1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bo'ness

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BO'NESS, or Borrowstounness, a municipal and police burgh and seaport of Linlithgowshire, Scotland. Pop. (1891) 6295; (1901) 9306. It lies on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, 17 m. W. by N. of Edinburgh, and 24 m. by rail, being the terminus of the North British railway's branch line from Manuel. In the 18th century it ranked next to Leith as a port, but the growth of Grangemouth, higher up the firth, seriously affected its shipping trade, which is, however, yet considerable, coal and pig-iron forming the principal exports, and pit props from the Baltic the leading import. It has an extensive harbour (the area of the dock being 7¾ acres). The great industries are coal-mining—some of the pits extending for a long distance beneath the firth—iron-founding (with several blast furnaces) and engineering, but it has also important manufactures of salt, soap, vitriol and other chemicals. Shipbuilding and whaling are extinct. Traces of the wall of Antoninus which ran through the parish may still be made out, especially near Inveravon. Blackness, on the coast farther east, was the seaport of Linlithgow till the rise of Bo'ness, but its small export trade now mainly consists of coal, bricks, tiles and lime. Its castle, standing on a promontory, is of unknown age. James III. of Scotland is stated to have consigned certain of the insurgent nobles to its cells; and later it was used as a prison in which many of the Covenanters were immured. It was one of the four castles that had to be maintained by the Articles of Union, but when its uselessness for defensive purposes became apparent, it was converted into an ammunition depot. Kinneil House, 1 m. south of Bo'ness, a seat of the duke of Hamilton, formerly a keep, was fortified by the regent Arran, plundered by the rebels in Queen Mary's reign, and reconstructed in the time of Charles II. Dr John Roebuck (1718–1794), founder of the Carron Iron Works, occupied it for several years from 1764. It was here that, on his invitation, James Watt constructed a model of his steam-engine, which was tested in a now disused colliery. Though Roebuck lost all his money in the coal-mines and salt works which he established at Bo'ness, the development of the mineral resources of the district may be regarded as due to him.