Coatbridge (Scots: Cotbrig or Coatbrig, Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid a’ Chòta) is a town in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, about
8+1⁄2 miles (13.5 kilometres) east of Glasgow city centre, set in the central Lowlands. The town, with neighbouring Airdrie, is part of the Greater Glasgow urban area. While the earliest known settlement of the area dates back to the Stone Age era, the founding of the town can be traced to the 12th century, when a Royal Charter was granted to the monks of Newbattle Abbey by King Malcolm IV. Coatbridge, along with its neighbour Airdrie, forms the area known as the Monklands (population approximately 90,000 including outlying settlements).
In the last years of the 18th century, the area developed from a loose collection of hamlets into the town of Coatbridge. The town’s development and growth have been intimately connected with the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution, and in particular with the hot blast process. Coatbridge was a major Scottish centre for iron works and coal mining during the 19th century and was then described as ‘the industrial heartland of Scotland’ and the ‘Iron Burgh’.
Coatbridge also had a notorious reputation for air pollution and the worst excesses of industry. By the 1920s however, coal seams were exhausted and the iron industry in Coatbridge was in rapid decline. After the Great Depression the Gartsherrie ironwork was the last remaining iron works in the town. One publication has commented that in modern-day Coatbridge ‘coal, iron and steel have all been consigned to the heritage scrap heap’.