The historic market town of Strathaven -
pronounced Stray-ven - lies in the Avon Valley surrounded by prime
Strathaven is particularly picturesque and
its core forms the conservation area, making it feel more like a country
village than a bustling town.
Strathaven Park has bowling, putting, a play
area, paddling pool, boating pond and tennis courts. It is also the
location for the annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in August which
attracts visitors from far and wide as does the public park with its
famous 'Wee Train'. Adjacent to the park, the John Hastie Museum
features displays on Strathaven Castle, weaving and the Battle of
There is a popular local Arts Centre and
modern leisure centre in the town. Strathaven also boasts a variety of
fine restaurants, take aways and pubs as well as the three-star
Strathaven Hotel, an imposing country house hotel, designed by Robert
Adam Jr in the 18th century.
The main employers based in the area include
the Strathaven Hotel and Community Careline Services.
Housing in Strathaven is mainly traditional,
although new developments have taken place on the northern outskirts.
There are private properties for rent as well as country cottages and
family villas for sale on the open market.
Strathaven has town and country primary
schools and Strathaven Academy is being refurbished as part of South
Lanarkshire Council's multi-million pound schools modernisation
Local newspapers include the East Kilbride
News, the Hamilton Advertiser, Strathaven Echoes and local radio station
L107 which serves the wider area.
Shopping in Strathaven is centred around the
attractive town square, known as the Common Green and there is a variety
of speciality shops to delight the leisurely shopper.
In 2002 Strathaven became one of the first
Fair Trade towns in Scotland, along with Aberfeldy. This means that
commerce in the town is done as fairly as possible for the workers
producing the goods, be they coffee growers in Brazil or farm workers in
Strathaven has benefited from Council
investment in the Common Green area to create an attractive public
space. This and other activities have been chanelled through the
Strathaven Village Project.
By car, Strathaven is on the A71 from the
east to Ayrshire, the A726 from East Kilbride and the A723 from
Hamilton. There are bus services to outlying towns and Glasgow.
Strathaven's origins are unclear but it was
an important coaching stop on the Edinburgh-Ayrshire route. Parish
records show the first church being built in 1001 but this was
demolished and rebuilt in 1772, with the addition of a new cupola,
weathervane and clock. By 1637 there were around 48 houses, populated
mostly by farm workers.
A stone castle was first built in the area
in the 1300s, probably replacing a wooden structure. A century later it
was owned by the Black Douglases but following their defeat at Threave
Castle in 1455, it fell into the hands of King James II and was
destroyed. The present castle was built in 1458 by Sir Andrew Stewart,
1st Lord of Avondale and illegitimate son of the Duke of Albany. As a
result it is sometimes called Avondale Castle. In the 16th century it
passed to Sir James Hamilton of Finnart whose descendants occupied the
castle until it was abandoned in 1717.
During Covenanting times, when Scotland was
divided over forms of worship, Strathaven was a Convenanters stronghold.
In 1679 government troops attacked a group of Convenanters at Drumclog
Following the Napoleanic wars and the
introduction of Corn Laws which forced up the price of food, there was
great civil unrest. In 1820 Strathaven man James Pearle Wilson and other
Radicals took up arms and marched to Cathkin in protest. Purlie was
arrested and charged with high treason. He was hung at Glasgow Green and
within hours of his burial his body was dug up and brought back to
Strathaven was known for weaving and brewing
and most of the Industrial Revolution passed the town by as it had no
significant mineral deposits. In the 20th century the town produced
knitwear, rayon products and farm machinery.
Famous music hall entertainer Sir Harry
Lauder's house, Lauder Ha' is in Strathaven and actress and comedienne
Una McLean was born in the town in 1930.
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