East Kilbride, Scotland: Old Photos & Films

Discover the local history of the South Lanarkshire town of East Kilbride by watching free videos of old photos and film.

Old Photos of East Kilbride Town Centre

YouTube channel EAST KILBRIDE TRANQUILLITY uploaded three great videos showing dozens of photos of the town centre over the past few decades. 

OLD EAST KILBRIDE TOWN CENTRE (in colour) PART 1

OLD EAST KILBRIDE TOWN CENTRE (in colour) PART 2

OLD EAST KILBRIDE TOWN CENTRE (in colour) PART 3

The Town In The 1950s

East Kilbride – Town of Tomorrow

A 1954 black and white film commissioned by East Kilbride Development Corporation to show the success of the new town so far.

“Flats for the unmarried, and cottages for the old people…there are larger houses too for those who wish to pay a higher rent”.

Lots of men doing manual work – without a pair of gloves, hard hat or safety goggles in sight!

Includes the inaugural ceremony of the town on 12th June 1948.

The Town In The 1950s

⏯  Gala (silent) East Kilbride District 1960s

East Kilbride Central Library had this footage in a box of old VHS tapes, which Martin Farrell digitised for new audiences. Hundreds of adults and children appear on screen.

Suddenly there’s a platform with older men making speeches. One of them seems to be Harold MacMillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963.


Cleansing In A New Town sound 1966 SLLC Old East Kilbride Library collection

From “the Burgh of East Kilbride Entertainments Section” comes this 1966 short film in colour, about the town’s refuse collection service! 

Remember those times when an office contained just one man? Nearby is his secretary ready with her typewriter and filing cabinet.

Next we see men smoking while opening their lockers, before watching a man wash in the sink. We’re then treated to a walk along a row of toilets. 

The music is quite romantic as we watch workmen eating in an almost deserted dining room.

Having looked at one row of toilets, we’re now looking at the town centre toilets.

Apparently the cleaning of both male and female toilets by a woman was so shocking that, in addition to its mention in this film, the narrator can’t finish the sentence – even on the second attempt! But then after “a few months” everybody got used to this strange new arrangement.

“And what a beautiful public convenience….let us dwell for a moment to admire the tilings.”

Next, the sweeper van goes along the streets. However, the accompanying man seems to be collecting more than the van. Unfortunately, three parked cars makes it impossible for the van to clean the litter, because who would have thought cars would have parked in the provided spaces?

Then we see a team of three men working together (while smoking) to sweep a straight road. There’s no parked cars and it’s a big road so perhaps the van should have been brought here instead of three workers and their brooms.

A man in a suit – presumably “Tom, the foreman” –  appears with “one of the workmen”, to demonstrate a giant bin on wheels. 

I wonder how long the paper sack bins lasted in the rain and cold of winter months?

There’s a suggestion that the tip will later provide housing land…. but then he says it will become a field.

24th May 1964 saw an anti-litter campaign celebration like you’d never imagine. Brass band, councillors, footballers, microphones, certificates.

“Take a pride in East Kilbride!”

The Town In The 1970s

⏯  Careers And Sports silent 1970 SLLC Old East Kilbride Library collection

East Kilbride Central Library had this footage in a box of old VHS tapes, which Martin Farrell digitised for new audiences. Silent – and somewhat randomly ends at the cemetery.

Why Scotland Why East Kilbride? (1972)

An American businessman flies in to look around town.

On a pedestrian bridge he’s told how people who have a job here can have a home. Most homes are for rent, but there are some to buy too. 

Fifteen minutes in, there’s a very random moment about a chair which slides around for no apparent good reason.

We see a 1970s spinning machine in action.

East Kilbride Going To Town sound 1977 SLLC Old East Kilbride Library collection

East Kilbride Central Library had this footage in a box of old VHS tapes, which Martin Farrell digitised for new audiences. It’s an Edinburgh Films Production for East Kilbride Development Corporation.

The narrator explains East Kilbride’s modern origins as a small village expanded into Scotland’s first post-war New Town. We see the building of the first new houses, and the rural fields of the dairy farm which was soon transformed into the town centre.

Each neighbourhood had its own local shopping area, and 12 churches of different denominations sprang up.

The local industrial sites and training facilities indicated the importance of the manufacturing industry to the local economy and employment.

Swimming, golf and nightclubs were part of the leisure attractions on offer.

The 12,000th family from Glasgow was officially welcomed in 1974 by a small crowd of dignitaries and local press.

The Queensway East Kilbride

This 1970s home colour cine film was uploaded to YouTube by Studio 54 Films.

The County Fair In The 1980s

1987 County Fair East Kilbride SLLC Old East Kilbride Library collection

Another one from the box of VHS tapes. Includes someone arriving on a parachute, Scottish dancers, bagpiping, kids on little motorbikes. A cooper makes a barrel. Then some historic recreation people on horseback arrive.

The 1990s

East Kilbride – The Making of a Town

On August 8th 1947 the East Kilbride Development Corporation held its augural meeting. This film was made to mark the end of the organisation’s existence.

A wide range of locations over several decades appear. These include leisure activities, with the narrator explaining that “The male element goes for the martial arts”. 

However, the vision that the shopping centre should be seen as the focus of a family day out rather than just a trip to do shopping shows good foresight.

There’s also footage of the second visit from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on 12 July 1990. It included an ice pageant. The Queen looks cheerful and happy throughout her visit to the town.

EAST KILBRIDE BUSES 1996

YouTube channel DaveSpencer32 uploaded this footage of bright orange buses and passing cars.

Into The 21st Century

East Kilbride A749 Kingsgate .MPG

The winter of 2010 brought a LOT of snow!