North Lanarkshire

Located in the Monklands district of North Lanarkshire to the immediate east of Coatbridge, 11 miles (18 km) east of Glasgow, the former industrial town of Airdrie developed from a farm steading in the 17th Century through the efforts of Robert Hamilton (1650 - 1701) who helped create a market established in 1695. In the 18th century it became a centre for handloom weaving and in 1821 it achieved the status of burgh, one of the last in Scotland to be granted a charter. In the 19th century Airdrie expanded with coal mining, oil-shale extraction and cotton milling, the area around it supplying much of the ironstone which supported the foundries at Coatbridge. Engineering and the brewing of beer, railway wagons, bricks and paper were also important industries. Airdrie Savings Bank was founded in 1835 and remains Britain's only independent savings bank, still focussed on a local community in North Lanarkshire, E Glasgow and Falkirk. Now largely a residential settlement with knitwear, liqueur-production and cosmetics industries, Airdrie is also home to Britain's leading potato growers and packers, Albert Bartlett, founded in nearby Coatbridge in 1948 and still a family business.

Airdrie lost its burgh status in 1975 when it became part of Monklands district and was disappointed to be named the most dismal place in Scotland in 2001 as part of the Carbuncle Awards.

Notable buildings include the Sir John Wilson Town Hall (1912), the Wellwynd Church (1847), the West Parish Church (1834), St Margaret's RC Church (1839), Airdrie Town House (1826), Cairnhill House (1841), Airdrie Academy (1895), Airdrie Public Library (1925), with its astronomical observatory, and the Weavers Cottages Museum. Born in Airdrie were the actors Ian Bannen (1928-99) and Ross Davidson (1949 - 2006).

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