Across Lanarkshire
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Bothwell

 

Bothwell lies on the north bank of the River Clyde, adjacent to Uddingston and Hamilton, nine miles east-south-east of Glasgow city centre.

 

Bothwell is an affluent commuter town that has attracted a number of local celebrities including a number of Celtic and Rangers footballers. Thanks to a steady rise in property prices, the town has earned its reputation as one of Glasgow's most prosperous satellites. A recent survey published in The Scotsman revealed that Bothwell's Imperial Way, site of the former home of ex-Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, is the fifth most expensive street in Scotland, closely followed by neighbouring streets Mill Road and Fife Crescent.

 

The parish church (which was restored at the end of the 19th century) contains the choir of the old Gothic church of 1398. A memorial honours the poet Joanna Baillie (1762–1851) who was born in the manse.

 

Bothwell village and its immediate surroundings east of the River Clyde were the site of three medium sized Victorian Age collieries, Bothwell Castle, Bothwell Park and Hamilton Palace. The former two were financed by William Baird, the Coatbridge iron master, and the latter by the Bent Coal Company.

Each had its collection of mining company workers houses with Bothwell Park and Hamilton Palace creating new villages. The mineral owners were the Earl of Home and the Duke of Hamilton.

The two mining companies built workers houses of two rooms for rent. The rent was deducted from the workers' pay automatically. The Bothwell houses were sited in an existing village but the other two communities began on green sites. The latter two did not contain a company store. The Bothwell Castle houses consisted of a three storey tenement block and two storey terraces. The Bothwell Park houses consisted of six single storey terraces. The Hamilton Palace houses consisted of fourteen two storey terraces. The mining companies also built larger houses for their managerial staff.

The collieries worked the same seams and the coal was sold into the domestic, manufacturing and blast furnace markets. The collieries reached their zenith of output about 1910, when Hamilton Palace employed 1226 workers, Bothwell Park 663 workers and Bothwell Castle 522 workers. Bothwell Park was recognised as one of Britain's most productive collieries. Bothwell Park closed in 1930, Bothwell Castle closed in 1950 and was used to pump water away from the Blantyre collieries until 1953, and Hamilton Palace closed in 1959 due to the cost of pumping.

 

The picturesque ruin of Bothwell Castle occupies a position on a bluff above a bend in the River Clyde on the edge of Bothwell, which here takes the bold sweep famed in Scottish song as the Bothwell bank. This fortress belonged to Sir Andrew de Moray, who was fatally wounded at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. It passed by marriage to the House of Douglas. The lordship was bestowed in 1487 on Patrick Hepburn, 3rd Lord Hailes, 1st Earl of Bothwell. When he resigned in 1491 the title passed to "Bell-the-Cat", Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus. The title ultimately passed to the Earls of Home.

The castle is a fine example of Gothic architecture. It consists of a great quadrangle with circular towers on the south. At the east end stand the remains of the chapel. An unpretentious mansion was built nearby by Archibald Douglas, 1st Earl of Forfar (1653–1712), and was known as New Bothwell Castle, but suffered mining subsidence and was demolished in 1926.

 

Brighter Bothwell is a local environmental group, formed in 2000 for the benefit of the whole community of Bothwell. Their objective is to enhance the environment directly through the endeavours of volunteers. Their approach to cleaning is "If we see things which need done to improve the appearance of our village – litter picking, dog fouling problems, graffiti removal, sustainable planting, floral displays - we organise work parties and tackle them. Our motto is ‘Let's just do it!’."

 

Since the formation of the group, the town is cleaner, brighter and ‘greener’. Many public areas have been improved and some major projects have been undertaken including the Nature Trail, The Jubilee Garden and The Marion Gilchrist Garden. In the Beautiful Scotland campaign, the group has raised the village to Silver Gilt award standard and, in 2012, Bothwell won the prize as winner of the Small Town category.

Brighter Bothwell has also encouraged the formation of two additional community groups, The Organic Growers of Bothwell and The Bothwell Scarecrow Festival. Working along with Brighter Bothwell, these groups are having a positive impact on the community.

 

The new group formed to set up a Community Scarecrow Festival with an agreed purpose: to promote community spirit among residents, community groups and businesses; to improve well being; and to support the local economy.

This organisation has developed into The Bothwell Community Scarecrow Festival. The first festival took place in September 2011, and subsequently every year after.

During the 2013 festival, a new event was held called 'The Scarecrow Festival of Transport' and was held at Bothwell Primary School. It was intended to be a celebration of transport throughout the ages and covered vehicles from old to new, big to small and humble to outrageous. Various people from the village donated their automobiles for the event, such as Boyd Tunnock of the local company Tunnock's and Bentley Glasgow.

The festival has become very popular and the main street is filled with imaginative scarecrows from August onward. Many local businesses make their own scarecrows as do the local children who's gardens are also filed with scarecrows at the time of year. Yorkhill Children's foundation is the beneficiary of the event.

 

Info taken from Wikipedia