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The Fountain at Bank St
North Lanarkshire UK location map.svg
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Location within North Lanarkshire
Area6.818 sq mi (17.66 km2)
Population43,841 (2011 Census) [3] [4]
OS grid reference NS730651
  Edinburgh 33 mi (53 km) ENE
  London 341 mi (549 km) SSE
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district ML5
Dialling code 01236
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
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Scottish Parliament
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55°51′45″N4°01′36″W / 55.8625°N 4.0266°W / 55.8625; -4.0266 Coordinates: 55°51′45″N4°01′36″W / 55.8625°N 4.0266°W / 55.8625; -4.0266

Coatbridge (Scots : Cotbrig or Coatbrig, Scottish Gaelic : Drochaid a' Chòta) is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) east of Glasgow city centre, set in the central Lowlands. The town, with neighbouring Airdrie, is part of the Greater Glasgow urban area. While the earliest known settlement of the area dates back to the Stone Age era, the founding of the town can be traced to the 12th century, when a Royal Charter was granted to the monks of Newbattle Abbey by King Malcolm IV. Coatbridge, along with its neighbour Airdrie, forms the area known as the Monklands.

Scots language Germanic language

Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. The Scots language developed during the Middle English period as a distinct entity.

North Lanarkshire Council area of Scotland

North Lanarkshire Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig a Tuath) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders onto the northeast of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns and villages. It also borders East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Stirling, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. The council covers parts of the traditional counties of Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.


In the last years of the 18th century, the area developed from a loose collection of hamlets into the town of Coatbridge. The town's development and growth have been intimately connected with the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, and in particular with the hot blast process. Coatbridge was a major Scottish centre for iron works and coal mining during the 19th century and was then described as 'the industrial heartland of Scotland' [5] and the 'Iron Burgh'.

Hamlet (place) small settlement in a rural area

A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, hamlets may be the size of a town, village or parish, be considered a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church.

Industrial Revolution Mid-20th-to-early-21th-century period; First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years between 1840 and 1870

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Hot blast

Hot blast refers to the preheating of air blown into a blast furnace or other metallurgical process. As this considerably reduced the fuel consumed, hot blast was one of the most important technologies developed during the Industrial Revolution. Hot blast also allowed higher furnace temperatures, which increased the capacity of furnaces.

Coatbridge also had a notorious reputation for air pollution and the worst excesses of industry. By the 1920s however, coal seams were exhausted and the iron industry in Coatbridge was in rapid decline. After the Great Depression the Gartsherrie ironwork was the last remaining iron works in the town. One publication has commented that in modern-day Coatbridge 'coal, iron and steel have all been consigned to the heritage scrap heap'. [6]

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.


There are various explanations for the origin of the town's name. The place name Coatbridge first appears on a number of 19th century maps, although Roy's 1750 map notes 'Cottbrig' as a hamlet in the Old Monkland area. Older Scots 'Cot(t)' (cottage) and 'brig' (bridge). (This reflected in the way locals refer to the town or its centre as 'The Brig': "I'm just going up the Brig.") One source states 'Coatbridge' is either derived from the Middle English 'cote', (cottage) or from the Old Welsh 'coed' meaning 'wood'. [7]

Major-General William Roy FRS, FSA FRSE was a Scottish military engineer, surveyor, and antiquarian. He was an innovator who applied new scientific discoveries and newly emerging technologies to the accurate geodetic mapping of Great Britain. His masterpiece is usually referred to as Roy's Map of Scotland.

Older Scots refers to the following periods in the history of the Scots language

Old Welsh is the label attached to the Welsh language from about 800 AD until the early 12th century when it developed into Middle Welsh. The preceding period, from the time Welsh became distinct from Common Brittonic around 550, has been called "Primitive" or "Archaic Welsh".

An alternative explanation is that from around the 13th century the local area was owned by the Colt family, sometimes known as Coats, and their estate generated place-names such as Coatbridge, Coatdyke, Coathill and Coatbank. [8] Drummond and Smith suggest the name derives from the granting of land to Ranulphus le Colt around the time of the 12th century. [9] However, Early Scots /ol/ had vocalized to /o̞u/ by the 16th century [10] and subsequently diphthongised to /ʌu/ in Modern Scots, [11] so that 'Colt' would have become 'Cowt' rather than 'Coat'. Modern Scots 'Cot' [12] (cottage) is realized /kot/.

Early Scots was the emerging literary language of the Northern Middle English speaking parts of Scotland in the period before 1450. The northern forms of Middle English descended from Northumbrian Old English. During this period, speakers referred to the language as "English".

L-vocalization, in linguistics, is a process by which a lateral approximant sound such as, or, perhaps more often, velarized, is replaced by a vowel or a semivowel.

Modern Scots varieties of Scots traditionally spoken in Lowland Scotland, and parts of Ulster

Modern Scots comprises the varieties of Scots traditionally spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster, from 1700.

Early history: from Bronze Age to Middle Ages

Settlement of the Coatbridge area dates back 3000 years to the Mesolithic Age. [13] A circle of Bronze Age stone coffins was found on the Drumpellier estate in 1852. [14] A number of other Bronze Age urns and relics have been found in Coatbridge. [15] An Iron Age wood and thatch crannóg dwelling was sited in the Loch at the present day Drumpellier Country Park. Dependent upon the water level in the loch, the remains can still be seen today. [16]

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, preceded by the Stone Age (Neolithic) and the Bronze Age. It is an archaeological era in the prehistory and protohistory of Europe and the Ancient Near East, and by analogy also used of other parts of the Old World. The three-age system was introduced in the first half of the 19th century for the archaeology of Europe in particular, and by the later 19th century expanded to the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Its name harks back to the mythological "Ages of Man" of Hesiod. As an archaeological era it was first introduced for Scandinavia by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was embraced as a useful division of the "earliest history of mankind" in general and began to be applied in Assyriology. The development of the now-conventional periodization in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East was developed in the 1920s to 1930s. As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy (ironworking), more specifically from carbon steel.

Roman coins have been unearthed in Coatbridge, [17] and there are the remains of a Roman road on the fringes of the town near the M8 motorway. [18]

Middle Ages to late 18th century

Pont's "Nether Warde of Clyds-dail" map c. 1654 which depicts the hamlets of Kirkwood, Dunpelder, Wheatflet, Dunbath, Gartshary in the modern day Coatbridge area Pontmap2b.jpg
Pont's "Nether Warde of Clyds-dail" map c. 1654 which depicts the hamlets of Kirkwood, Dunpelder, Wheatflet, Dunbath, Gartshary in the modern day Coatbridge area
Map of the Coatbridge area dated 1858 Coatbridge2map1858.jpg
Map of the Coatbridge area dated 1858

The 'Monklands' area inherited its name after the area was granted to the Cistercian monks of Newbattle Abbey [19] by King Malcolm IV in 1162. 1n 1323 the Monklands name appeared for the first time on Stewards' charter. [20] The Monks mined coal and farmed the land until the time of the reformation when the land was taken from them and given to private landowners. In 1641 the parish of Monklands was divided between New Monkland (present day Airdrie) and Old Monkland (present day Coatbridge). [21] In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army seized Coatbridge from government troops on their march to Edinburgh in an action described as the 'Canter of Coatbridge'. [7] Coatbridge was described in the 1799 Statistical Account as an 'immense garden' with 'extensive orchards', 'luxurious crops' where 'rivers abound with salmon'. [22]

19th century

The Monkland Canal was constructed at the end of the 18th century initially to transport coal to Glasgow from the rich local deposits. The invention of the hot blast furnace process in 1828 meant that Coatbridge's ironstone deposits could be exploited to the maximum by the canal link and hot blast process. [23] The new advances meant that iron could be produced with two thirds less fuel. [24] Summerlee Iron Works was one of the first iron works to use this technology. [25] By the mid 19th century there were numerous hot blast furnaces in operation in Coatbridge.

The prosperous industry which had sprung up around the new iron industry required vast numbers of largely unskilled workers to mine ironstone and work in the blast furnace plants. Coatbridge therefore became a popular destination for vast numbers of Irish (especially from County Donegal in Ulster) arriving in Scotland. The iron bars and plates produced in Coatbridge iron works were the raw materials needed throughout the British Empire for railways, construction, bridge building and shipbuilding. One example of uses Coatbridge' iron was put to included armour plating for British ships fighting in the Crimean War. [26]

Over the course of the following forty years the population of Coatbridge grew by 600%. [27] The character of the Coatbridge area changed from a rural, Presbyterian landscape of small hamlets and farmhouses into a crowded, polluted, Irish Catholic industrial town. In 1840, Rev William Park wrote that:

[28] One contemporary observer at this time noted that Coatbridge is 'not famous for its sylvan beauties of its charming scenery' and 'offers the visitor no inducements to loiter long'. However, 'a visit to the large Gartsherrie works is one of the sights of a lifetime'. [29]

'Gartsherrie by night' by C.R. Stanley c. 1853 Gartsherrie2.jpg
'Gartsherrie by night' by C.R. Stanley c. 1853

Most of the town's population lived in tight rows of terraced houses built under the shadow of the iron works. These homes were often owned by their employers. Living conditions for most were appalling, tuberculosis was rife. [30]

For a fortunate few though fortunes could be won 'with a rapidity only equalled by the princely gains of some of the adventurers who accompanied Pizarro to Peru', noted one observer. [21] Among the most notable success stories were the six sons of Coatbridge farmer Alexander Baird. The Baird family had become involved in coal mining but opened an iron foundry in order to exploit the new hot blast process of iron smelting invented by James Beaumont Neilson. The Baird's subsequently constructed numerous iron foundries in Coatbridge including the famous Gartsherrie iron works. [31] The waste heap or 'bing' from the Baird's Gartsherrie works was said to be as large as the great pyramid in Egypt. One son, James Baird, was responsible for erecting sixteen blast-furnaces in Coatbridge between 1830 and 1842. [32] Each of the six sons of Alexander Baird was reputed to have become a millionaire. [21]

The town was vividly described by Robert Baird in 1845: [31]


Summerlee blast furnaces in start of the 20th century Coatbridge. The present day Summerlee Heritage Park is sited here. Summerlee1.jpg
Summerlee blast furnaces in start of the 20th century Coatbridge. The present day Summerlee Heritage Park is sited here.

In the 19th century, the Baird family wielded a pervasive influence over Coatbridge. They were responsible for the design of the lay out of present-day Coatbridge town centre. The land for the Town Hall and the land which later came to form Dunbeth Park was given to the town by the Bairds. Gartsherrie church was built by the Baird family. The oldest and most significant landmark in the town. Bairds donated the site on the Main Street for the erection of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

The Whitelaw Fountain in Coatbridge during the 1930s Fountaincoatbridge.jpg
The Whitelaw Fountain in Coatbridge during the 1930s

20th/21st centuries

By 1885, the once plentiful Monklands ironstone deposits had been largely exhausted. [31] It became increasing expensive to produce iron in Coatbridge as raw materials had to be imported from as far afield as Spain. The growth of the steel industry (in nearby Motherwell) had also led to a start of a decline in demand for the pig iron Coatbridge produced. Living conditions remained grim. In the 1920s Lloyd George's 'Coal and Power' report described the living conditions in the Rosehall area of Coatbridge:


George Orwell's book The Road to Wigan Pier was illustrated by a photograph of homes in the Rosehall area of Coatbridge. [35] In 1934 there was an exodus to Corby in England when the local Union Plant relocated. This had the effect of a hammer blow impact on the town's iron industry and ushered in the end of serious iron production. The decline of the Clydeside shipbuilding industry in the 1950s meant the demand for iron finally collapsed. [36] A legacy of 'devastating' [37] unemployment, appalling housing conditions and some of the worst overcrowding in Scotland left its stamp on the Coatbridge of the early 1930s. [38] As late as 1936 Coatbridge was the most overcrowded place in Scotland.

In the 1930s and 1950s however massive programmes of state-sponsored house building saw thousands of new homes built in Coatbridge and some of the worst examples of slum housing were cleared away. By the early 1980s 85% of homes in Coatbridge were part of local authority housing stock. [39] The last of the blast furnaces, William Baird's famous Gartsherrie works, closed in 1967. [31]

Since the 1970s there have been various initiatives to attempt to regenerate Coatbridge. Urban Aid grants, European Union grants and, more recently, Social Inclusion Partnership's have attempted to breathe new life into Coatbridge. Despite these efforts the town's population has continued to fall and in recent years the town has been dubbed the 'most dismal in Scotland'. [40]


At 55°51′44″N4°1′46″W / 55.86222°N 4.02944°W / 55.86222; -4.02944 (55.861°, -4.047°), Coatbridge is situated in Scotland's Central Lowlands. The town lies 88 metres (288 ft) above sea level, 9 miles (14.5 km) east of Glasgow, 6 miles (10 km) south of Cumbernauld and 2 miles (3 km) west of Airdrie. Although Coatbridge has no major river running through it, the North Calder Water runs east-west to the south and the now defunct Monkland Canal used to run straight through the centre of the town toward Glasgow. The canal route through Coatbridge can still be seen today. There are also several smaller burns which run through Coatbridge, most of which drain to the North Calder Water. Coatbridge has four significant public parks. Dunbeth park, West End park, Whifflet park and Drumpellier Country park. Woodend and Witchwood Loch are situated on the north-west edge of Coatbridge.


The topography of Coatbridge was an important feature in the towns development during the industrial revolution. Coatbridge rests 60 metres below the 'Slamannan plateau' which neighbouring Airdrie sits on the edge of. The low-lying flat ground of Coatbridge was a vital factor in the siting of the towns' blast furnaces and the Monkland Canal route. Although Airdrie was an already established town and had local supplies of ironstone, the Monkland Canal link did not extend into Airdrie because of its higher elevation. [41] The Clyde Valley plan of 1949 described Coatbridge as 'situated over a flooded coalfield'. [42] Tenement buildings in Coatbridge were not built to the same level as Glasgow tenements due to danger of local subsidence from centuries of local mining. [43]


Dunbeth hill where the present local authority municipal buildings stand is a wedge of rock which was probably squeezed upwards by the force of two (now-extinct) fault lines. There are the remains of spreads of glacial sands along the crest of Drumpellier, the west bank of Gartsherrie Burn and along modern day Bank Street. Kirkwood, Kirkshaws and Shawhead sit on a sandstone capped ridge looking south over the Clyde Valley. The vital Coatbridge black band coal field extended from Langloan to beyond the eastern edge of the town. [26]

View of Coatbridge from the east. Landmarks from left to right are: Gartsherrie Academy, Gartsherrie Church, Coatbridge Library, Canal Bridge, High Coats & Dunbeth Court flats. Whitelaw Fountain can just be glimpsed under the Canal Bridge. It was noted in the early 20th century that 'The cross at Coatbridge ranks among the most may pass through it in any form of locomotion. One can not only walk, ride or drive past it, but may train over it or sail under it by means of the canal' Coatbridgeskyline.jpg
View of Coatbridge from the east. Landmarks from left to right are: Gartsherrie Academy, Gartsherrie Church, Coatbridge Library, Canal Bridge, High Coats & Dunbeth Court flats. Whitelaw Fountain can just be glimpsed under the Canal Bridge. It was noted in the early 20th century that 'The cross at Coatbridge ranks among the most may pass through it in any form of locomotion. One can not only walk, ride or drive past it, but may train over it or sail under it by means of the canal'


Like much of the British Isles, Coatbridge experiences a temperate maritime climate with relatively cool summers and mild winters. The prevailing wind is from the west. Regular but generally light precipitation occurs throughout the year.


Coatbridge is the home of 'Scotland's Noisiest Museum', Summerlee Heritage Park, which contains an insight into the life in industrial Coatbridge. A row of 1900s-1980s cottages, a working tram line and a real coal mine can all be experienced on site. The park is situated on the remains of one of Coatbridge's historic blast furnaces.

Literature, theatre and film

Janet Hamilton, the nineteenth century poet and essayist, died in Langloan in 1873. Present-day writers Anne Donovan (Orange prize winner), Brian Conaghan (the author of three novels The Boy Who Made it Rain' (2011) 'When Mr Dog Bites' (2014) and 'The Bombs That Brought Us Together' (2016)) and award-winning author Des Dillon [45] are all from Coatbridge. Coatbridge has regularly featured in Des Dillon's work. Two of his books about Coatbridge have been turned into plays. [46]

Mark Millar is a Coatbridge comic book writer whose Wanted comic book series has been translated into a feature film starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, as well as the highly successful graphic novel Kickass which was adapted into the successful film of the same name in 2010. Coatbridge born Dame Laurentia McLachlan was the Benedictine abbess of the Stanbrook Community whose correspondence with George Bernard Shaw and Sydney Cockerell was the subject of the film The Best of Friends . [47] Coatbridge is also home to the annual Deep Fried Film Festival. Local filmmakers Duncan and Wilma Finnigan have been described by The List as 'the John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands of Coatbridge'. [48]


Thomas McAleese (alias Dean Ford) was the lead singer of The Marmalade who had a UK number one single in 1969 with a cover of The Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and co-wrote "Reflections of My Life", Marmalade's biggest world wide success. Coatbridge brothers Greg Kane and Pat Kane are the band Hue and Cry. Coatbridge born Alan Frew is the ex-pat lead singer of Canadian group Glass Tiger. Cha Burns (deceased), Jimme O'Neill and JJ Gilmour of The Silencers are from Coatbridge. Coatbridge sisters Fran and Anna were a famous duo on the Scottish traditional music scene.

Coatbridge and Ireland

St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Coatbridge, 2009 Stpatricksdayfestivalcbridge.JPG
St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Coatbridge, 2009

Coatbridge is especially noted for its historical links with Ireland. This is largely due to large scale immigration into the town from Ulster (especially from County Donegal) in the 19th century and throughout most of the 20th century. Indeed, the town has been called 'little Ireland'. [49] [50] [51]

The most obvious manifestation of these links can be seen in the annual St. Patrick's Day Festival. The festival is sponsored by the Irish Government and Guinness. The festival runs for over a fortnight and includes lectures, film shows, dance/Gaelic football competitions and music performances. The festival is the largest Irish celebration in Scotland. [52] [53] [54]

Coatbridge accent

The Coatbridge accent has been categorised as making less use of the Scots tongue and exhibiting a tendency to stress the 'a' vowel differently from general Scots usage. Examples of this are seen the pronunciation of the words stair (sterr), hair (herr), fair (ferr) and chair (cherr). This different enunciation has been attributed to the impact of successive influxes of Ulster Catholic immigrants into Coatbridge. [55] [56] However, the distinctiveness of the Coatbridge accent and pronunciation has diminished as the various surrounding populations (especially Glasgow) have mingled with that of Coatbridge.


Cliftonhill, home of Albion Rovers CliftonhillCoatbridge.JPG
Cliftonhill, home of Albion Rovers
Children's fun run in Drumpellier Country Park DrumpellierParkFunRun.JPG
Children's fun run in Drumpellier Country Park

Coatbridge's local football team are Albion Rovers. Albion Rovers play in Scottish League One, and Cliftonhill is where they play their home games. The "Wee Rovers" were founded in 1882 when two local Coatbridge clubs, Rovers and Albion, amalgamated to form the club bearing the name. [57]

Coatbridge CC a local amateur club founded in 1976 became Scottish Champions in 1986 and again in 1988.

Drumpellier Cricket Club has been in continuous existence for over 150 years and the club have a ground in the Drumpellier area.[ citation needed ]

Greyhound and Speedway racing also took part in the town, using the Albion Rovers FC ground. Greyhound Racing began on 11 December 1931 and lasted until 1986. [58] The Edinburgh Monarchs rode there in 1968-69 (as the Coatbridge Monarchs) after losing their track at Meadowbank Stadium to the developers for the 1970 Commonwealth Games. [59] Glasgow Tigers moved from Hampden Park to Coatbridge in 1973, and stayed there until June 1977, when they were forced out by the greyhound racing. [60]

The Coatbridge Indoor bowling club hosted the World Indoor Bowls Championships from 1979 until 1987. [61]

Bowls clubs All are part of the Lanarkshire Bowling Association and Bowls Scotland District 20.

Coatbridge was the home of former boxer Bert Gilroy, Scotland's longest-reigning champion. Coatbridge is also home to the WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion Ricky Burns. Walter Donaldson, former World Snooker champion, also hailed from Coatbridge. [62]

There are two golf courses: the municipal course bordering Drumpellier Country Park and the nearby private member's club Drumpellier Golf Course. Clare Queen, Scotland's number one female golfer on the women's European tour, is from Coatbridge. [63]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Coatbridge Coatbridge coat arms.jpg
The coat of arms of Coatbridge

Coatbridge was given burgh status in 1885, and was granted a coat of arms by the Lord Lyon in 1892. The arms have a black field and on it a flaming tower to represent a blast furnace and Coatbridge's industrial tradition. The crest is a monk holding a stone in his left hand. The stone relates to the old parish of Monklands and the legend of the 'aul' Kirk stane'. [64] The legend of the 'aul' Kirk stane' is that a pilgrim undertaking a penance from Glasgow carried a stone in the direction of Monklands. When he could carry the stone no further (or in another version of the legend, when an angel spoke to him) he laid the stone down. It was where the stone came to rest that he was to build a church. The church is the present day Old Monkland Kirk, at which the stone can still be seen. [29]

The Latin motto 'Laborare est orare' translates as 'to work is to pray', which originates in the writings of St. Benedict and is commonly associated with the Cistercian Order whose monks came to Monklands in the 12th century. [19]

Local government

Coatbridge is represented by three tiers of elected government. North Lanarkshire Council, the unitary local authority for Coatbridge, 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, [65] while reserved matters are dealt with by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Up until 1975, Coatbridge had its own Burgh Council. Between 1975-1996, Coatbridge was part of Monklands District Council and Strathclyde Regional Council. During the by-election campaign in Monklands East of 1994, there were accusations [66] of sectarianism and nepotism in favour of Coatbridge over neighbouring Airdrie by Monklands District Council. See Monklandsgate and Monklands East by-election, 1994. The fact that all seventeen Labour councillors were Roman Catholic led to Coatbridge being seen as a "Catholic town". Subsequent inquiries showed no evidence of sectarianism, but allegations of nepotism were shown to be true. [67]

Coatbridge is presently part of the burgh constituency of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, electing one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Before the constituency's creation in 2005, Coatbridge lay in the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency. Hugh Gaffney of the Scottish Labour Party has been the MP since the 2017 snap election. For the purposes of the Scottish Parliament, Coatbridge forms part of the Coatbridge and Cryston constituency, which is represented by Fulton MacGregor of the Scottish National Party. Coatbridge is further represented by seven regional MSPs from the Central Scotland electoral region. [68] A small part of the eastern fringes of the town forms part of the Airdrie and Shotts constituency which is represented by Alex Neil in the Scottish Parliament and Neil Gray in the Westminster Parliament, both of the SNP.

Notable politicians from Coatbridge include: Baroness Liddell, a former MP who was formerly both Secretary of State for Scotland and Britain's High Commissioner in Australia, and Lord Reid, also a former MP who was the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Home Secretary. Lord Reid is a former Chairman of Celtic F.C.


Coatbridge compared according to UK Census 2001 [69] [70] [71] [72]
CoatbridgeNorth LanarkshireScotland
Total population41,170321,0675,062,011
Foreign born 1.3%1.7%3.8%
Over 75 years old6.1%5.6%7.1%

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, the census locality of Coatbridge had a total resident population of 41,170, or 13% of the total of North Lanarkshire. This figure, combined with an area of 6.818 square miles (17.7 km2), [73] provides Coatbridge with a population density figure of 6,038 inhabitants per square mile (2,331/km2).

Historic population of Coatbridge [74] [75]

The median ages of males and females living in Coatbridge were 35 and 38 years respectively, compared to 37 and 39 years in the whole of Scotland. [69] 34% were married, 6.1% were cohabiting couples, 14.7% were single parent families and 32.5% of households were made up of individuals. [76]

The place of birth of the town's residents was as follows: 98.7% United Kingdom (including 96% from Scotland), 0.32% Republic of Ireland, 0.30% from other European Union countries, and 0.72% from elsewhere in the world. [69] The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 39.3% in full-time employment, 9.4% in part-time employment, 3.6% self-employed, 5.3% unemployed, 2.5% students with jobs, 3.2% students without jobs, 13.4% retired, 5.7% looking after home or family, 12.0% permanently sick or disabled, and 5.7% economically inactive for other reasons. [71] Compared with the average demography of Scotland, Coatbridge has low proportions of people born outside the United Kingdom, and people over 75 years of age. [69]

During the 19th century, Irish people began to arrive in large numbers in Coatbridge. The 1851 UK Census recorded that Irish people constituted 35.8% of the local population. A significant proportion of these immigrants were Protestant, but the majority were Catholic. By 1901 UK Census, the percentage of Irish-born people in Coatbridge had fallen to around 15%, but remained the highest of all the major towns in Scotland. [77] In the 2001 UK Census, Irish ethnicity was recorded at just over 1%, although just over half the population claimed their religious denomination as Roman Catholicism. In 1985, 56% of the population of Coatbridge were Roman Catholic. [49]

In 2006, Coatbridge (along with Port Glasgow and Clydebank) was identified as "the least Scottish town in Scotland" due to having the highest percentage of Irish names in the country. Reportedly more than 28% of adults in Coatbridge had names with Irish origins. [78] [79]

Other immigrants to Coatbridge have included in the 1880s a small number of Lithuanians. [80] In 1905, part of a "wave" of immigrants from Monte Cassino in Italy settled in Coatbridge. A small number of Polish people had stayed in Coatbridge after a Polish tank regiment was stationed in the town during World War II.


21st century Coatbridge is the site of Scotland's inland container base. Coatbridge was chosen as the site in part due to the proximity of various rail and motorway networks. [31] Makers of PA systems and loudspeakers Tannoy Ltd. are headquartered in Coatbridge. Lees Foods Plc is a local confectionery and bakery products company and are the manufacturers of the Lees Macaroon bar. William Lawson's Scotch Whisky distillery has been located in Coatbridge since 1967. [81] Coatbridge was home to one of the first B&Q Depots, which was closed in 2006 and moved to the new retail park. The oldest family business in Coatbridge and Airdrie is funeral directors, Donald McLaren Ltd, which was founded in 1912.

In terms of housing, property prices in Coatbridge have undergone rapid growth since 2000. In 2005, house prices rose by 35%, reportedly the largest such increase in Scotland. [82]


St. Augustine's Church, Dundyvan (architectural details) Staugusts2.jpg
St. Augustine's Church, Dundyvan (architectural details)
New extension at Summerlee Heritage Park Summerlee3.JPG
New extension at Summerlee Heritage Park
Coatbridge War Memorial CoatbridgeWarMemorial.JPG
Coatbridge War Memorial

The built environment around Coatbridge's town centre is a mixture of late 19th- and early 20th-century sandstone buildings and late 20th-century precast concrete shops. The leafy Blairhill and Dunbeth conservation areas to the west and north of the town centre comprise detached, semi-detached and terraced sandstone residential buildings. The bulk of the remaining surrounding areas consist of various 20th-century local authority housing buildings. Several high rise flats dominate the skyline. Due to the decline of industries, several private housing estates have been built on reclaimed land.

In 2007 Coatbridge was awarded Prospect architecture magazine's carbuncle award for being the 'most dismal town in Scotland'. [40] The town was also described by Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle as 'like Bladerunner... without the special effects'. [83]

Drumpellier Country Park is set around Woodend Loch. There are extensive woodlands, a visitor centre and a butterfly house. Monkland Canal runs through a section of the park.

The Time Capsule is a multi-purpose leisure centre containing a swimming pool, an adventure pool set in a prehistoric environment, an ice skating facility, sauna/steam room and a sports complex with gym halls and other facilities. The Showcase Leisure Park contains a 14-screen cinema, a 10-pin bowling complex and numerous restaurants.

Landmarks in Coatbridge include:

St Andrew's Church Coatbridge church whitelawhill.jpg
St Andrew's Church


The Monkland Canal (completed 1791 [88] ) was used in the 19th and 20th century to transport coal and iron to Glasgow. The town centre section of the canal was interred in pipe between Sikeside and Blair Road in the mid-1970s. [31] Some sections of the Monkland Canal can still be seen today between Townhead and Drumpellier. Coatbridge is adjacent to the M8 and M73 motorways. The M74 motorway is also a short drive away. The major cities of Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow are all within commuting distance.


Due to the number of rail lines running through Coatbridge, it was once dubbed the "Crewe of the North". [89] There are six railway stations on the four railway lines that bisect the town: Motherwell-Cumbernauld Line; Argyle Line; Whifflet Line; and North Clyde Line. The six stations within Coatbridge and on these lines are: Blairhill; Coatbridge Central; Coatbridge Sunnyside; Coatdyke; Kirkwood; and Whifflet.

Coatbridge has had additional passenger stations, such as Langloan and Calder Station (Greenend); these stations have been closed for many years.

McGill's Buses are responsible for most of the bus services in the town, after buying out most of the smaller local companies. The buses are all in Go Zone 8 on the McGill’s network. The buses link all the major neighbourhoods with the 212 continuing on to Airdrie, Plains and Caldercruix.


Aerial view of Coatbridge (2011) including the Langloan and Dundyvan areas (left/bottom) and the town centre (right/centre). Coatbridge from the air (geograph 2519022).jpg
Aerial view of Coatbridge (2011) including the Langloan and Dundyvan areas (left/bottom) and the town centre (right/centre).

The earliest map showing Coatbridge is by Timothy Pont published in Johan Blaeu's Nether warde of clyds-dail (1654). The districts of Dunpelder, Gartsherrie, Langloan, Kirkwood, Kirkshaws and Whifflet are all evident. [90]

The present day[ when? ] neighbourhoods of Coatbridge are Barrowfield, Blairhill, Brownshill, Carnbroe, Cliftonhill, Cliftonville, Coatbank, Coatdyke, Cuparhead, Drumpellier, Dunbeth, Dundyvan, Espieside, Gartsherrie, Greenhill, Greenend, Kirkshaws, Kirkwood, Langloan, Old Monkland, Rosehall, Shawhead, Sikeside, Summerlee, Sunnyside, Townhead and Whifflet. Victoria Park is a relatively new area close the town centre which was built on a brownfield site once occupied by heavy industry. The Blairhill and Dunbeth neighbourhoods are part of the Blairhill and Dunbeth conservation area. [91]

Whitelaw is the area which the town centre is in but is a term which has not been used for many years.[ when? ] The fountain which is situated at the town centre on the corner of Main Street and South Circular Road is officially called the Whitelaw Fountain. [92]


Coatbridge College CoatbridgeCollege.JPG
Coatbridge College

Coatbridge College was built as Scotland's first college in the late 19th century. As Coatbridge has moved away from the traditional heavy industries the teaching focus has shifted from traditional industry courses towards commerce, care and the arts. St Ambrose, St Andrew's and Coatbridge High are the best-known secondary schools serving Coatbridge. The first two are Roman Catholic. St Ambrose was the subject of an HMI follow-up assessment visit in January 2009. [93] Sports journalist and broadcaster Bob Crampsey was formerly headmaster of St Ambrose. Singer and television presenter Michelle McManus is a former pupil of the school. Prominent football referee Willie Collum taught religious education at St Ambrose in the early 2000s.

The modern building of Coatbridge High School Coatbridge High School (geograph 3033746).jpg
The modern building of Coatbridge High School

As previously mentioned, Coatbridge has 3 secondary schools: St. Andrew's H.S (which opened in 2006), Coatbridge H.S (opened in 2008) and St. Ambrose H.S (which opened in 2013). St. Andrew's H.S is made up of staff and pupils of the two former schools St. Patrick's H.S (formerly located in the area of the new Coatbridge H.S) and Columba H.S, both schools have since been demolished around the date of the schools opening in October 2006.

Coatbridge H.S is made up of staff and pupils of the original Coatbridge H.S (now Greenhill Primary and Drumpark Primary) as well as staff and pupils of the former Rosehall H.S (formerly located in the boundary of St. Andrew's H.S).

Coatbridge also has several special needs schools including Pentland School (Primary school), Portland High School, Drumpark School, Willowbank School (High School) and Buchanan High School. [93]

Public services

Coatbridge forms part of the Western water and sewerage regions of Scotland. Waste management is provided by the North Lanarkshire local authority. Water supplies are provided by Scottish Water, a government-owned corporation of the Scottish Government. Coatbridge's Distribution Network Operator for electricity is Scottish Power. [94] Coatbridge is served by Monklands Hospital, sited on the Airdrie side of the Coatbridge/Airdrie border. The NHS board is NHS Lanarkshire. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service which operates in Coatbridge. Policing in Coatbridge is provided by the Police Service of Scotland (Lanarkshire Division). The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, a public body in Scotland, has direct operational responsibilities, such as supporting (and in some cases running) local bus services, and managing integrated ticketing in Coatbridge and other areas from the former Strathclyde region. [95] Transport Scotland manages the local rail network. [95]

The local authority responsible for community-based service in Coatbridge is North Lanarkshire Council. The council provides local services related to education, social work, the environment, housing, road maintenance and leisure. [96]

Notable people from Coatbridge

Twin towns

Coatbridge is twinned with St. Denis, France; [99] Campi Bisenzio, Italy; [99] and Gatchina, Russia. [99]

Related Research Articles

Airdrie, North Lanarkshire Town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Airdrie is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It lies on a plateau roughly 400 ft above sea level, and is approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of Glasgow city centre. Historically part of Lanarkshire, Airdrie forms part of a conurbation with its neighbour Coatbridge, in the former district known as the Monklands. As of 2012, the town had a population of around 37,130.

Lanarkshire Historic county in Scotland

Lanarkshire, also called the County of Lanark is a historic county in the central Lowlands of Scotland.


Bargeddie is a village in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, just outside the suburban fringe of Glasgow, 8 miles (13 km) east of the city centre, and close to the junction of the M73 and M8 motorways. The nearest major town is Coatbridge, 2 miles (3 km) to the east.

Calderbank village in United Kingdom

Calderbank is a village outside the town of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It lies west of the M73, on the west bank of the North Calder Water. The village lies 13 miles east of Glasgow city centre and around 34 miles west of Edinburgh. Other nearby towns include: Airdrie, Coatbridge, Bellshill and Motherwell. It has a population of about 1,610.

Whifflet human settlement in United Kingdom

Whifflet is now a suburb of Coatbridge, Scotland, which once formed its own distinctive village. It is referred to locally as 'The Whifflet'. Presently located in the North Lanarkshire Council area it was originally known as wheat flats but over time the name appears to have developed into Whifflet. It is dominated by its main street, Whifflet Street, which has many shops including an old sweet shop Tommy Tangos, pubs and bookmakers and is towered over by the post-war built Calder flats. The two most prominent tower blocks are on Whifflet St.

Monkland Canal

The Monkland Canal was a 12 14-mile-long (19.7 km) canal designed to bring coal from the mining areas of Monklands to Glasgow in Scotland. In the course of a long and difficult construction process, it was opened progressively as short sections were completed, from 1771. It reached Gartcraig in 1782, and in 1794 it reached its full originally planned extent, from pits at Calderbank to a basin at Townhead in Glasgow; at first this was in two sections with a 96-foot (29 m) vertical interval between them at Blackhill; coal was unloaded and carted to the lower section and loaded onto a fresh barge. Locks were later constructed linking the two sections, and the canal was also connected to the Forth and Clyde Canal, giving additional business potential.

Blairhill railway station railway station

Blairhill railway station serves the Blairhill area of Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire. It is 8½ miles (13 km) east of Glasgow Queen Street railway station. Situated on Blair Road, the railway station is managed by Abellio ScotRail and is served by trains on the North Clyde Line, comprising Class 334s on Edinburgh to Helensburgh services, and Class 318s and Class 320s on Airdrie to Balloch services.

Coatbridge Sunnyside railway station

Coatbridge Sunnyside railway station serves the town of Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The railway station is managed by Abellio ScotRail and is located on the North Clyde Line, 9 miles (14 km) east of Glasgow Queen Street.

Greengairs village in United Kingdom

Greengairs is a village in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Greengairs is shown on a map by Roy c.1754 under the name of Green Geirs. In toponymy the name means "green strips of grass". Lying 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Cumbernauld and 3 miles (5 km) north east of Airdrie, the village consists mainly of local authority housing. Between them Greengairs and Wattston have about 1,190 residents.

The Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway was an early railway built primarily to carry coal to Glasgow and other markets from the Monkland coalfields, shortening the journey and by-passing the monopolistic charges of the Monkland Canal; passenger traffic also developed early in the line's existence.

The Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway was an early mineral railway running from a colliery at Monklands to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Kirkintilloch, Scotland. It was the first railway to use a rail ferry, the first public railway in Scotland, and the first in Scotland to use locomotive power successfully, and it was a major influence in the successful development of the Lanarkshire iron industry. It opened in 1826.

The Monkland Railways was a railway company formed in 1848 by the merger of three "coal railways" that had been built to serve coal and iron pits around Airdrie in Central Scotland, and connect them to canals for onward transport of the minerals. The newly formed company had a network stretching from Kirkintilloch to Causewayend, near Linlithgow. These coal railways had had mixed fortunes; the discovery of blackband ironstone and the development of the iron smelting industry around Coatbridge had led to phenomenal success, but hoped-for mineral discoveries in the moorland around Slamannan had been disappointing. The pioneering nature of the railways left them with a legacy of obsolete track and locomotives, and new, more modern, railways were being built around them.

The Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway was a railway line in Scotland built by the Caledonian Railway to shorten the route from the Coatbridge area to Glasgow. It opened in 1865. It was later extended to Airdrie in 1886, competing with the rival North British Railway. Soon after a further extension was built from Airdrie to Calderbank and Newhouse.

Coatbridge Branch (NBR)

The Coatbridge Branch of the North British Railway was a railway built to connect the important coal and iron industrial districts of Coatbridge and Airdrie directly to Glasgow for the North British Railway.

Summerlee, Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, formerly known as Summerlee Heritage Park, is an industrial museum in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was built on the site of the Victorian Summerlee Iron Works and incorporated the main workshop of the former Hydrocon Crane factory. The museum is managed by CultureNL Ltd.

The history of Coatbridge, Scotland, is one of dramatic change. The town transformed from an obscure group of 18th century Lanarkshire hamlets strung out on the road between Glasgow and Airdrie to a world leading centre of iron production in the 19th century. Development took off at an incredible rate in the 19th century and led to massive changes to the landscape and an explosion in the population.

Neighbourhoods of Coatbridge

Coatbridge is a town which grew out of a series of 18th century hamlets on the road between Airdrie and Glasgow. During the 19th century these hamlets grew into the modern-day town of Coatbridge. A number of these hamlets constitute the neighbourhoods of Coatbridge. Overlaid on the older hamlets are modern-day council estates built as a part of programme of social housing construction in the 1930s and 1950s.

The Glasgow, Bothwell, Hamilton and Coatbridge Railway was a railway company in Scotland, built to serve coal and ironstone pits in the Hamilton and Bothwell areas, and convey the mineral to Glasgow and to ironworks in the Coatbridge area. It was allied to the North British Railway, and it opened in 1877. Passenger services followed.

James Davidson, JP FRIBA was a Scottish architect. He also served as a Provost of Coatbridge and a President of Airdrie Savings Bank.

The Caledonian Railway branches in North Lanarkshire built on the Caledonian Railway main line, which opened in 1848. In the following years the considerable increase of iron production and coal extraction in North Lanarkshire led to a progressive expansion of branch lines in the area between the eastern margin of Glasgow and Bellside in the east, and between Coatbridge, Airdrie and Motherwell. Mineral traffic was dominant and for some years passenger operation followed the construction of some of the mineral connections. In 1861 the Rutherglen and Coatbridge line was opened, extended later to Airdrie, rivalling the established Monkland Railways route. In 1869 the connection from Cleland to Midcalder was opened, connecting mineral sites but also forming a new passenger route to Edinburgh.


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Further reading