Newton Mearns (Scottish Gaelic: Baile Ùr na Maoirne [ˈpalə ˈuːɾ nə ˈmɯːrˠɲə]) is an affluent suburban town and the largest settlement in East Renfrewshire, Scotland. It lies 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Glasgow City Centre on the main road to Ayrshire, 410 feet (125 m) above sea level. It has a population of approximately 22,636, stretching from Whitecraigs and Kirkhill in the northeast to Maidenhill in the southeast, to Westacres and Greenlaw in the west and Capelrig/Patterton in the northwest..
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Until the 20th century, the land around Newton Mearns was primarily agricultural. Ownership passed from the Pollocks (whose name is perpetuated in the nearby Glasgow housing estate of Pollok) to the Maxwells of Caerlaverock around 1300. It then passed to the Maxwells of Nether Pollok in 1648 and then the Stewarts of Blackhall in 1660. A new turnpike road from Eastwood Toll, now the main Ayr Road, was constructed in 1832. By the end of the 18th century quarrying had developed and more importantly numerous textile mills and finishing works became established availing themselves of the numerous rivers and lochs for water supply. The 1893 'Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland' describes it as "pleasantly situated on a rising ground 410 feet above sea-level". It also reveals that it was a 'burgh of barony' which bestowed the right to hold a weekly market and two annual fairs. However, the Gazetteer also describes the village as being only a "single street on the Glasgow and Kilmarnock highroad"
From the early 20th century, with the introduction of improved roads and railways to the area, it gradually became a growing commuter suburb of Glasgow. In the 1930s, between speculative and local authority housing ventures, a further 6,000 houses were added to the area and after a lull during the war years, in the 1950s, house building began again in earnest. Unfortunately, the old core village suffered neglect during and after World War II and was all but derelict by the 1960s. It was purchased and turned into a shopping centre which was later to become 'The Avenue at Mearns' in 1991.
The castle appears to be noted by Pont's sixteenth-century map. The castle was demolished and rebuilt as a large stately house 1686 by Sir Robert Pollok. It was completely destroyed by fire in 1882 (after remaining empty for some while) and then rebuilt again shortly after in the Scottish Baronial style. It was finally abandoned in the 1940s and fell into ruin. Some of the ruins were dynamited in the 1970s and a large prefabricated house erected on the castle foundations. The prefabricated house was removed and the site cleared in the early 1990s, and the castle was again rebuilt in 2003, in the Scottish Adam style. Some of the original foundations and castle walls remain.
At national level, Newton Mearns forms part of the Eastwood constituency (since renamed to its original name of East Renfrewshire), and historically, it was one of Scotland's safest Conservative seats. From the 1997 general election, when Barrhead and Neilston were added to the constituency, until 2015 the seat was held by Labour. Since the 2015 UK election it has been represented by the SNP's Kirsten Oswald MP  in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. However, at the 2017 Election the seat was gained by the Conservative Paul Masterton
Newton Mearns forms part of the Eastwood constituency in the Scottish Parliament. The seat was held by Labour's Ken Macintosh from 1999, when the parliament reconvened, until 2016. In 2016, Jackson Carlaw MSP, won the seat for the Conservatives.
As a result of the introduction of the Single Transferable Vote system for Scottish local council elections, it was planned that, in time for elections taking place in and after 2007, the town would be divided into two multi-councillor wards: Liboside and Newton Mearns North and Newton Mearns South. However, due to a number of complaints about the new divisions, the former was renamed Neilston, Uplawmoor and Newton Mearns North, in a move to keep Neilston an integral part of the council. The current councillors for the areas are as follows:
Newton Mearns North and NeilstonEdit
|Tony Buchanan||Scottish National Party|
Newton Mearns South and EagleshamEdit
|Caroline Bamforth||Scottish National Party|
Newton Mearns is a primarily a residential area, with most of its inhabitants travelling by car or public transport to Glasgow for employment and shopping. However, there are a number of small businesses in the area, as well as an indoor shopping centre.
The Avenue Shopping Centre is the main large retail centre in Newton Mearns. It comprises a total of 44 stores, currently including two supermarkets, three banks, nine clothing stores, food shops, restaurants and library. The line of the main mall at the Avenue runs the course of the old Mearns Main Street. There are also shopping units and restaurants at Broom on the Ayr Road, shopping units and restaurants at Broomburn on the Mearns Road, and shopping units and restaurants at Crookfur on Harvie Avenue. The newly constructed Greenlaw Village close to the M77 at Crookfur Road also has two supermarkets, a hotel, smaller shops and a number of restaurants.
Some significant businesses operating within Newton Mearns are Vets 4 Pets, Eric N Smith, Claro Print, Specsavers, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Nicol Estate Agents, Pets N Vets.
Farming continues to be important to the south of Mearns Cross and stretching to Fenwick and Eaglesham Moors. A major Bleach Works and textile finishing centre was constructed at Netherplace, the site of which is still visible from the M77 motorway.
Traffic through the town was reduced significantly after the M77 motorway extension opened in 1997. Transport links improved further in May 2006 with the opening of the Glasgow Southern Orbital dual carriageway, and its connection to the M77.
As well as minor and major roads, the town has bus links with the centre of Glasgow, Kilmarnock, and Ayr. The town is served by two local railway stations, Patterton and Whitecraigs which run trains to Glasgow Central station amongst others.
One factor that has made the area popular with families is the variety and quality of local schools. Mearns is served by eight primary schools and five high schools, including one independent school:
- Primary schools
- Kirkhill Primary School
- St. Cadoc's RC Primary School
- St Clare's Primary School and Calderwood Lodge Primary School (shared campus)
- Crookfur Primary School
- Mearns Primary School
- Maidenhill Primary School
- Belmont House School (independent)
- Isobel Mair School for children with special needs
- Secondary schools
Newton Mearns has numerous places of worship, notably four Church of Scotland churches, a Baptist church, a Roman Catholic church, two synagogues and a mosque.
Newton Mearns contains a number of parks, including Broom/Broomburn Park, Mearns/Shawwood Park, Crookfur Park & Parklands Country Club, and the town is adjacent to Rouken Glen Park with its boating pond, gardens and leisure facilities. There are numerous golf clubs, a golf academy, a tennis club, bowling club and rugby club. A public swimming pool and leisure centre is located at Eastwood Park in nearby Giffnock, and the swimming pool and sports centre at Eastwood High School is open to the public. Between Mearns and Barrhead lie the former reservoirs and water runs of the Gorbals Water Works, pioneered in the 19th century, before the building of the Loch Katrine Water Works. The reservoirs and surrounding parklands now form the Dams to Darnley Country Park.
The biggest football club near Newton Mearns is the Junior club, Pollok F.C.. The club's home stadium is situated in Auldhouse, Glasgow. Newton Mearns also has an amateur football club, Newton Mearns Rovers AFC; Established in 1962, the club competes in the Caledonian Amateur Football League. Newton Mearns has a Freemasons' lodge, Lodge Newton Mearns No 1706, that meets in the Fairweather Hall on Barrhead Road.
Newton Mearns was briefly mentioned in John McGrath's play Little Red Hen (1975, first publ. London: Pluto 1977, p. 34). More recently, the town appeared as the setting for the thriller novel Aztec Love Song (Weathervane Press 2009, ISBN 978-0-9562193-2-9) by Marty Ross, a Scottish author best known for his BBC radio plays, who grew up in the town and studied at Mearns Castle High School.
- "Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland database". Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Gazetteer of Scotland". Edinburgh University. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "People of East Renfrewshire". East Renfrewshire Council. Retrieved 2005-05-18.
- "History". Mearnsparishkirk.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- David Kidd, Anne Loudon (2001). Old Newton Mearns. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 9781840331783.
- "Scottish Castles Photo Library - Mearns Castle, East Renfrewshire". Rampantscotland.com. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
- Pollok Castle, Dams to Darnley Country Park
- "Kirsten Oswald MP". United Kingdom Parliament. Retrieved 2015-06-22.
- "'Statutory Review of Local Government Election Arrangements - East Renfrewshire council area'". Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland. Retrieved 2005-08-15.
- "Councillor's Report for Liboside – Ward 1" (PDF). East Renfrewshire Official Website. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- Newton Mearns Through Time by Graeme Smith and Anne Robertson, published by Amberley Publishing, 2014
- "Netherplace Bleachworks NMRS Number: NS55NW 87". CANMORE. RCAHMS. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- "List Of East Renfrewshire LEA Schools". Schools Web Directory UK. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- "List Of Independent Schools & Colleges in Renfrewshire". Schools Web Directory UK. Retrieved 2007-06-28.