Burgh of Barrhead

Barrhead was officially recognised in 1894 when it was granted police burgh status. Originally the locality comprised a number of villages, recalled now as district place names. ‘Barrhead’ was one among many such weaving communities but, perhaps because of its central position, it came to bestow its name upon the town. 

The fusion of all the scattered villiages into a township was precipitated by the Industrial Revolution, when the once crystal streams of the Levern and Kirkton attracted bleachers to the area, and in their wake Cotton Spinners and Calico Printers – all harnessing the abundant water power in numerous large enterprises. The mills, bleachfields, print-works and dye-works brought people to live and work here and so several villiages, such as Grahamston, Dealston, Arthurlie and Gateside, grew rapidly to accommodate them. In 1894 Barrhead could be described as a place of flourishing industrial enterprises, including the making of sanitary ware by a firm of world renown, Shanks of Barrhead. 

Barrhead had a full range of services at the beginning of the twentieth century, from lawyers and bankers to milliners and dressmakers. There was hardly an item which could not be bought in one of Barrhead’s many shops, several of which were run by the Barrhead Co-operative Society, one of the oldest and best in Scotland. The town also had hotels, hostelries and public halls; churches of all the main denominations; many schools and recreation facilities. 

Barrhead was officially recognised in 1894 when it was granted police burgh status. Originally the locality comprised a number of villages, recalled now as district place names. ‘Barrhead’ was one among many such weaving communities but, perhaps because of its central position, it came to bestow its name upon the town. 

The fusion of all the scattered villiages into a township was precipitated by the Industrial Revolution, when the once crystal streams of the Levern and Kirkton attracted bleachers to the area, and in their wake Cotton Spinners and Calico Printers – all harnessing the abundant water power in numerous large enterprises. The mills, bleachfields, print-works and dye-works brought people to live and work here and so several villiages, such as Grahamston, Dealston, Arthurlie and Gateside, grew rapidly to accommodate them. In 1894 Barrhead could be described as a place of flourishing industrial enterprises, including the making of sanitary ware by a firm of world renown, Shanks of Barrhead. 

Barrhead had a full range of services at the beginning of the twentieth century, from lawyers and bankers to milliners and dressmakers. There was hardly an item which could not be bought in one of Barrhead’s many shops, several of which were run by the Barrhead Co-operative Society, one of the oldest and best in Scotland. The town also had hotels, hostelries and public halls; churches of all the main denominations; many schools and recreation facilities.