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County (until circa 1890)
Country Scotland
County town Lanark (historic)
Hamilton (modern)
 • Total 2,325 km2 (898 sq mi)
  Ranked 9th
Chapman code LKS

Lanarkshire, also called the County of Lanark (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig, Scots: Lanrikshire) is a historic county in the central Lowlands of Scotland.

Historically, Lanarkshire was the most populous county in Scotland and, in earlier times, had considerably greater boundaries, including neighbouring Renfrewshire until 1402.[1] In modern times, it is bounded to the north by Stirlingshire and a detached portion of Dunbartonshire, to the northeast by Stirlingshire, West Lothian, to the east by Peeblesshire, to the southeast and south by Dumfriesshire, to the southwest by Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire and to the west by Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire.

Lanarkshire was historically divided between two administrative areas. In the mid-18th century it was divided again into three wards: the upper, middle and lower wards with their administrative centres at Lanark, Hamilton and Glasgow, respectively, and remained this way until the Local Government Act of 1889. Other significant settlements include East Kilbride, Motherwell, Airdrie, Coatbridge, Blantyre, Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Wishaw and Carluke.[2]

In 1975, the county council was abolished and the area absorbed into the larger Strathclyde region, which itself was divided into new Council Areas in 1996. The old area of Lanarkshire is now occupied by the council areas of:

North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire have a joint board for valuation and electoral registration. There is also a joint health board, which does not cover Rutherglen and the surrounding area in South Lanarkshire. Without the northern portion of North Lanarkshire, this is also a Lieutenancy area.


  • Mining industry 1
  • Events 2
  • Civil Parishes 3
  • Rivers 4
  • Maps 5
  • References 6

Mining industry

From the mid-eighteenth century to the early twentieth century Lanarkshire profited from its rich seams of coal. Unfortunately, as the coal industry developed around Glasgow in the 1700s the price of coal to the city rose under the control of a cartel of coal owners.[3] The solution was to carve out a canal to take advantage of the good (and uncontrolled) coal deposits of the Monklands area. By 1793, the Monklands canal was completed and the Lanarkshire coal industry thrived.[4] The resulting boom lasted for over 100 years but reached its peak by the second decade of the twentieth century and even two world wars failed to halt the contraction. Output in the county continued to fall and the National Coal Board concentrated investment in Ayrshire, Fife and the Lothians. By 1970 there were only four collieries left in Lanarkshire and the closure of Cardowan in 1983 brought the long decline to an end.[5]


Lanarkshire hosted the International Children's Games in August 2011.[6] A total of 1,300 competitors and coaches, along with administrators and delegates, representing 77 cities from 33 countries worldwide attended.

Civil Parishes

LANARKSHIRE Civil Parish map. c.1851. Boundaries outlined in red



Digitised historic and modern maps of Lanarkshire are available from National Library of Scotland including:

  • Glasgow and the county of Lanark manuscript map drawn by Scottish cartographer Timothy Pont sometime between 1583 and 1596
  • The nether ward of Clyds-dail and Glasco from the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland by Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu published in 1654
  • A mape of the west of Scotland containing Clydsdail, Nithsdail, Ranfrew, Shyre of Ayre, & Galloway manuscript map drawn by the Scottish surveyor and map maker John Adair in about 1685
  • Map of the town of Glasgow & country seven miles around by Scottish cartographer Thomas Richardson published in 1795
  • Ainslie's Map of the Southern Part of Scotland by Scottish cartographer John Ainslie published in 1821
  • North and south of Lanarkshire from John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland published in 1882


  1. ^ "Historical perspective for Old County of Lanarkshire". Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  2. ^ [2] Archived 24 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Hutton, Guthrie. Lanarkshire's Mining Legacy. Catrine: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3.  
  4. ^ Hutton, Guthrie. Lanarkshire's Mining Legacy. Catrine: Stenlake Publishing. p. 3.  
  5. ^ Hutton, Guthrie. Lanarkshire's Mining Legacy. Catrine: Stenlake Publishing. pp. 3, 4.  
  6. ^ "International Children's Games Lanarkshire 2011". Retrieved 2012-11-12. 

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