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Maddiston Memories

David Leask remembers growing up in Maddiston and the local history group he established. 

After leaving school I was apprenticed as a blacksmith in Grangemouth Dockyard.

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I was born in Viewfield Cottage, Maddiston, at my grandmother Mary McNiven’s home, the youngest of three brothers. I went to Maddiston Primary School and then Redding Junior Secondary School (establish in 1928). This became Redding Secondary School and then closed in 1964, when pupils were transferred to Woodlands High School or, as I was, Graeme High School for six months (Falkirk Archives). I was a member of the 1st Muiravonside Boys Brigade and the Life Boys before that. We all attended the Sunday School at Maddiston Corp Salvation Army in the old hall that's long gone.

After leaving school I was apprenticed as a blacksmith in Grangemouth Dockyard. I got married to a girl from Bo'ness (actually half way between Bo'ness and Linlithgow) in December 1969, we moved to Westquarter in 1970, and we have two boys who have in turn grown up, left home and got married too.

Folk Music is still very important to me as a singer of the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland (with a little English and American thrown in for luck.) I sing and play guitar/bodhran at various sessions, but the trouble is there's not as many as there used to be.

My wife Rona and I are both now retired and Rona is the secretary of our local history group even though she's never lived in Maddiston (or Muiravonside for that matter). Rona was born and brought up in Swordie Mains half way between Linlithgow and Bo'ness and sees herself as a Bonessian, even although we've now lived in Westquarter longer than anywhere else.

We still live in Westquarter, I have always been a keen local historian and have had a book published on the history of Westquarter (now out of print I think), Westquarter: The story of an estate: from family estate to 'Model Village’ (1986) as well as A Historic Tour of the Parish of Muiravonside (2017). I set up a group in Maddiston to look into the history of the village (and the village of Rumford) but the group came to an end after around 8 years or so. We gleaned a lot of information from the local people and some great friendships were formed (and one marriage). A new group has now been set up looking into the history of the whole parish of Muiravonside with particular interest in the villages of Maddiston and Rumford. You can join the group or learn more about David Leask’s Maddiston website in the references below.


By David Leask of David Leask’s Maddiston Pages. With further research conducted by Rowan Berry for Falkirk Community Trust Great Place Scheme.

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  • References & Bibliography
  • Leask, David. David Leask’s Maddiston Pages. (2005)

  • Thank you to David Leask for permitting us to reproduce stories from his website. This website offers a wealth of historical information on the Maddiston area and includes contributions, including further memories, from the Maddiston and Rumford Local History Group.

    For more on Maddiston see:

  • Leask, David. A Historic Tour of the Parish of Muiravonside (Maddiston: Maddiston & Rumford Local History Group, 2017).

  • Falkirk Archives. ‘Local Authority Records: Education Records Finding Aid.’ Archon Code GB558. (2018)

  • Maddiston and Rumford Local History Group

  • The Newsroom. ‘New book throws light on parish in the past.’ Falkirk Herald. (9 March 2018)

  • Westquarter: The story of an estate: from family estate to 'Model Village.’ (Falkirk District Council, Department of Libraries and Museums, 1986).

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