Midlothian is one of the 32 unitary council areas into which Scotland has been divided since 1996. It lies to the south-east of Edinburgh and has always had a close relationship with the city: today parts of Midlothian lie inside the Edinburgh bypass. For accommodation in Midlothian and a full list of features, see our Edinburgh & Lothians area pages.
Midlothian ranks as the 21st largest local authority area in terms of physical size and the 28st largest in terms of population. The A720 Edinburgh bypass runs along the northern edge of the area while a series of major roads such as the A7, A68 and A702 pass through the area as they radiate out from Edinburgh.
Historically, Midlothian was one of the traditional counties into which Scotland was divided prior to 1975. It only formally became known as Midlothian, however, following a minor reorganisation in 1921 which changed its name from the County of Edinburgh and made some minor boundary changes that resulted in the transfer of the village of Whitecraig, south of Musselburgh to East Lothian. Although the formal name change was relatively recent, the county had long been informally referred to Midlothian, not least in the name of a football team, Heart of Midlothian or "Hearts", and the title of a book by Sir Walter Scott, also Heart of Midlothian.
Midlothian remained a county in its own right until reorganisation in 1975 swept all the counties away in favour of 12 regions. The regions formed in 1975 were the upper tier of a two tier local authority system, and the traditional county area of Midlothian became part of the region of Lothian.
Most regions were divided into a number of district council areas, and Lothian had four. As part of the reorganisation Midlothian became a district council area. The Midlothian District that emerged from the reorganisation was considerably smaller than the county of Midlothian that existed previously. The northern third or so of the county was spilt off to form a new City of Edinburgh District, meaning that for the first time Scotland's capital was not within Midlothian. Meanwhile, a chunk of what had been the south end of the county of Midlothian, around Stow, was taken into the Ettrick & Lauderdale District of Scottish Borders. If that were not enough, Midlothian District also lost Musselburgh and Inveresk to East Lothian District.
Regions and districts disappeared from the scene in a major reorganisation in 1996, being replaced by 32 unitary council areas. Lothian's four district councils, including Midlothian, each became a unitary council in its own right, taking over the boundaries of the district which had preceded it.