east kilbride

to East Kilbride

The original Kilbride was a small rural Lanarkshire village with a history going back many centuries.  

The 'Kil' in Kilbride comes from the Gaelic work call (or cill) which means a religious cell - which was a feature of the way in which the more monastic Celtic church tended to develop. (Unlike the Roman church which was more diocesan in structure).   So the origins of  Kilbride were in the religious cell associated with Bride or Bridget.

The addition of East to the name came in order to distinguish the village from it's Ayrshire neighbour of the same name (now West Kilbride).  That's being said, there is another East Kilbride - a distance away on the Outer Hebrides.

In the 1940's East Kilbride was one of the villages chosen to become "New Towns", areas with a special development status.   "The Village" - the original East Kilbride - still exists and its pleasant "old" atmosphere can still be enjoyed as can its numerous small shops and variety of eating places, but today East Kilbride is one of the most successful of the New Towns, a place with a thriving industry base, excellent housing of all types, superb shopping and excellent leisure facilities.

In just over 50 years East Kilbride has grown from a small rural village to become, with a population of over 80,000, the sixth largest town in Scotland.   The town is situated just 10 miles from Glasgow and many of the East Kilbride residents moved from the city to the new town.

In terms of attracting industry, East Kilbride has an outstanding record. Modern industrial centres around the town house successful companies large and small, including Motorola, Rolls Royce, Scottish Nuclear and Fuji Electric, while a modern bottling plant supplies Scotland with Coca Cola.

The town has also become a shopping hub for the South Lanarkshire area with the Plaza and Olympia Shopping Centres in the East Kilbride town centre being expanded with Centre West to become one of the largest indoor shopping malls in Europe. In addition the busy Kingsgate Retail Park provides the opportunity to visit Sainsburys, Homebase, the biggest sports shop in Scotland, Boots, Curry's, Argos Extra and several other retail outlets. Just across the road from Kingsgate is the expanding Nerston retail area with B&Q, Comet and PC World. Morrison's supermarkets (once Safeway) have large stores at Lynseyfield and Stewartfield while Sainsburys has taken over the former Safeway store in the Olympia Shopping Centre.

Sports and recreation have not been forgotten in a town which has well-equipped playing fields, golf courses, parks, a loch with watersports facilities and a nature reserve.    Add to this list ten pin bowling, an ice rink, the John Wright Sports Centre, the athletics track at the East Kilbride Stadium, the Dollan Aquacentre, the Arts Centre and the Village Theatre and you get some idea of just why the people of East Kilbride are so proud of their town.

Education is well served in the town with 24 primary schools (for children in the age range 5 to 12 years) and six secondary schools.   For those interested in private education, a bus runs daily from East Kilbride to Hamilton College school.    There is a Technical College in the town and, of course, the Caledonian. Glasgow, Paisley and Strathclyde Universities are all within easy travelling distance.

In recent years there has been a boom in high quality house building in many parts of the town.   Stewartfield, on the north-western side of the town, was at one point the largest private housing development in Europe and is now a highly desirable residential area.

East Kilbride is a vibrant and active community. Fresh air and countryside combine with shopping centres and sports and recreation facilities that buzz with activity.   It is not surprising that it is widely claimed to be Scotlandís most successful new town!

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