Last updated
Motherwell panorama.jpg
Panorama over the West Coast Main Line running through Motherwell
North Lanarkshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within North Lanarkshire
Area14.28 km2 (5.51 sq mi)  [1]
Population32,120 estimate mid-2012
  Density 2,249/km2 (5,820/sq mi)
  Edinburgh 31 mi (50 km) ENE
  London 335 mi (539 km) SSE
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district ML1
Dialling code 01698
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°47′02″N3°59′07″W / 55.7839°N 3.9852°W / 55.7839; -3.9852 Coordinates: 55°47′02″N3°59′07″W / 55.7839°N 3.9852°W / 55.7839; -3.9852

Motherwell (Scots : Mitherwall, Scottish Gaelic : Tobar na Màthar [2] ) is a large town and former burgh in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom, south east of Glasgow. [3] It has a population of around 32,120. [4] [5] [6] Historically in the parish of Dalziel [7] and part of Lanarkshire, Motherwell is the headquarters for North Lanarkshire Council. Geographically the River Clyde separates Motherwell from Hamilton to the west whereas the South Calder Water separates Motherwell from Carfin to the north-east and New Stevenston and Bellshill towards the north. Motherwell is also geographically close to Wishaw to the south-east.

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.

Burgh former autonomous corporate entity in Scotland and Northern England

A burgh was an autonomous municipal corporation in Scotland and Northern England, usually a town, or toun in Scots. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when King David I created the first royal burghs. Burgh status was broadly analogous to borough status, found in the rest of the United Kingdom. Following local government reorganization in 1975 the title of "royal burgh" remains in use in many towns, but now has little more than ceremonial value.

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.



A Roman road [8] through central Scotland ran along Motherwell’s side of the River Clyde, crossing the South Calder Water near Bothwellhaugh. At this crossing a fort and bath house were erected, but the Roman presence in Scotland did not last much later than this. Motherwell's name reportedly comes from a well, the Lady Well, [9] formerly dedicated to the Virgin Mary. [10] The site of this well is now marked by a plaque on Ladywell Road. [11] The name "Moderwelt" appears on a map of Lanarkshire made by Timothy Pont some time between 1583 and 1611 and printed in the Netherlands in around 1652.

Roman Empire period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–395 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. An Iron Age civilization, it had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.

River Clyde river in Scotland

The River Clyde is a river that flows into the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. It is the eighth-longest river in the United Kingdom, and the second-longest in Scotland. Traveling through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire. To the Romans, it was Clota, and in the early medieval Cumbric language, it was known as Clud or Clut, and was central to the Kingdom of Strathclyde.

The South Calder Water,known locally as "The Cawder", is a river in Scotland. It runs west from the high plateau between Shotts and Fauldhouse to the River Clyde.

Blaeu's map based on Pont's original "Glasgow and the county of Lanark" map c.1596 depicting Moderwelt east of Hamelton, south of Clydsid and north of Dalzel Castle. Blaeu - Atlas of Scotland 1654 - GLOTTIANA PRAEFECTVRA INFERIOR - Cleland.png
Blaeu's map based on Pont's original "Glasgow and the county of Lanark" map c.1596 depicting Moderwelt east of Hamelton, south of Clydsid and north of Dalzel Castle.

By the start of the 19th century Motherwell was a small hamlet, a farming community of some 600 people living adjacently to the 16th century laird’s manor, Jerviston house. [14] The hamlet remained reasonably small, reaching 1,700 people by 1841, and centred on the crossroads between the main road following the Clyde, and the road connecting Edinburgh with Hamilton and the west.

Jerviston is a country estate on the north-eastern edge of the Scottish town of Motherwell in North Lanarkshire which is now occupied by Colville Park Country Club.

Edinburgh City and council area in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

Hamilton, South Lanarkshire town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland

Hamilton is a town in South Lanarkshire, in the central Lowlands of Scotland. It serves as the main administrative centre of the South Lanarkshire council area. It sits 12 miles (19 km) south-east of Glasgow, 35 miles (56 km) south-west of Edinburgh and 74 miles (120 km) north of Carlisle. It is situated on the south bank of the River Clyde at its confluence with the Avon Water. Hamilton is the county town of the historic county of Lanarkshire.

Motherwell's fortunes changed dramatically in the second half of the 19th century. With the coming of the railway in 1848, came industry and money. By 1881 David Colville had opened both an iron and steel works; Motherwell had a new piped water supply; had been granted burgh status and had its population swelled to 13,800 people. [14]

David Colville & Sons Scottish iron and steel company

David Colville & Sons, a Scottish iron and steel company, was founded in 1871 and it opened its Dalzell Steel and Iron Works at Motherwell in 1872. By the first World War, it was the largest steel works in Scotland and it continued to expanded afterwards taking over a number of other steel works in Cambuslang and Glengarnock.

By the end of the 19th century Motherwell Town Hall and Dalziel High School had been built, the local football club had been founded, and its stadium, Fir Park, had been constructed.

Dalziel High School

Dalziel High School is a non-denominational secondary school in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The rector is Robert Birch.

Motherwell F.C. association football club

Motherwell Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. The club compete in the Scottish Premiership. Motherwell have not dropped out of the top-flight of Scottish football since 1985, and have lifted one trophy in that time – the Scottish Cup in 1991.

Fir Park football stadium

Fir Park Stadium is a football stadium situated in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The stadium plays host to the home matches of Scottish Premiership club Motherwell and was the temporary home of Gretna for the 2007–08 SPL season. Motherwell moved to the stadium in 1895, previously playing their football at Dalziel Park.

At the start of the 20th century Motherwell stood a large and growing industrial centre, a town of 37,000 people and a wide variety of heavy industries such as munitions, trams and bridge components. By the 1930s most of Scotland’s steel production was in Motherwell, and owned by the Colville family. In 1959 the Colville family were persuaded by the government to begin work of a vast new steel works, which would become Ravenscraig. Within a few years, Ravenscraig was producing more than a million tonnes of steel per year. Following nationalisation of the steel industry, production at the plant was raised, with the Motherwell blast furnaces producing 3 million tonnes each year. [11]

Ravenscraig steelworks

The Ravenscraig steelworks, operated by Colvilles and from 1967 by British Steel Corporation, consisted of an integrated iron and steel works and a hot strip steel mill. They were located in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

By the middle of the 1970s, Motherwell’s steel industry employed more than 13,000 people.

The 1980s brought a catastrophic collapse in the industry of Motherwell. The steel strike of 1980 lost British Steel Corporation important contracts and markets, followed by the closure of important local customers such as the Linwood car factory and Bathgate truck factory, Ravenscraig employed only 3,200 people by the end of the 1980s. [11] Ravenscraig closed on 24 June 1992, and was demolished in July 1996, bringing 400 years of Scottish iron production to an end. Today the Dalzell Plate Mill is all that remains of Motherwell’s industrial heritage, rolling steel from Middlesbrough into steel plates of various sizes.

By the start of the 21st century Motherwell had begun to transform itself with the service industry thriving, the large scale unemployment of the previous twenty years had been largely remedied.[ citation needed ]


Motherwell hosted the National Mòd in 1983. [15]

Strathclyde Park previously hosted the major Scottish music festival, T in the Park, until 1996, when it was moved to a disused airfield in Balado, Kinross-shire. It has also hosted other music festivals such as Retrofest. Modern authors Des McAnulty and Mark Wilson have written novels of critical acclaim which are based in the town (LIFE IS LOCAL, McAnulty) and neighbouring town Bellshill (BOBBY'S BOY, Wilson).


Motherwell is the headquarters for both North Lanarkshire Council, which is one of Scotland's most populous local authority areas, and of Police Scotland "Q" division. These organisations cover an overall population of 327,000 people (59,000 in Motherwell and Wishaw) throughout the 183 square miles (470 km2) of North Lanarkshire. Motherwell was noted as the steel production capital of Scotland, nicknamed Steelopolis, [16] home of David Colville & Sons during the 19th and 20th centuries, with its skyline later dominated by the water tower and three cooling towers of their Ravenscraig steelworks which closed in 1992. [17] [18] The Ravenscraig plant had one of the longest continuous casting, hot rolling, steel production facilities in the world before it was decommissioned. The closure of Ravenscraig signalled the end of large scale steel making in Scotland, although the town's Dalzell steel plate works continues to be operated by Tata Steel Europe. [19]

In the past decade,[ when? ] Motherwell has to an extent recovered from the high unemployment and economic decline brought about by this collapse of heavy industry. A number of call centres and business parks such as Strathclyde Business Park have since set up in the region. Large employers include William Grant & Sons whisky distillers and the Heavy equipment manufacturer Terex Trucks.[ citation needed ]

Motherwell has been a Fairtrade Town since January 2007. [20]



The town has six stations, main railway station (known simply as Motherwell), Airbles Shieldmuir Carfin, Holytown and Cleland. The main station runs on the West Coast Main Line from Glasgow to London and on the East Coast Main Line via Edinburgh and Newcastle, and is located next to Motherwell Shopping Centre. National train operators; Virgin Trains, CrossCountry and TransPennine Express, pass through the main station, but not all stop there. The station is also served by Abellio ScotRail who provide direct services to Carstairs, Coatbridge Central, Cumbernauld, Dalmuir, Edinburgh, Lanark, Milngavie and North Berwick. London North Eastern Railway also provide a direct daily service between London King's Cross and Glasgow Central that stops at Motherwell. The smaller station in the Airbles suburb of Motherwell only runs on the line to Dalmuir via Glasgow Central low level and Hamilton Central; however, it is closer to the Civic Centre and Fir Park stadium than the main-line station. That station is served by Abellio ScotRail. Carfin and Holytown are located on the Glasgow Central to Edinburgh line.

The (now defunct) firm of Hurst Nelson was a major railway rolling stock manufacturer based in the town. The company built trains for the London Underground, as well as main line railways.


Motherwell is very accessible, as it is right next to the M74 motorway beside the River Clyde. This road leads to Cumbria on the Anglo-Scottish border, where it becomes the M6. It is also about 3 miles (5 km) drive from the M8 motorway, between the two largest cities of Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In the future, there are plans to build a dual carriageway, that will travel through the town linking the two motorways.


There are a number of different bus companies that travel through the town to various different locations. Some examples include First, JMB Travel, Whitelaws and Coakleys.

Some of the places that can be accessible by bus from Motherwell:

The three acute hospitals in Lanarkshire can also be reached by bus from Motherwell:

Nearest airports

Since the M74 Extension has been completed, access to Glasgow Airport has become easier. The airport is approximately 16 miles (26 km) away from Motherwell. Edinburgh Airport is further away, at 31 miles (50 km), and can be reached by the M8.

Places of interest

North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre Motherwell Heritage Centre - - 103478.jpg
North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre

There are many places of interest that have made Motherwell a place to visit. As well as the town's Country Park, The North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre, formerly the Motherwell Heritage Centre on High Road, situated next to the town's railway station, is a building that displays the history of Motherwell from the Roman era. The building also has a viewing tower on the fifth floor, giving visitors a good view of the town and other parts of Lanarkshire, as well as of mountains as far back as Ben Lomond.

Motherwell also has a Civic Centre, situated next to the town's police station and North Lanarkshire headquarters building. A number of pantomimes and musicals have taken place in the centre's large concert hall. As well as this, the Masters Snooker has also been an event held at the Civic Centre. Renovations have been completed, and the building has now re-opened for business.

The Dalzell House is a building that is situated to the south of the town, right on the banks of the River Clyde. This house is protected as a Category-A listed building.

One of the main attractions in Motherwell is the M&D's Amusement Park, which is situated next to Strathclyde Loch in Strathclyde Park. It is now recognised as Scotland's Theme Park.

Motherwell Cathedral

One main place of interest that is well known in Motherwell is The Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Good Aid, popularly known as Motherwell Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic Cathedral which is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Motherwell. It is the seat of the Bishop of Motherwell and its current bishop is Bishop Joseph Toal. The cathedral is open to the public most days and is considered a monument in Motherwell, as it attracts many Catholic Pilgrims from all over the Diocese. The Cathedral is also well known as a great venue for the performances of the Motherwell Diocesan Choir.


Primary schools

The following primary schools are located in Motherwell:

Secondary schools

Dalziel High School Dalziel High School, Motherwell - - 103480.jpg
Dalziel High School

Dalziel High School is located in Crawford Street and has a school roll of around 1,025 pupils. Notable alumni of Dalziel include Motherwell, Wigan and current Rangers player Lee McCulloch and international television journalist, Alan Fisher.

Braidhurst High School, in the Forgewood area of Motherwell, serves areas including Forgewood, North Motherwell, The Globe and Jerviston. With a roll of around 500, Braidhurst is one of the smaller secondary schools in Lanarkshire. The main school building was recently modernised, with the outdated pink and yellow panels replaced by a modern-looking glass exterior. Notable alumni of Braidhurst include Elaine C Smith (actress), former Scotland national football captain Gary McAllister and Tam Cowan (comedian and writer).

Our Lady's High School is a Roman Catholic secondary located in Dalzell Drive, near Fir Park Stadium. At one point it was the largest school in Western Europe, but the current school roll is around 700. Notable alumni of Our Lady's include Manchester City footballer and Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, Celtic F.C. footballer Billy McNeill, footballer Stephen Pearson Derby County footballer Kieran Tierney Celtic F.C. and footballer Chris Cadden Motherwell F.C.

Other secondary schools in the Motherwell area (thought outside the boundaries of the town itself) include Brannock High School in Newarthill, Taylor R.C. High School in New Stevenston and Clyde Valley High School in Overtown. The nearest private school is Hamilton College in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.

Further education

There is a Further Education college in Motherwell, known as Motherwell College. This was located next to Our Lady's High School in Dalzell Drive, though in 2009 relocated to Ravenscraig, about 1 km away from its former site. The current roll of students at the new building is approximately 20,000 students.

The former site at Barons Grange is now being regenerated into a modern housing area.



The East Stand at Fir Park Stadium, home of Motherwell Football Club Firparkeaststand.jpg
The East Stand at Fir Park Stadium, home of Motherwell Football Club

Motherwell Football Club was established in 1886. Known as the "Steelmen" because of the history of steel making in the area, they play in the Scottish Premiership from their home ground at Fir Park Stadium. Like many smaller clubs in the area, Motherwell struggle to attract a large fanbase due to the attraction of Glasgow's "Old Firm": Rangers and Celtic. The team attracts a regular home support of between five and six thousand fans. Motherwell is one of the most established clubs in the top division of the Scottish football league system, having been in the top flight continuously since the mid-80s. Again, due to the Old Firm's dominance of Scottish football, Motherwell's list of honours is somewhat modest. The club's last major trophy was the 1990–91 Scottish Cup, when they beat Dundee United 43 in the final. Motherwell have qualified for European football several times in recent seasons, usually competing in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League.


Motherwell hosted motorcycle speedway racing at two venues. In 1930 and 1932 racing took place at Airbles Road which would soon be called the Clyde Valley Greyhound Track and the 1930 speedway venture was known as Paragon Speedway. The venture was run by a group of riders who were regulars at White City in Glasgow and known collectively as The Blantyre Crowd.

Speedway returned to the town in 1950 at the then newly constructed Parkneuk Sports Stadium in Milton Street. The Lanarkshire Eagles staged open meetings from July to September 1950. In 1951 the Eagles started out in the National League Second Division with veteran ex-Glasgow Tigers Will Lowther and Joe Crowther in the line up. They operated until the end of the 1954 season.

The top man was Derrick Close, signed from the Newcastle Diamonds in 1951, and he was supported by Gordon McGregor who was a founder Eagle. Eagles also featured Aussies Keith Gurtner and Ron Phillips who moved over when Ashfield left the League. Popular Australian Noel Watson was killed in his home country in 1953. However, due to his "never say die" approach, the fans' favourite was Bluey (Eric) Scott, who joined the Eagles in 1951. The pioneer Eagles featured Bill Baird from Forth who became the only rider to ride for all four Scottish teams.

Tommy Miller, one of the top Scottish speedway stars of the day, joined the Eagles in 1954 but moved on to the Coventry Bees mid-season. A short season in 1958 under former Glasgow Tigers promoter Ian Hoskins saw the end of the events at The Stadium but a short lived Long Track venture and a small speedway track staged four events three on the long track and one on the short track in 1972.

Derrick Close represented Lanarkshire Eagles and England in the 1952 Speedway World Championship Final. He was the third Scottish based rider to achieve this feat after Ken Le Breton (Ashfield Giants and Australia) in 1949 and Jack Young (Edinburgh Monarchs and Australia) in 1950 and 1951.

Greyhound racing

Motherwell had two greyhound tracks in the town. The first opened in 1932 and was called the Clyde Valley Greyhound Track, it was located on Airbles Road and closed in 1959. The second was the Parkneuk Sports Stadium near Milton Street and was opened in 1949 but closed in 1972. [21]

Rugby Union

Dalziel Rugby Club play at Dalziel Park (formerly Cleland Estate) between the villages of Carfin and Cleland (both near Motherwell).


There are cycle routes based in Motherwell and in neighboring Strathclyde Country Park. The Greenlink Cycle Path is a cycle path that acts as a direct route from Strathclyde Park to Motherwell Town Centre. The path was formed in 2005 and may expand into Ravenscraig in the future.


Motherwell has a golf course based within the town, the Colville Park Golf Club, based at Jerviston Estate, on the former site of Jerviston House (the ruins are still visible in the grounds). A second golf course is located at the Dalziel Park Hotel and Golf Club.

Torrance Park Golf Club is a third located in Newarthill.


The Motherwell Hockey Club and Dalziel High School Former Pupils (D.H.S.F.P) Ladies Hockey Club are field hockey clubs based at the astroturf hockey pitches in Dalziel Park.


Athletics is a common sport in Motherwell, as the town has a number of athletics clubs in different locations. The main club, Motherwell Athletics Club, is based down at the Boathouse Gym at Strathclyde Country Park. In recent years there have been top class sports facilities built just outside the town, first Dalziel Park and most recently Ravenscraig Sports Centre, with the latter containing a top-class indoor athletics track. The sports facility in the new town of Ravenscraig will be one of the main venues for the 2011 International Children's Games in Lanarkshire, and is currently hosting the athletics events.

Strathclyde Park


Strathclyde Country Park contains many sports and leisure facilities and also has sites for bird-watchers and anglers. As well as the M&D's theme park, there is also woodland and grass areas that are ideal for picnicking and leisurely strolls. Excavations in the park have revealed a site of archaeological interest including a Roman mosaic, Roman bath house and bridge (currently closed for health and safety reasons). Strathclyde Park is also on the site of the former mining village, Bothwellhaugh, with much of the town submerged after abandonment.

Major events

The park was a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 International Children's Games. It hosted the Triathlon event in both. It was previously a venue for the rowing events at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

Town twinning

Notable people

Location grid

Related Research Articles

Blantyre, South Lanarkshire town

Blantyre is a town and civil parish in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, with a population of 17,505. The name is probably originally Cumbric blaen tir "top of the land" which has been Gaelicised. It is bounded by the River Clyde to the north, the Rotten Calder to the west, the Park Burn to the east and the Rotten Burn to the south.

Strathclyde Country Park country park in Lanarkshire

Strathclyde Country Park is a country park located in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Newarthill village in the United Kingdom

Newarthill is a village in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, situated roughly three miles north-east of the town of Motherwell. It has a population of around 6,800.

Carfin village in United Kingdom

Carfin is a small town to the north-east of Motherwell, Scotland on the road to Newarthill.

Craigneuk human settlement in United Kingdom

Craigneuk is a suburb of Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The original village of Craigneuk was located in the area where Meadowhead Road meets Glasgow Road. It was originally part of Dalziel parish along with the other rural weaving villages of Flemington, Motherwell and Windmillhill. Craigneuk village was located close to the boundary with Cambusnethan parish.

New Stevenston village in United Kingdom

New Stevenston is a small village situated between Motherwell and Bellshill in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. They also have a local amateur Sunday league football team. They play in the Carluke and district league and won the 2015 divisional league trophy by beating local league rivals Forgewood by 4–5 after penalties.

Dalziel Park is an area located between the small villages of Carfin, Cleland and Newarthill in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Other nearby settlements include the large town of Motherwell and the new town of Ravenscraig. The area consists of an estate, a sports facility, a golf course and a clubhouse. It is also used as the home venue for the local rugby team Dalziel, as well as the training ground for the local professional football team Motherwell.

Edusport Academy

Edusport Academy is a residential football academy based in Scotland. The academy was founded in 2011, initially in order to assist young French players, and was initially based at the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, before relocating to Lesser Hampden in Glasgow in 2015. A second centre based in Edinburgh opened in 2014. An Edusport Academy team has also competed in Scottish senior football from the 2014–15 season onwards, the only private academy to do so in a recognised senior league. They initially played in the South of Scotland League before winning promotion to the Lowland League in 2017. Senior matches were played at the Hamilton Palace Sports Ground in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, before moving to Galabank in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, from 2015.

Parkneuk Sports Stadium was a greyhound racing and speedway track on Milton Street, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Colville Park Amateur Football Club is a Scottish amateur football club based in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. In 2016 they competed in the Scottish Cup for the first time after winning the previous season's Scottish Amateur Cup, and repeated this feat in 2017. The team colours are white and blue.


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