A book for the 21st century, to describe Linlithgow, is long overdue. We are too accustomed to thinking of Linlithgow in terms of its magnificent history and its beautifully situated palace on the shores of Linlithgow Loch.
Wallace Lockhart brings the town up to date with this book, which outlines life today in this thriving town. With a population that has increased from 6000 to 15,000 over the past 30 years, and a 20 minute train link to the capital, Linlithgow is proving to be not just a dormitory town for Edinburgh.
Not surprisingly, Wallace gives plenty of space to the folk music and dancing of the town â€“ he is a founder member of the internationally renowned folk group Quern and no book of his would complete without several references to the loves of his own life. From there, he explores the many other clubs and societies which are available to the town’s inhabitants.
There is an approiate amount of history, to do with derivations of place names and myths, but he leaves detailed specialisation to other books, except where he recounts the setting up of various organisations and here, he is happy to give credit to these worthies. In addition, he briefly profiles some of Linlithgow’s famous sons and daughters, including Tom McGowran, who was instrumental in bringing about the Annet House Museum, concert pianist Steven Osborne and David Waldie, the man who would have liked a little credit for pointing Simpson towards his discovery of the use of chloroform as an anaesthetic.
The folk of Linlithgow will love this book, because it is about them, and people love to see themselves in print. But it is more than that, as Tam Dalyell says in his foreword: “Wallace performs a service in reminding us of our worthy citizens.”