From ‘Armadale Past and Present’ by Hynd-Brown.
At the end of the 19th Century in Armadale, pigs were kept and fed in nearly every backyard, and every individual butcher had his own private slaughter-house on his own premises, and it was no uncommon thing to see the blood streaming down the street while a slaughter was being made. No scavenger was employed to clean the streets, and the collections remained until they were removed by heavy rain.
Shortly after the County Council came into office (1890), the Burgh Commissioners found it necessary to appoint a qualified sanitary inspector for the burgh, when their choice fell upon Mr. John Frew, the county and Bathgate district inspector. Mr. Frew at once set about to suggest great improvements in the sanitary condition of the town. The private slaughterhouses possessed by the butchers to him were a serious danger to the public health, and his reports to the Local Government Board on the sanitary state of the burgh brought a pressing demand from that body to the Burgh Commissioners to have the state of affairs remedied forthwith. After due consideration the Commissioners resolved to abolish private slaughter-houses by erecting one large slaughter-house at the northern boundary of the burgh, where all animals meant for human consumption must be slaughtered under the eye of a superintendent. The project met with considerable opposition from the butchers, who held that it was going to put them to a great deal of inconvenience, but the scheme was carried through, and the Sheriff’s sanction to the bye-laws obtained on the 9th November, 1894. The next step was to obtain the approval of the Local Government Board, which was given on the 27th day of the same month, and later, on the 21st January, 1895, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, H.M. Secretary for Scotland, approved of the bye-laws for the regulation of the slaughter-house, and at once private slaughter-houses ceased to exist.