in with the just plain ugly?

Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots and James V, and considered one of the country’s finest surviving late medieval secular buildings, has largely escaped attempts to modernise, but it no longer dominates the town, being hemmed in by industry and housing developments.

In the 1960s, the architects stepped in, with no thought of preservation. Two large stretches of the northern side of the High Street were demolished and replaced by the multi-storey flats favoured at the time, as a way to solve cramped housing conditions.

In a move that would never be allowed in a historic town centre today, these blocks rose up, clashing with their neighbouring buildings, but hailed as the future.

Meanwhile, the once-renowned Nobel Explosives Factory was demolished in the early 1980s and is now the site of a Tesco supermarket, while the site of Scotland’s first petrol pump, the town’s main garage in the High Street, is now a bookmakers.

Some things, however, do not change, and despite the march of time, the children of the community can still be seen playing in the school playground – even if the schools themselves are a world apart.