Drawing of clock tower at Pollokshaws Town House by Gerald Blaikie

Drawing of clock tower at Town House, Pollokshaws


The Glasgow districts of Pollokshaws and Auldhouse originated around the historic burgh of Pollokshaws and the nearby Auldhouse mansion which were situated in the parish of Eastwood in Renfrewshire.
Pollokshaws was a small sparsely populated village before the Industrial Revolution, but by the time of the census of 1831 it had became a busy manufacturing town with a population of over 4500.
It was conveniently positioned only 3 miles south-west of Glasgow beside the White Cart Water and the Auldhouse Burn, with an abundance of water and local coal providing steam power for the newly mechanised mills.
The cotton trade provided a variety of sources of employment. In addition to spinning yarn and weaving textiles with power-looms, many of the inhabitants were employed in bleachfields and dye-works. The freestone quarries and coalpits in the locality also provided work for the local population.

Description of Pollokshaws around the time of the 1831 census

Map from 1820 from Marchtown/ Crossmyloof to Thornliebank

In the above map of Renfrewshire, from around 1820, Pollokshaws Road is shown coming from the city in a south-westerly direction from Nithsdale Road at Marchtown (Strathbungo) towards Pollokshaws and Auldhouse, which are included within the yellow boundaries of Eastwood Parish. To the east you can see the various districts of the south side which were in the Renfrewshire section of Cathcart Parish, where the boundary is coloured green.
The river flowing in a north-easterly direction past Thornliebank and Auldhouse towards Pollokshaws is the Auldhouse Burn, while the river flowing westwards through Cathcart and Langside to Pollokshaws is the White Cart Water. The two streams meet up at Auldhouse Park in Pollokshaws.


Tower of Eastwood Parish Church

Tower of Eastwood Parish Church

The present day Eastwood Parish Church, which dates from 1863, was designed by architects Charles Wilson and David Thomson . It is situated on the eastern side of Thornliebank Road on the site an earlier church which was built in 1782.
The numerous places of worship in Pollokshaws are described and illustrated in the dedicated Shawlands & Pollokshaws Churches page of this website.

Map of Auldhouse, Glasgow

Map showing Auldhouse Bridge, Eastwood Church and Auldhouse Mansion, 1858


The former Auldhouse Mansion, the oldest house in Glasgow's south side, was built in 1631 to a simple design. It was extended and converted to flats in 1983.

Engraving of Auldhouse Mansion from c.1790

Engraving of Auldhouse Mansion from c.1790


Auldhouse Court

Auldhouse Court, including the old mansion, was developed to provide 24 flats in 1983


Victorian photograph of Auldhouse Mansion with Eastwood Parish Church in the background

Victorian photograph of Auldhouse Mansion with Eastwood Parish Church in the background


Auldhouse Burn

Auldhouse Burn passing under Thornliebank Road at Auldhouse Bridge


The Territorial Army Drill Hall in Auldhouse Road was designed in the Scots Renaissance style with a symmetrical frontage featuring two saucer-domed towers and a crow-stepped central entrance bay.

This design was not the same as that featured in the exhibition drawing of the proposed building by the architects, J.W. and J.Laird.

Drill Hall, Auldhouse Road

Drill Hall, Auldhouse Road


The drawing below was displayed at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Exhibition, 1907, with the caption “3rd V.B. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders New Headquarters at Pollokshaws, J.W. and J.Laird, Architects”.

Exhibition Drawing of Pollokshaws Drill Hall from 1907

Exhibition Drawing from 1907

The proposed hall was originally intended to be the headquarters of the 3rd (Renfrewshire) Volunteer Battalion (Princess Louise’s) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, which became part of the territorial force in 1909.
The headquarters building was actually located in Paisley, with the more modest present day drill hall being built in Auldhouse Road.


Confluence of Auldhouse Burn and White Cart Water

Confluence of Auldhouse Burn (left) and White Cart Water (right)


The little stream which flows though Auldhouse Park joins the White Cart just before the confluence of the two rivers.

Stream entering White Cart Water at Auldhouse Park

Stream entering White Cart Water at Auldhouse Park


Aerial view of Pollokshaws

Aerial view of Pollokshaws from Auldhouse Bridge to Pollok Country Park


Pollokshaws Town House and memorial to John Maclean (1879 -1923

Pollokshaws Town House and memorial to local Socialist hero, John Maclean


Pollokshaws achieved the status of an independent burgh in October 1812 with Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, 7th Baronet, being the first provost.
It became a "Burgh of Barony" in 1818, receiving a charter of incorporation with a council comprising of a Provost, Bailie, Treasurer and six councillors. The town-clerk was appointed by the council to administer the affairs of the burgh. The clock tower from 1803, shown above, is all that survives of the old Town House where the council met. The remainder was demolished in 1934.
The Burgh Charter empowered the council to hold courts for the trial both of civil actions and criminal offences. A jail to incarcerate local wrongdoers was built in 1845.
Pollokshaws remained an independent burgh until 1912 when it was annexed to the City of Glasgow.

Map from 1858 showing Town House at Pollokshaws

Map from 1858 showing the Town House and the nearby jail


Pollokshaws Council in 1858

Pollokshaws Council in 1858


The Stag Inn, Pollokshaws

The Old Stag Inn is situated in one of the few remaining traditional tenement blocks in Pollokshaws, designed by Thomas Baird c.1888


Early twentieth century view of Pollokshaws Town House with Baird's tenement and St. Mary's church in background

Views of Pollokshaws Town House with St. Mary's church in background - before and after World War I

Early twentieth century view of Pollokshaws Town House with St. Mary's church in background

By coincidence the car in the above photograph is situated at the exact same spot as the 1950's estate car shown in the photograph below.

1956 view of Pollokshaws Town House with Baird's tenement and St. Mary's church in background

1956 view of Pollokshaws Town House with Baird's tenement and St. Mary's church in background


Pencil sketch of Pollokshaws Town House and surrounding area, 1926

Pencil sketch of Pollokshaws Town House and surrounding area, 1926


Tramcar crossing White Cart Water at Pollokshaws

Tramcar crossing White Cart Water at Pollokshaws


The popularity and availability of the motorcar during the inter-war years led to many road widening schemes allowing space for both electric trams and cars. The main roads through the south east of Glasgow; Clarkston Road, Kilmarnock Road and Pollokshaws Road all required new bridges to accommodate the improved roads.

Photograph from 1929 showing contruction of bridge at White Cart Water, Pollokshaws

Photograph from 1929 showing contruction of widened bridge at White Cart Water, Pollokshaws


Old photograph of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall and Sir John Maxwell School

Old photograph of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall and Sir John Maxwell School


Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, which opened in 1898, was provided for the people of Pollokshaws by Sir John Stirling Maxwell, who contributed towards its upkeep until the burgh was annexed by Glasgow in 1912. The hall was designed in the Scots Baronial style by noted Edinburgh architect, Robert Rowand Anderson, who also carried out alterations and additions to both Eastwood Parish Church and Pollok House around the same time.

Pollokshaws Burgh Hall

Pollokshaws Burgh Hall


Sir John Stirling Maxwell School and Pollokshaws Burgh Hall

Long view of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall and Sir John Maxwell School from banks of White Cart Water


Sir John Maxwell Primary School opened in 1907 and closed in the summer of 2011. The architects of the red sandstone building were John Hamilton and Alexander Young, who designed the school in the Edwardian Renaissance style which was very popular for public buildings in Scotland at the time.

Sir John Maxwell Primary School, Pollokshaws

Sir John Maxwell Primary School


After the last pupils vacated Sir John Maxwell Primary School in the summer of 2011 it was allowed to fall into a state of extensive decay and dereliction with no effort by the City Council to maintain the fabric of the old building. The views shown below illustrate how 5 years of abandonment have caused considerable deterioration to the stonework.

Derelict Sir John Maxwell Primary School, September 2016 Rear of derelict Sir John Maxwell Primary School, September 2016

Derelict Sir John Maxwell Primary School, September 2016


Pollok Academy was designed in 1855 by John Baird, a business partner of Alexander "Greek" Thomson. Baird was also responsible for the extension of 1874. Its most famous former pupil was the socialist pioneer, John Maclean. The building, which featured an attractive square clock tower, was demolished in 1968 during the comprehensive redevelopment of the area.
The school was situated on Pollokshaws Road, opposite Pollokshaws West Railway Station.

Pollok Academy, Pollokshaws

Pollok Academy, Pollokshaws

Pollok Academy, Pollokshaws

View of Pollok Academy from elevated platform of Pollokshaws West Railway Station


Pollokshaws West Railway Station

Pollokshaws West Railway Station and Station Master's house, opened 1848

The Glasgow to Barrhead railway line opened in 1848, originally operating from Southside Station in the Gorbals and later from St Enoch Station. The origins of the line are examined at the Gorbals Stations page of this website.

Steam train at Pollokshaws West Railway Station

The first stop on the route in 1848 was at Pollokshaws (now Pollokshaws West) Station, where the steam locomotive, left, is seen passing through. Many of Glasgow's southern suburbs were served by later stations built along the early lines, providing fast and easy access to the city. As well as Barrhead, current destinations for trains passing through Pollokshaws West are East Kilbride, Kilmarnock and Carlisle.


Plaque at Pollokshaws West Railway Station

South West Community Cycles at Pollokshaws West Railway Station

The two-storey Station Master's house at Pollokshaws West station now serves as a base for a community based cycle centre, providing low-cost bike hire and sales as well as training courses and free cycle repairs to local children. The unoccupied building was boarded up for a number of years before South West Community Cycles approached the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust in 2007 with a scheme to convert it into a bicycle repair and resource centre. After much hard work the centre opened for business in August 2013.


The Barrhead train to Pollokshaws gets a mention in this piece of rhyme regarding the "Queer folk of the 'Shaws".

Rhyme about the Queer folk of Pollokshaws


In pre-Victorian times, public transport from Pollokshaws was in the form of horse-drawn stage coaches. The extract below, from an 1833 directory, shows that the Pollokshaws coach was named after the monarch at the time, King William IV.
There were two coaches daily, operated in much the same way as the transport described in my Travelling from Glasgow before the Railway Age web page. In addition, the stage coaches from Irvine and Barrhead stopped off at the Toll House at Pollokshaws on their way to and from the city.

Satgecoaches serving Pollokshaws, 1832


Early twentieth century view of Toll House, Pollokshaws

Early twentieth century view of Toll House, built c.1750, where stage coaches once called


Toll House, Pollokshaws

Present day view of old Toll House, situated at the roundabout were all the main roads at Pollokshaws meet up


View of Pollokshaws from behind the Toll House

View of Pollokshaws from behind the Toll House


With the coming of the railway and the consequent Industrial Revolution, Pollokshaws found itself in an advantageous position, situated alongside two rivers and with an abundance of local coal. Its proximity to the manufacturers and traders of Glasgow and Paisley also helped the former small village to rapidly become a place of considerable business. Its importance as a manufacturing town was based on the cotton trade and the various processes connected with it. Much of the workforce was engaged in the spinning of cotton and the weaving of textiles with power-looms in the new mills built along the riverside. There was also work available in associated industries in the bleachfields and dye-works.

The extract below gives an indication of the nature of the industries carried out in Pollokshaws and the surrounding area shortly after the introduction of steam powered looms.

The working conditions at that time were nothing like what you would expect today. The use of child labour and the imposition of excessive hours on the workforce were perfectly acceptable when there were no trade unions to protect people from inhumane exploitation.
This commentary on the working conditions in the mills of Pollokshaws is actually meant to be positive!

Inside a Victorian textile mill

The mother of the famous campaigner for workers rights, John Maclean, had worked for a spell in a textile mill in Pollokshaws. This may have had something to do with his actions in 1910 to assist Miss Dicks of the National Federation of Women Workers in organising industrial action over a pay-cut imposed on the mill-girls at Alexander's Cotton Mill in Neilston. During the prolonged dispute Miss Dicks requested the help of Maclean who successfully organised a strike, protest march and demonstration which reversed the unfair actions of the mill-owners.


The last working textile factory in Pollokshaws was a modern building in Coustonholm Road operated by Claremont Garments, previously D & H Cohen. The factory closed in 1994 and the site developed for the local Benefit Office by the DSS.

The sites of many of the former mills and associated trades situated on the riverside were still in use workshops and warehouses in 2013.

Industrial buildings of the banks of the Auldhouse Burn

Industrial buildings on the banks of the Auldhouse Burn, Pollokshaws


Little weir on Auldhouse Burn, a relic of former water powered mills

Little weir on Auldhouse Burn, a relic of former water powered mills


Old view of Shaw Bridge, Pollokshaws, from a weir on White Cart Water

Old view of Shaw Bridge, Pollokshaws, from a weir on White Cart Water


Industrial buildings on the banks of the White Cart Water, Pollokshaws, 2013

Industrial buildings of the banks of the White Cart Water, Pollokshaws, 2013


The industrial units shown by the riverside in the above photograph were all demolished and the site prepared for residential development as seen in this view from early 2017.

Cleared site of  demolished factories and warehouses at  White Cart Water, Pollokshaws, 2017

Cleared site of demolished factories and warehouses at White Cart Water, Pollokshaws, 2017


Cemetery at Kirk Lane, Pollokshaws

Cemetery at Kirk Lane which contains the grave of Robert Burns' daughter, Betty Thomson

Robert Burns' daughter, Betty Thomson


Ornamental iron gates at Pollokshaws Cemetery

Ornamental iron gates at entrance to cemetery with Latin motto "Labor Vincit" - Work Conquers All


The 1960's redevelopment of Pollokshaws was an abject failure which included the creation of a dreadful shopping centre at Shawbridge Arcade and an absolutely awful concrete and glass public library in Shawbridge Street.
The new buildings of recent times are much more attractive, such as at the residential development at Pleasance Way, below.

New housing at Pollokshaws

New housing at Pleasance Way, Pollokshaws, built 2004/ 2005


The most common type of housing in the redevelopment of Pollokshaws consisted of new flats in multi-storey blocks. Some of the older blocks were demolished in 2008 and 2009.

View of Pollokshaws tower blocks from Auldhouse Park

View of Pollokshaws tower blocks from Auldhouse Park


Pollokshaws Baths, Pool and Public Washhouse, the "steamie", were built by Glasgow Corporation after the First World War, at a time when they were providing similar recreational and social facilities throughout the city. The complex became a Sports Centre in the 1980's before its eventual closure and demolition.

Pollokshaws Baths

Pollokshaws Baths


Site of Pollokshaws Baths, after demolition in the summer of 2010

Site of Pollokshaws Baths, after demolition in the summer of 2010


Remaining multi-coloured walls of Pollokshaws Baths

Remaining multi-coloured walls of Pollokshaws Baths


As at September 2016 every single one of the tower blocks in the aerial image shown below has been demolished, with low-rise housing replacing many of them. The bottom left of the picture shows Pollokshaws Baths before it was flattened. The now derelict Sir John Maxwell School can be seen to the left of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, one of the few buildings left intact.

Soon to be demolished tower blocks of Pollokshaws

Soon to be demolished tower blocks of Pollokshaws


Many of Glasgow's day trippers heading for the delights of Rouken Glen Park got a ride through Pollokshaws on the no.25 tram which also passed through Thornliebank on the way to the Rouken Glen terminus. This 1950's view shows a tram leaving Pollokshaws heading towards the railway bridge at Shawlands Station on the return journey through the city centre to Springburn. An illustrated history of Thornliebank and Rouken Glen with more details of the local tram routes is featured in a dedicated page of this website.

No.25 tram on Pollokshaws Road heading towards railway bridge at Shawlands Station

No.25 tram on Pollokshaws Road heading towards railway bridge at Shawlands Station



Dixon Halls, Crosshill

Gorbals
-

Pollokshields, Garden Suburb
-

Govan
-

Strathbungo & Crossmyloof
-

Mount Florida
-

Pollok Park & the Burrell
-

Langside and Battlefield
-

White Cart Walk, Pollok Park
-

King's Park
-

Rivers: Brock, Levern & Cart
-

Castlemilk
-

Pollokshaws & Auldhouse
-

Queen's Park Churches
-

Shawlands & Pollokshaws Churches
-

Muirend to Cathcart
-

Old Cathcart
-

Newlands
-

White Cart Walk, Linn Park
-

Cathcart Circle - A Railway Tour
-

East Renfrewshire Suburbs
-

All original artwork, photography and text © Gerald Blaikie 2017
Unauthorised reproduction of any image on this website is not permitted.

Contact: admin@scotcities.com