Pollokshields Heritage History

The History of Pollokshields

Pollokshields was created from the mid-19th century onwards by the Maxwell family of whom the best-known is Sir John Stirling Maxwell, a founder member of the National Trust for Scotland and of the Forestry Commission, and President of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

The Maxwells made great efforts to ensure a first class residential district with strict planning controls of the position, quality and use of buildings. Villa development began in 1851 and spread southwards from the Paisley canal. Pollokshields as it is today was substantially completed by 1910. The eastern area was mainly developed between 1855 and 1910 in a grid street pattern as an upmarket area of tenement flats. The later tenements, mainly south and west of Nithsdale Road, are some of the finest anywhere in Scotland. Provision for shops on the ground floor was strictly regulated.

Towards the end of the 19th century the character of Pollokshields as we know it today was well established - villas, tenements and public buildings built of sandstone, locally sourced from the Giffnock quarries for the earlier developments and further afield from Ballochmyle and Locharbriggs for the later. Trees in the wide streets, gardens and open spaces were beginning to make an impact with the church spires adding interest to the skyline. The area's leafy winding streets of villas and its superior tenements were a reflection of the city's late Victorian and Edwardian prosperity.

There was a lull in development in the inter-war period and by the 1950s, post-war shortages of materials, changed fortunes and a sparser population resulted in neglect. In 1962 Pollokshields became a smokeless zone under the Clean Air Act and the mid-20th century tide of decline that threatened to destroy the character and quality of Pollokshields was halted with the designation of Conservation and Outstanding Conservation Area status in 1973.

roundelThe recent restoration and development of the Burgh Hall, the return of former institutionally-used properties to family residences, the reinstatement of Sherbrooke Church, and the ongoing rehabilitation of Maxwell Park Railway Station are among the varied testaments to the current and ever-developing interest and commitment to this irreplaceable suburb.

Pollokshields Heritage continues to support the upgrading of Maxwell Park and Maxwell Square, the shopping and tenement properties, the maintenance of green areas and the environmental relevance of a tree strategy, and monitors the impact of transport and commercial amenities.

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