Cumbernauld back in time: 8 old pictures of Cumbernauld tracking the new town’s development

Old pictures of Cumbernauld tell the story of the new town’s development from a small village into what it is today

Cumbernauld - one of Scotland’s newest towns and well-known across the UK for its friendly faces and bizarro brutalist town centre.

The new town was originally a small village, with an industry in weaving, and then mining when the industrial revolution came to North Lanarkshire with the construction of the Forth and Clyde canal.

Cumbernauld’s name probably comes from the Gaelic comar nan allt, meaning “meeting of the burns or streams” - although this is hotly debated amongst local historians and the etymology of the town’s name is still unclear to this day.

It wasn’t until 1955, a decade after the second world war, that Cumbernauld was designated a ‘new town’ - being one of the first areas in Scotland to get the designation, preceeded by East Kilbride in 1947 and Glenrothes in 1948. Other new towns would be designated after Cumbernauld - Livingston in 1962, and Irvine in 1966.

The new towns were built due to the baby boom following the return from war - in which Glasgow was experiencing a massive housing shortage.

The idea behind the town was to have an elevated futuristic, almost indoors town centre - which is as novel an idea as it is potentially dystopian and downright strange - of which satellite neighbourhoods would cluster around. The architecture and public planning of the town pioneered designs for underpasses and footbridges for the rest of Britain.

Just this year it was announced that Cumbernauld town centre would be demolished and be rebuilt - which is expected to begin in the next 3-5 years. That’s why today we wanted to look back in time at the new town’s history as Cumbernauld faces an uncertain future.

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