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Barrhead facts for kids

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Barrhead from the Fereneze Hills
Population 19,813 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference NS505585
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town GLASGOW
Postcode district G78
Dialling code 0141
Police Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • East Renfrewshire
Scottish Parliament
  • Renfrewshire South
List of places
Coordinates: 55°47′48″N 4°23′11″W / 55.796595°N 4.386311°W / 55.796595; -4.386311

Barrhead (Scots: Baurheid, Scottish Gaelic: Ceann a' Bharra) is a town in East Renfrewshire, Scotland, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) south-west of Glasgow on the edge of the Gleniffer Braes. At the 2001 census its population was 19,813.

Historically, most of what is now Barrhead lay within the parish of Neilston, in the county of Renfrew. The name Barrhead comes from the agricultural term Barr meaning long ploughed furrows for cultivation of crops. The original homestead or hamlet lay at the head of barrs and became known as Barrhead.

In 2007, Readers Digest magazine voted East Renfrewshire the second best place in the United Kingdom to raise a family. The magazine visited and cited Barrhead in their decision.


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, McGills, 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 and 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).


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.

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