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Gaelic: Caisteal Tarrais
Carstairs Village Green - - 119801.jpg
Carstairs Village Green
Location: 55°42’0"N, 3°42’0"W
Post town: Lanark
Postcode: ML11
Dialling code: 01555
Local Government
Council: South Lanarkshire
Lanark and Hamilton East

Carstairs is a village and parish in southern Lanarkshire, located five miles east of the county town of Lanark. The West Coast Main railway line runs through the village and the village is served by Carstairs railway station. Carstairs is best known as the location of the State Hospital for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The name Carstairs is applied to both Carstairs Village and the separate village of Carstairs Junction where the station is situated. The two places are divided by a mile, an area of parkland (Monteith Park) and the railway line.

Carstairs Village has expanded greatly since 2007 with the building of the Millwood Estate. Carstairs Village is centred on the main thoroughfare Lanark Road, off which is the original Rosemount Crescent and Avenue Road and School Road. There are further streets at Millwood Estate namely- Castledyke Way, Castledyke Lea, Castledyke Gardens, Castledyke View and Castledyke Road. The village is currently served by a Doctors Surgery, a Pharmacy, a Cooperative food store, a cafe (Green Granary), a Car Wash and Tyre fitting workshop. There is also a pub and restaurant called the Carstairs Village Inn situated on Lanark Road whilst there is a second-hand car dealer located at the entrance of the village from the Carnwath to Lanark road.


A Roman fort was built at Castledyke in the first and second century AD. A parish school was opened in 1619, and by 1754 William Roy recorded a sizeable farming village on the Lanark road to Carnwath and Edinburgh. Carstairs was made a burgh of barony in 1765. The mansion of Carstairs House was built in 1821-24 for Henry Montheith. 1848 saw the building of a railway station by the Caledonian Railway. By 1895 there was an inn and post office at the village.[1]

During the 1920s, the Ministry of Labour acquired Lampits Farm, Carstairs Junction, for use as a labour camp. By 1938 there were 35 so-called "Instructional Centres", with a capacity of over 6,000. Their role was to 'harden' young unemployed men and prepare them for work elsewhere. Lampits Farm was originally intended in 1929 to train young men in farm and forestry work, with a view to their emigrating to Canada or Australia; it became an Instructional Centre a year later. Many of the Carstairs inmates came from coal-mining and other industrial backgrounds in the West of Scotland. The Ministry of Labour sold the site in 1935, and it reverted to use as a farm. In its last months, the Ministry of Labour used the inmates to help the Scottish Office Prison Department to build a new secure hospital.[2]

Carstairs has gained a certain notoriety as the location of the State Hospital for Scotland and Northern Ireland (also known as Carstairs Hospital), a maximum-security psychiatric facility where some of the most severe cases of mental illness are treated. Many of the patients have been convicted of serious offences and some are incarcerated at the facility indefinitely.


The main road running through Carstairs is the A70. Carstairs is served by bus route 37 and 137.

Carstairs is the location of a triangular junction where the line to Edinburgh diverges from the mainline.


  1. The Making of Scotland, Robin Smith, Canongate Books Ltd, 2001, ISBN 1 84195 170 6
  2. John Field, "Working Men's Bodies: work camps in Britain, 1880-1940", Manchester University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-7190-8768-4

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Carstairs, South Lanarkshire)