Blackwood, South Lanarkshire

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Blackwood is a village which borders Kirkmuirhill, near Lanark in the central belt of Scotland. It has a few small shops, a Roman Catholic and Protestant church, a couple of primary schools and pubs.

Blackwood sits adjacent to the M74 motorway - Scotland's main arterial route South to England - but remains a quiet village and a much sought-after place to stay. Blackwood is linked to (and physically runs into) the neighbouring village of Kirkmuirhill, so-much-so that there is no physical sign of where one starts and the other ends.

Kirkmuirhill Church of Scotland, St. John's R.C. Church and Kirkmuirhill Gospel Hall look after the spiritual needs of villagers, while St. John's R.C. Primary School and Blackwood Primary School share a reputation for excellence in primary education.

Junction 9 of the M74 motorway brings visitors to the South end of the village, but the more popular B7078 links the village with Junction 8 (Canderside Toll) and the larger town of Larkhall. In 2009 three large wind turbines went operational along the B7078, providing power for around 3,000 homes and part of Scotland's growing commitment to renewable energy production.

Blackwood sits at the top of the gentle hills on the Western/Southern side of the picturesque Clyde Valley, at the point where the River Nethan sweeps down into the steep valley to join the River Clyde. Close by is Craignethan Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed on her journey South to be tried and executed by Elizabeth I of England.

History[edit]

Sited on the main route South from Glasgow to Carlisle, both Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood benefited from the traffic passing through although by far the largest employer in this largely rural area in the 18th and early 19th centuries would have been the Blackwood Estate.[1] Blackwood was (arguably) originally the farming cousin to other local villages, where coal mining was the dominant industry. Blackwood estate provided farming work for local families. The Blackwood Estate, seat of the Weir de Veres since the thirteenth century, afterwards the Hope-Veres, was the most extensive estate in the parish of Lesmahagow [2] and by some accounts the largest estate in the County of Lanark.[3]

The arrival of the railways into the area in 1856 with the opening of the station at Blackwood, resulted in an expansion of mining but the deep pits in the immediate vicinity seem to have had a short lifespan and were worked out fairly rapidly. Surface mining lasted a little longer but by the mid-20th century, mining was no longer a major employment option in the region.[4]

Despite this the two villages of Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill seem to have proved pleasant places to live and both enjoyed a major building boom during the 20th century. In 1901 Blackwood had 167 houses and Kirmuirhill 121. By the year 2000 they had a combined total of 1480 and the villages had merged such that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hamilton, James (2000). Old Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9781840331332. 
  2. ^ . Irving, George Vere. The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire. Glasgow: T. Murray and Son, 1864.; also The Farmer's Magazine, July 1880, page 281
  3. ^ http://www.lairdofblackwood.com/the-scottish-title-of-laird/
  4. ^ Hamilton, James (2000). Old Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9781840331332. 
  5. ^ Hamilton, James. ibid. pp. 3–4. 

Coordinates: 55°40′2″N 3°54′58″W / 55.66722°N 3.91611°W / 55.66722; -3.91611