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Main Street, Wishaw
Wishaw is located in North Lanarkshire
Wishaw shown within North Lanarkshire
Population 30,510 Mid 2012 estimate
OS grid reference NS795555
• Edinburgh 31 mi (50 km)
• London 389 mi (626 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WISHAW
Postcode district ML2
Dialling code 01698
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°46′26″N 3°55′08″W / 55.7739°N 3.9189°W / 55.7739; -3.9189Coordinates: 55°46′26″N 3°55′08″W / 55.7739°N 3.9189°W / 55.7739; -3.9189

Wishaw is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on the edge of the Clyde Valley, 15 miles (24 km) south-east of Glasgow city centre.[2] The Burgh of Wishaw was formed in 1855; it formed a joint large burgh with its neighbour Motherwell from 1920 until its dissolution when Scottish local authorities were restructured in 1975.

Wishaw had a population of 30,510 in 2016.[3][4]

Geography and climate[edit]

Wishaw districts include Netherton and Craigneuk

Wishaw lies within a very populated area in North Lanarkshire, which itself is the 4th largest local authority in Scotland (based on population). The main areas of Wishaw are: Cambusnethan, Coltness, Craigneuk, Gowkthrapple, Dimsdale, Greenhead, Wishawhill, Netherton, Pather and Waterloo. There are two adjoining villages, often included as part of the town for administrative purposes: Overtown and Newmains. The town is located in the relatively level Central Belt area of Scotland. While there are valleys and high moors within this area, there are no hills or summits over 1,640 feet.

The climate is temperate maritime, which leads to mild but wet winters and dry humid summers. Snow is not a regular occurrence during winter months, though rain is very regular. In the summer the area benefits from unobstructed warm southwesterly winds.


It is not certain how Wishaw's name came into being. The town is possibly named after Wishaw House, built in the woods by the South Calder Water.[5] The house was probably built some time after the sale of the lands of Coltness, Wishaw, Watstein and Stain to the predecessor of Lord Belhaven:[6][7] Hamilton of Uddsten.[8] It was probably then that the estate was named. The etymology may be from "wis" being Old Scotch for water, and "shaw" meaning forest or wood. Other theories exist; one such is that it may be derived from the Scots for "Wicket gate in the wood", and that it used to be called Wygateshaw. Alternatively, it may be from the Old English for "Willow Wood". Others believe the name was originally Viashaw, meaning way or road through the wood. Yet another theory is that the name derives from "Wee Shaw", meaning small wood.


Wishaw is not one of Scotland's medieval towns, but a settlement in the area dates back to the 12th century when St. Nethan established a kirk dedicated to St. Michael by a bend (Gaelic camus) in the Clyde near what is now Netherton. The area then became known as the parish of Cambusnethan, and remained so until the Reformation. The site of the original church remains as a ruined burial ground,[9] including an impressive mausoleum to Lord Belhaven.[10]

In the 18th century agriculture in the area consisted mainly of growing oats although some wheat and pear trees were cultivated.[11] Members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church took up the favourable terms of the proprietor to enable them to establish a congregation in Wishaw in 1792.[12] The village itself was laid out in 1794, named Cambusnethan, and later renamed Wishawtown.[13]

In 1801 the population of Wishaw was about 400 and that of the whole parish only 1972.[14] In the 1830s Lord Belhaven set up a distillery in Wishaw.[15] Other nineteeth century industries included coal mining, iron and steel making, foundry work, railway-waggon building and fire-clay making.[16] There were also factories for needle-work and tambouring, and confectionery.[17] On 4 September 1855, the town was incorporated with the villages of Coltness and Stewarton to form the Burgh of Wishaw, with a population of approximately 5,000. In 1882 Groome recorded that there were 5 schools in Wishaw as well as others in nearby villages.[18] One notable visitor to Wishaw in the middle of the 19th century was the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.[19] Chopin was entertained at Wishaw house and played there for the family, the Hamiltons of Belhaven.[20]

As a result of its history as a steel manufacturing and mining community, Wishaw was also home to mining and industrial equipment manufacturers such as Anderson Boyes (now part of Long-Airdox) and Svedala, but both these businesses have since gone through changes leading to their movement away from these businesses and the Wishaw area. Former industrial employers in the area include many steelworks such as the former British Steel Corporation, Clyde Alloy, Bone Connell & Baxter, though most of these are now defunct due to the decline of the steel industry. Wishaw and its nearby neighbour of Motherwell were once the centre of steel manufacture in Scotland, as both towns were located either side of the former Ravenscraig steelworks which closed in 1992. The (now-defunct) local firm of R Y Pickering & Co Ltd (later Norbrit-Pickering) built railway rolling stock (especially wagons) and many tramcars for tram systems throughout the UK. One of its last tramcar orders was for 10 double-decker trams for Aberdeen Corporation Tramways in 1949. In November 1996, the world's worst recorded outbreak of E. coli O157 occurred in the town, in which 21 people died and around 200 were infected.

These days, North Lanarkshire Council suggest that the majority of the biggest employers in the town are supermarkets, with the exceptions of Royal Mail, which has its main Scottish distribution centre at Shieldmuir and the NHS as a result of University Hospital Wishaw. There are many service industry businesses located in the town's industrial areas, though none with more than a few hundred employees.


At present there are three high schools in the area: Clyde Valley High School in Overtown, and Coltness High School and St. Aidan's High School, both in Coltness. St.Aidan's High School serves not only Catholic pupils from Wishaw, but nearby towns such as Newmains, Shotts and Carluke. St.Aidans, therefore has the highest number of pupils at around 1,100.

Primary schools in Wishaw include Calderbridge (Lammermoor and Coltness), St. Thomas', Thornlie, St. Aidan's, Cambusnethan, St. Ignatius' and Wishaw Academy (with both the latter two schools being a joint campus). All of the St. Matthew's pupils were moved into St. Thomas' in 2010, due to the former being closed and demolished.

The town does not have a university or college at present, with the nearest college being Motherwell College, based in Ravenscraig, and the University of the West of Scotland (formerly Bell College of Technology) in Hamilton being the nearest university.

Health establishments[edit]

Wishaw has a general hospital, now known as University Hospital Wishaw, in the Craigneuk area. It serves nearby settlements such as Motherwell, Newmains and Shotts. It is one of three acute hospitals in Lanarkshire, the others being Monklands Hospital in Airdrie and Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride.

Also based in the town, on the site of the old town library in Kenilworth Avenue, is the Houldsworth Centre which houses a cafe, public toilet, Wishaw library and Wishaw Health Centre.[21] The centre opened in April 2015 along with a multi-storey car park.

Town centre[edit]

Main Street is the predominant shopping area in Wishaw. It is partly made up of major national stores such as Peacock's, Poundland, Iceland and Superdrug.

The Main Street shopping area also features small independent retailers. There are also many supermarkets in the area, with a new small format ASDA in the eastern suburb of Newmains that opened on October 2007. A Tesco Extra superstore was also opened during November 2007, and is adjacent to the railway station, replacing the smaller Metro store on Main Street, about 150 metres (500 ft) from the new store. A 1991 built Morrisons (originally Safeway) exists on the eastern edge of the town centre and the original Safeway on Kirk Road, about 300 metres (1,000 ft) from the new store, was a small market style mall and hosted various stalls and a café, however this mall closed on March 2009 and has been converted back to its supermarket form into B & M Bargains discount store this has since closed and relocated to a larger property in the craigneuk retail park. All three supermarkets mentioned have petrol stations situated next to them.

There is also an Aldi superstore in Glasgow Road that opened on September 2008, with the original store 150 metres (500 ft) away being converted into Sports Direct.

Wishaw also has the "Caledonian Centre", a shopping complex in the northern suburb of Craigneuk consisting of other national store chains such as Argos, Matalan, B & M, Pets at Home and The Range.


Wishaw countryside

The first stage of the modern town centre regeneration programme was completed in 2004, with a new car park being constructed between the local library and health centre and with the formation of a taxi rank adjacent to the library also a water fountain was put on the ground of Wishaw Library which looks like the old one which used to stand near Wishaw Health Centre. In 2011, a small car-park located behind farmfoods was built.

A piece of eyesore land between Station Road and Alexander Street (the railway station and sports centre) was converted into a park and ride facility, as part of this programme. This has led to a decrease in railway parking and traffic next to the station. The facility was later increased in size as it was too small.

In late 2011, Kitchener Street was converted from a small neighborhood to a main road, routing traffic away from the Main Street to Kenilworth Avenue, where a new roundabout was built. Lammermore Terrace, which was previously one-way, was converted into a two-way street.

In 2014 work on a new modern housing estate called Ravenwood began on the site of the old Lammermuir school, which became was renamed Calderbridge and moved to a new building 600m away. The neighborhood was finished in 2016 and now consists of around 50 houses.


South Wishaw Parish Church

Wishaw has many churches in it of various kinds and denominations. There are several Church of Scotland congregations - serving principally the town centre are South Wishaw Parish Church and Wishaw Old Parish Church, and serving the outlying parts of Wishaw are - Cambusnethan North Church, Cambusnethan Old and Morningside Parish Church, Craigneuk and Belhaven Church, Coltness Memorial Church (Newmains) and St. Mark's Church (Coltness). The Church of Scotland "charges" have been reduced in recent years through the union of Thornlie and Chalmers Churches to form South Wishaw Parish Church, and the linkage of Wishaw Old Parish Church with that of Craigneuk and Belhaven Church who now share one minister.

The town also has a United Free Church, an Episcopal Church dedicated to St. Andrew, a Baptist church (both in Belhaven Terrace), a Gospel Hall (Ebenezer Gospel Hall), a Methodist church (now known as Netherton Methodist Church), a Christian Outreach Centre and 5 Catholic churches of the Roman Rite: St. Ignatius of Loyola (Young Street), St. Aidan's (Coltness), St. Thomas' (Caledonian Road), St. Brigid's (Newmains) and St. Patrick's (Shieldmuir).


Wishaw is represented by several tiers of elected government. North Lanarkshire Council, the unitary local authority for Wishaw, is based at Motherwell, and is the executive, deliberative and legislative body responsible for local governance. The Scottish Parliament is responsible for devolved matters such as education, health and justice,[22] while reserved matters are dealt with by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


The Motherwell and Wishaw constituency is represented in the UK Parliament by Marion Fellows MP.

Scottish Parliament[edit]

In the Scottish Parliament the constituency is represented by Clare Adamson.

In addition to this Wishaw is represented by seven regional MSPs from the Central Scotland electoral region.[23] They are: Linda Fabiani (Scottish National Party, SNP), Jamie Hepburn (SNP), Christina McKelvie (SNP), Margaret Mitchell (Scottish Conservative Party), Alex Neil (SNP), Hugh O'Donnell (Scottish Liberal Democrats), and John Wilson (SNP).

Local government[edit]

North Lanarkshire has many councillors; currently, the council is in control of the Labour group and the leader of the council is Jim Logue, councillor for Airdrie Central.[24]

Sports, restaurants and recreation[edit]

The Commercial Hotel

Leisure and entertainments[edit]

Wishaw has a very large Mecca Bingo hall in Kirk Road. In recent years, the town has turned into a nightspot when it comes to pubs and clubs that are on offer. The Commercial Hotel has a nightclub and also a restaurant, bar and hotel, with rooms and accommodation for overnight stay. Pubs include: Girdwood's, the Cross Keys, the Waverley ' and the Yard The Westend and The Corner which shut down in 2012 has being replaced with the bar-restaurant Corrigans. Behind Farmfoods there is a small door which leads to the Master's Snooker Club

Eating establishments[edit]

As well as the Commercial, the town is home to a Wetherspoons restaurant, known as the Wishaw Malt, directly opposite the Mecca bingo. There is an Indian buffet restaurant, known as the Pink Turban, located in the Waterloo suburb. Wishaw has a McDonald's restaurant and a KFC restaurant (both located on Glasgow road), and also two national sandwich chains, Subway and Greggs. The town is also host to a modern Scottish restaurant called Artisan . It also has large number of independent takeaway restaurants and cafes, most of which are located in the main street. The cafe shabbab located in newmains.

A Pizza Hut opened in 2017, located on Main Street from an old Blockbuster and a Domino's opened in September 2018, in a previously abandoned shop on =Kirk Road.

Sports facilities[edit]

There is no professional football team in Wishaw. Many of the town's residents are followers of Rangers, Celtic and near-neighbours Motherwell. There is however a junior football team, Wishaw, who play their home games at Beltane Park, near to the town's sports centre. There is also a large juvenile football club, Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers, who have many registered young players, playing football in age groups from Under 6s to Under 21s.

Wishaw has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V, next to the town's hospital. This small park has two full-sized football pitches as well as a swingpark and play-area.

To the northwest of the town, there is a large golf course.

Wishaw Sports Centre from the air

The town's municipal sports centre also includes two small swimming pools, badminton and martial arts facilities and gymnastic equipment. A full length running track is also on site along with a full-sized football pitch. Long jump pits and throwing cages are also issued within the track. There are also 5-aside astroturf pitches for football, where many local games are held. Elsewhere, all-weather pitches and a children's play area behind Morrison's have been closed for a new shared campus primary school by St. Ignatius Primary and Wishaw Academy Primary. The local council has made no announcement on whether these facilities will be replaced.

The town previously had a large swimming pool complete with a large spectator grandstand, an underwater viewpoint and diving facilities (with boards at 1.5m, 3m and 5m). This was closed during the late 1990s to make way for a much smaller facility on the site of the town's sports centre. The reason given for this decision was the cost of maintaining such a facility for a town as small as Wishaw. Over the years it had played host to many regional swimming events and also benefited from being within walking distance of the two main secondary schools in the area as well as a host of primary schools.

Wishaw General Hospital also has a specialist heat pool for specialist physio treatment.

Town park[edit]

Wishaw also has a town park named after Lord Belhaven, Belhaven Park. It has a swing park with plenty of climbing frames and slides, and plenty of benches. There is a pathway at the back of the park which leads through the trees and into a council estate. In March 2011, the parks play-area underwent a significant upgrade.


Location grid[edit]


The town has a comprehensive bus network operated by First Glasgow. Other smaller providers include: JMB Travel, Stuart's, Henderson Travel, Coakley and Whitelaw's. Destinations that can be reached by bus from the town include:

Historically, bus services in the Wishaw area were operated by a local company, Hutchison's. Their distinctive blue and cream buses finally gave way in 2007 to a friendly takeover by one time rival First.

Despite initially closing the Hutchison depot in Overtown upon the takeover, and moving all staff and vehicles to Blantyre, First have since launched new services in the Wishaw area, that has required the re-opening of the depot and indeed a major recruitment campaign.

Wishaw was formerly served by an intensive network of services provided by McKindless. This company was wound up in 2010 following a tax investigation. This had the potential to leave many parts of Lanarkshire without a decent public transport link as McKindless had forced many other operators to abandon routes to places such as Lanark and Shotts. However, SPT and Irvine's and First stepped in to replace most services almost straight away.


Wishaw railway station on the Argyle line (running from Lanark and Carstairs to Milngavie and Dalmuir).

A half-hourly service provided by Abellio ScotRail connects Wishaw to places such as:

Wishaw also has a second station, Shieldmuir railway station, serving the Craigneuk area of the town. There is also a twice daily service to Edinburgh Waverley.

Trains on the West Coast Main Line pass through the town at 115 mph, but no passenger service trains stop there, as the main Wishaw South railway station on the line closed in 1958.


Wishaw is on the A71, Edinburgh, Livingston and Kilmarnock road which links the town to the M74 as well as the A73 which links the town with the Borders regions and the M8.

Following a campaign by local politicians, the area is now well signposted from the nearby M8 and M74 motorways. This move was considered necessary as although the town is not considered a principal destination from either of these roads and therefore not included as standard on the signage, it is now the home to the main hospital for an area stretching right down the M74 corridor almost to the English border approximately 75 miles (120 km) away.


The nearest airport to Wishaw is Glasgow Airport at 20 miles (32 km) distant, though at 26 miles (42 km) Edinburgh Airport is not much further. Connections to both airports are only via the cities they serve as no direct public transport links are available.


Notable people from Wishaw include:


  1. ^ a b Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
  2. ^ "25 inch O.S. Map with zoom and Bing overlay". National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Key Facts 2016 - Demography". North Lanarkshire Council. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Estimated population of localities by broad age groups, mid-2012" (PDF). Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Wishaw House". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  6. ^ Pomphrey's directory of Wishaw and handbook of the parish of Cambusnethan: with Shotts supplement (3rd ed.). Wishaw: W. Pomphrey. 1893. pp. 22–24. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ Johnston, G. Harvey (1909). The heraldry of the Hamiltons: with notes on all the males of the family, description of the arms, plates and pedigrees. Edinburgh: W. & A.K. Johnston. p. 75. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  8. ^ Livingstone, Archibald (1845). The new statistical account of Scotland (Vol 6 ed.). Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. p. 612. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Cambusnethan, St Michael's Church And Graveyard". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Cambusnethan, St Michael's Graveyard, Belhaven And Stenton Mausoleum". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  11. ^ Lockhart, John (1791). The statistical account of Scotland. Drawn up from the communications of the ministers of the different parishes (Vol. XII, 1794 ed.). Edinburgh: W. Creech. pp. 569–571. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. ^ Brown, Peter (1859). Historical sketches of the parish of Cambusnethan. Wishaw: D. Johnston. p. 50. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  13. ^ Livingstone, Archibald (1845). The new statistical account of Scotland (Vol 6 ed.). Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. p. 621. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  14. ^ Pomphrey's directory of Wishaw and handbook of the parish of Cambusnethan: with Shotts supplement (3rd ed.). Wishaw: W. Pomphrey. 1893. p. 16. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  15. ^ Livingstone, Archibald (1845). The new statistical account of Scotland (Vol 6 ed.). Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. p. 622. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  16. ^ Mort, Frederick (1910). Lanarkshire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 166. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  17. ^ Pomphrey's directory of Wishaw and handbook of the parish of Cambusnethan: with Shotts supplement (3rd ed.). Wishaw: W. Pomphrey. 1893. pp. 45–50. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  18. ^ Groome, Francis Hindes (1882). Ordnance gazetteer of Scotland : a survey of Scottish topography, statistical, biographical, and historical (Vol 1 ed.). Edinburgh: T.C. Jack. p. 226. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  19. ^ Zaluski, Iwo and Pamela (1993). The Scottish Autumn of Frederick Chopin. Edinburgh: John Donald Ltd. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  20. ^ Iwo Zaluski, Pamela Zaluski The Scottish Autumn of Frederick Chopin John Donald Publishers 1993 ISBN 9780859763899
  21. ^ "Name for Wishaw health and council centre". NHS Lanarkshire. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Reserved and devolved matters". Scotland Office. Archived from the original on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-14.
  23. ^ Paterson, Colin (6 May 2011). "Scottish Election 2011: Seven MSPs on Central Scotland list". Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Member and Committee Information". North Lanarkshire Council. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  25. ^ "Pomphrey, Tom". Archives and Collections: Glasgow School of Art. Retrieved 18 September 2015.

External links[edit]