Borrowstounness commonly known as Bo’ness is a coastal town and parish in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies on a hillside on the south bank of the Firth of Forth within the Falkirk council area. At the 2001 census, Bo’ness had a resident population of 13,961, but according to a 2008 estimate this has since risen to 14,490. Until the local government reforms of the late 20th century, it lay within the county of West Lothian.
Bo’ness was formerly a centre of heavy industry, coal mining and had a major port. However, the town is now primarily a commuter town. The name Borrowstoun refers to a hamlet a short way inland from Borrowstounness. The suffix ‘ness’ (Gaelic for ‘headland’) serves to differentiate the larger town from the hamlet. The name itself is derived from the Old English Beornweardstun meaning ‘Beornweard’s settlement’. “Beornweard” is itself an Old English name. This was later corrupted to Borrowstoun, Scots for ‘town with a charter’. The town’s full name is rarely used, and is nowadays almost always contracted to Bo’ness. Present-day attractions in the town include the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and the Birkhill Fireclay Mine.
Kinneil House, built by the powerful Hamilton family in the 15th century, lies on the western edge of the town. In the grounds are a cottage whereJames Watt worked on his experimental steam engine and the steam cylinder of a Newcomen engine. The remains of an engine house are located in Kinningars Park, off Harbour Road. Bo’ness has a single secondary school, Bo’ness Academy, and five primary schools. There are a number of churches, including Bo’ness Old Kirk, Carriden Parish Church, St Andrew’s Parish Church, Craigmailen United Free Church, St. Catharine’s Episcopal Church, Bo’ness Apostolic Church, Bo’ness Baptist Church, The Bo’ness Salvation Army and St. Mary of the Assumption RC. Bo’ness is also home to the recently refurbished Hippodrome Cinema, which is the oldest picture house in Scotland. The building, along with many other buildings in Bo’ness, was designed by Matthew Steele, a local resident and architect. The Hippodrome was built in 1912.
Personally, what I like the most in Bo’ness is the old train station, the museum and old steam trains. I love everything vintage and last year I was there while a special event was taking place, trains were running and visitors could walk along the old train station, have a ride on the steam train and just go back in time to old days, which is wonderful. There are many events at the Railway to bring some joy to the visitors. According to the BO’NESS STATION website :
Family friendly heritage railway & museum – Passenger trains start and Museum opens 21 March 2015.
Additionally, I love the museum, I just absolutely adore the old massive machines which are standing there in the museum, you can touch them, admire them and take photos. Check when the the museum is open so you will not go in vain, as once I traveled there in vain, and had only 10 minutes before they closed it.
Enjoy Scotland’s largest railway museum at Bo’ness
As the comment below says, there is nothing much to see in the town itself but if you are the old train lover, it is worth coming and spending a few hours there. People are lovely, smiling and friendly. I have been there a few times and am planning to go again.
If you want to see more photos of the station have a look at my website.
Thank you for your visit 🙂