About Cumbernauld

Scottish new town in North Lanarkshire. It was created in 1956 as a population overspill for Glasgow City. It is the eighth most populous settlement in Scotland and the largest in North Lanarkshire. The name comes from the Scots Gaelic comar nan allt, meaning "meeting of the streams" as, geographically, from its high point in the Scottish Central Beltburns (streams) flow west to the River Clyde and east to the River Forth. A two-time winner of the Carbuncle Award;[5] the town has since received the award of 'Best Town' at the Scottish Design Awards 2012. [6]

This introductory content is taken from the Wikipedia article 'Cumbernauld (contributors)'; licensed under CC-BY-SA


Scottish New Town background

New Towns, new stories?

Scotland had a housing crisis after World War two. Slum dwellings were a common sight in Scottish cities and although regeneration efforts, such as building programmes which took place between the wars, only seemed to minimally tackle the issue.
 
A new approach was required to relieve the overcrowding problems in the Scottish central belt and the solution was to build new towns outside the major cities. New Towns were now in mind.

Howard’s Garden City Movement

The inspiration for Scottish New Towns can be partly put down to the social reformer Ebenezer Howard and the success of his Garden City Movement, where Howard helped to realise the ideas behind Letchworth and Welwyn Garden Cities, two Garden Cities which were built to deal with the problems of London's overcrowding in the early twentieth century.
 
Howard wished to create a utopian; an ideal world where man lives harmoniously together with the rest of nature, the Central Belt of Scotland was the perfect location.

War created the ideal canvas

After World War Two Scotland's housing was deteriorating.  German bombing raids had damaged a large stock of houses and the slum dwellings were in an ever declining condition.
 
Glasgow was the city with the biggest problem. It had more residents per square mile than any other city in Europe and the UK Government decided to take forward plans to build New Towns.

Labour’s vision for the future

The incumbent Labour Government, in London, commissioned the New Towns Committee, whose duty it was to look seek new ground on which to build the New Towns.
 
An early report, that was released in 1946 concluded the need to pull over 250’000 people out of the overcrowded city of Glasgow.
 
After the report was released, the Clyde Valley Planning advisory committee recommended that the soon to be “Cumbernauld” should house 50,000 people and plans quickly went ahead.

Location, location, location

Scottish New Towns were to be based near the big cities which were being regenerated as New Towns were built.
 
The New Town locations allowed for modern living planning and social engineering. New Towns saw people given closer access to industries, schools, play areas and shopping centres.
 
The New Towns gave businesses confidence and many industries, especially factories, settled next to new towns, a settlement which improved employment in the New Towns, often allowing the community to have good transport links to cities and nearby towns, with the New Towns seen as safe places due to social engineering which sought to segregate traffic and pedestrians.

Building gets underway

Five Scottish New Towns were designated between 1947 and 1966. These included East Kilbride in 1947, Glenrothes in 1948, Cumbernauld in 1956, Livingston in 1962, and Irvine in 1966.
 
The New Towns were ambitious and every aspect of the New Towns were socially engineered.
 
Then, beginning in the 1950s, Glasgow's clearance programme relocated some 750,000 of the city's population to New Towns such as East Kilbride and Cumbernauld.  These new communities were also accompanied by urban housing schemes on the edge of the city such as Drumchapel, Easterhouse and Castlemilk.

Problems in utopia

By 1966, five New Towns had been constructed in Scotland, allowing thousands of people to move to a new life in a modern, urban setting, away from traffic with minimal health issues.
 
However, the New Towns did have their problems and these were quickly realised. They often looked dull and grey because of the amount of concrete used during construction.
 
Concrete was an architectural wonder at the time of New Town planning but it was bad for the environment and although it looked like a ‘space age’, ‘alien’ design at the time, the design dated and deteriorated quickly. Then, as was the situation with the new housing in cities, Scottish New Towns were often not the best quality because of the speed with which they had been planned and constructed.
 
The New Towns were now starting to become a nightmare from the original dream but it wasn’t just the New Towns that suffered.
 
As people were moved from the cities into the New Towns, the sense of community was lost as people moved to areas where they did not know their neighbours, creating a feeling of isolation, for some people.
 
Then, finally, as political boundaries changed and the New Towns were adopted into Scotland's new 32 council structure, the Scottish New Towns Development Corporation was dissolved in 1993.

The Cumbernauld story

Government proposals

At the time, the Labour Government, in London, commissioned the New Towns Committee, whose duty it was to look seek new ground on which to build these “New Towns.” 

An early report, that was released in 1946 concluded the need to pull over 250’000 people out of the overcrowded city of Glasgow. After the report was released, the Clyde Valley Planning advisory committee recommended that the soon to be “Cumbernauld” should house 50,000 people. 

Planning the ‘Town for Tomorrow’

Cumbernauld’s chief architect and planning officer was Lesley Hugh Wilson, who drew up the master plan for the town, and was also responsible for designing some of the housing, factories and shops in the town. He brought in planners and designers from around the world, to design and plan every aspect of urban life.

Cumbernauld was built with a “utopian” style. The new town was unique and of its own class. 

Cumbernauld was built to keep pedestrians away from cars and make people walk using the pavements, underpasses and bridges that in 20 minutes would take you directly to the Town Centre - and still do. There were no traffic lights or pedestrian crosses and Cumbernauld has wide roads that made the town safer for families to walk. 

Every 400 house had a local convenience store, each area had a community facility and 57% of houses in Cumbernauld had their own garden, with a large portion of houses having an individual private garage, an excellent facilities for families that moved to the new town. Housing was massively improved for the families that moved to Cumbernauld. People left behind the slums and overcrowded tenement building of Glasgow, to a more spacious, relaxing atmosphere. 

With the average age of Cumbernauld, at the time, being only 27 years old, architects built bungalows and low houses to mix up the population; bringing young and old together in the new town, but only 5% of the total population, of Cumbernauld, were elderly. 

The Corpie

1956 saw the members of the Cumbernauld Development Corporation appointed. It was their job to develop, promote and manage the growth of the new town. The Development Corporation carried on in this post until dissolved, along with the Cumbernauld District Council, in 1996, when North Lanarkshire Council was formed, leaving behind it a £420 million budget, which was handed to North Lanarkshire Council. 

Building utopia

Construction of Cumbernauld began in 1963, with a £70 million budget. 

The construction of the Cumbernauld Town Centre was the first phase of construction of Cumbernauld. Cumbernauld Town Centre was the first indoor shopping centre in the whole of the United Kingdom. Geoffrey Copcutt was the architect in charge of designing the mammoth building. 

The Town Centre was set to be the “megastructure” which would be the social hub of the new town. The building incorporated penthouse apartments, shops, offices and community meeting spaces 

The Cumbernauld Town Centre was built in four phases over 20 years, with the first phase being completed in 1967. 

Cumbernauld in poetry

In the 1970s, Cumbernauld formed the spine for a Scottish Television production called ‘Gallimaufrey - A Cumbernauld Poem’. 

The piece is a poem reflecting on the success of the communities created by the New Towns. 

Produced by Scottish Television, Gallimaufrey used a montage of clips of Cumbernauld to illustrate the words which weigh up the positives and negatives of town and city living. 

In the first instance it is unclear whether the poet and narrator is in favour of New Town living and appears to present an objective analysis of the merits of New Town planning. However, when the poet speaks directly to camera for the first time with a wry smile saying, “I sometimes fancy a wee riot,” it is clear that he is not convinced by a future world as seen through the eyes of New Town planners. 

In contrast to the utopian ideal of New Towns as presented by Ebenezer Howard, the poet mentions two key titles of works of dystopian fiction. Dystopia Dystopia is the opposite of a utopian ideal and presents a totalitarian and repressive vision of the future. The opening and closing lines of the poem refer to Aldous Huxley's 'A Brave New World' and George Orwell's “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Other examples of dystopian fiction include Margaret Atwood's “A Handmaid's Tale” and the films “A Clockwork Orange”, “Brazil” and “Britannia Hospital”. 

The poem reads as follows: 

Oh brave new, brave new, brave new world 
It makes the past look downright scruffy 
Imagine 
People used to live in quiet wee streets and busy streets 
And mixed up streets with daft wee shops 
And boozers built beside the close 
Complete confusion 
Quite unplanned 
You ought to have a dunnie 
But now we know what we are about 
With science, skill and art 
Poured concrete is the game, my boys 
It keeps out germs and muffles noise 
It costs the earth but that's no sweat 
There's plenty in the kitty yet 
The whole thing is it's nicely planned 
We turn out things to beat the band and get things tidy 
In one stroke we say 
this is a place for folk 
And other places for their weans 
You only have to use your brains 
We keep the cars in other places 
where humans never show their faces 
The secret of the system is 
keep everything apart 
The old towns were a total loss 
Fairmile Head or Partick Cross 
The ambience was very crude 
and very short of solitude 
Here you'll get solitude galore 
so lap it up and beg for more 
No gossips flinging wide the sash 
to chew the fat in coarse stramash 
There's too much of that kind of thing 
Our windows must be free from hing 
Root out the sloppy human failings 
let lounging up against the railings 
We've got ourselves hygienic here 
It's people free and scenic here 
It's miles away from anywhere 
The hills are green, the sky is bare 
The landscape rolls like kodachrome 
A still life picture, ideal home 
The workers sloop out everyday 
to make a breenge to miles away 
Poor souls, they've got to earn their corn 
They get up early every morn 
They wouldn't want their work too near 
Work is a thing we don't like here 
We've zoned it, got it out the road 
Away from this ideal of old 
They leave, though we've sometimes missed them 
They subsidise the transport system 
Off to the city 
Ta ta dad! 
Yer miles away, it can't be bad 
Here we will wait, the patient dollies 
Observing the planners’ finest follies 
Closing the door and keeping quiet 
I sometimes fancy a wee riot 
I sometimes think the past is fine 
Maybe that's a quirk of mine? 
I think I'd like to have a hing 
I even like an old coal bing 
But no, I know the planners know what's good for me 
They've done it 
So 
I'll keep the peace 
And shut the door 
And wait for Nineteen Eighty-Four 

Wit's it caw'd, again? Cumbernauld's classic slogan

‘What's it called? Cumbernauld!’ It was a simple, quick and catchy marketing jingle that graced our nation’s televisions, radios and newspapers only thirty years ago. 

The original advert, which aired on all media platforms throughout the eighties, was an attempt to get businesses and people into Cumbernauld by showing the uniqueness of the Scottish New Town. 

Still alive today, the ‘What’s it called?’ slogan is used as a joke against Cumbernauld but, in the 1980s, it proved a hit and saw nearly fifty businesses a year set up in Cumbernauld, making it possibly one of the best marketing campaigns in recent times – back in the eighties. 

Online today, that advert starts off in North Carbrain, at the now, Kenilworth Court footbridge and proceeds to Eastfield and Westfield Industrial Estate. 

The advert includes happy children decorating their house’s exterior, playing golf and running a factory before finishing off with the narrator irritatingly asking ‘But, what’s it called?’ and the children, now holding balloons and running towards the camera screaming ‘Cumbernauld!’ 

The advert was one in a series of adverts, which stretched right up into the nineties. 

Later adverts, such as the famous ‘Cumby Dog’ production and ‘3 Peach’ animation utilised Claymation with some of the adverts directed by Andy Staveley, although Ronnie Corbett narrated all of the adverts and the classic ‘What’s it called?’ question remained throughout all advertisements. 

Where did the question of ‘What?’ come from? 

The ‘What’s it called? Cumbernauld!’ jingle was born in the 1980s but the Cumbernauld – A New Generation logo and advertising campaign which carried the jingle was organised and pushed by Chic Harper Designs, from the Cumbernauld Development Corporation. 

At a boardroom meeting in the late 1980s, with the Cumbernauld Development Corporation, one of the people working on the promotional film, Robert Beedham said that an advertising campaign had to be found for Cumbernauld – a town where many multinational companies had recently located, a town that was rejuvenated, enjoyed by many families who had moved to it, a town with an excellent Central Scotland location, boasting a new golf course designed by Seve Ballesteros, and Beedham said that the graphic designers, Chic Harper Designs only had to tell people what the town was called. 

Chic Harper himself notes that another project organiser, Jim Greig exclaimed: ‘That’s it! What’s it called? – Cumbernauld.” At that moment the project was given to Chic Harper Designs and the Cumbernauld logo and ‘What’s it Called? Cumbernauld!’ slogan was born. 

Chic Harper Designs later went on to sculpt materials for Cumbernauld’s new identity through materials such as brochures, 48-sheet posters and TV and radio advertisments. All of the materials came with Harper Design’s logo byline – A New Generation. 

The use of the ‘A New Generation’ byline was to highlight the fact that there was new impetus and determination within the town being taken forward by a new generation of Cumbernauld-born children. This led Chic Harper to use kids in all advertising materials and led to the creation of the typeface ‘Harper Kids’ which was used in all of the firm’s headlines. 

The logo itself; an oval which looked out into Cumbernauld was produced by Chic Harper as part of the project. “I created the new logo as an oval window, looking through into different aspects of the new town, like industry, architecture, sport and people”, Chic Harper once said.

From the dream to the nightmare

Cumbernauld became a world leader in design as in 1967 visiting judges from the American Institute of Architects awarded Cumbernauld the Reynolds Award. Judges described it as the “Most significant current contribution to the art and science of urban design in the western world”. 

After receiving the prestigious award, there were over 4’000 official visits from 40 different countries, in just one year. 

Soon, however, problems became clear as parts of the centre were unsafe. When North Lanarkshire Council took over they solved the major faults by demolishing parts of the building. Then, in 2001, the town was awarded the Plook on the Plinth award and crowned “The Most Dismal Place in Scotland” by Unlimited magazine. Judges described Copcutt’s town centre as “a rabbit warren on stilts”. Cumbernauld was awarded the Plook on the Plinth award again in 2005. 

Shortly afterwards the dual award, the wind tunnels and pedestrian walkways which were demolished after safety fears and became waste ground were redeveloped to become the new Antonine Centre, in 2006. 

Cumbernauld became famous once again for its new sculpture, Arria, named after Arria Fadilla, the mother of Emperor Antoninus. The sculpture cost £250’000 and was created by artist Andy Scott whose other artwork includes the M8 Heavy Horse and Falkirk Helix Water Kelpies. The sculpture was part of the Cumbernauld Positive Image Project, and is viewed by 70’000 commuters, a day.

'Town For Tomorrow' documentary

Cumbernauld, Town for Tomorrow was a documentary about Cumbernauld, produced in 1970 regarding the New Town.
 
Sponsored by Films of Scotland and the Cumbernauld Development Corporation, the twenty-six minute documentary tells the story of how Cumbernauld grew into existence as part of the solution to Glasgow's housing programme; how the town was planned and developed to segregate cars and pedestrians, with all of the town’s facilities in the first UK indoor shopping mall; how the town had yet to develop and evolve, in addition to exploring how good or bad the town was to work and live in.
 
Currently available in the Scottish Screen Archive, the original documentary was directed by Robin Crichton and produced by Edinburgh Film Productions, although a copy is available to view online via Youtube.

The people behind the town

Planner, Sir Lesley Hugh Wilson

In 1946 the New Towns Committee said that 50,000 people should be moved from Glasgow to Cumbernauld. In 1956 the Directors of the Cumbernauld Development Corporation were appointed and finally, in 1963, construction of Cumbernauld began. 

The man appointed to plan and map out Cumbernauld was Sir Lesley Hugh Wilson. Sir Wilson was Cumbernauld’s Chief Architect and Planning Officer. 

It was Sir Wilson’s visions that saw Cumbernauld be built on a modernist vision, with spacious housing away from the noise and congestion, with wide roads and large garages for the car boom that was to come. It was Sir Wilson’s mapping that meant people were able to walk to the town’s centre within twenty minutes, through a plethora of bridges, underpasses, wooded areas and roundabouts. 

Born on 1st May 1913 Sir Leslie Hugh Wilson studied architecture at the London Polytechnic School of Architecture from January 1930, for three years and evening classes for a further three. 

From May 1933 Wilson began to work for H. Shepherd Thomson and from September 1935 he was an assistant to Louis Blanc. On the advice of Joseph Addison, H.A. Douglas and Edwin Roberts Wilson sat the qualifying exam in July 1933 and was admitted ARIBA on 2nd December. 

1945 seen Wilson became City Architect and Planning Officer of Canterbury. With a great imagination, he designed a number of public buildings, including the Hanray School. Wilson was also responsible for the development plan for the town and the redevelopment plan for the central area. 

Then, in 1956 he moved to become Chief Architect and Planning Officer for Cumbernauld, a position he held until 1962. Whilst in Cumbernauld he drew up the master plan and was responsible for a range of buildings including housing, factories and shops. Whilst designing Cumbernauld Wilson brought many architects and planners from around the world to the New Town. 

Later, Wilson was admitted FRIBA on 4th October 1960, proposed by Professor Sir William Holford, E Maxwell Fry and Edward D Mills, going on to be awarded an OBE before 1960 and later knighted. 

In 1963 Wilson attended the International Union of Architects Congress Havana and became the chair of the Commonwealth Board of Architectural Education when it was first established, in 1966. 

1962 saw Sir Wilson establish his own independent practice in Cumbernauld and in 1964 he was joined in partnership by Lewis Womersley, the practice name becoming Hugh Wilson & Lewis Womersley. Further offices were opened in London and Manchester. 

In 1970 Bill Armstrong and Eric Browning joined the partnership, with Ken Shone and Stuart Mackie joining in 1976 and Geoff Taplin and Malcolm Cundick joining later in 1986. From 1976 the partnership had offices in Perth and from 1985 an office in Edinburgh. In 1989 the practice was divided into Wilson Womersley Associates in Scotland and Wilson & Womersley in England but the business was immediately sold to D.Y. Davis plc. 

Whilst his partnership gathered pace, Wilson had acted as consultant for the setting up of the new Department of the Environment, into which the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works was absorbed in 1970. 

Wilson had created a name for himself and was one of the world’s top architects and planners. He had built modernist architecture and would be remembered forever. 

Wilson died on 22nd July 1985.

Town Artist, Brian Miller

Brian Miller was born October 16th, 1934; died August 11th, 2011. Aged 76, Brian died after a short illness, but his name will live on forever. 

An obituary in the Herald tells of Brian’s life: “Born in Riddrie to David and Julie Miller, Brian’s childhood was spent in wartime Glasgow and Birmingham avoiding parachute mines and collecting shrapnel. On leaving Whitehill Secondary, he joined the Glasgow engineering company Mavor and Coulson as an apprentice where he quickly progressed from armature winder to draughtsman. 

Outside work, a passion for abstract art, science fiction, cinema and jazz broadened his horizons. 

A chance encounter over a mutual friend’s hospital bed brought him together with Mae Hamilton and they were married in 1957. Living in the west of Glasgow, he was an active member of a group of artists who regularly exhibited at the weekends on the railings of the Botanical Gardens, as well as providing illustrations to science fiction publications. 

After a spell as a technical illustrator with Rolls-Royce, the promise of a new house for his growing family led him to an interview with the Cumbernauld Development Corporation. A few abstract doodles on the card separating examples of technical illustration caught the eye of the interviewers and he found himself being appointed as town artist for the growing town, the first such position in the UK. 

Cumbernauld in the early 1960s was at the forefront of modern town planning, and attracted professionals from around the world to work. In this cosmopolitan and forward thinking atmosphere, he was given free rein to help develop the town, adding colour and environmental artworks to the rapidly growing community, as well as designing logos, signage and exhibitions to promote the town to investors and industry. 

His contribution to the town went beyond his day job. He was a founding member of the Cottage Theatre, a row of old cottages that were knocked together to form a small performance area that hosted visiting theatre groups and performers as well as contemporary plays performed by local residents. 

Under the auspices of the Cottage Theatre, he developed the random thoughts he always had jotted down into fully formed plays. Over a period of 30 years he wrote, and often directed, more than 30 plays, all performed at the Cottage and later Cumbernauld Theatre as well as other venues across Scotland. 

In recent years, he has been the “go to” person to provide a perspective to the history of the town, and continued to contribute to the community. 

He is survived by Mae, his wife of 54 years, his son Kevin, daughter Kirsty and three grandchildren, Vigo, Mondo and Gus.” 

His life was a fantastic one to read about but his position as Cumbernauld’s Town Artist is unique. Brian Miller, it could be said, ended up as Cumbernauld’s Town Artist as if by accident. 

Working for Rolls Royce at the time, drafting exploded diagrams and other technical drawings, whilst attending a class on Industrial Design at the Glasgow School of Art in the evenings, Brian used to spend a lot of his time at work doodling, creating tiny abstract images, the size of postage stamps, for future paintings. 

In 1962, Brian decided to apply for a job as a draftsman and when he was invited to an interview he took some samples of his technical drawing on tracing paper. Due to the delicacy of the tracing paper used Brian had to place sheets of cardboard between the layers, and as if it was fate, he had left examples of his doodles drawn across the sheets of cards. 

Asked by the interviewer about his evening class at GSA, his painting and sculpture for exhibitions in Glasgow, and to see examples of the work, Brian had to apologise, saying he had no examples with him. However, as Brian’s job interview came to an end, the interviewer became very excited upon being shown the work which had some of Brian’s doodles upon it, and called in Cumbernauld’s chief architect, Sir Hugh Wilson. 

Looking at the abstract miniature drawings, the two conferred and swiftly offered Brian the role of Town Artist to Cumbernauld. Brian accepted the job and he became the first full time artist within the UK New Town system. 

Brian spent the next twenty eight years as Cumbernauld’s first, and only, Town Artist, continually treating Cumbernauld like a blank canvas; using the masses of concrete as a backdrop before which he could explore his own unique form of abstract expressionism. 

Throughout his employment his work varied from large concrete sculptures to paintings on gable ends and underpasses. In some instances he tried to use certain colours in certain neighbourhoods, effectively colour coding the urban landscape in order to help people navigate their way around the town, adding character to the different areas through the simple signifier of the colour palette. 

Unfortunately most of Brian’s work has been taken down, painted over or vandalised although some pieces of his work remain within the town.

Gregory's Girl

Cumbernauld was a town with a household name, a logo and a design like nothing on earth. The town had huge acclaim and architects flocked to the town as if it were the Wailing Wall of the architectural community. All of this meant that, in 1981, director Bill Forsyth chose Cumbernauld to be the backdrop for his latest film project, Gregory’s Girl. 

The New Town formed Forsyth’s one-stop shop background and abled Forsyth to tell the story of one teenage Gregory, who was the first generation to grow up in the town; going to school at one of the country’s most up-to-date schools. 

The story follows Gregory’s attempts to date Dorothy, the girl he’s fell in love with. His attraction begins after Dorothy attempts to break into the all-male school football team, against anger for the coach, only to find that she is the team’s best player. 

So, knowing Dorothy likes football, Gregory tries to woo her by playing football, but when he turns out to be rubbish on the field and rubbish in goals he decides to try against with a blank slate; asking her out on a date. 

However, when the arrange to meet at the town’s big clock Dorothy doesn’t show and Gregory ends up going out on a series of dates with a series of Dorothy’s friends, starting with girl number one, the two walk to Abronhill Shopping Centre where Gregory quickly finds, over a bag of chips, that he is on a second date with another girl. 

With the second date underway, both walk from Abronhill to Cumbernauld House Park only to find waiting from them, Susan; the girl who had originally fancied Gregory in the first place. 

The whole time, Gregory’s friends find him to be a love master; each time they pass him they see Gregory with a different girl. In the end, Gregory doesn’t get his girl but he does find happiness, thanks to the advice of his younger sister Madeline and friends Andy and Charlie. 

After the film was released images of Cumbernauld were catapulted around the world to an eager audience. The film quickly became a box office smash and is still o the best Scottish films of all time for box office ticket sales. The film even broke records at the Dominion cinema in Edinburgh where it was continually played for three years. 

After the film was release Bill Forsyth told the Times why he chose Cumbernauld. He described the choice of location as “deliberate” adding: “I wanted a backdrop where nothing was touched or old.” 

To this day the locations which provided the setting for Forsyth’s box office smash remain. Locations include Abronhill High School, where many shots were filmed. Some of the pupils were actual school pupils whilst the school’s classrooms and exteriors were adopted into the film, with the football scenes shot only on the nearby Oak Road football pitches. 

Cumbernauld’s St. Enoch Clock is another of the film’s iconic backdrops. Stood up by Dorothy the clock becomes the location for the start of Gregory’s rollercoaster night of dates, starting with Margo. Located in the original Town Centre complex the clock still stands today. 

Gregory’s Girl makes maximum use of Cumbernauld’s many underpasses, going from the underpass at Braeface Road to McGregor Road in one shot. Locations were often spliced at were not necessarily close together. One such occasion is when the group leave High School embark on a journey through Abronhill, end up in mid-Seafar and eventually at Our Lady’s High School, where the characters exit the school from a completely different location. 

Abronhill Shopping Centre played a pinnacle role in Forsyth’s film, helping to split up Gregory’s dates. The Fish and Chip Shop at the centre was the main business used in the film. At the time the chip shop was available to sit, although now it is takeaway only, but the chip shop still exists. 

The Cumby Fields was another of the iconic locations used in the film. Originally known as the Cumbernauld Fields, it is known as Cumbernauld House Park. The Park was the location where Gregory and his eventual date Susan end up. The Park forms the last part of the film where the pair dance lying down, looking up at the night sky, through the leaves of one of the Park’s largest trees. 

GREGORY: 
John Gordon Sinclair 

DOROTHY: 
Dee Hepburn 

PHIL MENZIES: 
Jake D’arcy 

SUSAN: 
Clare Grogan 

ANDY: 
Robert Buchanan 

STEVE: 
William Greenlees 

ERIC: 
Alan Love 

CAROL: 
Caroline Guthrie 

MARGO: 
Carol Macartney 

BILLY: 
Douglas Sannachan 

MADELINE: 
Alison Forster 

HEADMASTER: 
Chic Murray 

ALEC: 
Alex Norton 
 
ALISTAIR: 
John Bett 

GREGORY’S DAD: 
David Anderson 

MR. ANDERSON: 
Billy Feeley 

MISS FORD: 
Maeve Watt 

MISS WELCH: 
Muriel Romanes 

MR. HALL: 
Patrick Lewsley 

ALAN: 
Ronald Girvan 

KELVIN: 
Pat Harkins 

GORDON: 
Tony Whitmore 

RICHARD: 
Denis Criman 

CHARLIE: 
Graham Thompson 

BRENDA: 
Natasha Gerson 

PENGUIN: 
Christopher Higson 

DIRECTOR: 
Bill Forsyth 

PRODUCTION COMPANIES: 
National Film Trustee Company 
Lake Film Productions 
National Film Finance Corporation 
Scottish TV 
Film & General Productions

St. Enoch Clock

In the late seventies Cumbernauld turned twenty one and only one present was big enough and bold enough to celebrate the occasion – a clock.

In 1977, Cumbernauld celebrated its 21st birthday and businessman, Raymond Gillies decided to gift the town with the St. Enoch Clock.

Gillies, who was owner of the “House of Hearing” in Glasgow’s Bath Street, was said to have been inspired by the “pioneering spirit” of the New Town’s residents and decided that to celebrate the town’s anniversary he would give the gift of time.

Originally constructed by 1809 founded West Lothian clockmakers, James Ritchie & Sons the clock’s original home was St. Enoch Station in Glasgow.

It was a symbolic move as St. Enoch Station was the station whereby many Cumbernauldians would arrive and depart at Glasgow, with thousands of other Glasgweigans using the station and the clock as they went on holiday to the seaside, often at Saltcoats.

Although St. Enoch Station was demolished in 1966 the famous clock was purchased by Raymond Gillies.

When Raymond Gillies gifted Cumbernauld the clock, in 1977, the Queen was celebrating her Silver Jubilee.

To mark the occasion, HRH Queen Elizabeth started the clock using the pendulum motion and unveiled a commemorative plaque at Cumbernauld Town Centre, at the staircase joining the upper mall area with the old Woolco store which later became Gateway and then Asda, recognizing the gift from the people of Glasgow, to the people of Cumbernauld.

The clock then rose to fame in 1981 when it set the scene in Bill Forysth’s hit, ‘Gregory’s Girl’, with the location becoming an iconic image of Cumbernauld throughout the world.

In 2005, when building work first began to refurbish the original Town Centre building, the clock’s location was to be demolished, and the clock was put in storage for a number of years behind locked doors. While it was still hidden from public view, Glasgow City Council approached the centre to ask for the clock for its new Riverside Museum of Transport.

However, the bid was refused after many key figures in Cumbernauld supported the decision to keep the clock and now, the clock has been fully restored by its original makers and the pendulum motion which originally controlled it has been replaced by a quarts crystal master clock, which drives the hands around.

The clock is now on display in the new Antonine Shopping Centre, in position close to where it originally stood.