This week, Chris Atkinson from the West Linton Historical Society runs through the history of the town's water supply...

The provision of drinking water in West Linton has over the years been a matter of much thought and effort. Rain falling on the hills above the village provided enough water to supply the wells and springs for the community and travellers passing through the village could refresh themselves at the old Cross Well.

The main street of the village followed the course of a burn known as Rumblin’ Tam which emerged from a spring at the head of the village. This spring remained the main source of water until 1875 when it was pumped by a water wheel powered by the Lyne Water to a small storage tank on the hillside above the village from where piped water was led for the first time to various public taps throughout the village. The overflow from this tank was diverted to run under the Upper Green and emerge from an accessible outlet into the river close to the Tan House. This was popular with some of the ladies of the village who could easily access the water of Rumblin’ Tam via Teapot Lane. This water was considered to be therapeutic, as was the water from the nearby St Mungo’s Well, so much so that on market days both were sold by the glass, St Mungo’s costing one penny and Rumblin’ Tam’s a halfpenny.

This fine water did not pass the attention of the Younger family who set up a brewery on the Upper Green and produced such popular beer that the young William Younger having served his apprenticeship with his father set off to Edinburgh to start his own brewery.

With the coming of the railway the village had grown to the extent that the water from the tank on the hill was no longer sufficient and in 1895 a scheme was proposed to bring water from North Slipperfield. By 1898 this was completed and with additional pressure in the system houses could be built in the higher part of the village. Water supply was also critical for other parts of the country and by 1926 work had started on the building of a large reservoir at Baddinsgill to supply Bathgate. West Linton took the opportunity to make use of this supply and built a small treatment works for the village. This went well for many years and people were proud of and seemed to enjoy the taste of the brown but doubtful water. The water quality has been improved in recent years with water from a different source which is more than adequate to supply the present population.