Thursday, 28 March 2013

In the Archives: The Lanthorn

Because Livingston was a new town, it was afforded the opportunity to achieve traditional objectives with new methods. One such objective was buildings for community use. The Development Corporation did not have to build such buildings, but it did have a one off pot of money to spend on causes it thought worth while. Community buildings were the remit of the the various local authorities involved in Livingston (before 1975 this was Midlothian County Council and West Lothian County Council, and from 1975-1996, Lothian Regional Council and West Lothian District Council - the complicated arrangement of local authorities was one reason it was difficult to achieve many community based objectives in Livingston - no one wanted to pay for something they didn't have to!)

One new idea tried in Livingston was to build a community centre which would be built by the various agencies in Livingston for the benefit of the public and used by them all.

In 1971 a Working Party met to discuss community facilities for the newly created area of Dedridge, Livingston. The Working Party consisted of representatives from Livingston Ecumenical Experiment, Midlothian County Council (in 1975 split into Lothian Regional Council and West Lothian District Council), East Calder District Council, the Livingston Development Corporation and the Scottish Education Department. The broad membership of the Working Party reflected the desire to create in "The Lanthorn" a facility that could provide for the needs of the entire community in one interconnected complex - a unique idea at the time. Later, the Congregational Church and the Catholic Church became involved. The final facility included two chapels, as well as a branch library and rooms for community use, including a sports hall.

The building was designed by G R M Kennedy and Partners, Edinburgh and  funded by the Livingston Development Corporation, Lothian Regional Council, West Lothian District Council, the Congregational Church, and The Roman Catholic Church. The building was completed and first used in 1978.

The word "Lanthorn" is the old Scots for lantern, symbolising, in this case, light and warmth. The Lanthorn is still used as a library, has a cafe and has various rooms for public use although the Catholic Church later pulled out.

Documents wise, in the archive we hold the papers showing the sale of the ground by the Development Corporation to the Regional council so that it could build the Lanthorn; minutes of the trustees of the Lanthorn (which included councillors, members of the churches, and members from the Development Corporation); minutes of the working party, and other technical papers discussing the best way to provide community facilities in Livingston - archives are kept so that we can show why something was done, and how it was done. The papers we have on The Lanthorn show how something new was tried with this particular community centre. Whether it was successful or not it is a different question - it is, at least, still in use today.

Here are a few images of the Lanthorn:

Foundation stone ceremony at the Lanthorn

A model of the Lanthorn before the building commenced

We hold many pictures of visits by groups to the Lanthorn - I picked this mainly because of the prodigious flares on display!

Report Of Assistant Housing Officer (Ladywell & Howden) For January & February 1972

In January I visited 29 new tenants, leaving cards with 65, and made second or subsequent visits to 21 new tenants. Of this 29, 17 had no complaints and are settling well into the town. The problems for which I am revisiting are unemployment 13, lonely or not settling 2, financial problems 11, unsatisfactory job 2.  In addition to new tenant visits, I have made 9 initial calls, and 10 to tenants about rent arrears, transfers and general difficulties – these tenants have either requested that someone call or have been referred to me by AHO.    
In February I visited 18 new tenants, leaving cards with 6, and made second or subsequent visits to 21 new tenants. Of this 18, 14 had no complaints and are settling well into the town. The problems for which I am revisiting are unemployment 7, lonely or not settling 4, financial problems 10, unsatisfactory job 2.  In addition to new tenant visits, I have made 11 calls to tenants about rent arrears, transfers and general difficulties – these tenants have either requested that someone call or have been referred to me by AHO.   

Problems and Complaints

1.       There is a great deal of concern and anxiety among tenants over electricity bills. In many cases, money is not saved toward this bill at all – it is treated as the “great unknown”, and panic ensues when it arrives. In other cases, the bill is more that was expected and there is hardship to meet the extra cost. For most people, however, the main problem is the insecure feeling caused by a long-term, large, fluctuating bill. The cards provided by SSEB for calculating weekly costs are not widely used, partly because they are not understood, partly because of inconvenience, but mostly because people would not really believe them, or do NOT want to know about their bills, hoping that they will be small when they arrive. Since SSEB policy is now to disconnect supply for an unpaid bill, and not to accept weekly payments, and since SWD will not help clients with payment of electricity bills by a loan, the consequence of insufficient saving is too often the loss of supply, or large debt contracted to keep the supply. For reconnection, the consumer must pay the original bill, plus unit used between last reading and disconnection, plus reconnection fee, plus a deposit toward the next bill.

Since the problem of electricity paid in arrears for unlimited supply is causing so much distress, and since the re-education necessary to the tenants is not being undertaken by SSEB, would it be possible for LDC to consider collecting an electricity payment with the rent, or to approach SSEB to discuss other possible solutions to this problem – Installation of pre-payment meters, weekly collections of money, monthly rather than quarterly meter readings etc.
2.       It has been brought to my notice that there are no litter bins in the streets. Since there is quite a litter problem in some areas, would it not be possible for some litter bins to be provided to help train children, and to remove the “no bins” excuse for litter.
3.       The library is not open at the weekends. Could it the local authority be asked to reconsider its hours, or to investigate demand for weekend opening?
4.       I have again received many complaints about dogs, bus services, telephone Kiosks, and distance to school from Ladywell tenants.
5.       I think it worth noting that the tenants I have visited who are in houses with the “Heatovent“ storage heaters have not complained about them, and they have been described to me as “very good” and “great”.
6.       Two tenants have asked why LDC do not sell regulation garden sheds in addition to issuing plans to those who wish to build them. Has this been considered?
7.       I am told that there is some concern about rowdiness and vandalism in parts of Ladywell. Reports are mainly about young children (8 to 11 years) rather than teenage hoodlums. These children play in the streets and throw anything to hand – mud, stones, empty bottles. This problem could be solved to a great extent by the provision of a well-equipped play centre, with a play leader, and activities for indoor as well as outdoor equipment. Unless children are controlled at this age, it is likely that they will become vandals in a few years.
8.       SWD                I would like to report that a case which I did refer to SWD this month was not dealt with. The tenant had had her goods valued for a warrant sale before contacting anyone. I called, collected details, and attempted to persuade the Sheriff Officer to drop the sale for a weekly payment of the bill, having tried everything, I was completely unsuccessful. In order that the tenant should not think that she had not had the best possible help, I took her down to SWD where Bill Campbell again contacted the S.O. He was also unsuccessful in eliciting any helpful response from them and told the woman that she should call back on Monday to see if the SWD could help financially. I then discussed with the women what money she could possibly raise towards averting the sale, and left her, on the understanding that I would see her again to discover what SWD had done to help. When I did see the women again I discovered to my horror that SWD had referred the woman to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, which was not only of no help to the woman but very unfair on CAB. By borrowing, the woman was then able to avert the sale, but she had no help from SWD. Another tenant had called at SWD to discuss leaving her husband and SWD had recommended that she ask to see an LDC visitor. This woman’s problem is a complex marital one which it is not our job to deal with. Insofar as it was a problem of housing, I told her to see Mr Carse.
9.       I have been discussing the problems of loneliness with quite a number of tenants. This problem is known as the New Town Blues and is widely recognised.  Its avoidance lies in the development of a sense of community.  And I feel this is difficult for Ladywell, which has no focus other than St Pauls which itself can act as a repellent to many. The Social Centre is not a focus, as most of the time there is nothing happening there, and many of the tenants do not even know of its existence. Has the possibility of more accommodation for community activities (especially in the absence of a school building) been considered, as this is a point brought up by many tenants? The St Pauls coffee morning has been a great help, but this is only a ‘focus’ for about two hours per day. The possibility of street welcoming and social committees has also been put to me. Is this feasible, the size of many Ladywell streets which are almost areas in themselves.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

In the archives: Livingston Skate Park

One of the few world class facilities that we have in Livingston is the Livingston “Livi” skate park, which in 2010 was ranked in the top 25 skate parks in the world (outside of the US) according to one Complex Magazine (see the web article here).
Given that Livingston has such a facility, and that is was built at the end of the 1970s, which fits in with the picture of Livingston we are trying to build up, I thought I would look at the history of the skate park in this post.

This letter from 1977 shows the Livingston Skate
Kats lobbying for a skate park in Livingston

Having grown up friends who were skateboarders, it feels like the sport has been around forever, but really skateboarding only reached the UK towards the middle of the 1970s. Following this rocketing in popularity, and the fact it outlived being just a craze - the Livingston Development Corporation began to look at building a skate park in Livingston – they were especially interested as the new town had few facilities for young people. In 1977 the Livingston skate club formed – The Livingston Skate Kats (who later changed the name to, more simply, “Livingston Skates”. The Kats, and especially founding member Kenneth Omond (who now sits on the board of Skateboard Scotland) were very good at communication and lobbying the Corporation about building a skate park. Considerations about pedestrian safety and road accidents  persuaded the Corporation that providing a skate park would be a good idea.
After several false starts the Corporation finally settled on a site near the newly developed Almondale Shopping Centre, near the River Almond in the centre of Livingston. The initial park consisted of an “outside rink of convoluted shape used for skating and skateboarding” with the layout being one bowl and one half-pipe run-off.  The half pipe was constructed with “100mm thick concrete skin sprayed on using Shortcrete System.”
The Skatepark proved a runaway success.  In September 1991 the Board of the Corporation heard that “the provision of skatebowl has proved to be a tremendous success, encouraging young people interested in the sport to develop their skills and enjoyment.” The site was repaired and upgraded in the late 1980s, and expanded in 1992 to ease congestion of spectators, improve water drainage and the adding of another bowl. The improvements were designed to give Livingston “the premier European Skate Park.” The Development Corporation put the costs of the original site in 1980 at £65,000 whilst the extension in 1992 cost £75,000. The skate park continues to this day as a world class venue and plans were announced by West Lothian council to spend £250,000 on upgrading it once again in 2012.  
Because the skate park was initally designed by the Corporation, we hold all kinds of maps, plans and technical data relating to the construction of the park. Even until the early 2000s we would get all kinds of enquiries asking about how it was built and for technical specifications from other areas keen to emulate one of the great successes of Livingston, something that was not even considered when construction began on the town in the 1960s - its skate park.

Report of Assistant Housing Officer November 1971

This month I visited 96 tenants and left cards at a further 103 houses. In itself, this would suggest that evening visits might be appropriate for tenants who are never in during the day, and who may have problems just as great as those whom we see.
  Of these 96, 34 had neither complaints or comments, seemed to be settling well, and were pleased, on balance, with their new situation. Most of them had a relative or friend in the town before moving here.
16 families showed great enthusiasm for the town. In general, they emphasised the advantages for their children (especially traffic-free play). 
1.       17 families complained that the head of the household has been unable to find employment here, and that it is costly and difficult to travel from here to seek work elsewhere. A further problem for these people is that they must travel to Bathgate to report or investigate any SocSec complications.
2.       Having to travel to work (7 to Edinburgh, 4 to Glasgow) was another cause for complaint. While some men are quite content to do this, and can manage to arrange lifts amongst themselves, it entails serious hardship for others, who may work awkward shifts or are in poor health. To leave this work voluntarily hoping to find something locally, is to accept reduced, or no benefit from SocSec. For six weeks.
3.       There were 12 families with financial difficulty- trying to cope on SocSec. In the long term, Miss Still, the YM/YMCA volunteer organiser, will provide support for these families in the person of a volunteer housewife who will help to budget etc. But in the meantime she has recruited no volunteers, and S.W.D. cannot offer more than one interview to such families. They can be helped with clothing, and furniture, where available, but where several such families have moved into one street (Pinebank) and no continuous help is available, there is a danger of a “bad area” reputation developing.
4.       Only 7 families reported general difficulty with settling in and getting to know people. This problem was of varying degree, and only serious in one case where there is also acute financial difficulty. Younger housewives (under 25) whose husbands are in employment, and who have very young, or no family, are especially at risk here, since they feel alienated from the majority of wives (over 30) with whom they feel have little in common. Where appropriate, I encouraged such woman to attend Young Wives Groups, take up badminton etc. And in one case provided an excuse for one to call on another, but  this “matchmaking” is no solution and could be harmful. Those who know no-one in the town before arriving and who are not from Glasgow, are more likely to feel this loneliness. I shall call back on all these families in time to discover how, if not at all, the problem is solved. I would not be surprised to discover that these women never wanted to come here in the first place, and so had a negative approach from the start. It is those with unrealistic expectations who find the disadvantages of their move outweigh the advantages, and careful briefing before they move, could solve much of this, especially for those who have never had a house before. An alternative to this would be an initial visit within the first two weeks to give to give the tenant information & see her attitude, perhaps suggest things she could do in the community while she is still busy with carpets, curtains, etc. , Followed by a 2- or 3-months- Later visit, to see how she is settling.

Don Drive, Craigshill, Livingston (Livingston Development
Corporation Collection)

I have been in contact with a tenant who wishes to create  arrangements for travel and baby-sitting for all the students in the Walks area – when established, however, his organisation would not be limited to students, and perhaps this could be a prototype for tenant-groups elsewhere.


1.       Dogs. These animals were reported to be running round in packs, frightening children and tearing up gardens. It was suggested that a dog-catcher be appointed. Perhaps this could be taken up with the local authorities.
2.       Telephone Kiosks. Feeling about permanently “out of order” Kiosks is running high. At a cost of £30 installation, not many people can cope with this expense on moving into a new house, and a large number of tenants have elderly relatives in Glasgow with whom they wish to keep in contact.
3.       Bin-rooms in the walks-type buildings. Many tenants complained about these being inside the building – the smell in summer and the possibility of disease .

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Report on Home Visits by Assistant housing officer – March, April, May 1971

No of home visits = 140
                revisited = 17
As the assistant housing officer was in attendance at the Glasgow Overspill Exhibition in Glasgow for 6 weeks, visiting during this period was not possible. This has meant that tenants have not been visited quite so soon after the arrival in the town as they would otherwise have been.
The new Tenants’ Handbook has provided quite a good deal of local information which, up to the present time, the Assistant Housing officer has been giving to tenants.  It was found in almost every case that a good neighbourly spirit has helped newcomers to settle down quite quickly.
Information about social activities has been given although this has been difficult because the list is presently being revised and will be presented in booklet form. Tenants have been referred to Mr Aldous if they require information about particular clubs or societies.

These flats in Holbart Street, Craigshill, are a typical example
of Livingston Development Corporation
built housing of the 1960s and 1970s.

Criticism has been made about lack of express bus services to enable men to obtain employment in Glasgow or its environs during the present jobless situation in the town: litter in Beech Grove - it would appear that the bin stores can be opened by children and once opened the rubbish sacks provided a happy hunting ground for dogs: the noise from warm air heating fans in the Burbank area is still being mentioned – tenants have been told that experiments are being carried out to try to alleviate this.

A considerable amount of time was spent with one tenant who had arrived here with very little in the way of furniture and who is a very sick woman. After giving support during the initial settling in period, the tenant’s had to be handed over to the Social Work Department for their professional expertise.
Two warning systems were ordered for elderly persons – they were delighted to have this form of reassurance.
Several tenants who have expressed the desire to help the community in a practical way have been passed on to various organisations.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Women in Livingston in the 1970s

As it is International Women’s Day on Friday the 8th March, I thought I would look at how women are portrayed in these Visitor Reports, and then take a wider look at women in Livingston in the 1970s.
One of the reasons I like these assistant housing visitor reports so much is due to the way they capture reflect the way out society has changed in the last forty years. This week, I thought I’d look at the changing role and perception of women. In previous entries women are mentioned in ways which, I hope, reflects how much things have changed since the 1970s, when the 1950s ideal of a housewife still held sway...
There were three comments that jumped out at me:
“It is now obvious that a percentage of women work either part time of full time and that it is not possible to make contact with them during working hours. Perhaps evening visiting might be considered in appropriate cases.”
This implies to me that the housing visitor is expecting to find a woman at home at every house at which she calls. As though it is a shock that they are out working... Then this is followed up by -
“It would appear that there is a shortage of jobs for the under twenties as well as part-time work for women and according to tenants, the Department of Employment & Productivity hold out very little hope of any immediate improvement.”
Which again implies how women really only work part time, definitely a sign of an age before it was considered women could have careers and a family. Finally comes this comment -
“Three homes were revisited because the assistant housing officer considered on her first visit that the women were unsettled and depressed.”

Were women in Livingston in the 1970s
restricted to being mothers and housewives?

Although probably an issue for all women across the country at home all day with the baby,  this last issue was particularly acute in Livingston because the population was made up of immigrants, people who had moved away from their friends and family to start a new life in Livingston. This meant that, for all the women not out working, they could not call on their parents friends. There, was, also, at the beginning, a lack of established groups and societies. The problem was such that Leslie Higgs, Livingston Development Corporation’s head of Housing and Social Relations for twenty years summed up the problem like this:
“It cannot be overstressed enough that probably one of the greatest problems facing community workers in new towns is the housewife with a baby to look after and who is then unable to take a job, or has to leave one, and is then alone all day.”
Given all that, I thought I would have a root around in the archive to see if I could find any other records which reflect how women were living their lives in Livingston in the 1970s. 
Firstly, some statistics for you. Livingston Development Corporation was great at collecting statistics as it had to plan services and future developments in the town around its population. An example of this is that when the town was first occupied, it had a very young age structure. As the town matured, so did its population and suddenly the town needed to provide such facilities as day centres for the elderly. Anyway, as a result of this planning there are plenty of statistics available on Livingston. Here are some stats from the Livingston Household survey in 1977 (which includes comparative information from the 1972 survey too) on employment:
In 1972, 34% of Livingston’s population was a “working population” – of that 34%, a third were women. So, assuming a total population  of 50% men and 50% women (and also assuming that I have got my maths right!), only 1 in 5 women in 1972 were looking for, or already in work. Another stat from 1972 – women made up 94% of part time workers, although that figure is still about 75% today across the UK, it shows how women were expected to look after the kids.
Another comment from the Household Survey comes in the recreation section. Whilst teenagers were apparently outdoors (an age before computer games...), and OAPs were gardening, “women were more likely to be home doing housework, knitting or reading.”
That’s in the evening, but what about during the day? Moving away from the Household Survey, there were a variety of groups set up in Livingston and a lot of them were aimed at women. Take, for example, the short course run by the Electrical Association for Women. The course was intended for “students of any age, many of whom may have no formal knowledge of science or electricity. It is intended that they handle as many appliances as possible and do practical work such as meter reading, rewiring a fuse, wiring a 13 amp plug. The information given, must, of course, but accurate but it should not be too technical otherwise the students will get bored.”
For some reason this group flopped the first time it was run in 1973.
Finally, to take us back to International Women’s Day I thought I would have a quick look at... “Women’s Fayre”, events held as part International Women’s Year (more information on which can be found in our collections in LDC/PS/3/3/37/7)

Livingston was one of five towns in Scotland to hold 2 days of events over the 21st and 22nd October. In Livingston the fayre was held at Howden House.  Over the two days 2000 people attended the event and it raised £173.57 which went towards the International Women’s Year African Water and Indian Literacy projects.
Again, reflecting slightly different attitudes at the time (and not just relating to women), notes for possible stalls at the event included:
“Police: recruitment effort Community Liaison information, attractive policewomen for help with stewarding etc?”
“Knitting Machine demonstrations and mannequin parade”
“Scottish Gas Board Demonstrations of economic cooking”
“Demonstration by Beautician from Bangour Hosptial...”
I  have been slightly cruel there, because there were plenty of stalls that are perhaps a bit more positive, the Department of Employment was there to talk about retraining, equal pay and equal opportunities for women for example, whilst Livingston’s Voluntary Organisation’s Council had a stall to try and channel people into voluntary groups in Livingston. Bangour hospital, as well as there to give beauty courses, were also appealing for new nurses, or trying to get old nurses to return to work.
In fact, 40 groups expressed willingness to be involved in the exhibition “to draw attention to women’s needs, publicise their potential role in society, and enlighten them of the prospects open to women who want to work voluntarily or for payment.”
So, although the Housing Visitor still expected to find the majority of women at home when she called at a house, times were a-changing. How much they have changed is, of course, open to debate.  

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Report on Home Visits by Assistant housing officer – Tenancies commencing Feb 1971

No of home visits = 87
                revisited = 18

The names and addresses of elderly persons were notified to the Secretary of the Livingston Old People’s Welfare Council.
One Gentleman offered to deliver copies of “newsflash” to his neighbours. This information was passed to Editors.
Six tenants (breadwinners) were found to be unemployed. They had relinquished their jobs on coming to Livingston and had been unable to find employment here.
There were few complaints made this month. Storage heaters in the Ladywell area have proved troublesome and people complain at the length of time they have to wait for repairs.
Ladywell housing in the 1970s
(Ladywell 6 Housing Alderbank LDC/IN/209)
One or two criticisms have been made and these have been passed on to the appropriate department. The transport position continues to be under fire and one tenant complained that the information given to them by Glasgow overspill was misleading because it state that there were plenty of buses to and from Glasgow but omitted to say that it takes 1 hour 55 minutes to travel there. There was also one complaint that the Department of Employment & Productivity in Glasgow had inferred there was plenty of employment available in the Livingston area – this, the tenant had found to be untrue. One tenant complained that she had found she had to pay 9d (old pence) per packet more for her babies (she has twins) milk and on checking with the Health Visitor at Craigshill, it was established that the previous M.O.H did not approve the proprietary baby foods being sold at the Welfare Clinic and this policy has been carried on. In this case, the cost to the tenant was quite considerable.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Craigsfarm in the Archives

This week I thought I would look at the records we hold relating to Craigsfarm, which is a community centre that has been integral to the development of Livingston’s community since 1967.

Craigsfarm was in a state of
dilapidation before renovations took place

The renovations used a lot of volunteer support

A little history – when construction began on Livingston in the 1960s, Craigshill was the first area of the town to be built. Livingston Development Corporation Policy at the time was to demolish older buildings that were in the way of their housing developments. Craigsfarm was scheduled for demolition once Craigshill had been completed, but a campaign in the then fledgling community of Livingston, led by Med Cruickshank, who was a church of Scotland Youth Worker, saved the building from demolition. The Church of Scotland agreed to take on a full repairing lease and to contribute to the costs of renovation, whilst the Corporation agreed to make the building water tight. The agreements changed over time, but for the next twenty years renovation work took place, turning Craigsfarm and its outbuildings in to a community centre.

By 1993 £250,000 had been spent on renovation costs by the LDC and the Manpower Services Commission, whilst Lothian Regional Council provided revenue grants to provide staffing costs. John Hoey was, for many years, the manager of the community centre.

Over the years Craigsfarm has hosted many initiatives for the betterment of the community around . These include a community laundrette, a nearly new shop, a catering service a rock school for teenagers, film and television workshops, all of which helped the long term unemployed or were aimed at disadvantaged kids. This is in addition to rooms in the building that were available to community groups and “Newsflash”, a newsletter aimed at local residents and run by volunteers.
We have a lot of records about Craigsfarm in the archives. The Reverend Dr Maitland was in Livingston from 1966, and he was there as the campaign to save Craigsfarm from demolition was launched; his papers include correspondence with the Church of Scotland when the building was bought and initially refurbished. It was a not straightforward process, with various building firms and chartered surveyors offering bleak views on the chances of success, one firm, from Glasgow wrote:
“These are very old buildings, and in our opinion near the end of their working life. We do not think they justify the expenditure on modernisation.... we would that say in our experience, the reconstruction and modernisation of structurally poor buildings is never satisfactory.”  (Letter is found in WL26/1/1/4/1)
The Church of Scotland Home Board also had its doubts. However, local campaigners persevered and the renovation went ahead.
Craigsfarm went on to be a lynchpin of Craigshill's community
There are many, many files, mainly technical (architects papers, engineering contracts etc) in the Livingston Development Corporation’s records about work done on the building of Craigsfarm showing how the building was redeveloped; there are also minutes of meetings of the Board of the Corporation which explain why they invested money into the community centre. The Corporation minutes, record, for example, that even after the Church of Scotland had taken on the lease, the Corporation was still suggesting that the building should be demolished:
the general manager reported a meeting he had had recently with the Rev Hamish Smith, Appeals Secretary of the Craigshill Community Development Project... he [the General manager] had suggested that the building should be demolished and that the Corporation consider erecting in its place a building suitable for community purposes. The Board delayed consideration, pending hearing from the Project Committee.”  (Minutes of the Livingston Development Corporation Board, 178/d, 1967)
Newsflash kept the community informed
- through volunteer labour, for nearly 20 years
The main collection that we hold is, of course, that of Craigsfarm itself (WL20). I am currently cataloguing this collection and have got as far as a rough list, which means I don’t have any specific examples, but the papers of the collection include minutes of meetings from the Craigsfarm management committee, reports of the Annual General Meetings, copies of the newsletter Newsflash, financial information about funding from government bodies and the yearly accounts, copies of advertisements, information about the rock school, about the catering business, about the Craigshill Initiative (which aimed to help long termed unemployed with work) about the Community Forum which sprang up in 1996 to give a voice for residents in Livingston (especially against the proposed waste incinerator at St John’s hospital) – the archive captures a wide variety the activities of Craigsfarm over the decades, showing us how it was at the centre of the community of Craigshill. In a few hundred years when Livingston is no longer young but old, the Craigsfarm archive will remain an important resource for anyone looking at how the community in Livingston formed, about what the people of Livingston found important at the time; about what the everyday community cared about in day to day life and how they fought for it.