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South Lanarkshire
Strathaven


Population 7700. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

The historic market town of Strathaven - pronounced Stray-ven - lies in the Avon Valley surrounded by prime farmland.

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 Drumclog.

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 programme.

Local newspapers include the East Kilbride News, the Hamilton Advertiser, Strathaven Echoes and local radio station L107 which serves the wider area.

Shopping

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 Scotland.

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.

How to get there

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.

History

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 outside Strathaven.

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.

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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