Vale of Leven

From Academic Kids

The Vale of Leven is an area of Scotland in West Dunbartonshire concentrated around the River Leven, which flows from Loch Lomond to the River Clyde. The area is situated just a few miles north of the town of Dumbarton and contains various communities tied into one conurbation.

The largest of these communities is the town of Alexandria, which sits on the Western bank of the Leven. Alexandria is connected to Renton in the South and to Balloch in the North. Across the river from Alexandria is Bonhill which is connected to Jamestown to the North.

The area is traditionally industrial, but with the decline of manufacturing in Scotland has had to look to new areas for employment. The area had exceptionally high levels of unemployment in the 1920s and 1930s, which gave it a radical reputation, with Communism and Socialism being popular political philosophies in particular. During that time it was known as one of the "little Moscows" in Britain i.e. an area where the Communist Party of Great Britain had exceptional strength. The Vale of Leven District Council (which disappeared in the local government reorganisation of the 1970s) could have had the distinction of being the only local council in Great Britain where the Communist Party were ever the largest single party (had a plurality in American terminology), although unlike most of the "little Moscows" it was not a coal mining area. However the Communist Party went into serious decline locally in the 1950s under the influence of the Cold War, more quickly than in some other "little Moscows".

In recent years the Scottish National Party has performed quite well in the area.

The areas name lends itself to Alexandria's local football club, Vale of Leven FC and secondary school, Vale of Leven Academy.

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