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Kingscavil: Town's gone but not forgotten

Kingscavil: Town's gone but not forgotten

Kingscavil memories sought

A Linlithgow restaurant owner is looking to bring the spirit of a lost West Lothian town back to life.

Peter Waddell, owner of The Park Bistro & Restaurant, is planning to host a special collection for Kingscavil in his restaurant — with a little help from Journal and Gazette readers.

Kingscavil memories sought

A Linlithgow restaurant owner is looking to bring the spirit of a lost West Lothian town back to life.

Peter Waddell, joint owner with his wife Tracey, of The Park Bistro, is planning to host a special collection for Kingscavil in his restaurant — with a little help from Journal and Gazette readers.

Situated in Park Farm, at its peak in 1895, there were 112 houses with 709 registered householders in the town.

However, following a slump in the price of shale-oil, its main industry, Linlithgow Oil Company decided to close its operations in the village and, in 1937, relocated the whole of the population to Winchburgh, Philpstoun and Bridgend.

Kingscavil memorabilia and information needed

Now, Peter is looking for people with memorabilia, stories or information about the area to come forward and help with the project.

Peter Waddell - interest in local Linlithgow history And, if the project snowballs, as is hoped, a small ! museum in a neighbouring grain store could be created.

He said: "I have got the maps from the farm, several old photographs and lots of figures about the town. But I’m looking for absolutely anything.

"You see a lot of the same names in Linlithgow, Linlithgow Bridge, Philpstoun and Bridgend these days.

"I’m sure people must have old photographs. In those days, a photographer coming to the town was a huge thing so wedding photos would include almost everyone!

"With the help of Bruce Jamieson, we’ve managed to build up quite a comprehensive picture of what life was like there. But I’m interested in hearing stories about the area."

A thriving town in its day, Kingscavil was home to a senior and junior football team, a bowling club, athletics club and a popular pub.

Peter is also aware that shows used to come every year, as well as a circus. It leaves him in no doubt that there must be an abundance of people able to provide fascinating insights into life in Kingscavil.

He said: "In terms of time, 1937 was not really that long ago. If there was a bowling club then it means there has to have been a greenkeeper. To hear about things like that would be great.

"There were 48 children in the local primary school 100 years ago, so they must have plenty of family members still alive with stories to tell. Obviously there must have been people connected with the football teams.

"We know for sure that the senior team even defeated Hearts at their pitch! It’s amazing the amount of well known local businessmen who have links there, so we believe there is a lot of scope for a great collection."

He added: "When we found the tunnels at the farm last year, there was interest from all over the world, because a lot of people from Kingscavil also emigrated.

"As such I really believe this would be a great thing for everybody who has links to the town. "Even if this takes us a year to get everything together, it’s something we are desperate to do."

Anyone with information or memorabilia should contact Peter on 07760 223862 or by using contact form here.

© The Park Bistro, Park Farm, Linlithgow, West Lothian EH49 6QY - Tel: 01506 846666