|Scottish Gaelic: Coinmheadh|
Laurencekirk shown within Aberdeenshire
|Population||est. 3,596 (2004) |
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine|
|Scottish Parliament||Angus North and Mearns|
Laurencekirk (Scots: Lowrenkirk, Scottish Gaelic: Coinmheadh) is a small town in the old county of Kincardineshire, modern county of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, just off the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen main road which is bypassed in 1985. It is the largest settlement in the Howe o' the Mearns area and houses the local secondary school; Mearns Academy, which was awarded the Charter Mark in 2003. The 2004 population is estimated at 3,596.
Its old name was Conveth, an anglification of the Gaelic Coinmheadh, referring to an obligation to provide free food and board to passing troops. Laurencekirk is in the valley between the Hill of Garvock and the Cairn O' Mount. The famous landmark of the Johnston Tower can be seen on the peak of the Garvock.
Laurencekirk was, in the past, known for making snuff boxes with a special type of airtight hinge (known as a "Laurencekirk hinge") invented by James Sandy.
The Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line passes through the town. The station, which closed to passengers in 1967, was re-opened on 17 May 2009. The opening of this station will cement Laurencekirk's recent status as a commuter town providing links to Aberdeen and Dundee and beyond.
Laurencekirk has three public houses; the Crown and The Royal attract the younger patrons while the Western is a regular haunt for the older locals. Recently the Alma Hotel has been converted to an Indian Restaurant, Bar and Indian Takeaway. There is also a Chinese takeaway and two fish and chip shops, one of which has an extensive dining area.
Amenities include Co-operative Society supermarket, Spar & Mace shop, branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, solicitors and estate agent, Post Office, baker, butcher, hair & beauty salons, corporate clothing and business gift supplier, award winning photographers, pet shops, cafe and hardware/gift shop. The former Laurencekirk Mart houses various facilities including a children's play centre and beauty therapy premises. Civil amenities include a police station, a library and an extensive modern health centre. There are day care facilities and the old primary school houses the community centre which also offers a before and after school club for the children of working parents.
Laurencekirk Primary school was built in 1999 and Mearns Academy, the senior school, is due for replacement in the near future. There are two public parks, both with children's play areas, and in addition the memorial park houses a bowling green and a skate-board facility.
Younger people also have a drop-in centre called The Venue which is situated behind the Masonic Hall. There are two churches – a Church of Scotland and an Episcopalian Church – both of which have active congregations.
Representations are being made for a grade separated junction (flyover) at the south end of the A90 Laurencekirk bypass and a petition has been presented to parliament.
Alongside the commercial enterprise of the local newspaper, The Observer The Kincardineshire Observer (often referred to as The Squeeker) which was first published in 1902, Laurencekirk has a Local Community Radio Station in Mearns FM. Broadcasting from nearby Stonehaven in the Townhall, Mearns FM helps to keep Laurencekirk up to date with local and charity events, as well as playing a wee bit of music. Staffed completely by volunteers, Mearns FM is run as a not for profit organisation, broadcasting under a Community Radio licence, with a remit to provide local focus news events and programming. Jointly funded by local adverts and local and national grants. Mearns FM has one of the largest listening areas of any Community Radio Station owing to the Mearns' distributed population, Mearns FM was set up to try to bring these distant communities together.
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