The town of Carluke lies in the administrative area called South Lanarkshire in Scotland. It is the main town in the parish of the same name. The extent of the parish is 7 miles from west to east and 5 miles from north to south. At the north of the parish is Wishaw and Newmains in North Lanarkshire, in the south is the parish of Lanark. The parish stretches from the River Clyde to moorland and high hills in the east. The town was famous for the brick and clay works, horticulture and farming and preserves in the firm of R & W Scott Ltd. It has been since the war a town where an ever increasing proportion of the population served the industries of Motherwell, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Glasgow and consequently the town has a population which has increased from 7,000 in 1950 to nearly 18,000 today. It is not a market town although it has a very distinct identity of its own.
The parish has several small outlying communities - Braidwood, Yieldshields, Kilncadzow, Waygateshaw, Cozie Glen (more vernacularly known as Orchard) and the largest, Law Village. All of these have become larger too and have a commuter population like Carluke. The area originated in Medieval times as a stopping place for Royalty during hunting in the "Forest" and later as a crossroads for travellers to Edinburgh, Peebles, Glasgow, Lanark and beyond. Carluke really started to develop with the advent of coal, iron and lime mining all over the parish from the middle to late 18th Century right up until the 1960's. The man colliery closed in the early 1950's. There were some small scale workings but the chief employers were the Coltness Iron Company and the Shotts Iron Company who owned most of the mines. Carluke was an 'Iron Town' and had many workers and rows of houses. Housing and wage conditions were not good and people did not enjoy great health at the time.
There were other industries within the parish - namely tailoring and drapery products, furniture making (Grahams, Grays) joinery firms, Hackney Horse business, clay and brick works, SMT Bus Garage and, of course, R W Scott Preserve works. Horticulture - tomato growing was very prominent also. The main landowners have been Kirkton house - Lee Estate, Waygateshaw Estate, Milton Lockhart and Mauldslie Estate
Carluke today is a fairly large thriving town with good access by road and rail to Glasgow and Edinburgh and south to England. There are large housing developments evident in recent years with a large percentage of home owners making up the population. There is a large High School which accommodates more than 1,300 pupils from the parish and beyond. There are seven primary schools within the parish. The community life, church life, and clubs and associations are all strong and prospering. The town still has a football team (Junior), a golf club, an American Football club, swimming baths (which are new), various horse establishments (some quite large), running clubs and associations to suit most sporting tastes and other pastimes including Carluke Opera, flute and pipe bands. The industries of the past have not all gone - tomato growing is still evident - albeit much reduced, the preserve works now enlarged belong to Renshaw Scott and are flourishing and there are many new jobs in the industrial estates within the town.
Carluke is part of South Lanarkshire and indeed part of the Glasgow conurbation but it still retains its own identity - somewhat altered by the influx of so many new people - yet still connected to the traditions of being a small Scottish town.
By Jack McLellan