3000BC - Cairnpapple Hill begins to be used by our ancient ancestors as a burial place pre-dating even Stonehenge.
1160AD - Bathgate (the town name is derived from the ancient Cumbrian “wood of the boar”) is first settled after King Malcolm instructs Uchtred, Sheriff of Linlithgow to grant land in Bathgate to Holyrood Abbey for agricultural use and the building of a Church.
1315 - King Robert the Bruce gifts Bathgate Castle along with the Barony of Bathgate to Walter Lord High Steward on the occasion of his marriage to Bruce’s daughter Marjory. Therefore the Stuart monarchs can trace their lineage back to their origins here in Bathgate.
1606 - Silver is discovered in the shadow of Cairnpapple Hill – although the venture is short lived. On command of King James VI some of the silver mined is used to make the Scottish Crown Jewels which are on display next to The Stone of Destiny in Edinburgh Castle.
1675 - The first reference to coal mining in Bathgate is to be found. Later coal would be mined extensively in Balbardie and Easton pits.
1746 - Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army spend the night in Bathgate, en route to The Battle Of Prestonpans.
1783 - Glenmavis Distillery opens – it later produces McNab’s celebrated Glenmavis Dew Whisky before eventual closure in 1910.
1811 - Sir James Young Simpson discoverer of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and obstetrician to Queen Victoria is born in Bathgate.
1824 - Bathgate becomes a burgh and has a town council for the first time, led by our first Provost Alexander Marjoribanks. One of their first tasks was to secure a water supply to the growing population by building Petershill Reservoir.
1833 - Bathgate Academy opens as a result of the legacy gifted to the townsfolk of Bathgate by John Newland, a native of Bathgate who made his fortune in the plantations of Jamaica.
1844 - The first Bathgate Procession is held. (also see 1925) This annual event celebrates our ancient royal history and the legacy of John Newland.
1849 - The Bathgate to Edinburgh railway is opened.
1850 - Pioneering industrialist James “Paraffin” Young extracts oil from locally mined torbanite coal and opens the world’s first oil refinery in Bathgate.
1857 - The Corn Exchange (later to become The Palais de Dance) is opened in Jarvey Street.
1872 - The first edition of The West Lothian Courier our local paper is published.
1892 - Bathgate Golf Club is opened. It becomes the home club of two Ryder Cup players who subsequently become Captains, namely Eric Brown and Bernard Gallacher, making it the only club in Europe or the USA to hold this distinction.
1899 - Renton and Fishers Steel Foundry opens followed by the Menzies Foundry in 1905. Menzies was the target of a WW2 air attack (thankfully the bomb missed, landing in marshland nearby).
1924 - First Bathgate Procession using the format we all know now. (also see 1844)
1921 - Champion trotting stallion Torchfire is buried in the grounds of the Kaim Park Hotel after crossing the Atlantic to and from the USA twice and siring a future Kentucky Derby winner.
1938 - The Regal Picture House opens its doors for the first time.
1955 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh visit Kirkton Park. Her Majesty visits Bathgate once more in 1968.
1962 - The BMC (later British Leyland) opens. At its height over 4000 locals are employed in the truck and tractor plant.
1986 - A fossilized lizard is discovered by archaeologists in Kirkton Quarry. It is the oldest fossil ever discovered dated to 338 million years ago. The fossil “westlothiana” or locally known as “lizzie” is on display at The Museum of Scotland.
1986 - British Leyland closes leading to widespread local job losses.
1989 - The Bennie Museum opens celebrating Bathgate’s illustrious past.
Famous Bathgate Bairns:
Catherine Hogg Blair (nee Shields), Founder of Women’s Rural Institute in Scotland and leading Scottish suffragette
John Newland, Benefactor of Bathgate Academy
Sir James Young Simpson, Discoverer of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform
Eric Brown, Renowned Golfer, Ryder Cup Player and Captain
Bernard Gallacher, Order of Merit Winner Ryder Cup Player And Captain
Elliot Bunney, Olympic Medallist Runner
David Tennant, Dr Who and popular Actor
Stephen Gallacher, European Tour Golfer
Paul di Resta, Formula One Racing Driver