Cambuslang (Scots: Cammuslang, from Scottish Gaelic: Camas Long) is a suburban town on the south-eastern outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. It is within the local authority area of South Lanarkshire. Historically, it was a large rural Parish incorporating nearby hamlets of Newton, Flemington, and Halfway. It is known as "the largest village in Scotland", with a population of around 24,500. The town is located just south of the River Clyde and about 6 miles (9.7 km) south-east of the centre of Glasgow. It has a long history of coal mining, iron and steel making, and ancillary engineering works, most recently Hoover. Tata Steel Europe's Clydebridge Steel Works and other smaller manufacturing businesses continue but most employment in the area comes from the distribution or service industries.
Cambuslang is an ancient part of Scotland where Iron Age remains loom over 21st century housing developments. The local geography explains a great deal of its history. It has been very prosperous over time, depending first upon its agricultural land, (supplying food, then wool, then linen), then the mineral resources under its soil (limestone and coal, and, to some extent, iron). These were jealously guarded by the medieval Church, and later by the local aristocracy, particularly the Duke of Hamilton (previously Barons of Cadzow and Earls of Arran).
Because of its relative prosperity, Cambuslang has been intimately concerned in the politics of the country (through the Hamilton connection) and of the local Church. Bishop John Cameron of Glasgow, the Scottish King's first minister, and Cardinal Beaton, a later first minister, were both Rectors of Cambuslang. This importance continued following the Protestant Reformation. From then until the Glorious Revolution a stream of Ministers of Cambuslang came, were expelled, or were re-instated, according to whether supporters of the King, Covenanters, or Oliver Cromwell were in power. The religious movements of the 18th century, including the Cambuslang Wark, were directly linked to similar movements in North America. The Scottish Enlightenment was well represented in the person of Rev Dr James Meek, the Minister. His troubles with his parishioners foreshadowed the split in the Church of Scotland during the 19th century.
The manufacturing industries that grew up from the agricultural and mineral resources attracted immigrants from all over Scotland and Ireland and other European countries. Cambuslang benefited at all times from its closeness to the burgeoning city of Glasgow, brought closer in the 18th century by a turnpike road then, in the 19th century, by a railway. In the 21st century, it continues to derive benefit from its proximity to Glasgow and to wider communication networks, particularly via the M74 motorway system.
Its increasing (and increasingly diverse) population posed problems, over the centuries, of employment and housing as well as of schooling and health, not all of which have been solved. In this regard, it is fairly typical of most Scottish towns. Cambuslang F.C. were founder members of the Scottish Football League, whose most notable achievement was being the runners-up of the Scottish Cup in 1888. They folded, but a new team, Cambuslang Rangers F.C., was established.
Cambuslang is in the Glasgow Rutherglen Constituency for the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. James Kelly retained the seat for Labour Party with 10237 votes, a majority of 18.1%. However, there was a swing of 6.5% from Labour to the Scottish National Party (SNP).
South Lanarkshire Council
The councilors elected for Cambuslang Wards in the 2007 local elections were:
- Councillor David Baillie (Liberal Democrats)
- Councillor Russell Clearie (Scottish Labour Party)
- Councillor Clare McColl (Scottish National Party)
- Councillor Walter Brogan (Labour Party)
- Councillor Pam Clearie (Scottish Labour Party)
- Councillor John Higgins (Scottish National Party)
Cambuslang is located on a lengthy bend on the River Clyde, south-east of Glasgow. The town is accessible from the nearby M74; the nearby A724 links to Glasgow city centre and Hamilton; the town is also accessible by car from East Kilbride by the A725, A749 and then the B759. The town's railway station, Cambuslang, lies on the Argyle Line between North Glasgow and Lanark.
The Reverend Dr John Robertson, Minister of Cambuslang Kirk, described it, in the Second Statistical Account of Scotland 1845. “It is bounded by the Clyde on the north, which separates it from the Parish of Old Monkland; by the Calder on the east, which separates it from Blantyre; by part of Blantyre and Kilbryde, on the south; and by Carmunnock and Rutherglen on the west.” The highest points in this low-lying Parish are Dechmont Hill (602 ft) and Turnlaw (or Turnlea) Hill( 553)ft. There are remains of an iron age fort on Dechmont. The land slopes gently downwards to the North West to the River Clyde. The Clyde can overflow the lower parts. Dr Robertson is rather more optimistic, suggesting that ‘the town is traversed by a romantic brook running into the Clyde’. He describes the course of the brook as a ‘romantic gorge’. This is nowadays a park.
Cambuslang has an interesting range of churches, public buildings, schools, industrial and commercial buildings (see Buildings of Cambuslang). Its domestic buildings range from 19th century mansions, villas and tenements to modern flats and detached houses, along with sheltered and nursing homes.
Cambuslang Park spans 27 acres (110,000 m2) encompassing the contrast of open park land and the Borgie Glen, which is a steep tree-lined ravine, containing a complex network of pathways. The park also features a pond, sport pitches, woodland areas and the Bandstand, which is a natural amphitheatre, near where the famous Cambuslang Wark took place in the 18th century.
Primary schools in Cambuslang include St Charles' Primary School, St Cadoc's Primary Schhol, West Coats Primary School, James Aiton Primary School, Cairns Primary School, Hallside Primary School and St Brides Primary School. There is currently a new school being built in Halfway Park named Park View School and is scheduled for completion August 2013. Secondary schools in Cambuslang include Cathkin High School and Trinity High School (which had a new school built early this year). There is also Uddingston Grammar School, only one train stop down on the Motherwell via Bellshill line.
Cambuslang College of the Building Trades was a specialist college established in the mid-20th century but it gradually expanded the trades and academic subjects taught. It became Cambuslang College of Further Education in the 1960s. It gradually expanded its provision at its East Kilbride Campus, but retained a substantial annex on Hamilton Road. It renamed itself South Lanarkshire College in 2000.
South Lanarkshire College has links with University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton Campus, a degree-awarding higher education institution, 3 miles (5 km) away in Hamilton, so that local students can progress through to degrees.
Early schools in Cambuslang
There has been a Parish school in Cambuslang at least since the Reformation, and probably before that. The schoolteacher was appointed and paid by the heritors, though he also charged fees. Free primary education came with the Education (Scotland) Act (1871). though there had always been charitable provision.
The original Cambuslang Public School can be seen on Greenlees Road, where it is now Greenlees Care Home. It had been for some time the Cambuslang College of the Building Trades, which became part of Cambuslang College (now South Lanarkshire College). An even earlier school is now a Gospel Hall in Bushiehill Street.
The Cambuslang Subscription School of 1848 provided basic education to the children of miners and weavers in return for a few coppers. It was attractive to those who did not like the influence of the gentry and the minister on the parish school.
People who have either been attracted to Cambuslang, or who have gone out from there to make a mark on the world include a saint, a king, a queen, a cardinal, a bishop, a lord, a famous manufacturer, a garden designer, at least three significant clergyman, a famous retailer, a miners' leader, a leader of the RAF, a physicist, several poets, at least one writer; an Award-winning journalist who has interviewed a Pope, a Princess and a President; two historians, a pop singer, several world-famous actors and a few famous boxers and footballers!
St Cadoc (c 497 – c 570), also called "Cadow" or "Cattwg", reputedly founded a monastery on the site of the present Old Parish Church in the later sixth century. He is the patron saint of Cambuslang, where there is a modern primary school named after him. His feast day is 25 September. In medieval times, Cadoc was called on for help by (among others) deaf people and those suffering from cramp.
He was a Celtic saint – previously, a Prince of Glamorgan – who brought succour to the native Christians against the invading Saxons. Cambuslang is at the northernmost reach of the Welsh speaking Brythons, so he may well have visited here in his wanderings, or in an effort to secure help against the Saxons. He had travelled to Ireland, to Brittany (to visit the Welsh speaking monks there), Rome (the centre of Western Christianity) and Jerusalem (from where he brought back two altar stones that had touched the Holy Sepulchre. The Europe he walked through was being battered by the barbarian invasions, so it is not improbable that he managed to reach Cambuslang. However, as no mention is made in the legends of an expedition this far north, it might have been a disciple, or a pilgrim returning from Glamorgan with a relic, who established the church at Cambuslang.
St Cadoc was prestigious enough in his lifetime for local chiefs to have recourse to him to settle disputes. This reputation lasted well into the Middle Ages, where solemn bonds and oaths were sworn over his (or his followers') remains. Just before the Reformation, a wealthy Cambuslang notable expressed in his will a desire to be interred "with the ashes of St Cadoc", in the Parish Kirk.
David Dale (1739–1806) was a Scottish industrialist and philanthropist. His efforts to establish a cotton-spinning factory at Flemington failed but he was very successful as co-founder of the New Lanark Mills in 1786. Dale owned the estate of Rosebank in Cambuslang, which he used as a summer retreat from his townhouse (reputedly still standing) in Charlotte Street Glasgow and to where he retired and lived until his death. The estate was sold after his death to the Caledonian Railway Company, which divided it in two to accommodate the new railway. The half to the north of the railway line, including Rosebank House, eventually became Rosebank Industrial Estate. The southern half was sold to Thomas Gray Buchanan, a Glasgow merchant, related to the Buchanan who established Buchanan Street in Glasgow, who established a country retreat at Wellshott House, but his son Michael sold off the lands to build suburban villas in the 1860s.
Rev Dr James Meek (1739–1810) was Minister of Cambuslang from 1774 until his death. He had been Dean of the Chapel at Glasgow University, when the Rector was Edmund Burke and the professors included the philosopher Thomas Reid. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1795. He wrote the entry for Cambuslang in the First Statistical Account of Scotland. The cool, objective account in his report of the Cambuslang Wark remains the prime historical source for that event. He kept a detailed "Journal and Register of the Weather..." for each day over 29 years, with remarks on weather and events throughout Britain and the world. This Journal is still quoted in modern histories of the weather. He is buried in the Old Parish Church kirkyard, just inside the gate.
- There is some evidence from Welsh Chroniclers – using place name analysis – that King Arthur was a prince of the northern Welsh-speakers of Strathclyde and that he fought his last battle against the invading Saxons at Cambuslang.
- William de Cambuslang (died 1361) Bishop of Dunblane, (1347–1361)
- Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) is reputed to have crossed the Clyde at the "fliers ford" as she fled to England from the Battle of Langside in 1567. The ford is situated where the Kirkburn enters the river, below the bridge near the supermarket.
- David Beaton (1494–1546) was Rector of Cambuslang from 1520. He was appointed to this post by his Uncle, James Beaton, the Archbishop of Glasgow, and was a prebendary, which means he lived off the tithes and never lived there, leaving the work of a parish priest to a vicar.
- William Hamilton of Gilbertfield (1665 to 1751) lived in Westburn and Gilbertfield. He wrote a metrical abridgement, in 18th century Scots, of Blind Harry's poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace on Sir William Wallace, whose 17th century castle remains, though in ruins. He corresponded with Allan Ramsay and his poetry was praised in an epistle by Robert Burns – where he referred to him as "Gilbertfield".
- Claudius Buchanan (1766–1815) was born in Cambuslang to the schoolmaster, and died in Hertfordshire. His maternal grandfather had been converted at the Cambuslang Wark. His studies at Cambridge were supported by John Newton, the anti-slavery campaigner. His books and publications seeking to strengthen the Christian presence in India resulted in the setting up of an educational and ecclessiastical structure. Jane Austen, in one of her letters, professed to have loved these books. He was honoured for his missionary work by Glasgow and Oxford Universities and he seems to have made enough money in India to fund several prizes to promote missionary activity back home.
- John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843), a famous gardener (or rather "horticultural writer, dendrologist and designer") was born in Cambuslang to a respectable farming family. He wrote the Encyclopaedia of Gardening in 1822, and invented a flexible iron-bar sash which made possible such monumental greenhouses as the Palm House at Kew Gardens and the Crystal Palace. He also laid down the prototypical semi-detached house (in Porchester Terrace, London), to satisfy the needs of the emergent and aspirant middle classes.
- Sir George Burns (1795–1890), Shipping Magnate and co-founder of the Cunard Line resided at Rosebank House after David Dale's time.
- Sir Thomas Lipton (1850–1931) of tea fame lived in the Johnstone Villa in Cambuslang, which was named after his mother's family. One his aunts lived in a detached villas in Wellshot, now the North Street Health Centre. He often drove in style in a carriage-and-four to Glasgow.
- Jimmy Jackson was a Scottish-Australian Footballer
- Dr David Forbes Martyn (1906–1970) was born in Cambuslang on 22 June 1906, the son of a local doctor. He was educated at Alan Glen's School then the Royal College of Science, London. He was a physicist and radiographer who moved to Australia in 1927 to take up one of the first posts in radio research there. He contributed to the development of coastal and air defence radar for Australia during World War II. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1950.
- Robert Wilson (1907–1964) Opera and concert singer with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and recording artist with Parlophone and HMV
- Air Vice-Marshal John B. Wallace (1907 – ) came from Cambuslang. He was Deputy Director-General of Medical Services, Royal Air Force from 1961 to 1966.
- Robin Jenkins' (1912–2005) most famous novel is the Cone Gatherers, much studied in Scottish schools.
- Sir Ian McGregor, malariologist (1922–2007) led British research in tropical medicine at the MRC Laboratories in the Gambia.
- Mick McGahey, (1925–1999) was a Scottish miners leader who had worked in the mines of Cambuslang. There is a 2005 memorial (in the form of mine workings) "In memory of the men, women and children, many of whom died whilst working in the pits and collieries of Cambuslang [...] Also to the memory of Mick McGahey" at the east end of Main Street.
- Duncan Munro Glen, (1933 – ) as well as being a prolific poet and historian, is Emeritus Professor of Visual Communication at Nottingham Trent University. Through his editorship of the magazine Arkos, he has been a vigorous promoter of Scots literature, becoming a friend and early champion of, among others, Hugh MacDiarmid and Ian Hamilton Finlay. He was born and brought up in Westburn, Cambuslang. Among his 150-odd publications he has produced the definitive modern history of Cambuslang, along with a collection of Cambuslang poets. His own poetry deals with friends and fellow poets, relatives, Scots history and the history and landscape of Cambuslang. His poetry has been translated into Italian. He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Paisley.
- John Fallon (1940 – ) was goalkeeper for Glasgow Celtic and one of the Lisbon Lions .
- The Rt Rev David Lunan (1944 – ) was brought up in Cambuslang, and became Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2008.
- Mike Watson (1949 – ), previously a Labour life peer as Lord Watson of Invergowrie, was given a 16-month prison sentence in 2005 for wilful fire-raising. Though born in Cambuslang in 1949, Watson moved early to Invergowrie near Dundee.
- Robert Crawford (1959 – ), Scottish poet and Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at St Andrews University was born in Bellshill and raised in Cambuslang. He was educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, Glasgow University and Oxford University. While there, he wrote a poem called "Cambuslang"
- Midge Ure (1953 – ) is a pop-singer, formerly performing with Slik and Ultravox and a leading campaigner against world hunger, including Band Aid and Live 8. He was born James Ure in Cambuslang on 10 October 1953 and was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Dundee Abertay University in October 2005.
- Brendan O'Hare (1970 – ) is a musician, formerly performing with Teenage Fanclub and Mogwai
- Patrick Harkins (1965– ) is a TV and Film director and writer with his most noted work including Taggart and Casualty.
- Scott Harrison (1977 – ), the World Boxing Organisation featherweight champion for 2002, was born in Bellshill on 19 August 1977 and brought up in Cambuslang.
- "List of UK post towns". Evox Facilities. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "List of railway station names". Newsnetscotland.com. 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- "Latest News - South Lanarkshire Council". Southlanarkshire.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- "Sir Ian Mcgregor - Obituaries - News". The Independent. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Oxford Poetry Vol V No 1 (Winter 1989)
- A Scottish Assembly (London: Chatto & Windus, 1990)
- British Council. "Robert Crawford | British Council Literature". Contemporarywriters.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Glen, Duncan A nation in a parish: A new historical prospect of Scotland from the parish of Cambuslang AKROS Publications Kirkcaldy (1995) ISBN 0-86142-120-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Glen, Duncan Munro New History of Cambuslang AKROS Publications Kirkcaldy (1998) ISBN 0-86142-098-5 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Groome, Francis H. (1903). Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, ISBN 1-85506-572-X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Magnusson, Magnus (1990). Chambers Biographical Dictionary W & R Chambers Ltd ISBN 0-550-16040-X [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]
- Williamson, Elizabeth; Riches, Anne; Higgs, Malcolm (1990). The Buildings of Scotland – Glasgow. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-300-09674-7 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- Wilson, James Alexander OBE, MD A History of Cambuslang: a Clydesdale parish. Jackson Wylie & Co Glasgow (1929)
- Friends of Cambuslang Park
- Views of Old Cambuslang
- Historical perspective for Cambuslang, from the Gazetteer for Scotland
- History of Clydebridge Steelworks and Clyde Iron Works
- The Statistical Accounts of Scotland
- for an extract on Cambuslang from Rambles Round Glasgow by Hugh MacLelland
- Account of Claudius Buchanan
- Pictures and histories of Wellshott House, Rosebank House and other country houses round Glasgow.
- Jane Austen's letter mentioning Buchanan