Coatbridge (Gaelic: Drochaid a' Chòta) is a working class Lanarkshire town set in the central Lowlands of Scotland. The first settlement of Coatbridge stretches back to the stone age era. The town was founded proper in the 12th century when the locality was donated to the Monks of Newbattle Abbey. During the last years of the 18th century the area began to develop into an industrial powerhouse. The town was a major Scottish centre for iron works and coal mining and had an enormous influx of immigrants in the 19th century. However the heavy industries linked to coal and iron have long vanished from the town with the last iron work in the town closing in the 1960's. Coatbridge today is known as a working class town anchored to neighbouring Glasgow. The town has also been notably described as “uniquely populated largely by people of Irish descent”.
The population of Coatbridge is 41,170 making it the 2nd largest town in the North Lanarkshire area. This is a significant decrease from the historical high over 50'000 in the 1960s.
The St. Patrick's Festival in Coatbridge commenced in 2003 with a single event and has run every year since. The festival has grown and by 2007 it included an art exhibition, thearte, sports, music, film, street festival and dance events.The festival now runs for 10 days and ecah year the day-long Saturday street-party in Coatbridge Main Street with Irish music and Irish dancing is the festival highlight. In 2006 9'000 people took part in the festival. .
Guinness Diageo and the Irish government both sponsor the event. Irish President Mary McAleese visited Coatbridge in 2007. In 2006 Des Dillon's anti-sectrian play "Singin' I'm no a Billy he's a Tim" was performed at St. Bartholomew's Church hall.
The festival is planned and run by the festival committee. Councillor Tom Nolan is the president of the St. Patrick's Festival Committee. Dr. Joe Bradley (local author of a number of books on the Irish in Scotland) and Michael Reilly (local historian) are both committee members.
Govier was born in Scotland to English parents. He began playing soccer at a young age with a series of youth teams including Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Blantyre and Uddington. His parents left Britain in 1891 and settled the family in Chicago, Illinois. When they arrived, Govier was hired to work for the Pullman Company, eventually also playing, along with his brother Ben, for the company team, Pullman F.C. At the time Pullman competed in the Chicago League of Association Football. He gained his first start with the team when he was fifteen. Two seasons later, he left Pullman to move to the St. Louis Cycling Club of the St. Louis Football Association. In 1897, he returned to Chicago where several baseball executives had established a new soccer league. The names of this league and Govier’s team are unknown. At some point, the league collapsed and Govier returned to Pullman. According to his Hall of Fame bio, he then played for Wanderers, Woodlawn, Buxton Red Sox and Pullman. He was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1950.
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