:"Falkirk is also the name of the Scottish council area centred on the town, see Falkirk (council area)."infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Falkirk
gaelic_name= Audio|AnEaglaisBhreac.ogg|An Eaglais Bhreac
scots_name= Falkirk (Fawkirk)
os_grid_reference= NS936809
population= 32,379 (2001 Census)
unitary_scotland= Falkirk
lieutenancy_scotland= Stirling and Falkirk
post_town= FALKIRK
postcode_district = FK1; FK2
postcode_area= FK
dial_code= 01324
constituency_westminster= Falkirk
constituency_westminster1= Linlithgow and East Falkirk
constituency_scottish_parliament= Falkirk East
constituency_westminster1= Falkirk West

Falkirk (Scottish Gaelic: "An Eaglais Bhreac", lit. 'the Variegated [or 'Speckled'] Church' (presumably referring to a church building built of many-coloured stones) is a town in central Scotland lying to the north west and north east of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, respectively. In 2004 the population, according to the General Register Office for Scotland, was 32,890 making Falkirk the 20th largest settlement in Scotland.cite web |url=http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files1/stats/04mid-year-estimates-localities-table4.pdf
title=2004 Localities in descending order of size |publisher=General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) |accessdate=2007-03-24|format=PDF
] However, the wider Falkirk Area, which includes nearby towns such as Grangemouth, Larbert and Stenhousemuir, has a population of 97,180, making it the 5th largest urban area in Scotland, after Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The town lies at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, a location which proved pivotal to the growth of Falkirk as a centre of heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th and 19th Centuries Falkirk was at the centre of a large iron and steel industry, underpinned by the Carron Company which developed close to the town. In the last 50 years or so heavy industry has declined, and the economy of the town has become increasingly services orientated.

Today Falkirk functions as the principal retail and administrative centre for the wider Falkirk Council area. Attractions in and around Falkirk include the Falkirk Wheel, remnants of the Antonine wall, and Callendar House.


The area has been of great strategic importance since the construction of the Antonine Wall between the Firths of Forth and Clyde in Roman times. Many of the best visible remains of the Romans in Scotland are in the Falkirk Area.

The first recorded name is Ecclesbrith, from the Cumbric for "speckled church". This was later replaced by the Scottish Gaelic cognate An Eaglais Bhreac, which remains the modern Gaelic name. The Scots name "Fawkirk" has the same meaning and this became the modern English name. The Latin name "Varia Capella" also has the same meaning. [cite web|title=placenamesF-J|url=http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/language/gaelic/pdfs/placenamesF-J.pdf|work=Scottish Parliament website|accessdate=2008-07-12|format=pdf|author=Iain Mac an Tàilleir]

Two major battles took place at Falkirk:
*The Battle of Falkirk fought on July 22, 1298, saw the defeat of William Wallace by King Edward I.

*The second Battle of Falkirk took place in 17th January, 1746 between the Jacobites, under Bonnie Prince Charlie, and a government army commanded by Lieutenant General Henry Hawley. Hawley was defeated.

In the 18th century the area served as the cradle of Scotland's industrial revolution, becoming the earliest major centre of the iron-casting industry: to this day, cast-iron cooking pots are known in Zimbabwe as "falkirks". The area was at the forefront of canal construction when the Forth and Clyde Canal opened in 1790. The Union Canal (1822) provided a link to Edinburgh and early railway development followed in the 1830s and 1840s. In the course of time, trunk road and motorways followed the same national strategic corridors through the Falkirk area. A large brickworks was set up at this time, owned by the Howie family.

Falkirk was the first town in Great Britain to have a fully automated system of street lighting, designed and implemented by a local firm, Thomas Laurie & Co Ltd.

Falkirk was, until 2007, home to the shortest street in Britain, Tolbooth Street to the North of the Steeple.

The town has two mottos: "Touch ane, touch a'" ("Touch One Touch All") and "Better meddle wi' the de'il than the bairns o' Fawkirk" ("Better meddle with the devil than with the bairns of Falkirk")


Falkirk is located in an area of undulating topography between the Slamannan Plateau and the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth. The area to the north of Falkirk is part of the floodplain of the River Carron. Two tributaries of the River Carron - the "East Burn" and the "West Burn" flow through the town and form part of its natural drainage system.Milne et al (1975) p1] Falkirk sits at between 50 metres (164 ft) and 125 metres (410 ft) above sea level.Milne et al (1975) p2]

The underlying geology of the town of Falkirk is characterised by glacial deposits. Elevations above convert|100|m|ft|0|lk=on are covered by a mixture of glacial till and boulder clay with low lying areas covered by sandy soils and loams. As Falkirk is not far from the coast, post-glacial features akin to raised beaches are particularly predominant to the north of the town centre, and this gives rise to differing elevations within the town.

Unsorted glacial till gives rise to such features of glacial deposition as eskers, and drumlins which are predominant over much of the area. Such elements provide natural transportation routes and it is this complex underlying geology that the town is built upon.

Like much of the rest of Scotland, Falkirk has a temperate maritime climate, which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude. Winters are especially mild given that Moscow and Labrador in Newfoundland lie on the same latitude, with daytime temperatures rarely falling below freezing, or convert|0|C|F|0. Summer temperatures are comparatively cool, with daily upper maxima rarely exceeding convert|23|C|F|0|lk=on. The proximity of the town to the sea mitigates any large variations in temperature or extremes of climate. The prevailing wind direction is from the south-west, which is associated with warm, unstable air from the Gulf Stream that gives rise to rainfall. Winds from an easterly direction are usually drier but colder. Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Vigorous Atlantic depressions - sometimes called European windstorms can affect the town between October and March.

Infobox Weather
location = Falkirk
Jan_Hi_°C =6 |Jan_REC_Hi_°C =
Feb_Hi_°C =7 |Feb_REC_Hi_°C =
Mar_Hi_°C = 9 |Mar_REC_Hi_°C =
Apr_Hi_°C = 11 |Apr_REC_Hi_°C =
May_Hi_°C =15 |May_REC_Hi_°C =
Jun_Hi_°C =17 |Jun_REC_Hi_°C =
Jul_Hi_°C = 19 |Jul_REC_Hi_°C =
Aug_Hi_°C =19 |Aug_REC_Hi_°C =
Sep_Hi_°C =16 |Sep_REC_Hi_°C =
Oct_Hi_°C =13 |Oct_REC_Hi_°C =
Nov_Hi_°C =9 |Nov_REC_Hi_°C =
Dec_Hi_°C =7 |Dec_REC_Hi_°C =
Year_Hi_°C =13 |Year_REC_Hi_°C =
Jan_Lo_°C =1 |Jan_REC_Lo_°C =
Feb_Lo_°C =1 |Feb_REC_Lo_°C =
Mar_Lo_°C =2 |Mar_REC_Lo_°C =
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May_Lo_°C =6 |May_REC_Lo_°C =
Jun_Lo_°C =9 |Jun_REC_Lo_°C =
Jul_Lo_°C =11 |Jul_REC_Lo_°C =
Aug_Lo_°C =11 |Aug_REC_Lo_°C =
Sep_Lo_°C =8 |Sep_REC_Lo_°C =
Oct_Lo_°C =5 |Oct_REC_Lo_°C =
Nov_Lo_°C =3 |Nov_REC_Lo_°C =
Dec_Lo_°C =1 |Dec_REC_Lo_°C =
Year_Lo_°C =5 |Year_REC_Lo_°C =

Jan_Precip_cm = |Jan_Precip_mm =100
Feb_Precip_cm = |Feb_Precip_mm =70
Mar_Precip_cm = |Mar_Precip_mm =77
Apr_Precip_cm = |Apr_Precip_mm =56
May_Precip_cm = |May_Precip_mm =62
Jun_Precip_cm = |Jun_Precip_mm =56
Jul_Precip_cm = |Jul_Precip_mm =62
Aug_Precip_cm = |Aug_Precip_mm =76
Sep_Precip_cm = |Sep_Precip_mm =77
Oct_Precip_cm = |Oct_Precip_mm =101
Nov_Precip_cm = |Nov_Precip_mm =81
Dec_Precip_cm = |Dec_Precip_mm =107
Year_Precip_cm = |Year_Precip_mm =925
source =Met Office cite web
url =http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/19712000/mapped.html?s=043330&refer= | title = 1971-2000 mapped averages | accessmonthday =Jan 9 | accessyear = 2008
publisher =UK gov | language =
accessdate = 2008-01-09

Government and politics

Falkirk Council area, one of the 32 Unitary authorities of Scotland. The town of Falkirk sits at the heart of the council area.

From the middle of the 17th century to 1859, the affairs of the burgh of Falkirk were managed by the Stentmasters, a body elected by the trades of the town and latterly also by districts of Falkirk. Their duties, while largely financial, included repairs to the market place, the streets, water pipes, cisterns and wells, the Town Steeple; and the prevention of encroachments on the public streets by any of the inhabitants or others. They also had the duty of appointing a billeting master and a town drummer, and were responsible for the management of the general policy of the town and also for the laying of assessments on the corporations and inhabitants according to the apparent ability of the persons assessed to pay them. The Stentmasters continued to exist side by side with the Town Council for some years, the first Falkirk Town Council having been elected in the Red Lion Inn in November 1838. The number of members then composing the Town Council was twelve.

Notable past Falkirk councillors include industrialist Thomas W. Howie and current Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling.

Today, like all towns in Scotland, Falkirk has a well-defined structure of governance from local government down to representation at European Union (EU) level.

In terms of local government the town sits at the heart of Falkirk Council area, one of the 32 Unitary Authorities of Scotland formed by the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994. The headquarters of the council are located in the Municipal Buildings, adjacent to Falkirk Town Hall, on West Bridge Street in the centre of town.cite web |url=http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/about_council/welcome.aspx |title=Falkirk Council - About the Council |publisher=Falkirk Council |accessdate=2007-01-30] The Council is run by a Scottish National Party (SNP), independent and Conservative alliance as of early 2007. The current Leader of the Council is Cllr David Alexander.cite web |url=http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/about_council/elected_representatives/council_members.aspx |title=Falkirk Council - Council Members |publisher=Falkirk Council |accessdate=2007-01-31]

Falkirk is located within the Scottish parliamentary constituency of Falkirk West which elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) under the first past the post system.cite web |url=http://election.scotsman.com/constituencies.cfm?id=31 |title=Previous Elections - 2003 Scottish Parliamentary Election - Falkirk West |publisher=The Scotsman |accessdate=2007-01-31] The current MSP is Michael Matheson, who won the 2007 Scottish Parliament General Election by a margin of just 3%, less than the number of spoilt ballot papers, narrowly defeating his rival, Dennis Goldie, former Provost and well-known for his refusal to back the Labour Party's pro-gay rights stance. The previous MSP, Dennis Canavan, who sat as an Independent, was elected with the largest majority in the Scottish parliament representing Falkirk's electorate's displeasure with New Labour, but stepped down in 2007 for family reasons. Canavan, who announced in an open letter to his constituents in January 2007, that he was stepping down from representative politics at the Scottish Parliament election, 2007 has been an MSP or MP for the area for over 30 years.cite news |url=http://news.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=122262007 |author=Louise Gray |date=2007-01-24 |title='I'm filled with regret that I didn't spend more time with family' |publisher=The Scotsman |accessdate=2007-01-31] The constituency of Falkirk West also sits in the Central Scotland Scottish Parliament electoral region which returns seven MSPs under the additional member system used to elect Members of the Scottish Parliament.cite web |url=http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/research/factsheets/documents/ElectoralSystem.pdf |title=Scottish Parliament Electoral System |date=2006-08-31 |publisher=Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) |accessdate=2007-01-30]

Minor fringe parties (on both sides of the political spectrum) are relatively popular in Falkirk compared with the rest of Scotland. In the 2007 elections, Falkirk had the highest proportion (though it was still very small) of British National Party voters anywhere in Scotland. Parties right of the Conservative Party won 6.2% of the vote in Central Scotland in total (including the Scottish Christian Party, United Kingdom Independence Party and others). Left of Labour parties won 5.9% in total (including the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialist Party, Solidarity and others). None of these parties won a seat, however. Five seats were won by the SNP, one by the Conservatives and one by the Liberal Democrats.

In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the town is entirely contained within the UK parliamentary constituency of Falkirk which elects one member to the House of Commons under the plurality system.cite web |url=http://election.scotsman.com/constituencies.cfm?id=79 |title=All Scottish Seats - 2005 UK General Election - Falkirk |publisher=The Scotsman |accessdate=2007-01-31] The constituency also takes in surrounding villages and is currently represented by the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Eric Joyce. Traditionally, Falkirk has been seen as a stronghold for the Labour Party, but an SNP majority in the 2007 Scottish elections suggest a change of public opinion.

At EU level, Falkirk is part of the pan-Scotland European Parliament constituency which elects seven Members of the European Parliament (MEP)s using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.cite web |url=http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/scot.asp |title=UK MEPs - Scotland |publisher=European Parliament |accessdate=2007-01-31] Currently, Scotland returns two Labour MEPs, two Conservative and Unionist MEPs, two SNP MEPs and one Liberal Democrat MEP, to the European Parliament.

Economy and population

Today, the economy of Falkirk is focussed on Retail and Services, in contrast to the heavy industries and manufacturing sectors which contributed to the growth of the town over the last 300 years. Falkirk is a large retail centre catering to the town itself and a wide surrounding area, stretching from Cumbernauld in the west to Bo'ness in the east.Smith, R (2001) p345] The flagship retailer Marks and Spencer opened a store in Falkirk in 1936. The High Street was pedestrianised in the late 1980s and the Howgate Shopping Centre opened in Smith, R (2001) p345] 1989. A number of supermarkets including Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons and Scottish Co-op have developed on peripheral sites surrounding the town centre in recent years.Smith, R (2001) p346]

The Public sector and public services also have a foothold in the Falkirk area. Falkirk Council is one of the largest employers in this sphere, with a workforce of over 7,000, many based at the Council headquarters in the town centre. One of the principal offices of the UK Child Support Agency, covering Scotland and the north east of England, is located in the Callendar Business Park on the outskirts of Falkirk.cite web |url=http://www.csa.gov.uk/new/contact/snebu.asp.op |title=Falkirk - Scotland and North East England Business Unit |publisher=Child Support Agency |accessdate=2007-01-30] Similarly the National Health Service (NHS) and Department for Work and Pensions have a presence in the town and employ local residents.

Many Falkirk residents are also employed within the petrochemicals sector based in the neighbouring town of Grangemouth where there is an agglomeration of such industries underpinned by the Ineos (formerly BP) oil refinery located there.cite web |url=http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/sedotcom_home/news-se/news-fullarticle.htm?articleid=15022 |title=BP Grangemouth announcement - Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley reaction |author=David Gibson |date=2001-11-13 |publisher=Scottish Enterprise |accessdate=2007-01-30] Alexander Dennis, one of the world's largest bus manufacturers, is headquartered in Falkirk with the operations plant located nearby.cite web |url=http://www.alexander-dennis.com/company/key_facts.htm |title=Alexander Dennis, Key facts | |publisher=Alexander Dennis |accessdate=2007-01-30]

The United Kingdom Census 2001 identified the town as having a total resident population of 32,379cite web |url=http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Population&mainLevel=Locality&mainText=Falkirk&mainTextExplicitMatch=false&compLevel=CountryProfile&compArea=Scotland&compText=&compTextExplicitMatch=null|title=Comparative Population Profile, Locality: Falkirk |publisher=Scotland's Census Results Online (SCROL) |accessdate=2007-03-22] with 2004 estimates placing the total population at 32,890. The population of the town and surrounding area is forecast to grow over the next ten years, primarily due to net in migration from other parts of Scotland and the UK.cite web |url=http://www.myfuturesinfalkirk.co.uk/Investment/pdf/falkirklocation.pdf |title=Falkirk as a Location, Statistical Information on the Council Area |month=December | year=2006 |publisher=Falkirk Council |accessdate=2007-03-22] Unemployment in the Falkirk area is low at 2.5%, below the Scottish average, however average household income and gross weekly pay are below the comparative Scottish and UK averages.


The area has an equally high reputation for its new residential, retail, heritage and leisure developments and it has gained much popularity as a place to live and a place to visit.

On the first Thursday of every month, the Central Retail Park plays host to Scotland's biggest car cruise, where car enthusiasts meet to show their cars and enjoy the atmosphere.

Heritage and culture have importance for residents and visitors alike, with attractions such as:
* [http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/cultural/museums/call-ho.htm Callendar House] in Falkirk, an imposing mansion with a 600-year history
* The Falkirk Steeple, widely regarded as the centre point of the town
* Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway, offering steam-train travel
* Big in Falkirk, Scotland's national street arts festival
* Two football clubs: Falkirk F.C., who play in the Scottish Premier League; and East Stirlingshire F.C., who play in the Third Division
* The Falkirk Wheel, the only rotary canal connector in the world. It connects the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union canal
* Falkirk High Street is also the longest fully pedestrianised High Street in the United Kingdom Fact|date=April 2008

As the cradle of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland, a wide rich-poor gap was created, leading to one commentator to observe in the 1950s, "the poorer and the richer social groups (some very poor and some very wealthy) live close together and under the eyes of each other in Falkirk" Fact|date=April 2008. This can be seen most notably in Woodlands, Falkirk, where very large residences are often very close to, or even facing, council housing. It has also meant that there is a very strong Conservative Party area in Woodlands and Polmont, while the others are mainly very strong Labour Party areas Fact|date=April 2008.

The 2001 censuscite web |url=http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/services/corporate_commercial/policy_performance_review/research_information/PDFs/census_information/No2.pdf |title=Insight 2001 census no2 |date=2003-02-01 |publisher=Falkirk Council |accessdate=2008-04-18] showed the majority of the population claim to belong to one of the Christian denominationswith 48% of these being Church of Scotland, 12% being Roman Catholic, and 5% belonging to [http://www.scottishchristian.com/churches/ Other Christian] denominations. A significant percentage of people (29%) belong to no religion, about 1% above the national figure. Only about 5% of residents did not answer this question.

Twin towns

Falkirk is twinned with:
*flagicon|France Quimper, France
*flagicon|France Creteil, France
*flagicon|Germany Odenwald, Germany
*flagicon|USA San Rafael, California, USA



The Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary (FDRI) is the principal public hospital serving the town of Falkirk and the surrounding area and is administered by NHS Forth Valley.cite web |url=http://www.nhsforthvalley.com/files/Services_files/Services_Across_Sites.pdf |title=Services carried out at Falkirk and Stirling Royal Infirmaries |publisher=NHS Forth Valley |accessdate=2007-03-22|format=PDF] In recent years the accident and emergency services at the hospital have been downgraded with major A&E facilities having been consolidated to the Stirling and District Royal Infirmary.cite web |url=http://www.nhsforthvalley.com/home/Services/A-Z/Emergency/Emergency.html |title=NHS Forth Valley Emergency Services |publisher=NHS Forth Valley |accessdate=2007-03-22] However, the FDRI continues to have a Minor Injury Unit, to treat emergency cases of a non life threatening nature. Maternity provision at the FDRI has also been consolidated to Stirling. A new £300m hospital for the NHS Forth Valley area (which includes the unitary authorities of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire) is to be built and opened at Larbert by 2009. This will replace and combine the existing facilities at both Falkirk and Stirling.


The Falkirk Area occupies a central position in Scotland, on the key north-south and east-west motorway, rail and canal routes and within easy reach of Edinburgh and Glasgow airports; Falkirk is well situated both for access from England and for access to other parts of Scotland.

Falkirk has two railway stations; Falkirk High and
Falkirk Grahamston. Falkirk High is situated on the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line, with connections to either city running on a 15-minute frequency. At peak times 8 trains per hour stop; 4 for Glasgow Queen Street via Croy and 4 for Edinburgh Waverley via Polmont and Linlithgow. Journey times to Edinburgh vary from 27 minutes to 38 minutes depending on stopping stations and time of day; to Glasgow the journey time is between 23 and 26 minutes.

Falkirk Grahamston lies on the Edinburgh to Dunblane Line. Trains from Glasgow Queen Street on the Cumbernauld Line terminate at Falkirk Grahamston. There is also a daily direct service to London (King's Cross) provided by National Express East Coast, and the Caledonian Sleeper to London Euston also calls here.

The Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal pass nearby, interconnected by the famous Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift.


Falkirk has two football teams, Falkirk F.C. and East Stirlingshire F.C.. Falkirk F.C are in the Scottish Premier League East Stirlingshire are in Scottish Third Division. They are often referred to as "Britain's worst football team". [ [http://sport.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=395&id=945682004 Mileson's millions give Gretna edge] The Scotsman, 16 August 2004]

Falkirk also has a Hockey team, Falkirk GHG Hockey Club, which was formed from the merger of Graeme High School Former Pupils Hockey Club and Grangemouth Hockey Club in 1999. It now has five men's teams which play in various leagues, with their first team playing in the national league.

There are numerous Rugby Football clubs in the Falkirk area - namely Falkirk Rugby Club and Grangemouth Rugby Club.There are also two leisure centres - Mariner Centre and Grangemouth Leisure Centre.Falkirk also bosts a number of beautiful parks: Callendar Park - host of annual national street arts festival, "Big In Falkirk" - and Dollar Park, funded by a wealthy businessman born in Falkirk.

Famous people

George Forrest was born in Falkirk on March 13th 1873, died in 1932. He was responsible for bringing back over 30,000 specimens of 10,000 plants mostly from the Yunnan Province of China over a period of 17 years.

Rangers player David Weir resides from Falkirk, and went to Woodlands High School in Falkirk. He grew up in Shieldhill.

St Mirren player Jack Ross also resides in Falkirk, and went to Falkirk High School, he grew up in Camelon.

Falkirk player Tam Scobbie was born in Falkirk and is from Westquarter and went to Wesquarter Primary and Graeme High School.

Tommy Douglas, the Canadian social democratic politician, who is often cited as "father" of Canada's Medicare public health insurance system and was voted The Greatest Canadian, was born in Falkirk.

Michael Absalom was born in Falkirk but moved to different areas in his life.

Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat of the post-folk band Arab Strap are from Falkirk.

Elizabeth Fraser, lead singer of the band Cocteau Twins, was born in Falkirk.

Charlie Gibbs, noted authority and author in the field of Human Resources, was born in Falkirk.Andy Fairley , burger van .com ceo

Notes and citations


*Dowds, T (2003): "The Forth and Clyde Canal - A History". Tuckwell Press. ISBN 1-8623-2232-5
*Macleod, I (2004): "The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Scotland". Lomond Books, Edinburgh. ISBN 1-8420-4028-6
*Milne, D; Leitch, A; Duncan, A; Bairner, J & Johnston, J (1975): "The Falkirk and Grangemouth Area". Paper for the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' (SAGT) conference, October 1975. Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh.
*Nimmo W (1880): "The History of Stirlingshire, Third Edition" Vol II. Hamilton, Adams and Company, Glasgow.
*Smith, R (2001): "The Making of Scotland". Canongate Books, Edinburgh. ISBN 1-8419-5170-6

External links

* [http://www.falkirk.gov.uk Falkirk Council Website]
* [http://www.falkirkonline.net Falkirk Online Community Website]
* [http://web.ukonline.co.uk/Members/tom.paterson/places/stat3_falk.htm Third Statistical Account of Falkirk]

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