I was reading a book called Myth and magic by Joyce Miller (Goblinshead, 2000) when the author threw in the comment about the chalybeatic (or mineral salts)  Virtue Well at Airdrie being used as a healing well in the 18th century by the well to do, before Harrogate became the place to be seen. The poor continued to use it into the 19th century, not having anywhere else to turn to.

Image from National Library of Scotland

A quick search brought up Virtue Well View in Glenmavis, which suggested it wasn’t far away. ScotlandsPlaces provided a more precise location and added the information that the well was filled in in 1856, and that all that remains is a slight hollow (although the map above also shows a mill dam which I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere).

The excellent Monklands Memories site provided more information about the surrounding area including the fact that the Virtue Well sat beside Virtuewell Burn as it ran through Virtuewell Glen, so you think people would know the name, and yet, nobody I know from Airdrie has ever heard of it, including folks from Glenmavis.

It’s a shame when local knowledge like this gets lost, which is why it’s brilliant that Northburn Community Park is being set up by The Penny Project. This group of volunteers aim to develop the land for the benefit of wildlife and the local community and part of that is finding and telling the stories of what went on here, from Maggie Ramsay the Witch to old railways to Gallows Hill.

And hopefully they can keep their project going despite the financial cuts all over the place, because this work is a real investment for the future.

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