infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Larbert
population= 6,425 (2001 Census)
population_density= Pop density mi2 to km2|4283|precision=0|abbr=yes|wiki=yes
os_grid_reference= NS8650082500
unitary_scotland= Falkirk
lieutenancy_scotland= Stirling and Falkirk
constituency_westminster= Falkirk
constituency_scottish_parliament= Falkirk West
post_town= Falkirk
postcode_district = FK5
postcode_area= FK
dial_code= 01324

static_image_caption=The Main Street of Larbert

Larbert is a small town in the Falkirk council area of Scotland.cite web |url= |title=Larbert |publisher=Gazetteer for Scotland, University of Edinburgh |date= |accessdate=2008-01-01] The town lies in the Forth Valley above the River Carron which flows to the west. Larbert is located 3 miles (4.8 km) from the shoreline of the Firth of Forth and 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north west of Falkirk - the main town in the area. The village of Stenhousemuir lies directly to the east of Larbert. Both settlements are contiguous and share public amenities with one another.

In medieval times, the Larbert area was heavily forested, but this was cleared and gave rise to much of the agricultural land which surrounds the town to this day. [Bonar (1845) p347] The coming of industry and especially the arrival of the Scottish Central Railway in the 1840s (which passes through the village) provided a base for economic growth in the area.cite web |url= |title=Larbert & Stenhousemuir Part 3 |publisher=Falkirk Online, Falkirk Council |author=Ian Scott |accessdate=2008-01-01] From the late 18th century until the mid 20th century heavy industry, such as boilermaking, casting and manufacturing underpinned the economy of Larbert. The Victorian era also saw the opening of the Stirling District Lunatic Asylum at Bellsdyke and Scottish National Institution for Children on the Stenhouse Estate, meaning that Larbert was central in the provision of care, both locally and nationally.Scott (2006) p266]

Although the traditional economic base of Larbert has shrunk, with the decline of heavy industry, it has experienced considerable growthcite web |url= |title=Community Policing in Larbert |publisher=Central Scotland Police |date= |accessdate=2007-12-15] over recent years as a commuter town, with many residents working in the nearby towns of Falkirk and Stirling, as well as the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. According to the 2001 census, Larbert had a population of 6,425cite web |url= |title=Basic statistics for areas in Falkirk Council - Larbert |publisher=Falkirk Council |month=December | year=2003 |accessdate=2007-12-15] and continues to grow with large scale housing development taking place on the northern periphery of the village as well as on brownfield sites.cite web |url= |title=Larbert and Stenhousemuir Local Plan |publisher=Falkirk Council |month=August | year=1998 |accessdate=2007-12-15|format=PDF]


The origins of the name Larbert are uncertain. Historically, the name was variously written as "Lairbert scheills" or "Laithbert scheills" which signifies the "scheills", or huts, of a man named Lairbert or Laithbert.Bonar (1845) p340]

Historians believe that the origin of Larbert dates back to the dark ages when Scotland was beginning to emerge as a nation.Scott (2006) p256] The area in which Larbert lies was heavily forested at this time.

The lands to the south of Larbert and Camelon were strategically important to the Romans, with the area being traversed by the Antonine Wall. The crossing point on the River Carron at Larbert, was an important transportation route for the Romans on the road they constructed from Watling Lodge on the Antonine Wall to Stirling. Early Ordnance Survey maps showed Larbert located on an old Roman Road between Camelon and Stirling, with the site of a Roman camp close by.Scott (2006) p257] An early Christian community, with a chapel, is believed to have existed close to the crossing point on the Carron around 1160.

By the 1750s, Larbert constituted a small settlement on the main road between Falkirk and Stirling, which was turnpiked by an Act of Parliament in 1752.Smith (2001) p576] At this time, Larbert had at three mills powered by water from the nearby River Carron. During this period, the surrounding population was largely scattered and engaged in agriculture, with the important Falkirk Tryst (cattle market) held annually in nearby Stenhousemuir. In the 1950s, archaeological excavations to the north of present day Larbert uncovered remains of a substantial pottery works with eight kilns dating from the 15th or 16th centuries (Hall and Hunter 2001).

Larbert's later growth is tied to the industrial development in the village itself as well as the wider parish.Scott (2006) p265] The pivotal event was the opening of the Carron Iron Works to the east of Stenhousemuir, in 1759, which produced a range of cast iron goods and the Carronade - a naval cannon.Scott (2006) p264] The development of the Iron Works shifted the gravity of the parish eastwards as people moved for work.

The building of the Scottish Central Railway in the 1840s was a catalyst for economic change in Larbert itself. In 1872 Dobbie, Forbes and Company established a foundry in Larbert which manufactured stoves, ranges and light castings. [McIntosh (1995) p22] Three years later James Jones, a local businessman, opened a sawmill on land adjacent to the Dobbie Forbes and Company foundry, which grew rapidly, manufacturing timber frames. [McIntosh (1995) p22] By the turn of the 20th century, Dobbie Forbes had a payroll of over 200 employees. In 1888, a joint venture between Jones and the cashier of Dobbie, Forbes and Company, Dermont Campbell, produced the Jones and Campbell foundry on land close to the railway, which closed in the late 20th Century.Scott (2006) p265] By 1891, the parish of Larbert had a population of 900.

The 19th Century also witnessed the establishment of the "Scottish National Institution for the Education of Imbecile Children" on land to the north of present day Larbert.McIntosh (1995) p23] The institution opened in 1863 at a cost of £13,000 was responsible for the provision of care for minors between the age of 5 and 21. In 1948 the facility became known as the "Royal Scottish National Hospital" (RSNH). On adjacent land, the "Stirling District Lunatic Asylum" opened in 1869, costing £20,000 and was engaged in the treatment of those with mental illness. The Asylum later became known as "Bellsdyke Hospital".

The arrival of the tram in October 1905 improved transport between Larbert and many of its surrounding neighbours.Scott (2006) p267] The service followed a circular route through Larbert, Stenhousemuir, past the Carron Iron Works, through Bainsford and to Falkirk. With Larbert now closer to its surrounding communities, there was concern at the loss of the independence of the village. A 1912 proposal to incorporate nearby villages, such as Larbert and Stenhousemuir, into the town of Falkirk was resisted by a consortium of local industrialists and residents fearing the imposition of higher burgh rates.


Falkirk Council area, one of the 32 Unitary authorities of Scotland. Larbert sits to the north of the council area.
From 1891 Larbert was contained within the county of Stirlingshire and from 1894 until 1930, constituted its own civil parish.cite web |url= |title=Scottish civil parishes index map |publisher=Scotland's Census Results Online (SCROL) |year=2003 |accessdate=2007-12-27|format=PDF] Larbert was located in the Falkirk district of the Central Regional Council area from 1975 to 1996 . Since local government reorganisation in 1996, Larbert has been part of the Falkirk council area which is one of Scotland's 32 local authorities. For registration purposes, Larbert remains a part of Stirlingshire and is part of the Stirling and Falkirk lieutenancy area.

For the purposes of local government, Larbert is located in the 'Bonnybridge and Larbert' ward of Falkirk Council, which elects 3 councillors under the Single Transferable Vote system.cite web |url=
title=Ward 5 - 'Bonnybridge and Larbert' |publisher=Falkirk Council |month=November | year=2006 |accessdate=2007-12-16
] Following the 2007 elections, the Bonnybridge and Larbert ward, returned 1 councillor from the SNP, 1 from the Scottish Labour Party and 1 independent.cite web |url= |title=Council Members Ward 5 - 'Bonnybridge and Larbert' |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-16] Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood comprise one of Falkirk's community council's and has a role in communicating local opinion to local and central government.cite web |url= |title=Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-27] Larbert combined with Stenhousemuir also forms one of the six Falkirk Council Area Forums, which represent aggregations of both council wards and community council areas.cite web |url= |title=Area Forums |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-27] Forums are normally held every eight weeks and their membership consists of all councillors representing the area, a representative from the community council, the local unit commander from Central Scotland Police and nominees from other local community groups.

Larbert is in the Falkirk West Scottish Parliament constituency. Since the May 2007 Scottish general election, the seat has been held by the Scottish National Party (SNP).cite web |url=
title=2007 Scottish Parliamentary election results for Falkirk West |publisher=Falkirk Council |date=|accessdate=2007-12-27
] The Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the constituency is Michael Matheson. In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Larbert is part of the Falkirk constituency, which elects one member to the House of Commons. The current MP is Eric Joyce of the Labour Party who has represented the Falkirk constituency since a by-election in December 2000.cite web |url= |title=Labour wins in Falkirk West |publisher=BBC Scotland |date=2000-12-22 |accessdate=2007-12-27]


Larbert lies at an altitude of 30 metres (100 ft) above sea level. The settlement sits on a shelf of land overlooking the River Carron which flows to the west. The river has its source in the Campsie Fells north of Glasgow, flowing into the Carron Valley Reservoir and past the village of Denny.cite web |url= |title=Details of the River Carron |publisher=Gazetteer for Scotland, University of Edinburgh |date= |accessdate=2008-01-01] After passing Larbert, the river flows through Falkirk before emptying into the Firth of Forth at Glensburgh, near Grangemouth.

Larbert has an area of 1.5 miles² (3.9 km²) and is contiguous with the town of Stenhousemuir which lies to the east. Historically, Larbert and Stenhousemuir were united into into one parish, and consequently shared public amenities with one another. Commonly, Larbert and Stenhousemuir are referred to as being part of the same locality.cite web |url= |title=Larbert and Stenhousemuir locality |publisher=Scotland's Census Results online (SCROL) |date= |accessdate=2008-01-01]

The underlying geology of Larbert is primarily characterised by glacial deposits. Elevations above 10 metres (32 ft) are covered by a mixture of glacial till and boulder clay with low lying areas covered by sandy soils and loams.Milne et al (1975) p3] The origins of much of the unsorted glacial rubble found in the area are eroded debris derived from the Campsie Fells and Kilsyth Hills which lie to the west. [Bonar (1845) p344] In places, stratified till and boulder clay gives rise to features of glacial deposition such as eskers, and drumlins which are predominant over much of the area north and east of Larbert and provide natural transportation routes. [Milne et al (1975) p4] As Larbert is not far from the coast, post-glacial features akin to raised beaches are particularly prevalent to the south and west of the settlement, and this gives rise to differing elevations surrounding the town.

Beneath the surface layer of unsorted glacial till, there are strata of sandstone and ironstone which weathering and erosion have exposed above the surface in areas. [Bonar (1845) p344] Deposits of coal are found east of Larbert. [Bonar (1845) p345]

Like much of the rest of southern Scotland, Larbert experiences a temperate, maritime climate with mild winters, cool summers and evenly distributed rainfall. The prevailing wind direction is south-westerly, which brings warm, wet and unstable air associated with the North Atlantic Drift. [Bonar (1845) p342]

The predominant land use in Larbert is suburban.Scott (2006) p268] The urban environment of Larbert is contrasted between a mixture of housing styles from 19th and 20th century developments to large stone built detached villas, built in Victorian times for Larbert's industrialists. Much new housing development in Larbert is taking place on brownfield sites, such as those west of the railway line, on reclaimed foundry land. As a result there is little industrial land left in the village itself. Larbert's surroundings are much more rural in character with scattered farmsteads on land between Larbert and the M9 motorway and between Larbert and the village of Plean. Parkland on the northwest side of Larbert has been given over to the development of a new hospital. The site of the former RSNH and Bellsdyke Hospital is slated for joint residential and commercial development and will be known as "Kinnaird Village".cite web |url= |title=Kinnaird Village - A community at heart |publisher=Persimmon and Cala Homes |date= |accessdate=2008-01-01] There is open parkland to the south of Larbert.


On Census night 2001, Larbert had a total resident population of 6,425, which has risen to 7,235 according to 2005 estimates.cite web |url= |title=2005 Population estimates for settlements and wards |publisher=Falkirk Council |month=April | year=2007 |accessdate=2007-12-15] For statistical and census purposes, Larbert is normally combined with adjoining Stenhousemuir into one wider locality. In 2001, the Larbert and Stenhousemuir locality had a total population of 16,311, of whom 12,969 were aged 16 or over.cite web |url= |title=2005 Population estimates for settlements and wards |publisher=Scotland's Census Results Online (SCROL) |month=April | year=2001 |accessdate=2008-08-31]

Disaggregated 2001 census data showed that Larbert proper had a higher proportion of under 15s than the Falkirk council area and Scottish average and a lower proportion of those aged over 75. The census figures also showed that 1.7% of those who are economically active, were unemployed, lower than the Falkirk area average of 3.6% and the Scottish average of 3.9%.

In 2001, there were 2,542 dwellings in Larbert of which 76.8% were owner occupied, a higher than average proportion compared to the surrounding area. Homes rented directly from the council or tenant's associations, comprised 20.7% of the total housing stock in Larbert, with privately rented, or rent-free dwellings making up the remaining 2.5%.

Average house prices in Larbert have been amongst the fastest growing in Scotland and the UK.cite web |url= |title=Bellshill tops house price table |publisher=BBC Scotland |date=2004-12-29 |accessdate=2007-12-15] citeweb|url= |title=Bellshill in Strathclyde Tops This Year's UK House Price League Table |publisher=Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) |date=2004-12-29 |accessdate=2007-12-15|format=DOC] In 2005, the average house price in Larbert was £145,716, making it the 9th most expensive place in Scotland to buy property.citeweb|url= |title=Alexandria and Coatbridge top this year's UK house price league table |publisher=Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) |date=2005-12-24 |accessdate=2007-12-15|format=PDF]


Today, Larbert is home to a range of light service industries. In 1992, 19 hectares (190 000 m²) of the former RSNH site, on the northern flank of Larbert close to the A88 road was developed into a business park.Smith (2001) p577] The site became known as 'Central Park' with the first occupant of the development being the US based data storage corporation Exabyte, employing 80 workers, which opened in late 1992. Towards the end of the following year, three more high tech firms arrived giving Central Park a combined floorspace of 14,000 metres² (150,694 ft²).

Central Park was boosted further in 2000, with the creation of 700 jobs by the multi client Telecom Service Centre (TSC) facility. Other occupants of the park include the travel firm, Thomas Cook, and the central Scotland baker Mathiesons, which has consolidated all operations onto one site. Glenbervie Business Park was developed next to Central Park with the help of local government and EU structural aid.Smith (2001) p547] The 28 hectare (280 000 m²) site is suitable for a range of light industries. Larbert lacks a supermarket and the main street of the town is home to some small retail outlets and has a Post Office.

The Lochlands Industrial area sits to the south of Larbert. One of the main tenants of the industrial park is Daniel Industries which opened a factory in 1979 manufacturing fluid flow metering equipment. The factory, still in operation, was expanded in 1994. The UK food service company, "3663", also have a distribution centre located in the industrial park.cite web |url= |title=3663 Larbert Depot |publisher=3663 |date= |accessdate=2007-12-31|format=PDF]

Most residents of Larbert work outside the town. Historically, the Carron Company which developed to the east of Stenhousemuir was a major employer. More recently, the bus builder Walter Alexander, which has a large works at Camelon has employed Larbert residents. Larbert sits in the travel to work area for both Edinburgh and Glasgow, with many residents commuting to work there daily.


Larbert railway station opened on 22 May 1848, when the Scottish Central Railway built its line through the village, and narrowly survived the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. [McIntosh (1995) p16] Larbert station lies to the north of one of the major rail junctions in central Scotland, where the line from Stirling and Perth splits, with one branch heading to Glasgow, and the other to Edinburgh. The station is located on the Edinburgh to Dunblane and Croy Lines. Like most stations in Scotland, Larbert, which has two platforms, is owned by Network Rail and operated by First ScotRail on their behalf. During the day, trains are half hourly to Glasgow and Edinburgh with journey times taking 35 minutes and 45 minutes respectively.citeweb|url= |title=Central Scotland train times |publisher=First ScotRail |month=December | year=2007 |accessdate=2007-12-18|format=PDF] There are four trains per hour to Stirling, which is a journey of 10 minutes. In 2005/06 there were 468,849 passenger journey's from the station, a rise of 9.6% on the previous year.citeweb|url= |title=Station Useage |publisher=Office of Rail Regulation |date= |accessdate=2007-12-18]

As late as the 1970s, through traffic from Falkirk and Glasgow passed the outskirts of Larbert. Motorway construction in the area from 1980 onwards, resulted in Larbert being close to Central Scotland's important trunk roads. The nearest motorway is the M876 of which, Junction 2 is the interchange for Larbert. The motorway connects with the M80 which is the principal route into Glasgow. The M9 - which is the main route into Edinburgh - passes to the east of Larbert, of which Junction 7 (Kincardine Bridge) is the nearest interchange for Larbert.

First Group provide local bus services in Larbert, connecting the village with surrounding communities - including the local 'Circular' bus service, which connects Larbert with Stenhousemuir, Camelon, Bainsford and Falkirk.citeweb|url= |title=South East & Central Scotland timetables |publisher=First Group |month=December | year=2007 |accessdate=2007-12-31] The nearest bus station to Larbert is located in Falkirk.

Public amenities

Whilst having its own identity, Larbert is contiguous with the neighbouring settlement of Stenhousemuir, which borders its eastern side and has a larger population. As a result, the local centre of commercial gravity is located in Stenhousemuir where most shops, the nearest health centre, high school and local government offices are found.

There are currently three primary schools in Larbert itself. Larbert Village Primary School dates from 1891 and has 270 pupils.cite web |url= |title=Larbert Village Primary School, School brochure 2007-2008 |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-19] Ladeside Primary School dates from 1970 and has a roll of 400 nursery and primary pupils.cite web |url= |title=Ladeside Primary School, School brochure 2007-2008 |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-19] Additionally, pupils who live in the eastern portion of Larbert, and live in the catchment area for Stenhousemuir Primary School attend there. A new purpose built 434 pupil primary school - Kinnaird Primary School - opened in January 2008 and is located in North Larbert.cite web |url= |title=Kinnaird Primary School new building opens |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-12-19] Most secondary pupils attend Larbert High School, which, historically was the main school for the whole of Larbert parish and serves secondary level pupils from the surrounding area and outlying villages such as Airth and Skinflats. Despite being named as such, Larbert High School is located entirely in Stenhousemuir.

There is currently no general hospital in Larbert, which sits in the NHS Forth Valley health board area. The nearest hospital is the Falkirk District Royal Infirmary (FDRI) located in the Woodlands area of Falkirk. A small portion of the Bellsdyke Hospital complex, located on the outskirts of the town, still exists and provides psychiatric care only for patients in the Forth Valley health board area. In May 2007, construction began on a new 860 bed hospital for the Stirling and Falkirk on the site of the fomer RSNH in Larbert.cite web |url= |title=NHS Forth Valley Media Release - New Acute Hospital |publisher=NHS Forth Valley |date=2007-05-29 |accessdate=2007-12-20|format=PDF] The Forth Valley Acute Hospital (FVAH) will replace and combine existing facilities at both Falkirk and Stirling on a new site. The project is expected to be completed by December 2009.

The Falkirk Council local authority provides all waste management services, with recycling facilities at Roughmute near Denny and at Kinneil Kerse in Bo'ness.cite web |url= |title=Recycling Centres |publisher=Falkirk Council |date= |accessdate=2007-09-02]

There are three 18 hole golf courses close to Larbert. Falkirk Tryst Golf Club, on the boundary between Larbert and Stenhousemuir, is a parkland style course with a length of convert|6053|yd (5,535 m).cite web |url= |title=Falkirk Tryst Golf Club - Course guide |publisher=Falkirk Tryst Golf Club |date= |accessdate=2007-12-30] Falkirk Golf Club, is located on the outskirts of Larbert, between the town and Camelon. About a mile to the North is the Glenbervie Golf Club. Larbert also has its own lawn bowls club.

Buildings and landmarks

Larbert Old Parish Church stands on the western approaches to Larbert, above the River Carron. The church was built in 1820 at a cost of £3,000 and designed by the Scottish architect, David Hamilton using sandstone from a local quarry.cite web |url= |author, Scott, D|title=Larbert Old Parish Church |publisher=Falkirk Local History Society |year=2005 |accessdate=2007-12-30] The church was built at a time of population growth and increasing prosperity in Larbert and its parish, which necessitated the construction of a more modern place of worship. As Larbert grew during the 19th Century, the church again became too small. Major alterations to the building were carried out in the 1880s. [McIntosh (1995) p9] An early chapel under the domain of the Abbot of Cambuskenneth is believed to have stood in the vicinity of the present day church. [McIntosh (1995) p8] At the southern tip of the village the Dorrator Iron Bridge, spans a meander in the River Carron, connecting Larbert with the neighbouring settlement of Camelon. The bridge was constructed in 1893 on the site of a ford, which could rarely be used when the river was in full flow. [McIntosh (1995) p4] The bridge is reached via a footpath leading from the bottom of Carronvale Road in Larbert.

Larbert Bridge was the original crossing over the Carron and was built in the 17th Century.McIntosh (1995) p6] A toll was collected in the 18th Century which was payable to the Earl of Callendar and Linlithgow and levied at;

Today a later, more modern, crossing built next to Larbert Bridge carries the main A9 road from Larbert to Falkirk. Close by a 19th Century viaduct, built outside Larbert, carries the railway into the town. The main A9 road passes underneath.

The Station Hotel, close to Larbert's Railway Station has been a central focal point of Larbert for many years. An inn or public house has stood on the spot of the current hotel, for as long as the railway has passed through Larbert. [McIntosh (1995) p15]

The gothic Victorian structures of the Royal Scottish National Hospital (RSNH) and the Stirling District Asylum still exist in a dilapidated state, but most of the grounds are being used for new housing development.

Notable people

The Abyssinian explorer James Bruce was born at Kinnaird, just outside Larbert, in 1730 and is buried in the graveyard of Larbert Old Parish Church. Bruce travelled through much of Africa and in the process traced the origins of the Blue Nile.Scott (2006) p259] It was reputed that Bruce was fluent in thirteen languages and stood over 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 m) tall.

Thomas Hardy, Parliamentary Reformer and Co-Founder of the London Corresponding Society was born in Larbert in 1752 and had a bootmaking business there. He moved to London where he continued bootmaking until he became involved in parliamentary reform.

John Baildon, a pioneer in metallurgy on the European continent was born in Larbert in 1772. Baildon was involved in pioneering industrial undertakings such as the construction of the first blast furnaces fired by coke in continental Europe.cite web |url= |title=A Scotsman in Silesia |publisher=Warsaw Voice |author=Jarosław Szymonowicz |date=2007-03-28 |accessdate=2007-12-31]

The Scottish-American actor Jimmy Finlayson was born in Larbert in 1887. Finlayson worked in silent as well as sound movies and starred opposite Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The creator of The Simpson's, Matt Groening,has indicated that the catchphrase of Homer Simpson, D'oh, derives from a longer version used by Finlayson as one of his trademark expressions.cite web |url=,,2115180,00.html |title=Embiggening the smallest man |publisher=The Guardian |author= |date=2007-06-30 |accessdate=2008-01-01] Finlayson died in Hollywood, California in 1953 at the age of 66.



* Bonar, Rev J (1845): " [,M1 Parish of Larbert] ", The New Statistical Account of Scotland; Vol 8, pp340-379. William Blackwood & Sons. Edinburgh & London.
* McIntosh, F (1995): "Larbert and Stenhousemuir". Falkirk District Libraries. ISBN 0-9065-8685-2
* Milne, D; Leitch, A; Duncan, A; Bairner, J & Johnston, J (1975): "The Falkirk and Grangemouth Area". Paper for the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers' (SAGT) conference, October 1975. Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh. Falkirk Council Libraries
* Scott, I (2006): "Falkirk - A History". Birlinn Limited. Edinburgh. ISBN 1-8415-5846-9
* Smith, R (2001): "The Making of Scotland". Canongate Books, Edinburgh. ISBN 1-8419-5170-6

External links

* [ Community website for Larbert and Stenhousemuir]
* [ Falkirk Council]
* [ Falkirk Herald]
* [ Larbert High School]
* [ Larbert Village Primary School]
* [ Larbert weather from the BBC]

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