Cumbernauld (Gaelic: Comar nan Allt) is a new town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was created in 1956 as a population overspill for Glasgow City. It is the seventh most populous settlement in Scotland, the largest in North Lanarkshire, and also larger than two of Scotland's cities, Inverness and Stirling, although being part of the Greater Glasgow urban area. The name comes from the Scots Gaelic comar nan allt, meaning the meeting of the waters as, geographically, from its high point in the Scottish central belt burns (streams) flow west to the River Clyde an east to the River Forth.
The House stands on the site of the old Cumbernauld Castle, first build in the Norman motte and bailey style and later embellished. First owned by the Comyns, and then by the Flemings, the castle played host to the royalty of Scotland, including Mary Queen of Scots, who visited the castle and planted a yew tree at Castlecary Castle, only a mile or two away, which still grows there. Sadly, the roof of the great hall collapsed while the queen was staying there, and although she was not hurt, she visited the relatives of those who were injured or killed in the village below.
Royalty often visited the town to hunt the mysterious Scottish ox, or white cattle, which roamed in the woods around Cumbernauld. These woods were a surviving fragment of the ancient Caledonian Forest, in which the oxen abounded. The House was designed by the famous architect Robert Adam and is today used as offices. The old grounds are used today as a park, known as Cumbernauld Fields. A mining and quarrying industry flourished after the construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal, notably at Auchinstarry Quarry which is now a popular location for climbing and abseiling, and at Glencryan, where the old clay mine and its associated structures are still clearly visible.
Weaving was also an important part of the towns industry before the industrial revolution, when all the work of that kind moved to neighbouring bigger towns such as Glasgow. link to Vision of Britain through time
Cumbernauld (Scottish Gaelic Comar nan Allt) sits on top of one of the highest hills in the low-lying Scottish central belt. This has given it its old Lowland Scots name, 'the windy toun'. The Scottish Gaelic name comes from its being located where streams flow west into the Clyde and east into the Forth rivers. It was long a staging-post for changing horses between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It has variously been in Stirlingshire, Dunbartonshire, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District of Strathclyde region, and now finds itself in North Lanarkshire.
The development, promotion and management was undertaken, until 1996, by the Cumbernauld Development Corporation (CDC). This was a quango appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland (Cowling 1997).
Cumbernauld is the most concrete example of a utopian new town vision in the UK . Housing was originally delivered through constructing a series of satellite neighbourhoods which were clustered around the hilltop town centre. Separation of people and cars was a major element of the first town masterplan and this was carried through for much of the development of the town. Cumbernauld pioneered designs for underpasses and pedestrian footbridges as well as segregated footpaths. Early neighbourhoods were designed by the CDC and were constructed at Kildrum, Cumbernauld Village, Seafar, North Carbrain and Greenfaulds. Other neighbourhoods were later developed at Condorrat, South Carbrain and Abronhill. Much of the housing of these areas won awards for their innovative designs.
During its construction, under the designer's eye of Geoffrey Copcutt, Cumbernauld town centre's daring megastructure architecture was highly praised. Architects, designers, town planners and students of many disciplines visited Cumbernauld from around the globe to marvel at the town, for many years heralded as a utopian construction.
When originally designated a New Town the target Population was 50,000. Then in the 1961, only five years after becoming a new town, the Area to the north of the A80 was included in the town's area with new planned neighbourhoods at Balloch, Dullatur, Westerwood and Eastfield. As a result a revised target population of 70,000 was predicted. However only now is the population starting to climb above 50,000, but this is expected to increase substantially with 2,100 houses being built between 2001 and 2008.
After the creation of the new town, diverse industries such as high-tech, electronics, and chemical and food processing became large employers, along with the UK government tax collection office, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The main industrial estates were developed to the east and west along the A8 at Castlecary, Wardpark and Westfield. Areas at Luggiebank and South Carbrain to the south of the town have also been developed for industry.
Since then, the outlook has changed dramatically and the New Town has won a number of very unflattering awards including the "Plook on a Plinth" in both 2001 and 2005 In December 2005 the entire Town Centre won a public nomination for demolition in the Channel 4 series Demolition, where it was voted "the worst building in Britain" As a result of this, it was also featured on the BBC Radio 2 comedy program It's Been a Bad Week, where it won the show's fictional "Worst Week of the Week Award, Awarded Weekly, on a Week-By-Week Basis."
The intended core of Cumbernauld remains the Town Centre buildings, all of which is essentially contained within one structure, segmented into "phases", the first of which was completed in 1967, the latest of which began construction in May 2003 for completion around September 2004. Designed to be a commerce centre, an entertainment and business venue and a luxury accommodation site, it was widely accepted as the UK's first shopping mall and was the world's first multi-level covered town centre Unfortunately, the town never developed to its planned size, and the town centre has never had the life envisaged by town planners. Wealthy occupiers for the centre's penthouses never materialised and some now lie empty and derelict. Further expansion has been primarily to provide further space for shops. A substantial portion of the Town Centre has been bulldozed due to structural damage and is now being redeveloped as a new shopping and leisure complex .
As well as the unfulfilled ambitions for the town, the passage of time has exposed serious defects in post-war concepts of centrally-planned retail and civic centres developed in the absence of proper community consultation or sensitivity to local environmental and economic conditions. This has been reflected in a country-wide backlash against modernist architecture in general. Cumbernauld's Town Centre is widely regarded as one of the ugliest and least-loved examples of post-war design in Scotland. The confusing layout is an abiding source of frustration for both visitors and residents, many of whom are the descendants of skilled workers who aspired to escape the frequently appalling social and housing conditions of the Glasgow conurbation in the 1960s and 70s.
Despite its bad press, from a purely aesthetic standpoint Cumbernauld is regarded as representing a significant moment in town design, and in 1993 it was listed as one of the sixty key monuments of post-war architecture by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo.
The residential structure of Cumbernauld is noteworthy in that there were no pedestrian crossings, i.e. zebra or pelican crossings, or traffic lights until a set of traffic / pelican lights were erected beside the new Tesco Extra, opened January 2004—pedestrians traverse roads by bridge or underpass. This has led to the suggestion that the town is car-centric, and difficult to navigate by foot. However, residents also find that the quiet network of paths which cross the town from one side to the other provides a pleasing alternative to walking beside the busy main roads. Another interpretation is that residents find the paths and underpasses intimidating and threatening. The latter are often vandalized and strewn with broken glass. As a result people use the road network to walk around. This has led to the introduction of traffic calming measures and speed restrictions in the town designed to segregate car and pedestrian.
The town has a reputation as grim and isolating, and finds itself in the bizarre position of having above-average income and below-average unemployment and child poverty rates, yet also below-average house prices for the region. However, the town's housing is well planned and generally of high quality, making it a source of local civic pride in stark contrast to the town centre megastructure. House price imbalances across central Scotland mean that large family homes of 4 bedrooms and above are available for occupancy in Cumbernauld at prices and rents often half that of equivalent or less salubrious dwellings in the nearby centres of Glasgow and Stirling. Unfortunately the ideals of the 1960s were never realized and half of the New Town was never built. Instead the housing estates to the north of the A80 exhibit the worst excesses of the speculative builder and there are many houses with too few amenities, resulting in high car ownership and use.
Cumbernauld in the last few years has seen a surge of business activity with the expansion of Isola-Werke in the Wardpark area, the New OKI UK headquarters in Wardpark and in the West of the town at Orchardton Woods the New state of the art Morgan Stanley Call centre, Yaskawa Electronics, A.G. Barr World Headquarters. At the moment a large plot at Hunt Hill is being developed into a large new warehouse for a company, it is nearby to Morgan Stanley and Yaskawa.
Cumbernauld has two Football teams, 1st division side Clyde,who are based at Broadwood Stadium, and Junior football side Cumbernauld United who play at Guy's Meadow. The town has a Rugby Team, Cumbernauld RFC. There has been a gymnastics team, Cumbernauld Gymnastics Club, in the town for many years, and in the early 90s it moved into its present base at Broadwood Gymnastics Academy, a purpose built building at the same site as Broadwood Stadium. There is also the Cumbernauld Handball Team, Tryst 77 which in 2007 came second in the British Handball Championships. The Tryst also homes the Cumbernauld swimming team with many age groups competing in galas around the country.
In terms of public transport, Cumbernauld has bus links to Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Dunfermline and St Andrews, which are operated by First Group and Stagecoach.The town also has rail links to Glasgow,Falkirk, Motherwell and Edinburgh via Cumbernauld railway station and Croy railway station to the north of the town. Many of the newer housing estates to the north of the A80 suffer from a severe lack of public transportation links, with only indirect and infrequent bus services. In addition, the various parts of the town are linked by local bus services, operated by smaller companies such as Canavan Travel and Dunn's Coaches. Rail services to and from the town are provided by First ScotRail.
Cumbernauld Airport (EGPG) is primarily used for the training of fixed wing and rotary wing pilots, it also featuress an aircraft maintenance facility. The airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee, Cormack Aircraft Services Limited. The airport was opened by the Cumbernauld Development Corpororation in the late 1980s. Before the airport was constructed there was a grass strip in use on the same site.
Gillespie, Kidd & Coia designed a large number of buildings in the New Town including: