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South Lanarkshire
Stonehouse


Population 5056. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

Stonehouse lies in prime countryside halfway between Strathaven and Larkhall and is bordered by the River Avon. Although the town has a rural feel, its proximity to the M74 and the A71 makes it perfect for commuting to Hamilton, Motherwell, Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

The town has always been close-knit and there is a strong sense of community. And following the construction of the bypass the centre has been enjoying a revival with the conservation area preserving its heritage.

The village has undergone major improvements which created a high quality centre with granite paving, landscaping and improved lighting to ensure that the Cross remains at the heart of the community. Stonehouse has a good mix of traditional shops, cafes and pubs. It also has good sports facilities and parks.

On the whole the land surrounding Stonehouse is arable, although most farms are milk producers. The Stonehouse Agricultural Show is held in May. There are many small companies in and around the town including electical contracters, IT businesses, animal feed manufacturers and engineers.

Housing in Stonehouse is a mix of council properties, old weavers' cottages, family villas and country cottages. Since the building of the bypass a lot of new developments have sprung up, catering for expanding families and commuters wanting to live in a rural location.

Stonehouse has two primary schools and most of its secondary pupils travel to Larkhall while some travel to Strathaven. Larkhall Academy was completely rebuilt in 2009 as part of the Council's multi-million pound schools modernisation programme. And Strathaven Academy was completely refurbished in 2009 under the same scheme.

Stonehouse is served by the Hamilton Advertiser, Lanarkshire Extra, Strathaven Echoes and local radio station L107.

Shopping

Shopping in Stonehouse is limited although it does have a selection of local shops, takeaways and cafes, including Ginestri's, the famous ice cream makers.

How to get there

Stonehouse is easily accessible from the M74. It also lies on the A71 making it easy to get to from Kilmarnock and Strathaven to the west and Mid Lothian and Edinburgh to the north east. The reopening of the Larkhall to Milngavie rail line in 2005 has made it easier for rail travel to Glasgow as the station has a park and ride scheme. Stonehouse has a good bus service to outlying towns and Glasgow.

History

The name Stonehouse is said to originate from an early stone circle, probably constructed by Druids. It has evolved through variations such as Stanes, Stannas, Stanhus, finally settling at Stonehouse. Further evidence of the Druids are three standing stones at Avonholm near the River Avon, between Stonehouse and Glassford. Stonehouse saw much activity during Roman times and evidence of a Roman road can still be seen in the area.

The parish of Stonehouse is one of the oldest in Scotland and records show that the parish was dedicated to St. Ninian in the 9th century. The old church of St. Ninian was erected around 1560 but all that now remains is the gable-end wall.

As with many other towns in the area, weaving was a big part of life in Stonehouse. The town specialised in silk weaving and even after the introduction of power looms which brought about the decline of handloom weaving in other parts of Lanarkshire, Stonehouse survived longer because of the quality of its silk.

After the demise of the weaving industry, most of the male population of Stonehouse was employed in the coalmining industry, working at the Canderrig Colliery. By 1950 the mine was almost exhausted and most of the population had to look for work outside the town.

Transport in Stonehouse during the late 19th century was largely dominated by the railway, which not only carried the population of the town, but also the coal from the mines in the surrounding area. The Beeching cuts of the 1960s meant many of the rail lines in Lanarkshire, including Stonehouse were closed down.


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