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Main Street, Wishaw
Grid reference: NS795555
Location: 55°46’26"N, 3°55’8"W
Population: 28,565  (2001)
Post town: Wishaw
Postcode: ML2
Dialling code: 01698
Local Government
Council: North Lanarkshire
Motherwell and Wishaw

Wishaw is a town in Lanarkshire, on the edge of the Clyde Valley, 15 miles southeast of Glasgow.

Two adjoining villages behaving as satellites are Overtown and Newmains.

Wishaw has long lived in the shadow of its bigger and better known neighbour, Motherwell, with which it formed the joint large burgh in 1920, the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw, until its dissolution in 1975.


The name of Wishaw is uncertain, though attracting several theories, some somewhat wistful. The town is probably named after Wishaw House, built in the woods by the South Calder Water. The house was likely built at some time after the selling of Coltness, Wishaw, Watstein and Stain to Hamilton of Uddsten, the predecessor to Lord Belhaven.

The estate takes its name from Old English or Scots and all that is certain is that "shaw" is a wood (a name element widespread in Great Britain). It may be named from "wis", an Old Scotch for water, or Wishaw may be "Wicket gate in the wood"; Wygateshaw. Alternatively, it may be from the Old English for "Willow Wood". Another theory is that the name derives from "Wee Shaw", meaning small wood.


The town itself is not very old, but settlement in the area dates back to the 12th century when St Nethan established a kirk dedicated to St Michael by a bend (Gaelic camus) in the Clyde near what is now Netherton. The area then became known as the parish of Cambusnethan, and remained so until the Reformation. The site of the original church remains as a ruined burial ground, including an impressive mausoleum to Lord Belhaven, although the church is in an irreparable state.

The village itself was laid out in 1794, named Cambusnethan, and later renamed "Wishawtown". On 4 September 1855, the town was incorporated with the villages of Coltness and Stewarton to form the Burgh of Wishaw, with a population of approximately 5,000.


  • The Wishaw Press, running for some 50 years.

Transport links

The West Coast Main Line passes through the town at 115 mph, but no passenger service trains stop there, as the main Wishaw South railway station on the line closed over 40 years ago.

Wishaw is on the A71, Edinburgh, Livingston and Kilmarnock road which links the town to the M74 motorway, as well as the A73 which links the town with the Middle Shires and the M8 motorway.

Following a campaign by local politicians, the area is now well signposted from the nearby M8 and M74 motorways. This move was considered necessary as although the town is not considered a principal destination from either of these roads and therefore not included as standard on the signage, it does have the main hospital for an area stretching right down the M74 corridor almost to the edge of Cumberland 75 miles away.


Former industrial employers in the area include many steelworks such as British Steel, Clyde Alloy, Bone Connell & Baxter, though most of these are now defunct due to the decline of the steel industry. Wishaw and its nearby neighbour of Motherwell were once a centre of steel manufacture, as both towns were located either side of the former Ravenscraig steelworks.

As a result of its history as a steel manufacturing and mining community, Wishaw was also home to mining and industrial equipment manufacturers such as Anderson Boyes (now part of Long-Airdox) and Svedala, but both these businesses have since gone through changes leading to their movement away from these businesses and the Wishaw area.

The (now-defunct) local firm of R Y Pickering & Co Ltd (later Norbrit-Pickering) built railway rolling stock (especially wagons) and many tramcars for tram systems throughout the UK. One of its last tramcar orders was for 10 double-decker trams for Aberdeen Corporation Tramways in 1949.


Main Street is the predominant shopping area in Wishaw. It is partly made up of major national stores but with some small independent retailers.

The Caledonian Centre is a shopping complex in the northern suburb of Craigneuk, awash with the usual national chains stores.


Wishaw has many churches in it of various kinds and denominations. There are several Church of Scotland congregations - serving principally the town centre are South Wishaw Parish Church and Wishaw Old Parish Church, and serving the outlying parts of Wishaw are - Cambusnethan North Church, Cambusnethan Old and Morningside Parish Church, Craigneuk and Belhaven Church, Coltness Memorial Church (Newmains) and St. Mark's Church (Coltness). The Church of Scotland "charges" have been reduced in recent years through the union of Thornlie and Chalmers Churches to form South Wishaw Parish Church, and the linkage of Wishaw Old Parish Church with that of Craigneuk and Belhaven Church who now share one minister.

The town also has a United Free Church, an Episcopal Church dedicated to St. Andrew, a Baptist church (both in Belhaven Terrace), a Gospel Hall (Ebenezer Gospel Hall), a Methodist church (now known as Netherton Methodist Church), a Christian Outreach Centre and five Roman Catholic churches.


  • Junior football:
    • Wishaw FC
    • Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers

Wishaw has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V, next to the town's hospital. This small park has two full-sized football pitches as well as a swingpark and play-area.

To the northwest of the town, there is a large golf course.

Town park

Wishaw has a town park named after Lord Belhaven, Belhaven Park. It has swings, a paddling pool and plenty of benches. There is also plenty of open spaces and pathways.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Wishaw)