A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2022.

It has taken much time and money to make the six-volumes of Groome's text freely accessible. Please help us continue and develop by making a donation. If only one out of every ten people who view this page gave £5 or $10, the project would be self-sustaining. Sadly less than one in thirty-thousand contribute, so please give what you can.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry Arrow

Airdrie (Gael. airde-reidh, 'smooth height'), a parliamentary and municipal burgh in New Monkland parish, NE Lanarkshire, 2 miles E by N of Coatbridge, 11 E of Glasgow, and 32 W by S of Edinburgh. It stands on the great highroad between the two cities, with which it also communicates by the North British railway, having one station (South Side) on the main Bathgate line, and another (Commonhead or North Airdrie) on the Slamannan branch, 16 miles WSW of Manuel Junction. With Glasgow it is further connected by the Monkland Canal, extending to Calder ironworks, 1½ mile to the SSW. Lying between two rivulets, on the side of a hill with a south-westward slope from Rawyards (624 feet above sea-level) to Coatdike (361 feet), Airdrie consists of a principal street running 1 mile E and W along the highroad, with minor parallel or divergent streets: and though well paved and lighted, airy, and regularly built, it wears a straggling and somewhat unlovely aspect. Chalmers identified its site with Ardderyd, the battlefield of Rhydderch and Gwendolew (573): but Ardderyd or Arthuret is far away in Cumberland (Skene, Celt. Scot., i. 157), and the first that we hear of Airdrie is its erection into a market-town by Act of Parliament in 1695, with the privilege of holding a weekly market and two yearly fairs. Down even to the close of last century it was merely a large village, and its rapid expansion during the next five decades was due to the opening up of the rich beds of coal and ironstone around it, to facilities of communication with the markets and outlets of the West, and to its share in the weaving orders of Glasgow manufacturers. It was made a burgh of barony in 1821, one of the five Falkirk parliamentary burghs in 1832, and a municipal burgh in 1849: prior to 1871 it partly adopted the General Police and Improvement Act. Governed by a provost, 3 bailies, and 12 councillors, with treasurer, town-clerk, and procurator-fiscal, Airdrie unites with Falkirk, Hamilton, Lanark, and Linlithgow, in returning 1 member to parliament under the name of the Falklrk burghs. The parliamentary constituency was 2193 in 1891; municipal, 3153. Airdrie has a post office, with money order, savings bank, insurance, and telegraph departments; branches of the Bank of Scotland, and of the Clydesdale, National, Royal, and British Linen Company banks ; a savings bank, insurance offices, a gas-light company, a water company, conjointly with Coatbridge, a fire brigade, a fever hospital, several hotels and posting establishments, a race-course, and a Saturday newspaper - the Airdrie Advertiser (1855). A weekly market is held every Tuesday, and the fairs are on the last Tuesday of May and the third Tuesday of November. The chief public edifices are a good Town-Hall, erected about 1832, with spire and clock, and handsome County Buildings, in which are held a sheriff court every Tuesday and Friday, a small debt court on Tuesday, ordinary and debts recovery courts on Friday, a justice of peace court every Monday and Thursday, and a burgh court on Monday. The first town in Scotland to adopt the Free Library Act (1856), Airdrie has now a public free library of 8000 volunles (for which a building was erected in 1893), besides a mechanics' institute and school of arts. There are also a public hall, a masonic hall, and a Good Templars' hall, and offices of a town mission, a female benevolent society, a young men's Christian association, and the New Monkland Agricultural Society (1805). Two public drinking fountains were erected in 1865 - one, 20 feet high, in front of the Royal Hotel; the other, octagonal and Early Decorated in style, at the crossroads, on the site of an ancient cross; another in 1887. The quoad sacra parish of Airdrie, in the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow and Ayr, had a pop. (1871) of 13,666, but this included. the Flowerhill district at the E end of the town, which in 1875 was constituted a separate quoad sacra parish, and in 1891 had a pop. of 4534, when Airdrie parish had 11,924. Airdrie parish church, built in 1835, and called the West Church, contains 1200 sittings; under it is Rawyards mission station. Flowerhill Church was erected for a quondam Reformed Presbyterian congregation, which joined the Establishment in 1873. Completed in 1875 at a cost of £6000, it is a Romanesque structure, seating 900, and adorned with a bell-tower over 100 feet high. An organ was introduced into the church in 1886. Other places of worship are four Free churches (West, Broomknoll, High, and Graham Street), two U. P. churches, one Baptist church, one Reformed Presbyterian, one Wesleyan, one Congregationalist, one Evangelical Union, and one Roman Catholic - St Margaret's (1839), with 1010 sittings. The Academy was built in 1849 at a cost of £2500, defrayed by Mr Alexander of Airdrie House, who further endowed it with £60 a year; and two fine new board schools, the Albert and the Victoria, were opened in 1876. There are bursaries for children of the town attending these schools (chiefly the Academy), of an aggregate yearly value of £100; and they are eligible for one or more of five college bursaries, of £22 for five sessions. There are in all five schools - four of them public (Academy, Albert, Chapelside, and Victoria), and one Roman Catholic. These five had a total accommodation for 3128 children, an average attendance of 2962, and grants amounting to £2977, 10s.1d. The manufacturing prosperity, after growing for 50 years with the growth of a New-World rather than of all Old-World town, was checked for a season, again to show symptoms of renewed vigour. There are some 50 collieries and ironstone mines at work in New Monkland parish, while the Calderbank Steel and Coal Company has several furnaces in operation at Calderbank and Chapelhall; and in and without the town there are brass and iron foundries, engineering shops, oil and fireclay works, brickfields, quarries, paper-mills, silk and calico printing works, and cotton, wincey, hosiery, flannel, and tweed factories. Steps have lately been taken towards providing an increase in the water supply, by Airdrie and Coatbridge conjointly, an Act of Parliament having been secured for the purpose, Value of real property, (1861) £30,284, (1872) £30,926, (1881) £33,027, (1891) £48,275. Pop. (1831) 6594, (1861) 12,918, (1871) 31,488, (1881) 13,363, (1891) 19,135. - Ord. Sur. sh. 13, 18.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better