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Wishaw facts for kids

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Main Street, Wishaw
Population 28,565 (2001 Census)
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 Strathclyde
Fire Strathclyde
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • Motherwell and Wishaw
Scottish Parliament
  • Motherwell and Wishaw
List of places
Coordinates: 55°46′26″N 3°55′08″W / 55.7739°N 3.9189°W / 55.7739; -3.9189

Wishaw is a town and former burgh in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is on the edge of the Clyde Valley, 15 miles (24 km) south-east of Glasgow City Centre.

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 Burgh of Wishaw was formed in 1855 ten years before its neighbour, Motherwell, with which it formed the joint large burgh in 1920 (the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw) until its dissolution when Scottish local authorities were restructured in 1975. The Motherwell and Wishaw constituency is represented in the UK Parliament by Marion Fellows MP. In the Scottish Parliament the constituency is represented by Clare Adamson.

In the census of 2011, the population of Wishaw (as defined above) was 39,369.


It is not certain how the name Wishaw came about. The town is probably named after Wishaw House, built in the woods by the South Calder Water, which was likely built some time after the selling of Coltness, Wishaw, Watstein and Stain to Hamilton of Uddsten, the predecessor to Lord Belhaven. It was probably in these days that the estate was named, "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.

The town itself is not very old, but 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, including an impressive mausoleum to Lord Belhaven, although the church is in an irreparable state.

The village itself was laid out in 1794, named Cambusnethan, and later renamed Wishawtown. 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.

One notable visitor to Wishaw in the middle of the 19th Century was the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. In the summer of 1848 Chopin travelled to Scotland at the behest of his Scottish benefactor Miss Jane Stirling. Chopin stayed with a number of families and played concerts in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Chopin was entertained at Wishaw house and played there for the family, the Hamiltons of Belhaven. Chopin was already gravely ill with Tubercolosis and died in the following year. It can be imagined that the damp and smoke-filled air of central Scotland would not have helped his condition.

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.[1]

The Wishaw Press is the town's local newspaper, and has been serving the town for over 50 years.


Notable people from Wishaw include:

  • Thomas Canfield Pomphrey, architect, was born here in 1881.
  • The Alexander Brothers, musicians and entertainers
  • Joe Baker, footballer
  • Andrew Barrowman, footballer
  • John Cleland, motor racing champion
  • Enrico Cocozza, underground filmmaker
  • Colin Cramb, footballer
  • Sir Samuel Curran, physicist, inventor of the scintillation counter, and founder of Strathclyde University
  • Alan Fisher, journalist
  • Tommy Gemmell, footballer
  • Jim Graham, Washington, D.C. politician
  • Roy Henderson, footballer
  • John Higgins, world snooker champion
  • Paul Higgins, actor and writer
  • Derek Holmes, footballer
  • The Jolt, 1970s pop group
  • Lewis Macleod, footballer
  • John Gibson Lockhart, biographer and novelist
  • Stan McEwan, footballer
  • Marie McLaughlin, opera singer
  • Lee Miller, footballer
  • Michael Moore, politician
  • Deborah Orr, journalist and columnist
  • Paul Quinn, footballer
  • Charles Reid (photographer) Victorian Photographer
  • Gordon Reid, actor
  • Anne Sharp, opera singer
  • Bill Scott, rugby player
  • Alison Turriff, musician
  • Frank S. Walsh, scientist
  • Alex Wilson, footballer
  • Thomas Winning, archbishop and cardinal
  • Nicholas McDonald, Singer and runner-up of ITV's The X Factor
  • Alan Love, footballer
  • Moe Cairns, Taking Over
  • Archibald Mason, Reformed Presbyterian Minister



The town has a comprehensive bus network operated by First. 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.


The town has a railway station on the Argyle Line (running from Lanark and Carstairs to Milngavie and Dalmuir).

A half-hourly service provided by First 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 over 40 years ago.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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 Wishaw General Hospital. There are many service industry businesses located in the town's industrial areas, though none with more than a few hundred employees.

Sports, restaurants and recreation

Leisure and entertainments

Wishaw has a very large Mecca Bingo hall in Kirk Road. Robert Flannigan bingo caller In recent years, the town has turned into a good nightspot when it comes to pubs and clubs that are on offer. The Commercial Hotel has an nightclub called the Soul Suite' recently redecorated and as well as this, the hotel is also a restaurant, bar and hotel, with rooms and accommodation for overnight stay. The forever changing old Wishaw cinema(situated on Kirk road next to the Mecca bingo) which has also been formerly Zico bar, Play nightclub and Cotton Club and Shuffles nightclub,Koi Chinese buffet restaurant and is now Badabing's Italian/American restaurant. Pubs include, Girdwood's, the Cross Keys, the Waverley ' and the Yard The Westend and The Corner which has now sadly shut down in 2012 has been replaced with the restaurant\bar corrigans. Behind farmfoods there is a small door which leads to the Master's Snooker Club

Eating establishments

As well as the Commercial, the town is home to a Wetherspoon's 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 and a traditional Italian restaurant BadaBing. 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.

Sports facilities

There is no professional football team in Wishaw, as 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 the newly established Beltane Park, near to the town's sports centre. IThere is also a large juvenile football club, Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers, who have 260 registered young players playing football in age groups from Under 6's to Under 21's.

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.

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, and construction of a skatepark is planned. There may also be many more developments and refurbishments as the 2011 International Children's Games based in Lanarkshire and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow draw nearer, as the centre may well be used as a pre-games training facility.

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

Wishaw also has a town park named after Lord Belhaven, Belhaven Park. It has a swing park with plenty of climbing frames and slides, a hole in the ground (formerly a paddling pool) 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.

On 2 August 2008, Wishaw's first music festival was held in the park. This was repeated on 15 August 2009, and again on 7 August 2010, with a fourth festival on 13 August 2011. On 2012 and 2013 Be in Belhaven was held in Beltane Park due to the road works on the main roads.

Geography and climate

Wishaw lies within a very populated area in North Lanarkshire, which itself is the 4th largest local authority in Scotland (based on population).

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.

Location grid

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