Wishaw Health Centre, reconstructed 2015.
|Population||30,290 (mid-2016 est.)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||31 mi (50 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Wishaw (Scots: Wishae/Wisha; Scottish Gaelic: Camas Neachdain) is a large town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on the edge of the Clyde Valley, 15 miles (24 km) south-east of Glasgow city centre. The Burgh of Wishaw was formed in 1855 within Lanarkshire. it formed a joint large burgh with its neighbour Motherwell from 1920 until its dissolution when Scottish local authorities were restructured in 1975, and was then in Motherwell district within the Strathclyde region until 1996. The town is part of the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency. It has the postal code of ML2 and the dialling code 01698.
Geography and climate
Wishaw lies within a very populated area in North Lanarkshire, which itself is the fourth largest local authority in Scotland (based on population). The town is located in the relatively level Central Belt area of Scotland. While there are valleys and high moors within this area, there are no hills or summits over 1,640 feet.
The defined 'locality' of Wishaw[a] had a population of 30,290 in 2016, the 26th largest such place in the country. Along with its neighbours of Hamilton, Bellshill and Motherwell it forms part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation, which as of 2019 had a population of around 1,670,000 (around a third of Scotland's total); however, since 2016 Wishaw, Motherwell and Bellshill have been officially considered separate from the Glasgow 'settlement' due to small gaps in the chain of occupied postcodes used to determine a grouping, and instead form their own North Lanarkshire settlement which itself has the fifth largest population in Scotland of a 124,000.
Wishaw experiences mild summers and cool winters, with the most rainfall coming between October and March. Snow, while not unheard of during winters, is not the norm. Most winters in Wishaw see around 10–20 days of snow. The warmest month on average is July, with an average daily temperature of 14.7 degrees C, while the coldest is January with an average daily temperature of 2.3 C.
It is not certain how Wishaw's name came into being. The town is possibly named after Wishaw House, built in the woods by the South Calder Water. The house was probably built some time after the sale of the lands of Coltness, Wishaw, Watstein and Stain to the predecessor of Lord Belhaven: Hamilton of Uddsten. It could be a corruption of "Via shaw" meaning "way through the woods", which would make sense as an ancient Roman road was built through the modern town. Yet another theory is that the name derives from "Wee Shaw", meaning small wood, or that the "wis" comes from the medieval Scots for "water", meaning "water wood".
In Scottish Gaelic, the main name of the town is, Camas Neachdain
Ancient and Roman history
The area of what is now Wishaw once lay on important Roman roads that ran through the areas of the Clyde (Latin - Cluta) and South Calder Water. In fact, the current Main Street is based on a road built by the Romans. Another such road ran close to Wishaw House.
In the 1960s, a pagan religious figurine was found in the woods near Netherton, showing that there was Celtic activity before the year 600.
A small church was established by a bend (camas/cambo- in Cumbric) on the banks of the Clyde near what is now Netherton in the 8th century. There is however dispute to whether this was named after (or established by) Neithon of Alt Clut or perhaps St Ninian. Nonetheless, the area became known as Cambusnethan or Kamnethan from then on. The site of the original church remains as a ruined burial ground, including an impressive mausoleum to Lord Belhaven. The churchyard is notably round, similar to those found in Wales and Ireland, suggesting it could have been built on an earlier Celtic temple. Excavated from this area was the Cambusnethan Stone, a large Christian tablet created by the Strathclyde Britons.
In the 12th century, a Norman lord constructed a large manor near Gowkthrapple, as well as another small church. This was the beginning of the parish of Cambusnethan, which lasted up until 1930. In the 13th century, administrative control of the parish was ceded to Glasgow from the previous Kelso Abbey. Small fortresses and tower houses were built, and after the Scottish Wars of Independence, the barony was transferred by Robert the Bruce to local lords, however the title lay abandoned by the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages, Cambusnethan Parish consisted of little more than small mills and farmsteads.
The ruined church on Kirk Road, mere yards away from the current Cambusnethan church, is thought to date back to the 1600s or earlier.
In the 18th century agriculture in the area consisted mainly of growing oats although some wheat and pear trees were cultivated. Members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church took up the favourable terms of the proprietor to enable them to establish a congregation in Wishaw in 1792. The village itself was laid out in 1794, named Cambusnethan, and later renamed Wishawtown.
In 1801 the population of Wishaw was about 400 and that of the whole parish only 1972. In the 1830s Lord Belhaven set up a distillery in Wishaw. Other nineteenth century industries included coal mining, iron and steel making, foundry work, railway-waggon building and fire-clay making. Wishaw grew dramatically in the 1830s, with railways and gasworks coming to the town, many collieries opening during this time period. By the time the Caledonian Railway's main line came through Wishaw in 1848 it was a major mining centre fueling an important part of Scotland's industrial heartland. There were also factories for needle-work and tambouring, and confectionery. On 4 September 1855, the town was incorporated with the villages of Coltness and Stewarton to form the Burgh of Wishaw, with a population of approximately 5,000. Four years later, in 1859, St.Ignatius Parish Church was established, and the church built on Young Street, where it remains to this day. In 1882 Groome recorded that there were 5 schools in Wishaw as well as others in nearby villages. Wishaw in the middle of the 19th century was visited by the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. Chopin was entertained at Wishaw house and played there for the family, the Hamiltons of Belhaven.
Wishaw and its nearby neighbour of Motherwell were once the centre of steel manufacture in Scotland, as both towns were located either side of the former Ravenscraig steelworks which closed in 1992. The (now-defunct) local firm of R Y Pickering & Co Ltd (later Norbrit-Pickering) built railway rolling stock (especially wagons) and many tramcars for tram systems throughout the UK. One of its last tramcar orders was for 10 double-decker trams for Aberdeen Corporation Tramways in 1949. In November 1996, the world's worst recorded outbreak of E. coli O157 occurred in the town, in which 21 people died and around 200 were infected.
The town has recovered from the loss of industry such as steelworks and coal mines which closed mainly closed down in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the late 1990s and 2000s were a recovery period of the town. In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Wishaw along with its neighbour Motherwell, voted 52% in favour of Scottish independence, meanwhile 48% voted against independence. Since 2015, Wishaw has voted SNP in both general elections and local Scottish elections, replacing Labour as the dominant party of the town.
These days, North Lanarkshire Council suggest that the majority of the biggest employers in the town are supermarkets, with the exceptions of Royal Mail, which has its main Scottish distribution centre at Shieldmuir and the NHS as a result of University Hospital Wishaw. There are many service industry businesses located in the town's industrial areas, though none with more than a few hundred employees.
At present there are three high schools in the area: Clyde Valley High School in Overtown, and Coltness High School and St Aidan's High School, both in Coltness. St. Aidan's High School serves not only Catholic pupils from Wishaw, but nearby towns such as Newmains, Shotts and Carluke. St. Aidans, therefore has the highest number of pupils at around 1,100.
Primary schools in Wishaw include Calderbridge, St. Thomas', Thornlie, St. Aidan's, Cambusnethan, St. Ignatius' and Wishaw Academy (with both the latter two schools being a joint campus).
The town does not have a university or college at present, with the nearest college being Motherwell College, based in Ravenscraig, and the University of the West of Scotland (formerly Bell College of Technology) in Hamilton being the nearest university.
Wishaw has a general hospital, now known as University Hospital Wishaw, in the Craigneuk area. It serves nearby settlements such as Motherwell, Newmains and Shotts. It is one of three acute hospitals in Lanarkshire, the others being Monklands Hospital in Airdrie and Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride.
Also based in the town, on the site of the old town library in Kenilworth Avenue, is the Houldsworth Centre which houses a café, public toilet, Wishaw library and Wishaw Health Centre. The centre opened in April 2015 along with a multi-storey car park.
The Main Street shopping area also features small independent retailers. There are also many supermarkets in the area, with a new small format Asda in the eastern suburb of Newmains that opened in October 2007. A Tesco Extra superstore was also opened during November 2007, and is adjacent to the railway station, replacing the smaller Metro store on Main Street, about 150 metres (500 ft) from the new store.
The first stage of the modern town centre regeneration programme was completed in 2004, with a new car park being constructed between the local library and health centre and with the formation of a taxi rank adjacent to the library also a water fountain was put on the ground of Wishaw Library which looks like the old one which used to stand near the former Wishaw Health Centre.
A piece of eyesore land between Station Road and Alexander Street (the railway station and sports centre) was converted into a park and ride facility, as part of this programme. This has led to a decrease in railway parking and traffic next to the station. The facility was later increased in size as it was too small.
In late 2011, Kitchener Street was converted from a small neighbourhood to a main road, routing traffic away from the Main Street to Kenilworth Avenue, where a new roundabout was built. Lammermore Terrace, which was previously one-way, was converted into a two-way street.
In 2014 work on a new modern housing estate called Ravenwood began on the site of the old Lammermuir school, which became was renamed Calderbridge and moved to a new building 600m away. The neighbourhood was finished in 2016 and now consists of around 50 houses.
Wishaw has many churches in it of various kinds and denominations. There are several Church of Scotland congregations – serving principally the town centre are South Wishaw Parish Church and Wishaw Old Parish Church, and serving the outlying parts of Wishaw are – Cambusnethan North Church, Cambusnethan Old and Morningside Parish Church, Craigneuk and Belhaven Church, Coltness Memorial Church (Newmains) and St. Mark's Church (Coltness). The Church of Scotland "charges" have been reduced in recent years through the union of Thornlie and Chalmers Churches to form South Wishaw Parish Church, and the linkage of Wishaw Old Parish Church with that of Craigneuk and Belhaven Church who now share one minister.
The town also has a United Free Church, an Episcopal Church dedicated to St. Andrew, a Baptist church (both in Belhaven Terrace), a Gospel Hall (Ebenezer Gospel Hall), a Methodist church (now known as Netherton Methodist Church), a Christian Outreach Centre and 5 Catholic churches of the Roman Rite: St. Ignatius of Loyola (Young Street), St. Aidan's (Coltness), St. Thomas' (Caledonian Road), St. Brigid's (Newmains) and St. Patrick's (Shieldmuir).
The town has large Catholic population and strong Catholic links. These Catholics are mainly descended from the Irish Catholics who fled the Famine to settle in and around Glasgow, with many coming to Lanarkshire in particular. Today, the descendants of these immigrants constitute most of the Catholics in the town but there is also Catholics who are from other ethnicities, in particular those from the Italian and Polish communities in Scotland.
Wishaw is represented by several tiers of elected government. North Lanarkshire Council, the unitary local authority for Wishaw, is based at Motherwell, and is the executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local governance. The Scottish Parliament is responsible for devolved matters such as education, health and justice, while reserved matters are dealt with by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Sports, restaurants and recreation
Leisure and entertainments
Wishaw has a very large Mecca Bingo hall in Kirk Road. In recent years, the town has turned into a nightspot when it comes to pubs and clubs that are on offer. The Commercial Hotel has a nightclub and also a restaurant, bar and hotel, with rooms and accommodation for overnight stay. Pubs include: Girdwood's', a well established and long running live music venue https://girdwoods.co.uk/', the Cross Keys, the Waverley ' and the Yard The Westend and The Corner which shut down in 2012 has being replaced with the bar-restaurant Corrigans. On Stewarton Street, near the town centre, there is an Irish pub named The Cross Keys Inn. The pub regularly shows Celtic games, as the majority of its customers are supporters of the club.
Wishaw is not short of eating establishments, from small local cafes to international global chains such as McDonald's. As well as the Commercial, the town is home to a Wetherspoons restaurant, known as the Wishaw Malt, directly opposite the Mecca bingo. There is an Indian buffet restaurant, known as the Pink Turban, located in the Waterloo suburb. Wishaw has a McDonald's restaurant and a KFC restaurant (both located on Glasgow Road), which opened in 2004 and 1942 respectively. The grand opening of KFC was a joyous occasion with Frank Roy MP cutting the ribbon and also being the first person in Wishaw to sample a Zinger box meal. The main street also contains two national sandwich chains, Subway and Greggs. The town is also host to a modern Scottish restaurant called Artisan, which may have one of the largest ranges of whisky in Scotland. It also has large number of independent takeaway restaurants and cafes, most of which are located in the main street. The Cafe Shabbab is located in Newmains.
There is no professional football team in Wishaw. Many of the town's residents are followers of Rangers, Celtic and near-neighbours Motherwell. There is however a junior football team, Wishaw, which plays its home games at Beltane Park, near to the town's sports centre. There is also a large juvenile football club, Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers, who have many registered young players, playing football in age groups from Under 6s to Under 21s.
To the northwest of the town, there is a large golf course.
The town's municipal sports centre also includes two small swimming pools, badminton and martial arts facilities and gymnastic equipment. A full-length running track is also on site along with a full-sized football pitch. Long jump pits and throwing cages are also issued within the track. There are also 5-a-side astroturf pitches for football, where many local games are held. Elsewhere, all-weather pitches and a children's play area behind Morrison's have been closed for a new shared campus primary school by St. Ignatius Primary and Wishaw Academy Primary. The local council has made no announcement on whether these facilities will be replaced.
The town previously had a large swimming pool complete with a large spectator grandstand, an underwater viewpoint and diving facilities (with boards at 1.5m, 3m and 5m). This was closed during the late 1990s to make way for a much smaller facility on the site of the town's sports centre. The reason given for this decision was the cost of maintaining such a facility for a town as small as Wishaw. Over the years it had played host to many regional swimming events and also benefited from being within walking distance of the two main secondary schools in the area as well as a host of primary schools.
Wishaw General Hospital also has a heat pool for specialist physio treatment.
Wishaw also has a town park named after Lord Belhaven, Belhaven Park. It has a swing park with plenty of climbing frames and slides, and plenty of benches. There is a pathway at the back of the park which leads through the trees and into a council estate. In March 2011, the parks play-area underwent a significant upgrade.
The town has a comprehensive bus network operated by First Glasgow. Other smaller providers include: JMB Travel, Stuart's, Henderson Travel, Coakley and Whitelaw's. Destinations that can be reached by bus from the town include:
Historically, bus services in the Wishaw area were operated by a local company, Hutchison's. Their distinctive blue and cream buses finally gave way in 2007 to a friendly takeover by one time rival First.
Despite initially closing the Hutchison depot in Overtown upon the takeover, and moving all staff and vehicles to Blantyre, First have since launched new services in the Wishaw area, that has required the re-opening of the depot and indeed a major recruitment campaign.
Wishaw was formerly served by an intensive network of services provided by McKindless. This company was wound up in 2010 following a tax investigation. This had the potential to leave many parts of Lanarkshire without a decent public transport link as McKindless had forced many other operators to abandon routes to places such as Lanark and Shotts. However, SPT and Irvine's and First stepped in to replace most services almost straight away.
A half-hourly service provided by Abellio ScotRail connects Wishaw to places such as:
Following a campaign by local politicians, the area is now well signposted from the nearby M8 and M74 motorways. This move was considered necessary as although the town is not considered a principal destination from either of these roads and therefore not included as standard on the signage, it is now the home to the main hospital for an area stretching right down the M74 corridor almost to the English border approximately 75 miles (120 km) away.
The nearest airport to Wishaw is Glasgow Airport at 20 miles (32 km) distant, though at 26 miles (42 km) Edinburgh Airport is not much further. Connections to both airports are only via the cities they serve as no direct public transport links are available.
Wishawhill () is a small neighbourhood village in Wishaw. It is located to the north of the town. The suburb can be entered by Heathery Road or Cleland Road, with both roads leading onto the A721 or Glasgow Road running towards Wishaw Main Street.
Wishawhill is situated within walking distance from the major places in the town such as the Main Street, the large Tesco Extra superstore and Wishaw General Hospital. There is also the large golf course located to the north of the area. Virtually all of Wishawhill is low density residential housing and flats, with only a Community Center and the Wishaw Ex-Servicemen's Club being the non-residential buildings in the area. Due to its close proximity with Wishaw Main Street, there is only one local newsagent shop. The suburb also has a swing park and a football pitch.
The area used to be host to one Roman Catholic Primary School, St Matthew's, located on Pentland Road, until it was shut down in June 2010 due to councillors voting against their constituents wishes. This happened despite a large campaign by local residents to keep the school open. It is now being demolished due to repeated vandalism. Saint Thomas' in Pather is now the nearest Roman Catholic school to Wishawhill.
The Argyle Line next to Campsie Road passes through the suburb, with passenger services located at Wishaw railway station a mile away. Buses such as FirstGroup travel through the area, providing services to towns such as Motherwell. The rectangular road that run through the whole of Wishawhill (Campsie Road, Pentland Road, Grampian Road and Heathery Road) links to all the streets.
Notable people from Wishaw include:
- Thomas Canfield Pomphrey, architect, was born here in 1881.
- The Alexander Brothers, musicians and entertainers
- Joe Baker, footballer
- Andrew Barrowman, footballer
- John Cleland, motor racing champion
- Enrico Cocozza, underground filmmaker
- Colin Cramb, footballer
- Sir Samuel Curran, physicist, inventor of the scintillation counter, and founder of Strathclyde University
- Alan Fisher, journalist
- Tommy Gemmell, footballer
- Jim Graham, Washington, D.C. politician
- Roy Henderson, footballer
- John Higgins, world snooker champion
- Paul Higgins, actor and writer
- Derek Holmes, footballer
- The Jolt, 1970s pop group
- Lewis Macleod, footballer
- John Gibson Lockhart, biographer and novelist
- Stan McEwan, footballer
- Marie McLaughlin, opera singer
- Lee Miller, footballer
- Michael Moore, politician
- Deborah Orr, journalist and columnist
- Paul Quinn, footballer
- Charles Reid (photographer) Victorian Photographer
- Gordon Reid, actor
- Anne Sharp, opera singer
- Bill Scott, rugby player
- Alison Turriff, musician
- Frank S. Walsh, scientist
- Alex Wilson, footballer
- Thomas Winning, archbishop and cardinal
- Nicholas McDonald, Singer and runner-up of ITV's The X Factor
- Kieran Tierney, footballer for Arsenal and the Scotland national team
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- Zaluski, Iwo and Pamela (1993). The Scottish Autumn of Frederick Chopin. Edinburgh: John Donald Ltd. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
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- History and Photographs of Wishaw Iron & Steel Works 1859 – 1930
- Scenes at West Cross Enrico Cocozza interviews local people.
- Scenes at West Cross Compilation of views around West Cross in Wishaw.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wishaw.|
- Cocozza, Enrico. "Scenes at West Cross". Moving Image Archive. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 5 October 2019.