"A town and a parish in the SW of Linlithgowshire. The town stands in the middle of the parish, 6 miles S by W of Linlithgow, whilst by sections of the North British, that converge to it from E, S, W, and NW, it is 19 ¾ W by S of Edinburgh, 14 ¼ NE of Morningside, 16 E by N of Coatbridge, 24 ¾ E by N of Glasgow, and 8 ½ S of Manuel Junction. Its situation is a pleasant one. The hilly grounds to the NE, and the beautiful park of Balbardie on the N, give a cheerful aspect to the town, which consists of two parts, the old and the new. The old stands on a ridgy declivity, and has narrow crooked lanes; the new town, on low ground, is regularly aligned, and has well-built streets. A considerable extension occurred after the opening of the Bathgate and Edinburgh railway in 1849; a greater one, after the establishment of a neighbouring paraffin work in 1852; and other ones, or rather a continually increasing one, after the subsequent commencing or enlargement of other neighbouring works connected with mines and with mineral produce. The inhabitants prior to the first of these extensions, had little other employment than hand-loom weaving, and lived in a state of penury; but the new works employed not only them but numerous immigrants from other towns."
Extract from Groomes Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland c.1895.