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Barrhead from the Fereneze Hills
Barrhead is located in Scotland
Population 17,890 (2020)
OS grid reference NS505585
• Edinburgh 48 mi (77 km)
• London 344 mi (554 km)
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town GLASGOW
Postcode district G78
Dialling code 0141
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • East Renfrewshire
Scottish Parliament
  • Renfrewshire South
List of places
55°48′04″N 4°23′20″W / 55.801°N 4.389°W / 55.801; -4.389

Barrhead (Scots: Baurheid, Scottish Gaelic: Ceann a' Bharra) is a town in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, thirteen kilometres (8 mi) southwest of Glasgow city centre on the edge of the Gleniffer Braes. At the 2011 census its population was 17,268.


Map of Barrhead in 1923

Barrhead was formed when a series of small textile-producing villages (Barrhead, Arthurlie, Grahamston and Gateside) gradually grew into one another to form one contiguous town. According to local historian James McWhirter, the name "Barrhead" first appeared in 1750. Glanderston House, to the south, at one time belonged to the Stewart Kings of Scotland.

In 1851 an explosion at the Victoria Pit colliery in nearby Nitshill occurred, killing 63 men and boys who worked in the mine, many of whom lived in Barrhead. The victims were buried in a mass grave in the yard at St John's Church on Darnley Road, and although they were later exhumed to other cemeteries, some may still reside at St John's in an unmarked grave.

In 1890, with a rapidly expanding population approaching 10,000, various local residents formed a Barrhead Burgh Formation Committee. The status of police burgh was granted in 1894 and William Shanks, proprietor of a local company, was elected as the first provost of Barrhead.

During the 19th and early 20th century, the town was a major centre for manufacturing, with industries including an iron foundry, tannery, and the Armitage Shanks porcelainware works, as well as Gaskell's carpet factory, employing generations of the town's residents. In the latter 20th century, the decline and closure of nearly all of these industries caused a fall in local population and employment. In recent years, Barrhead has found new life as a popular residential commuter town for nearby Paisley and Glasgow.

During World War II, a handful of bombs fell on Barrhead from German planes headed towards Clydebank and Yoker.


Barrhead forms part of the Greater Glasgow conurbation. Areas within the town include, Arthurlie, Auchenback, Gateside and Grahamston.


Barrhead is accessible via Junction 2 (Pollok) or Junction 3 (Darnley) of the M77 motorway.

Local bus services, McGill's Bus Services, travel from Barrhead to Glasgow, Paisley, Neilston, and Newton Mearns.

Barrhead railway station, which serves the town, is on the Glasgow South Western Line. Trains from Barrhead run north-east to Glasgow Central and south to Kilmarnock, Stranraer, and Carlisle.

At the beginning of the 20th century, several railway lines ran through Barrhead to accommodate the town's manufacturing industries: the Glasgow Barrhead and Neilston Direct Railway and the Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint Railway, which merged to become the Glasgow, Barrhead and Kilmarnock Joint Railway; the Glasgow & South Western Railway, which built Barrhead Central railway station as the terminus of its short-lived Barrhead branch; and the Caledonian Railway. Evidence of these lines can still be seen within the town, including two standalone sections of railway viaduct, one near the Tesco store and the other now carrying a footpath between Springhill Road and the Woodside Park in Upper Auchenback (known locally as the Jerries).

Barrhead was formerly served by routes 14 and 28 of the once extensive Glasgow Corporation Tramways system. Trams ran from Barrhead to Glasgow and Paisley. Glasgow tram service 14 was once the longest in Great Britain, running from Milngavie on the far north-western edge of Greater Glasgow, through the city centre and then through Thornliebank, Spiersbridge, Barrhead and Paisley to reach Renfrew Ferry on the south side of the Clyde. Tramway services in Paisley and Barrhead were withdrawn in 1957; the entire system was dismantled by September 1962.


Arthurlie stone
The Arthurlie Stone or Cross in its setting of 1910 at Arthurlie House before it was moved to the housing scheme.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has staged full performances in Barrhead five times, most recently "The Canterbury Tales" in 2006, using a mobile performance venue set up in Barrhead Sports Centre.

There are several public houses in Barrhead. These include Cross Stobs, The Kelburn, The Arthurlie Inns, The Fereneze Inn, and The Brig Inn. The Cross Stobs dates back to at least 1695.


Major businesses within the town include Barrhead Travel, Kelburn Brewing Company, and JM Murdoch & Son, among others. The town's largest employer is East Renfrewshire Council and the public sector. In 2002, part of the administration of East Renfrewshire Council relocated from Eastwood Park to Barrhead Main Street.

There is a range of retail goods available within Barrhead, although some residents still rely on Paisley and the nearby Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow for the bulk of their purchases. The town has three supermarkets. Tesco is located just outside the town centre with Lidl close by, while Asda opened a store on Main Street in 2014.

East Renfrewshire Council committed nearly £100 million to a masterplan to redevelop and modernise Barrhead's economy between 2007 and 2017. The Glasgow Road corridor is being redeveloped into a dedicated business district which includes Crossmill Business Park, Blackbyres Court, and the former Bowerwalls housing area.

There are four industrial estates: Robertson Street Industrial Estate, Levern Industrial Estate at Cogan Street, Muriel Street, and the Barrhead Cargo Centre and Shanks Industrial Park, located on the former site of the Armitage Shanks factory.

In 2005 local businesses created the Barrhead Business Forum, which liaises with East Renfrewshire Council, Barrhead Community Council, and East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

The administration and collection of business rates for Barrhead is undertaken by Renfrewshire Council.

In October 2016, Barrhead businesses voted in favour of becoming a Business Improvement District (BID), which is a model proving successful for town centres across the UK and beyond. The Barrhead BID is called 'All About Barrhead' and is the third BID in East Renfrewshire, following Giffnock which established in 2013 and Clarkston which is now in its second term, establishing in 2010.

East Renfrewshire Credit Union is based in Barrhead.

The town is part of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. The nearest accident and emergency unit is located at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.


An active Scottish Junior football team, Arthurlie, plays in Barrhead, with a previous club of the same name having played as a senior league side until 1929. The earlier team was renowned for its 4–2 defeat of Celtic in the 1897 Scottish Cup. Arthurlie's Johnny Kelly went on to play for Celtic and Barnsley and won several caps for Scotland. The team won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1998.

Alex McLeish, Scotland's most capped defender with 77 caps and national team coach, went to school in Barrhead. In the early 20th century, the town produced three brothers, Alec Logan, James Logan and Tommy Logan who all played for either Scotland or the Scottish League XI.

Barrhead Boys Club, founded in 1972 and recently renamed as Barrhead Youth Football Club, caters for children as young as 6 years old, up to 21, and also has adult and veteran teams.

Barrhead is home to four bowling clubs: Barrhead, Arthurlie, Shanks, and St John's. Founded in 1904, the Fereneze Golf Club is the town’s mature moorland 18-hole course boasting spectacular panoramic views over the Clyde Valley. Barrhead Boxing Club has produced several contenders at Scottish Amateur level as well as several professional contenders in recent years, while the town’s several Muay Thai clubs have produced some notable championship fighters.

A greyhound racing track, was opened on ground off the Aurs Road on Saturday 7 July 1934. The racing was independent (not affiliated to the sports governing body the National Greyhound Racing Club) known as a flapping track, which was the nickname given to independent tracks. The track raced over 300 and 325 yards. The date of closure is not known.


Barrhead has five primary schools: Carlibar Primary School, Cross Arthurlie Primary School, Hillview School, St. John's Roman Catholic Primary School and St. Mark's Roman Catholic Primary School. In 2007, St. Mark's received an outstanding report from HM Inspectorate of Education with 11 "excellents" – the most ever recorded by HMIE – making St. Mark's officially the best school in Scotland.

The new Carlibar Primary School, opened in the autumn of 2006 to replace an outdated building, hosts a family centre, a pre-school assessment unit, community and adult learning services, and a state-of-the-art language and communication unit which serves nearly 50 children with autism from across East Renfrewshire.

The town has two secondary schools: St. Luke's High School and Barrhead High, both in the Auchenback area. In 2018, a £30 million replacement building for Barrhead High was opened. St. Luke's High School was named a School of Ambition by the Scottish Executive.

Notable people

  • Lee Ashcroft, footballer
  • Christopher Brookmyre, author
  • Sir Harry Burns, professor of global health
  • Ken Currie, artist
  • Dr John Duignan, writer
  • Ellen Dawson, radical and trade unionist
  • James David Provins Graham FRSE, pharmacologist
  • Douglas Henshall, actor
  • Jamie Harvey, darts player
  • Paul Hanvidge, darts player
  • Johnny Kelly, footballer
  • Helen Macfarlane, radical writer
  • James Maxton, socialist
  • Bob McPhail, footballer
  • Alex McLeish ex-footballer and ex-Scotland manager
  • Barrie McKay footballer
  • David Nish, chief executive of Standard Life
  • Mark O'Hara, football player
  • Marianne Saliba, Australian mayor
  • James Shaw, schoolmaster
  • Adam S. T. Thomson, engineer

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Barrhead para niños

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