The administrative centre of East Dunbartonshire, Kirkintilloch lies on the Forth and Clyde Canal near the junction of the Luggie Water with the River Kelvin. It developed near the site of a fort on the Roman Antonine Wall and became a royal burgh in the 12th century. Its growth was stimulated in the 18th century by the manufacture of textiles, coal mining and the opening of the eastern part of the canal. Brass founding and the manufacture of electrical circuits, nails and bottle closures emerged as modern industries. The town had a strong Temperance Movement, founded in 1880. The Temperance Act of 1913 allowed communities to hold a vote to ban the sale of alcohol and Kirkintilloch took advantage of this legislation in 1921, remaining 'dry' until 1968.
The town's population rapidly expanded in the 1960s when it accommodate Glasgow overspill and from 1974 to 1996 Kirkintilloch was the administrative centre of the Strathkelvin District of Strathclyde Region. Buildings of interest include the Church of St Mary (1644) which is now a museum. Tom Johnston, Secretary of State for Scotland during World War II was born in Kirkintilloch in 1881. Also born here, in 1938, was singer Moira Anderson.