" Motherwell, a town in Dalziel and Hamilton parishes, Lanarkshire, on the Caledonian railway, at the junction of the two lines from the N and S sides of Glasgow, and at the intersection of the cross line from Holytown to Hamilton and Lesmahagow, ½ mile from the left bank of South Calder Water, 1¼ from the right bank of the Clyde, 2½ miles NE of Hamilton, 2¼ SSE of Holytown, 12½ SE by E of Glasgow, 15¼ NW of Carstairs Junction, and 43 W by S of Edinburgh.
It took its name from a famous well, dedicated in pre-Reformation times to the Virgin Mary; and it occupies flat ground, 300 feet above sea-level, amid richly cultivated and well-wooded environs. Consisting largely of the dwellings of miners and operatives employed in neighbouring collieries and ironworks, it serves, in connection with the railway junctions, as a great and bustling centre of traffic; and it ranks as a police burgh, governed by a senior magistrate, 2 junior magistrates, a clerk, a treasurer, and 6 commissioners. Motherwell has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and railway telegraph departments, branches of the Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank, offices or agencies of 18 insurance companies, 5 hotels, the combination poorhouse for Dalziel, Bothwell, Cambusnethan, and Shotts parishes, and a Saturday paper, the Motherwell Times. The streets are lighted with gas; and in 1877 a splendid water supply was brought in from two burns on the estate of Lee at a cost of over £14, 000. In Merry Street is the new parish church of Dalziel, erected in 1874 at a cost of £5700; whilst the former parish church (1789; enlarged 1860) belongs now to the quoad sacra parish of South Dalziel, constituted in 1880. One of the two U.P. churches was built in 1881 at a cost of £3750, and from its site - the highest in the town uprears a conspicuous steeple. There are also a Free church, a Primitive Methodist chapel, an Evangelical Union chapel, and the Roman Catholic church of Our Lady of Good Aid (1873; enlarged 1883). No Scottish Town - not even Hawick - has grown so rapidly as Motherwell, such growth being due to the vast extension of its mineral industries. These, at the census of 1881, employed 2470 of the 3671 persons here of the ' industrial class, - 1024 being engaged in coal-mining, 20 in ironstone-mining, 1069 in the iron manufacture, 58 in the steel manufacture, etc. The malleable iron-works of the Glasgow Iron Company are the largest in Scotland, with 50 puddling furnaces and 8 rolling mills; and Mr D. Colville's steel-works, where operations were commenced on 20 Oct. 1880, now employs over 1000 men. Pop. (1841) 726, (1861) 2925, (1871) 6943, (1881) 12, 904, of whom 7041 were males, and 2209 were in Hamilton parish. Houses (1881) 2346 inhabited, 146 vacant, 50 building.—Ord. Sur.., sh. 23, 1865."
(Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1884)