AIRDRIE, a town of extent and importance, in the parish of New Monkland, Middle ward of the county of Lanark, 11 miles (E. by N.) from Glasgow, and 32 (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing, in 1841, as many as 12,418 inhabitants, of whom 2556 were in the then quoad sacra parish of East Airdrie, 3213 in that of West Airdrie, 4666 in that of South Airdrie, and 1983 in that of High Church. This place stands on the principal line of road between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and occupies a slightly rising ground sloping westward, but presenting no marked or interesting features. Little more than a century ago, there was but a solitary farm-hamlet on the site of this large, well-built, manufacturing and commercial town. Within the last fifteen years, the place has increased in wealth and population to an extent unequalled by any other burgh in Scotland. It owes its rapid growth to the rich and extensive beds of ironstone and coal which surround it, and the consequent opening of iron-works and collieries in the neighbourhood; whilst the situation of the town within a moderate distance of the western metropolis of Scotland, and other principal towns, has also given it a large share in the weaving orders of the Glasgow manufactures. In 1831, the population of the burgh amounted to about 6000, and of the whole parish of New Monkland to 9867; according to the census taken in 1841, the population of the burgh amounted to 12,418, and that of the whole parish to 20,511. Airdrie enjoys the benefit of both railway and canal communication. The streets are lighted with gas, and well paved; the town is watched by a party of police, and there is a company called the Airdrie and Coatbridge water company. A market for grain is held every Thursday, and fairs are held on the last Tuesday of May, and third Tuesday of November. Branches are established of the National Bank, the Bank of Scotland, and the Western Bank of Scotland.
The town was erected into a free burgh of barony in 1821, by the act 1st and 2nd of George IV., cap. 60; and by the general act 1st and 2nd of William IV., cap. 65, it was made a parliamentary burgh, to share with Falkirk, Hamilton, Lanark, and Linlithgow in the return of a member to the house of commons. In 1849 an act was passed to extend and partly repeal the former of these statutes; to provide for the municipal and police government of the burgh; and the better paving, watching, lighting, and cleansing of the place. Airdrie is governed by a provost, three bailies, a treasurer, and seven councillors, assisted by a town-clerk and a procurator-fiscal. The town-hall is a neat edifice, comprising also a police office, and a small prison for the temporary confinement of offenders previous to their committal to the Airdrie bridewell, a large and well-constructed building. There are, besides, different public halls connected with the trade of the town, and a theatre. Ecclesiastically this place is in the presbytery of Hamilton, and synod of Glasgow and Ayr: the East church, containing 631 sittings, was erected in 1797, and the West church, containing 1200 sittings, in 1835. There are two places of worship for members of the Free Church, two in connexion with the United Presbyterian Synod, and places of worship for other denominations. A town school is under the patronage of the magistrates of the burgh, and the managers of the East parish; it is attended by about 120 pupils in summer, and 80 in winter. Chalmers is of opinion that Airdrie is the Arderyth of the British triads, on the heights of which Rydderech the Bountiful, King of Strathclwyd, in 577 defeated Aidan the Perfidious, King of Cantyre, and slew Gwenddolan, the patron of Merlin, who was also engaged in the battle. Near Airdrie is a mineral well of a sulphureous quality, called Monkland Well.
Online maps of Airdrie are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)