Life is for Livingston - 50 years of new town life

A community-focused project celebrating the new town of Livingston’s 50th birthday, enabling residents young and old to understand more about the development of their local area.

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of the new town of Livingston. The town addressed the housing crisis in Glasgow in the 1960s, and through this created what is now one of the largest towns in the Lothians.

West Lothian Council received a grant of £49,800 and delivered a project focussed on the material held in the council archives, helping residents to access their heritage. Communities explored the memories of those that lived in Livingston prior to 1962, the lives the ‘incomers’ left behind to move to the area, and what life was like to grow up, work and be part of a new town community. Opportunities included oral history, photography, archive research, and documentary film making.

The project culminated with a celebration, providing a chance to hear some of the oral histories recorded. The research findings were displayed on exhibition boards, a photo book helped people to better understand Livingston’s architecture and community, and a new themed stained glass window at the Howden Park Centre was unveiled. The project also produced a documentary film and mobile app.

Len McCaffer, Arts Officer of the project, explained:

“With this important project HLF helped the people of Livingston recognise and celebrate the heritage of the 50 years of this New Town.  The project helped people to uncover stories from Livingston’s first fishmonger to a glider flying Octogenarian, that would have been lost, and bring them to a new audience.”
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