Hamilton is a town in South Lanarkshire, in the west-central Lowlands of Scotland. It serves as the main administrative centre of the South Lanarkshire council area. It is the third largest town in Scotland, situated south-east of Glasgow, and south-west of Edinburgh on the south bank of the River Clyde at its confluence with the Avon Water.
The town of Hamilton was originally known as Cadow (the "" being the Middle English letter yogh, ie pronounced Cadihou), but was re-named in honour of James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. The Hamilton family constructed many landmark buildings in the area including the Mausoleum in Strathclyde Park, which has the longest echo of any building in the world.
Other historic buildings in the area include Hamilton Old Parish Church - a Georgian era building completed in (1734)- and the only church to have been built by William Adam. The graveyard of the old parish church contains some Covenanter remains. The former Edwardian Town Hall now houses the library and concert hall. The Townhouse complex underwent a sympathetic modernisation in 2002 and opened to the public in summer 2004. The ruins of Cadzow Castle also lie in Chatelherault Country Park, 2 miles from the town centre.
Hamilton Palace was the largest non-Royal residence in the Western World, located in the north-east of the town. A former seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, it was built in 1695, subsequently much enlarged, and demolished in 1921 due to ground subsidence. It is widely acknowledged as having been one of the grandest houses in Scotland, was visited and admired by Queen Victoria, and was written about by Daniel Defoe.
Hamilton is twinned with Châtellerault in France. This connection dates from the 16th century when the title Duc de Châtellerault was conferred on James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran. The Duke's hunting lodge (now in Chatelherault Country Park), a primary school and new railway station are named 'Chatelherault' for this reason.
To the north of the Palace Grounds is the Low Parks Museum, housed in an old inn and recently refurbished. The oldest building in Hamilton, the museum was a 16th century inn and was an old staging post for journeys between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The museum contains extensive exhibits on Hamilton Palace and also on the local Cameronian Scottish Rifles regiment (disbanded in 1968).
Service industries and local government are major employers in Hamilton, as are HSBC/First Direct and Philips, the Dutch electronics conglomerate. The town centre has been regenerated over the last decade by creating two new indoor shopping centres and the Palace Grounds Retail Park
New restaurants along with various other national retail outlets, are situated in a redeveloped part of the Palace Grounds that are visible upon entering the town from the M74 motorway. The creation of a circular Town Square (now the site of a Frankie & Bennies restaurant) has resulted in Hamilton receiving numerous town planning awards during the past decade. This development transformed the Hamilton side of Strathclyde Park, which was the original site of the Duke's palace. The area is still under development with the remainder of the indoor town centre due to be finished by early 2009.
Hamilton has been a Fairtrade Town since 2005.
The area near Hamilton West railway station and Peacock Cross has also changed with the demolition of Hamilton Accies' original Douglas Park stadium in 1994. A retail park was built on the site with New Douglas Park added behind it in 2001. Hamilton Academical Football Club (the Accies) were formed in 1874 and are one of Scotland's oldest senior clubs. They take their name from Hamilton Academy, now called Hamilton Grammar School, the oldest school in the town (founded 1588). They are the only professional football team in the UK to originate from a school team and play in the Scottish Premier League, having won the Scottish First Division title during 2007/2008.
The Hamilton Rugby Club can be found at the Leigh Bent sports ground, Leigh Bent Road. They currently play in the Scottish Premier League 2.
Hamilton Park Racecourse is situated alongside the town's Bothwell Road.
Speedway racing was staged in Hamilton between 1947 and 1955. The annual meeting was staged as part of the annual Lanarkshire Show and featured riders from across Scotland. The site of the track was the old ash football pitches of Strathclyde Park - an area now covered by the town square.
The town of Hamilton is home to various entertainment venues. A multiplex Vue Cinema is located in the redeveloped Palace Grounds area, close to the Hamilton Palace nightclub. Hamilton Town House Theatre is a 500 seat venue in the Cadzow Street area of the town. It is also the first cultural venue in Scotland to attain the prestigious Quest accreditation.
There are a number of high quality football, cricket, and rugby pitches in the Palace Grounds area alongside the Mausoleum. Furthermore, part of Strathclyde Park is sited within Hamilton's boundary, providing world class water-sport facilities.
There are currently three comprehensive high schools in the town - Hamilton Grammar, John Ogilvie and Holy Cross. Hamilton also has one private school - Hamilton College, next to the Hamilton Park racecourse.
Hamilton is a university town with The University of the West of Scotland campus sited on Almada Street.
Hamilton has three railway stations, Hamilton Central, Hamilton West & Chatelherault on the Hamilton Circle railway line and is 22 minutes from Glasgow.
The main route from Edinburgh is the M8, leaving at junctions 6 or 7.
Areas of Hamilton:
Towns and Cities near Hamilton: