Population 73,796. Figures
taken from 2001 Census.
East Kilbride is South Lanarkshire's largest
town and has Scotland's largest undercover shopping centre.
Its location and good infrastructure make it
easily accessible from the motorway network, with most of central
Scotland within a 45-minute drive.
Industry in the town is located in a number
of peripheral business parks, while its commercial and administrative
areas are home to offices of central and local government. In 2001 East
Kilbride provided 30% of South Lanarkshire's jobs. Major employers
include Rolls Royce, Jeyes, the Inland Revenue, Hairmyres Hospital and
the Department for International Development. Also on the outskirts, at
Jackton, is the Police training centre.
East Kilbride has a number of neighbourhoods,
ranging from housing built by the former New Town Development
Corporation through to some of the largest private sector housing
estates in the west of Scotland - Stewartfield to the north and
Lindsayfield to the south.
There is a wide selection of primary schools
throughout the area and the multi-million pound modernisation program
which is underway, will result in three contemporary secondary schools.
The South Lanarkshire College campus at the Scottish Enterprise
Technology Park runs a range of courses including construction, business
Other amenities include the Village Theatre,
East Kilbride Arts Centre, Kittochside Museum of Country Life, Hunter
House Museum and the magnificent Calderglen Country Park. Sports
facilites in the town include the ice rink at the Olympia Shopping
Dollan Aqua Centre (currently closed for renovation)
(this link will open in a new window) and an adjacent park for
skateboarders and wheeled sports.
East Kilbride's local newspapers are the
East Kilbride News which has been published weekly since 1952 and the
freesheets the East Kilbride World and the East Kilbride Mail.
East Kilbride shopping centre is a must for
any shopaholic. Its four malls are undercover, so you don't even have to
get your new shoes wet! The whole centre has been developed to provide
the highest standards of access and facilities for people with
disabilities - including a Shopmobility scheme. There is also a major
new bus station in the town centre. Completed in 2005 it has almost
double the number of stances it used to have, as well as user-friendly
electronic passenger information systems and a modern travel centre
offering transport information, ticket sales and journey planning.
You can start the day with some clothes
shopping with most high street stores represtented in the Olympia, from
Debenhams and Marks and Spencer to Zara, Top Shop and Next. You can stop
for a coffee break or a spot of lunch while you watch the skaters at the
ice arena before watching a movie at the multi-screen cinema.
On the edge of town there's the Kingsgate
Retail Park offering a range of large outlets including DIY and carpet
If cobbled streets and olde worlde charm are
more your style you should head for East Kilbride Village where you'll
find speciality shops and the 18th century parish church.
East Kilbride straddles the A726, the A725,
the A749 and the B764 and is easily accessible from the M8 and M74. East
Kilbride is on the main railway line from Glasgow Central. East Kilbride
Bus Station is adjacent to the Olympia Arcade and acts as the hub for
services throughout the town.
Kilbride, as it was originally called, dates
back to the first millennium, verified by archaeological finds of
ancient graves in the area and also the uncovering of Roman coins and
The name is derived from the founding of a
monastery for both nuns and monks by St Bride, or Brigit, in Kildare,
Ireland in the sixth century AD. The monks later arrived in Scotland to
spread the word of their God. Kil is the Gaelic for "church", making
Kilbride "church of St Bride".
The first written parish records appear in
the 12th century, during the reign of William the Lion, the Scottish
king responsible for setting up the Auld Alliance with France in 1165.
William gifted the lands to the Anglo Norman knight, Roger de Valoins,
who became the Lord of the Manor and lived close to the site of Mains
The lands of Kilbride passed through the
hands of many important and powerful families, most notably the Comyns.
In the 14th century John 'the Red Comyn', a claimant to the Scottish
throne, sided with William Wallace in fighting for independence from
England, although he was often at odds with Robert the Bruce. After the
death of Wallace, the Red Comyn and Robert the Bruce appeared to be
moving towards an alliance but when they met at Dumfries Abbey in 1306,
the Bruce murdered Comyn and stripped the family of all their titles and
land. He was crowned Robert I at Scone a month later. The Bruce gave
Kilbride as a dowry to his daughter Marjorie when she married Walter the
Steward, establishing the mighty Stuart dynasty of Scottish and English
kings. Walter later handed over the Barony of Kilbride to the Lindsay
family from Renfrewshire, but their line died out in poverty during the
The 16th and 17th centuries saw the growth
of the Covenanters, Scottish Presbyterians who bound themselves by a
series of solemn oaths or covenants to maintain Presbyterianism as the
sole religion of their nation. Over a period of 50 years throughout the
reigns of Charles I, Charles II and James II they struggled against the
Crown to preserve their religion. The struggle often erupted into armed
conflict, the most famous being the Battle of Drumclog and the Battle of
Bothwell Bridge in 1679. After their defeat at Bothwell, commander of
the Covenanter army, James Reid, charged the King's army alone and
snatched the Kilbryd (as it was then spelt) Standard and escaped back
through enemy lines. The faded yellow flag, with the red letters
"Kilbryd, for God, King and Covenants" is now in the Kelvingrove Art
Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, which is currently closed for
In the early part of the 18th century,
Kilbride added the East prefix to distinguish itself from Kilbride in
Ayrshire which added "West" to its name. The town was also given the
status of burgh of barony, allowing it to hold weekly markets and four
annual fairs. The famous Open Cattle Show Society was formed in 1772
which, by the late 1940s, was the largest one-day cattle show in
Scotland, taking place in the Show Park which is still there today,
owned by the farming community but also home to junior league football
club, East Kilbride Thistle.
In 1774 the parish church, now the Old
Parish Church, was built in what is now referred to as the Village. This
ancient hub, now surrounded by the New Town still retains many features
from this period including the Montgomerie Arms, an ancient coaching inn
with its Loupin Stane or mounting block for patrons to mount and
dismount their horse or carriage.
The oldest building, just off Avondale
Avenue, dates from 1640. Now called Rose Mound, it was home to the
famous Scots playwright James Bridie before he went to live a secluded
life on the Isle of Bute. The poet, writer and historian John Struthers
was born in a cottage in the grounds of Long Calderwood in 1776 and
another famous writer to have visited East Kilbride was George Orwell.
He was a tubercolosis patient in Hairmyres Hospital from 1946 until 1948
and while there he wrote part of his novel 1984.
The anatomists and surgeons William and John
Hunter were born at Long Calderwood Farm, now a museum dedicated to
their lives and work. The Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University is also
named after William, who bequeathed his collection of books, coins and
paintings to the university. William pioneered obstetrics while John
revolutionised 18th century dentistry giving it a scientific basis for
the first time. He was also appointed surgeon to George III and
Surgeon-General to the British Army.
By far the biggest event to change the shape
of East Kilbride was the decision in 1947 to create a new town -
transforming the small peaceful village of around 2500 inhabitants into
one of the UK's foremost business and commercial centres.
On Friday, August 8, 1947, the first meeting
of the East Kilbride Development Corporation was held, with the task of
drawing up and executing the new town plans that would allow both an
influx of people moving from the City of Glasgow and new industry to
provide them with employment.
Developed around a central shopping and
office area was a series of residential neighbourhoods and, on the
outskirts, industrial areas and business parks. Each neighbourhood was
planned to ensure there were shops and schools nearby. As the town grew
most of the housing was public rented but with the 1980s came a gradual
rise in owner occupation as tenants were able to buy their properties -
by the early 1990s East Kilbride had reached the west of Scotland
average and 75% by 2001. This was reinforced by the development of large
private housing estates to the north and south of the town. After nearly
50 years the New Town Development Corporation was formally wound down in
1996, its job complete in overseeing the emergence of a vibrant new
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