The Place:

The Past.

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Early days and the Douglas Lineage.

Little is recorded or factually known of the early days of the occupation of the Douglas Valley until Roman times. Even then it is unlikely that their presence was felt particularly deeply in the way that much of the rest of Clydesdale was.

The Cameronian Regiment.

On 14th May 1689, the Earl of Angus Regiment was raised by James Douglas, Earl of Angus, to assist the fight for religious freedom in Scotland.

Later that year the 1200 strong volunteer regiment, although heavily outnumbered, defeated the Jacobite Army at the Battle of Dunkeld. The regiment became known as The Cameronians in memory of Richard Cameron, a famous and staunch Covenanter.

The statue of the Earl, by Thomas Brock, was unveiled to commemorate the regiment’s bicentenary and depicts the Earl pointing to the site of the field where enrolment of the regiment originally took place. The Earl himself was killed at Steinkirk, Holland in August 1692 whilst battling the forces of Louis 14th of France, at the age of only 21.

The regiment was disbanded in Douglas in 1968 and a commemorative memorial is situated in the Castle policies.

Polish Soldiers.

After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, many Polish soldiers who had escaped from their homeland eventually made their way to Britain.

Many of them were welcomed to Douglas where they settled into village life, making long lasting friendships. Using some of their many talents, the soldiers constructed three monuments as reminders of their time here.

The monuments were situated in different parts of the valley until 2002 when they were restored and brought together, surrounded by a memorial garden.


Around 1792 an attempt was made to establish cotton manufacturing in the village but after only a few years it became clear that the financial viability of such an enterprise was questionable.

The factory was located on the Ayr Road, on the Bank Brae between the recently closed Royal Bank and Nursery Avenue. Converted initially to dwellings, they have since been demolished. Whilst cotton manufacture was deemed unsuccessful, it did trigger a period of weaving locally which by 1800 had seen an entire industry grow up, engaging at least half the local population in weaving. Products were sold to the Glasgow markets and the village became so important a centre for weaving at the time that its modest population of 690 grew to over 1300 between 1790 and 1830. The remnants of the gardens of the local weavers can still be traced to the Weavers’ Yards.

Around 1700 it was common for local markets to be held, often on and around the gravestones in the local churchyard. Douglas too had its markets where local buyers and sellers would meet and trade. The poor network of roads at the time meant that anything made locally had to be sold locally and until as recently as 1830 it was common for accounts to be settled and employment sought at such events, or fairs.

Otherwise, it was agricultural tenancies which provided livelihoods and employment locally, and in many cases, this remains. The feudal system of the Valley has remained somewhat unchanged over the centuries though mechanisation has impacted heavily on employment. It was perhaps such mechanisation and the decline of weaving that led to the decision of the 13th Earl of Home to allow the deep mining of the Castle policies for the relief of poverty in the area in the 1930’s. By 1938 undermining of the Castle had caused subsidence to the extent that the same Castle required demolition.

Deep mining of the valley’s rich coal seams continued to provide employment for many at that time and the population of the village was sustained. As the deep mines were closed, subsequently the valley became a focus for opencast coaling.

In the latter part of the 20th century. Douglas welcomed several firms to the area who provided local employment in the form of a plastics factory and several firms who provided components for the oil and gas sector. These companies provided training and skilled work for an eager workforce and while they are now closed, many of those engaged by these firms left the area to continue their careers with them elsewhere. Transport and logistics was a key employer in the area until the early part of the 21st century.

Nowadays, there is no mainstay of local employment. Local jobs are generally in the service or healthcare sectors with most of the population travelling elsewhere for work, generally towards Hamilton and Glasgow.


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