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Scottish New Towns



New Towns were settlements which are planned and created for a purpose. Examples in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Scotland have included Inveraray, Kinross, New Lanark, and the ‘New Town’ of Edinburgh. After the Second World War, New Towns were seen as a way of alleviating overpopulation in inner cities, speeding up regeneration of industry and increasing employment. The Scottish New Towns, created after the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947, were East Kilbride (1949), Glenrothes (1948), Cumbernauld (1956), Livingston (1962) and Irvine (1966). A sixth New Town was proposed for Stonehouse, in Lanarkshire, but this was abandoned. New Towns re-housed tens of thousands of people from West Central Scotland (especially Glasgow) attracted new industrial and commercial developments and were key sites for modern planning and architecture. Many important functions (housing, planning, architecture etc) were performed by New Town Corporations (as opposed to local government) and supervised by government appointed boards (rather than elected councillors). New Town corporations were wound up in 1995-6 and their functions transferred to local authorities.

New Town Corporations were, by and large, good records managers, and in the winding-up process efforts were made to transfer records to successor local authorities competently. This means that substantial series of records (including corporation minute books, correspondence files, photographs, architectural plans and other technical drawings) survive relating to town planning, architecture, economic development and the attraction of industry. Some of these will be affected by closure rules of 30 years or more.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the records of Scotland's New Towns?


Location of Scottish New Towns

map of Scottish New Towns