East Kilbride

East Kilbride

Infobox UK place
official_name= East Kilbride
gaelic_name= Cille Bhrìghde an Ear
country = Scotland
population= 73,796 [cite web|publisher=Scotland's Census Results Online|title =Comparative Population Profile: East Kilbride Locality | url=http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Population&mainArea=east+kilbride&mainLevel=Locality | date = 2001-04-29| accessdate =2008-09-02 ] (2001 census)est. 73,320 [http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/publications-and-data] (2006)
os_grid_reference= NS635545
latitude= 55.764529
longitude= -4.177115
unitary_scotland= South Lanarkshire
lieutenancy_scotland= Lanarkshire
constituency_westminster= East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow CC
constituency_scottish_parliament= East Kilbride
post_town= GLASGOW
postcode_district= G74-75
postcode_area= G
dial_code= 01355 & 0141

static_image_caption=East Kilbride parish church tower

East Kilbride is a large suburban town in the South Lanarkshire council area of Scotland. It is Scotland's first new town, and lies on high ground on the south side of the Cathkin Braes, about convert|8|mi|km southeast of Glasgow city centre. The Rotten Calder river flows along the east side of the settlement, northwards toward the River Clyde.

East Kilbride does not lie within the Greater Glasgow urban area, [ [http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files/setloc-ks01.xls Key Statistics for Settlements and Localities Scotland] General Register Office for Scotland] although it does lie within the Greater Glasgow metropolitan area,Fact|date=September 2008 and it has recently replaced Paisley as Scotland's most populous town.


The earliest evidence of habitation in the area dates back to ancient graves found near the Kype Water to the south of the district. Roman coins and footwear have also been found in the area.

East Kilbride takes its name from an Irish saint, St Bride (or Brigit) who founded a monastery for nuns and monks in Kildare, Ireland in the 6th century. Irish monks introduced her cult to Scotland. "Kil", from the Gaelic "cill", means church or burial place.

The area of East Kilbride is home to a river valley which, apart from the Avon Gorge, is unique in the way it was formed. A river usually starts off narrow, fast-flowing, with steep cliffs, and in the hills. This is the youth of the river. Later once the river reaches flat land it begins to widen and meander and flow slower. This is the river's middle age. Calderglen is interesting in that it flows fast, has steep cliffs and is fairly narrow (youth stage) but also meanders. The Rotten Calder therefore has its river youth after its middle age, as the river source is on flatter land and is meandering and slow flowing.

Calderglen was in the past celebrated as a picturesque wooded valley. It was the home of a noble family known as the Maxwells of Calderwood who resided in Calderwood Castle. The remnants of Calderwood Castle were demolished in 1951.

The original parish church was located on the site of a pre-Christian sacred well, which is possibly the origin of the association with St. Brigit, since the well was dedicated to the Celtic goddess whose traditions the reverence of St. Brigit has continued. Over the centuries the church has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. As a result its current location has moved from its original site by about 50 m. The original site, and site of the sacred well, ironically lies under a property that was until recently an off-sales/liquor store.Fact|date=February 2007

The presence of the oystercatcher bird in the coat of arms could arises because this bird was considered sacred to both St. Brigit and her pre-Christian antecedent or because it was part of the Lindsey family crest - which had local connections

East Kilbride grew from a small village of around 900 inhabitants in 1930 to become eventually a large burgh. Behind this growth lay the rapid industrialisation of the nineteenth century which left much of the working population throughout Scotland's central belt from Glasgow to Edinburgh living in the housing stock built at the end of that century but accommodating far more people. The Great War postponed any better housing as did the Treaty of Versailles and the period of post war settlement it created. In turn this was followed by the Great Depression. After the Second World War, Glasgow, already suffering from chronic shortages of housing, had to deal with bomb damage from the war.

From this unlikely backdrop a new dawn emerged which would bring East Kilbride to its unlikely success. In 1946 the Greater Glasgow Regional Plan allocated sites where overspill satellite "new towns" could be constructed to help alleviate the housing shortage. [http://www.theglasgowstory.com/story.php?id=TGSFG10] Glasgow would also undertake the development of its peripheral housing estates. East Kilbride was the first of five new towns in Scotland to be designated, in 1947, followed by Glenrothes (1948), Cumbernauld (1956), Livingston (1962) and Irvine (1964).cite book|author=Cowling, D.|date=1997|title=An Essay for Today: the Scottish New Towns 1947-1997|location=Edinburgh|publisher=Rutland Press]

The town has been subdivided into residential precincts, each with its own local shops, primary schools and community facilities. The housing precincts surround the town centre, which is bound by a ringroad. Industrial estates are concentrated at sites to the north, west and south, on the outskirts of the town.


East Kilbride District 1975-96

From 1975 East Kilbride lent its name to a local government district in the Strathclyde region. In 1996 administrative functions were taken over by the South Lanarkshire unitary council. (See: Subdivisions of Scotland)

There is an East Kilbride constituency of the Scottish Parliament. Since the opening of the Scottish Parliament, the constituency has been represented by Andy Kerr MSP (Labour).

East Kilbride was formerly a constituency of the UK Parliament. In 2005 it was replaced by the constituency of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow. The seat has been held since 1987 by Adam Ingram.



The town is occupied by a large shopping centre comprising 6 linked malls, developed in phases. The malls are known by local residents as "The Centre".

The six malls are The Plaza (development started in 1972), Princes Mall (1984), Olympia (1988), Southgate (1989), Princes Square (1997) and Centre West (2003). The shopping centre has come under recent criticism for losing major retail chains in light of rising rental prices. This coupled with the Centre West expansion and decreasing shopper numbers has allowed swathes of properties within the centre to remain closed for months at a time, notably on the first floor of Centre West and the Plaza.

A £400m redevelopment of East Kilbride town centre has been given the go-ahead by South Lanarkshire Council. The plan would demolish some existing buildings to create a new civic centre, a state-of-the-art health centre, a library and shopping facilities. [http://www.eastkilbride.org.uk/community/redeveloping-east-kilbridede.htm East Kilbride Town Centre redevelopment] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4870462.stm BBC News (2006) New town could get £400m facelift]

It would also see a "landmark" arts and culture complex with a 1,000-seat theatre, a 500-seat conference centre, a museum and a new town square.

Parking spaces in the town centre would increase from 3,000 to 8,700 spaces. The first stage of the plan could start in 2006, with completion of the major elements in 2012/2013. It is hoped the project, the various phases of which will require full planning permission, will create up to 3,000 temporary jobs over the 10-year construction programme and 2,000 permanent jobs.

The new civic and health facilities would be created at the site currently occupied by Plaza Tower, which would be demolished, with the theatre and arts facilities being created at the adjoining Olympia Centre.

The current civic centre and the adjoining Hunter Health Centre would be demolished to make way for the first phase of development, which would include a major food retail store.


East Kilbride is connected to Glasgow city centre by road and rail. Two main roads connect East Kilbride with surrounding suburbs and the city, one being the A726 leading west to Busby and on to Clarkston Toll. The other route being the A749 which runs north into Rutherglen. East Kilbride Bus Station, at the shopping centre, was recently rebuilt and provides modern facilities. East Kilbride railway station is situated in the Village. Trains depart to Glasgow Central railway station every half hour, with a journey time of 27 minutes. The town is also served by Hairmyres railway station in Hairmyres.

East Kilbride's primary bus operator is First Glasgow which provides regular services to the city centre, Busby, Clarkston, Castlemilk, Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Hamilton, Motherwell and the surrounding area. Stagecoach West Scotland provide a half-hourly to hourly service to Ayr, McKindless used to provide an hourly service to Wishaw, Carluke and Lanark, and smaller bus operators provide links to other destinations such as Strathaven and Newarthill.

Similar to other New Towns, the road network within the town is populated by more than 304 roundabouts; Glaswegians jokingly refer to East Kilbride as "polo mint city". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7334457.stm BBC News (2008) "Roundabouts in East Kilbride]


Dollan Baths

One of the most significant buildings of an earlier phase of development was Dollan Baths leisure complex (opened 1968) which has Grade A listed status.

Duncanrig Secondary School

In 1950 Lanarkshire County Council commissioned Basil Spence & Partners to build a new secondary school on a green-field site, nine miles south of Glasgow City Centre. Opened in September 1956, Duncanrig was the first school built for the new town of East Kilbride.

The internal wall of the two-storey foyer was covered with a colourful mural by William Crosbie representing the history of the Clyde.

The School has now been demolished following the opening of the new Duncanrig Secondary School in August 2007.

Hunter House Museum

Contains exhibits relating to medical pioneers, William and John Hunter, who were born in the area.

Parks and sports

East Kilbride Thistle is the town's main football club. (It is the largest town in Scotland without a senior football team.)

East Kilbride RFC, are based at Calderglen Country Park. East Kilbride Lawn Tennis Club is one of the oldest tennis club in Scotland. East Kilbride Pirates play in the British American Football League.

[http://www.ekcc.org.uk East Kilbride Cricket Club] , founded in 1962, is also based at Calderglen Country Park.

[http://www.ekgymnastics.com East Kilbride Gymnastics Club] , founded in 1972 by Foster McLean and now based permanently within Greenhills Sports Centre, Stroud Road, East Kilbride.

[http://www.ekifsc.co.uk East Kilbride Ice Figure Skating Club] , based within the "Ice Bowl" Ice Rink at East Kilbride Shopping Centre

Athletics in the town is covered by 3 athletics clubs. Whitemoss, East Kilbride and Calderglen. Both Whitemoss and East Kilbride Athletic Club are based at the John Wright Sports centre.

[http://www.clubwesite.co.uk/greenhillsdynamo Greenhills Dynamo] , are one of East Kilbride's top amateur teams who play in the Strathclyde Saturday Morning League. They play their home matches at the Murray Recreation.

Twin towns

* Ballerup, Denmark

Notable people

* William and John Hunter, medical pioneers, were born at Long Calderwood within the present-day area of East Kilbride.
* Lorraine Kelly, television presenter for GMTV was born in the town.
* Iain Harvie, guitarist with Scottish rock band Del Amitri, was an East Kilbride resident. His late father, John Harvie, was the popular headmaster of Claremont High School in East Kilbride in the 1980s and early 1990s.
* Actor John Hannah of Rebus and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame was a resident of East Kilbride, residing in the Murray area. He has recently caused debate in the area after commenting that it had "gone downhill" since he lived there .
* Scottish rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain was formed in the town.
* Muriel Gray , journalist and broadcaster, was born in the town.


Douglas Badger of "The Chronicles of Douglas Badger (1998)". Often wrote for the Daily Record. He also starred for Greenhills Dymamo at left back from 1998 - 2006.

External links

* [http://www.eknewtown.com/ Interactive picture guide of East Kilbride]
* [http://www.shopek.co.uk/ East Kilbride's Shopping Centre]
* [http://www.eastkilbride.org.uk/ Business and Community]
* [http://www.ekalltheway.co.uk/ Community and Local Events]

Further interest

New towns

*" [http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF001971/Downie/Downie12/Downie12.html "The Disappointing New Towns of Great Britain"]
*" [http://www.murraydunloparchitects.com/news/news-06-04-06-newtowns.htm "New Towns: Can They Be Given New Life?"] "
*" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6654519.stm "Building Towns for the future"] "

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