2021-02-21 (Day 052) Westquarter Glen

Westquarter Glen came into the possession of the Livingstons of Callendar family around the early 1300s. Apart from a short time just after 1700 it remained in that family’s possession until 1909, when James Nimmo, a coal merchant from Glasgow, bought the land from the Livingstons. Nimmo leased and ran Redding Pit No 23 – the scene of the appalling disaster in which 40 men died in September 1923. Interestingly, the histories I have been able to find did not blame Nimmo for unsafe working conditions or a lack of care for his employees – perhaps he was one of the better mine operators of the time.

Associated with the land was a magnificent house – a mansion built in 1884. It was demolished in 1934 when Falkirk Council bought the land from Nimmo to create a new “model village” to house the mining families who were living in houses considered unfit for human habitation in the nearby village of Standburn. This village was designed by architect John A W Grant, and was inspired by the arts and crafts movement. The housing was low-density, with lots of green space. The primary school was considered a particular achievement, described by architectural historian Richard Jaques as a “true child of the modern movement” and “the jewel in Westquarter’s crown”

Westquarter Glen was one of the area’s open spaces, intended as a place of leisure for the inhabitants. Here there are green spaces, woodlands with winding pathways for walking, and all centred round the burn and this waterfall.

The house is gone, all that remains is a doocote. But the Glen itself provides a lovely walk, and when the river is in spate the waterfall is pretty impressive!