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Bo'ness, Corbiehall And Snab Area Of Townscape Character

Town Quarter

Site Name Bo'ness, Corbiehall And Snab Area Of Townscape Character

Classification Town Quarter

Canmore ID 312671

Site Number NS98SE 207

NGR NS 99008 81316

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Bo'ness And Carriden
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County West Lothian


Characterisation (9 December 2013)

This site covers the Corbiehall and Snab Area of Townscape Character which was defined as part of the Bo'ness Urban Survey Project 2013. The text below relates to the whole area.

Historical Development and Topography

Corbiehall and Snab Area of Townscape Character is located on flat ground on the shore of the River Forth running westwards from the town centre along the main road from Bo’ness to Grangemouth. The 17th century graveyard in Church Wynd is the earliest surviving part of this area, with several 17th, 18th and 19th century monuments and grave slabs remaining. The associated church founded in 1634 (much altered during the 18th and 19th centuries) survives in part embedded within the former Star Cinema’s dramatic frontage of 1915 by Matthew Steele (1878-1937). This area was dominated by a range of industries during the 19th century with a brick works, distillery and Kinneil Iron Works all located on the north side of the main road. The Forth Chemical Manure Works was established in the later 19th century to the east of the brick works. A large amount of housing was built for the workers in the area, but has since been demolished or replaced. One of the earliest surviving buildings in the area is a late 18th century terrace at 101–103 Corbiehall (The Dardanelles), with a traditional forestair entrance to the first-floor dwelling.

A small number of Victorian tenements and terraced houses can be found on the south side of Corbiehall, particularly the eastern section nearest the town centre. On the north side of Corbiehall is a late 19th century single-storeyed former drill hall (currently a garage), and the two-storeyed former police station dating from 1891 (now a business centre).

The main period of development in the area is local authority tenemented housing of the mid-20th century, much of which was designed by Matthew Steele for Bo’ness Town Council: 43–51 Corbiehall (1932); Snab Lane (1934); and 191–199 Corbiehall (1935). All have been refurbished and restored in the 21st century, with four blocks of new-build flats to the west of 191–199 Corbiehall.

Present Character

The Corbiehall and Snab Area of Townscape Character is a linear area, with a very low density due to development being mainly to the south of the main road. The area has lost its industrial character following demolition of the large-scale industrial complexes to the north of the main road, much of which has now been restored back to a natural landscape.

The majority of the area comprises 1930s developments by local architect Matthew Steele. Two groups of tenements designed by Steele dominate Corbiehall. The group of three tenements at 43–51 Corbiehall (1932) are known as ‘Coffin Square’ due to the distinctive shape of the crenellated, strongly vertical, pediments over the entrance doorways. Further west, 191–199 Corbiehall (1935) displays chunky Egyptian-style projecting entrances with vertical curved tile detail at the top and multi-paned windows. Both blocks have been fully restored in the early 21st century. Steele is also believed to have designed four, recently-restored, four-in-a-blocks at Snab Lane

(1934) for Bo’ness Town Council. Steele’s addition of a stepped bow-frontage to the former parish church (1915) for the Star Cinema adds to the 1930s character of this part of Bo’ness, particularly with the large multi-paned windows creating a strong vertical design popular during this period.

The area has experienced much regeneration during the late 20th and early 21st century, with both landscape and architectural restoration taking place. In addition, the small pocket of new-build at 207–213 Corbiehall, using yellow and grey brick, metal balconies and tile-hung upper floors, gives this part of Corbiehall a very modern, citified character.

Information from RCAHMS (LK), 9th December 2013


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