|Activity||Bo'ness was a significant harbour from the end of the Middle Ages. Having at first been a burgh of regality, from 1668, local government along modern lines in Bo'ness originated with the Bo'ness Harbour Trustees in 1744, established under the 'Twopenny Ale Tax' Act in 1744 (17 Geo. II, c.21). The Trustees became Town and Harbour Trustees with enlarged powers in 1843 under the Borrowstounness Town and Harbour Improvement Act 1843 (6 & 7 Vict., ch.lxix): amongst other matters they had power to impose assessments for police purposes.|
In the late 19th century it was known as a busy sea port, with shipbuilding, coal-mining and iron-working being its main industries, in addition to an earthenware and a chemical manure works. In 1875 the Borrowstounness Town & Harbour Act (38 & 39 Vict., ch.cxxxvii) was secured. This repealed the 1843 Act and the old ale tax acts, and incorporated clauses from contemporary harbours and pier acts as well a good portion of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict., c.101), which provided for managing the cleansing, lighting, policing and public health of the burgh. Trustees were elected under the Act to manage the town and harbour. A further act was secured in 1878 (41 & 42 Vict., ch.xxxix) amending the 1875 Act: the harbour now had its own harbour commissioners, while the Trustees were to manage the municipal and police administration of the town only. Under this Act the Trustees effectively became a Town Council. This was underlined in 1883 when the Trustees fully adopted the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862.
The population in 1891 was 4,579. The Police and Burgh Commissioners were replaced in 1903 by Bo'ness Town Council under the Town Councils (Scotland) Act 1900 (63 & 64 Vict, c 49). In the 1920s the distillery closed and the shipbuilding industry was replaced by shipbreaking. By the 1950s the population was 13,500, and in 1955 the dock was closed. In 1971, the population was 12,853.
In 1975, Bo'ness and the surrounding area became part of Falkirk District within Central Region, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (c.65) which abolished the fomer town and county councils. Previously the surrounding area had been part of the County of West Lothian. On the abolition of regional and district councils during local government reorganisation in 1996, under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 (c.39), Bo'ness fell within the Falkirk Council area.