Bearsden

Bearsden local history

Bearsden has been the site of the Parish Church of New Kilpatrick since 1649, when the much larger Parish of Kilpatrick was divided in two. For the next two hundred years and more, "New Kirk", as it came to be known, was no more than a small hamlet, adjacent to the church. During the middle years of the nineteenth century, however, members of the Glasgow business community began to search for suitable localities, reasonably close to the city, to which they could retire each evening from the bustle of city life. They were undoubtedly attracted to Bearsden (or New Kirk as it still was known) because of the acknowledged quality of its natural environment and the prior existence of a parish church to meet their spiritual needs.

The opening of the Glasgow and Milngavie Junction Railway, in 1863, was of fundamental importance. To New Kirk's other attributes could now be added a "fast track" home for commuters each evening. The local station was given the name "Bearsden", and this soon succeeded "New Kirk" as the name of the adjacent community. The name Bearsden was taken from a house close to the station site, but it seems also to have been a locality name, of wider application. Its origin has been the subject of much investigation and debate, all of it lacking in satisfactory conclusion.

During the twentieth century Bearsden has expanded and developed in a more comprehensive and rounded way than many of the other commuter satellites of Glasgow. In addition to large villas, of individual design, big estates of bungalows and other private house types have been laid out, so that few sites are now left unoccupied. A significant early twentieth century development was the creation of Westerton Garden Suburb, from 1913 onwards, as Scotland's first project of this type. The identity of Bearsden was greatly strengthened in 1958, when it achieved burgh status. The Burgh of Bearsden has since been succeeded, as a local authority, by Bearsden & Milngavie District Council (1975) and East Dunbartonshire Council (1996).