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South Lanarkshire

Population 33,093. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

The ancient Royal Burgh of Rutherglen has been a thriving hub for nearly 1000 years and today still retains an almost village-like atmosphere, despite being South Lanarkshire's third largest town.

Rutherglen town centre has undergone a 15million facelift to return it to its former glory days as a major shopping centre. The magnificent Town Hall was also given a major overhaul to take on its new role as a multi-functional complex for the arts, weddings and a museum. While Hamilton has the race course, Rutherglen has Shawfield Greyhound Stadium giving you the chance to watch regular dog racing.

Rutherglen's big gala, Landemer Day takes place in June and the Fernhill and Spittal Gala Days take place in August.

Flooring contracter Veitchi is one of the biggest employers in the Rutherglen area. Others include engineers Economatics, carpet maufacturers Mercado, Independent Glass, Direct Line, Verve Glasgow, Greggs bakery and BCW Solutions.

Rutherglen is perfectly situated to commute to Glasgow, Hamilton and East Kilbride and has housing to suit most tastes and pockets, from council flats and private lets to family villas.

Rutherglen has several primary schools and under the Council's major schools modernisation programme, a newbuild Trinity High School and an upgraded Stonelaw High School opened in 2009. Langside College has a campus in Rutherglen and its courses include business, art and design, engineering, computing and sports studies.

Rutherglen's local newspapers are the Reformer and the Lanarkshire Extra.


Rutherglen Shopping Centre, formerly known as the Mitchell Arcade has undergone a complete refurbishment and has a healthy mix of high street names including Somerfield as well as a wide range of local traders.

How to get there

By car from Glasgow take the A749 or A730, following signs for Rutherglen. From Cambuslang take the A724 and from Hamilton and the south take the new M74 followed by the A724. From East Kilbride use the A749. There are regular trains to and from Glasgow Central, Hamilton, Motherwell and Lanark. There are many bus services from Glasgow, Hamilton and East Kilbride.


Rutherglen was granted its charter in 1126, only two years after David I ascended to the throne of Scotland, making it one of Scotland's oldest Royal Burghs. The accolade helped make Rutherglen an important centre for trade.

The derivation of the name of the town is unclear but one theory is that the area was once a settlement of Reuther, an ancient king of the Scots, who ruled between 213 and 187 BC.

Rutherglen Castle, one of the countries great fortresses, was built in the 13th century. With several towers and five-foot thick walls it became an important stronghold during the Wars of Independence. The English held the castle for a time but it was recaptured in 1309 where a sitting of parliament was held before it was again taken by English forces. The castle was retaken in 1313 by Edward, brother of Robert the Bruce, who became king of Ireland three years later. By the 16th century the castle was in the hands of the Hamiltons, the lairds of Shawfield but all that remained was the great tower. It was burned to the ground by the Regent Murray in 1569, a year after the defeat of Mary, Queen of Scots, at the Battle of Langside, the Hamiltons having supported the wrong side. The last remnants of the castle disappeared in the middle of the 18th century to make way for a vegetable garden close to what is now the junction of Castle Street and King Street.

During the 19th century Rutherglen changed from a weaving and mining village to a more industrialised area, with its own shipyard, established by Thomas Bollen Seath in 1856. Seath built many of the paddle steamers and the famous little Clutha ferry boats that transported commuters up and down the Clyde.

The statistician William Gemmell Cochran was born in Rutherglen in 1909. Educated at Glasgow and Cambridge universities, he worked initially in agricultural statistics, before emigrating to America in 1939. There he carried out research in medical statistics finally working at Harvard University where he set up many courses in statistics in American universities. He died in Orleans, Massachusetts in 1980.

Poet and playwright Tom McGrath was born in Rutherglen in 1940. His first poems were published in 1962 and he was the founding editor of the 1960s underground magazine International Times. His plays include Laurel and Hardy and The Hardman, about the gangster and murderer Jimmy Boyle. He was also musical director of The Great Northern Welly Boot Show which starred comedian Billy Connolly.

Janet Brown was born in Rutherglen in 1924 and comedian and actor Robbie Coltrane was born there in 1950.

In the 1900s, Arthur Stanley Jefferson (who would be known to the world some years later as Stan Laurel) was a pupil at Rutherglen Academy (now Stonelaw High) when his father was in charge of a local theatre.

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