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Coordinates: 56°06′58″N 3°47′45″W / 56.1161°N 3.7959°W / 56.1161; -3.7959

Scottish Gaelic: Allmhagh
Scots: Alloa
Alloa is located in Scotland

 Alloa shown within Scotland
Population 18,989 (2001 census)
OS grid reference NS900920
Council area Clackmannanshire
Lieutenancy area Clackmannanshire
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Alloa
Postcode district FK10
Dialling code 01259
Police Central Scotland
Fire Central Scotland
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Ochil and South Perthshire
Scottish Parliament Ochil
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Alloa (Scottish Gaelic: Allmhagh[1]) is a small burgh in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, 7 miles to the east of Stirling, on the north bank of the River Forth. The town was a burgh of barony, and at one time of considerable commercial importance but is now relatively insignificant. It has a population of 18,989.[2]



Glassmaking has long been a feature of Alloa, today continued at the United Glass factory

During the 18th century, Alloa thrived as a river port through which the products of Glasgow manufacture were exported to continental Europe. At that time, and until the 1950s, the main industry to the north and east of the town was coal mining, and an extensive waggonway existed to take the coal to the harbour. The Earls of Mar owned many of the coal mines, and Robert Bald, an unusually inventive local mining engineer, was instrumental in providing water power from the Gartmorn Dam to operate both the mines and other industries such as weaving. Many traces of the waggonway, and the Gartmorn Dam, can still be seen today, and although the dam is no longer used for energy production, or water supply, it is well used for fishing and leisure purposes.

The town itself was known for its weaving and glassmaking industries. Alloa was long associated with the brewing industry, with at least nine major breweries producing ales. However this industry declined severely during the late 20th century and the town as a whole depleted financially because of this.

Alloa Athletic F.C. are based at Recreation Park in the town.

The burgh population in a mid-19th century census was 6,440.

Notable people from the burgh include the footballer and commentator Alan Hansen (born in Sauchie and attended Lornshill Academy, Alloa) and the artists Lys Hansen and Emma Scott-Smith. The Canadian politician George Brown was born here in 1818. The founder of Forte Holdings which later merged with Trust House to become Trust House Forte, Lord Charles Forte, was raised in Alloa.

Interesting places to visit near to Alloa include Alva, Tillicoultry, Dollar, Rumbling Bridge, Culross and Falkirk.

Transport links

Alloa railway station reopened in May 2008. The town had suffered poor transport links since the Stirling-Alloa-Dunfermline rail service was closed in 1968. The Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link project[3] was completed in May 2008. [4] This also involved the construction of a new bypass road and bridge so that a major level crossing in the town could be removed in the interests of safety. After much preparatory work, including drainage, and grouting of a large number of shallow mine workings, laying of new track commenced in September 2006.

The new railway opened for traincrew route learning in early April 2008, followed by the opening to the public on Monday 19 May 2008. This had been preceded by an official opening on 15 May 2008, where Class K4 61994 "The Great Marquess" hauled two specials to Stirling. The return workings were hauled by Deltic 55022 "Royal Scots Grey." Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson officially reopened the line.

First ScotRail now operates an hourly service from Alloa railway station to Glasgow Queen Street via Stirling, Larbert and Lenzie between 0641 and 2241 Monday to Saturday and between 1041 and 2141 on Sundays. Passengers can travel to Edinburgh Waverley with a change at Stirling.


Alloa's most notable visible landmark is the 14th century Alloa Tower (National Trust for Scotland), the surviving part of the ancestral medieval residence of the Erskine family, the Earls of Mar. Though much altered both externally and internally, the Tower retains its original medieval wooden roof and battlements, as well as some internal features. It is one of the largest (and earliest) of Scottish tower houses.

The town formerly contained a large number of 17th and 18th century buildings, but most were cleared away as 'slums' in the 18th to 19th century.[5] However, Alloa does retain some historic architecture in the form of Alloa Tower, Tobias Bauchop's House (1695)[5], Inglewood House, Gean House and Greenfield House.

Alloa Town Hall and Library was designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse and built in 1886-9 at a cost of £18,008. [6]

Alloa is served by Iceland (supermarket), Tesco, ALDI, LIDL, Morrisons,[ [Asda]]Farmfoods and Iceland supermarkets. The ASDA supermarket, opened in 2007 is adjacent to the site of the new railway station and was built on the land where the Alloa brewery once stood.


Alloa is currently served by three parish churches in the Church of Scotland, namely Alloa North Parish Church, Alloa West Parish Church (in January 2008 Alloa North and Alloa West churches linked with one minister, in March 2009 the congregations voted on the option to move to one church - the recommendation being to retain Alloa West church and halls together with Alloa North church halls) and St Mungo's Parish Church (the largest of the three.) In 1978 the Very Rev Dr Peter Brodie (then minister at St Mungo's) was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Alloa is within the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Stirling.

In addition, the United Free Church of Scotland serves the town centre through the congregation at Moncrieff U.F. Church in Drysdale Street.

There are churches of other denominations in the town, including a Catholic church also named St Mungo's and St John's Episcopal Church. There are also congregations of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses in Alloa.

The headquarters of Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS), the ecumenical organisation linking Scotland's largest churches, is located at Inglewood House, Alloa.


The town has two high schools; Lornshill Academy and Alloa Academy. Also five Primary schools: Claremont; Park; Sunnyside; St John's and St Modens.

Brewers in Alloa

Alloa was well positioned for the ale brewing trade, with a good water supply, close to local supplies of barley and good sea transport links. The first brewing firms in the town were Younger in 1762 and Meiklejohn in 1784[7].

There were at least nine breweries in Alloa during the 1900s producing a variety of ales for home and export trades. Alloa ale was sent to London and George Younger had an extensive export trade in the West Indies, Egypt and the Far East. Alloa was also famed for its lager, Alloa Brewery Co developing Graham’s Golden Lager in 1925 and renamed Skol in the 1950s.

Closures and mergers in the 1950s and 1960s reduced the number of breweries to 2 and by 1999 there was one, The Forth Brewery [8] which became Williams Bros. in 2003.[9]

  1. Alloa Brewery
  2. Carlsberg-Tetley Alloa Ltd
  3. Blair & Co (Alloa) Ltd.
  4. James Calder (Alloa) Ltd
  5. Maclay & Company, Limited
  6. Meiklejohn’s Brewery Ltd.
  7. George Younger & Sons Ltd
  8. Thomas Paterson, Forthbank Brewery
  9. John Thompson & Co, Caponcroft Brewery


  1. ^ Mac an Tàilleir, Iain (2003) Placenames. (pdf) Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 08 August 2009.
  2. ^ "Comparative Population Profile: Alloa Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  3. ^ "SAK Railway Project". Transport Scotland. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  4. ^ "First train in 40 years arrives". BBC. 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Thistle Brewery Alloa: Archaeological Appraisal". Stirling Council. 2001-05-17. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  6. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  7. ^ Archibald, Jannette (2003), "The Origins of Brewing in Alloa", Nae Sma' Beer (exhibition catalogue) 
  8. ^ "Scottish Brewing Archives: FAQ Alloa Breweries". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Forth Brewery Company". Directory of UK Real Ales. 
  • "Alloa and its Environs: A descriptive and Historical Sketch", Alloa Advertiser, 1861

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALLOA, a municipal and police burgh and seaport of Clackmannanshire, Scotland. It is situated on the north bank of the Forth, 32 m. from Edinburgh by the North British railway via the Forth Bridge, and 28 m. from Leith by steamer. Pop. (1891) 12,643; (1901) 14,458. The Caledonian railway enters the town from the south-west by a bridge across the river, and also owns a ferry to South Alloa, on the opposite shore, in Stirlingshire. Between Alloa and Stirling the stream forms the famous "links," the course being so sinuous that whereas by road the two towns are but 62 m. apart, the distance between them by river is nearly 12 m.

For its size and population the town enjoys unusual prosperity, in consequence of its several flourishing industries. Its manufactures of yarn are on the largest scale, the spinning mills often working night and day for many months together. There are also numerous breweries, and Alloa ale has always been famous. The great distillery at Carsebridge yields an immense supply of yeast as well as whisky. Other thriving trades include the glass-works on the shore, pottery-works in the "auld toon," dye-works and a factory for the making of electrical appliances. There is a good deal of shipbuilding, some ironfounding and a brass foundry. The chief article of export is coal from the neighbouring collieries, the other leading exports being ale, whisky, glass and manufactured goods. The imports comprise timber, grain, iron, linseed and flax. The docks, accessible only at high water, include a wet basin and a dry dock. Amongst the principal buildings are the fine Gothic parish church, with a spire 200 ft. high; the town hall, including the free public library, from designs by Alfred Waterhouse, R.A., the gift of Mr J. Thomson Paton; the county and municipal buildings; handsome public baths and gymnasium, presented to the town by Mr David Thomson; the accident hospital; the fever hospital; the museum of the Natural Science and Archaeological Society; the academy, the burgh school and a secondary school with the finest technical equipment in Scotland, given by Mr A. Forrester Paton. There is a public park, besides bowling-greens and cricket and football fields. The old burying-ground was the kirkyard of the former parish church, the tower of which still exists, but a modern cemetery has been formed in Sunnyside. The town owns the water-supply, gas-works and electric-lighting.

Alloa Park, the seat of the earl of Mar and Kellie, is in the immediate vicinity, and in its grounds stand the ruins of Alloa Tower, an ancient structure 89 ft. high, with walls I 1 ft. thick, which was built about 1315, and was once the residence of the powerful family of Erskine, descendants of the earl of Mar. The earl who promoted the Jacobite rising in 1715 was born here. Many of the Scots princes received their education as wards of the Lords Erskine and the earls of Mar, the last to be thus educated being Henry, the eldest son of James VI.

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