Pollok House teacher information

Built in 1752 and set amid attractive formal gardens and extensive parkland in the heart of Glasgow, Pollok House is an elegant country mansion – an excellent example of Georgian and Victorian architecture.

Pollok House is also home to probably the finest collection of Spanish art in Great Britain with paintings by Goya, El Greco, Cano, Murillo and Coello among others. It also features paintings by Blake, Mengs, Guthrie and Nicholson.

The National Trust for Scotland took on the responsibility for looking after Pollok House in 1998. Since then the Trust has worked to return the interior of the House to how it looked in 1931 when, in the Cedar Room on the first floor, inaugural meetings about the foundation of the National
Trust for Scotland took place.

Learning plays a large part in the Trust’s role in conserving Scotland’s built and natural heritage. Pollok House is an important primary resource that offers cross-curricular learning opportunities for key areas of the 5–14 Curriculum. Our Teachers’ Pack is designed to provide information for teachers and give a flavour of what we provide for schools. It contains some worksheets and ideas for classroom work after the visit.

At Pollok House there are three main learning tours with opportunities for some supplementary activities. Educational activities at Pollok House are designed to fit with the Curriculum for Excellence. The learning outcomes of our tours and activities are highlighted in the Teachers’ Pack where appropriate. 

  • Upstairs, Downstairs: children learn about people in the past, through costume/dressing up and sometimes role-play. The children can see how different life was for working-class Victorians compared to the present day.
  • Waste not, Want not: our throwaway society is a relatively new phenomenon. On a tour of the house we look at what can be learned from a large country house such as Pollok – how food was preserved to mending an ivory chess board. We’ll look at how waste materials were recycled or reused to make other things, and at how dust, ash and even dog poo were used by the Victorians in industrial processes. What would you use the contents of a chamber pot for? This, and other disgusting things, will be revealed!
  • Rugs, Mugs and Bugs is designed to highlight to children the importance of conservation. This tour has a number of short practical activities such as taking light readings, identifying pests, looking for damage and its causes, and repairing broken crockery.

Possible topics

  • Victorians
  • Stuarts
  • Art
  • Conservation
  • Minibeasts

Resources for schools

  • Specific education programmes designed for schools (lasting 1.5—2 hours)
  • A costume tour of the property (Victorians — Upstairs, Downstairs tour only)
  • An object-handling session, art session or conservation workshop
  • Use of the education room
  • An opportunity to study fine art works
  • Teachers’ Pack to accompany the education programmes

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please telephone Pollok House on 0141 616 6410 to discuss your visit; pre-booking is essential.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Maximum class size: 32 pupils with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult to 10 pupils
  • Access: there is access for wheelchair users (lift and stair lift) to the two main floors of the house (the family and servants’ rooms) but not to the top floor (bedroom and exhibition room). Please phone to discuss your requirements — we will do our utmost to accommodate your pupils.
  • Parking: there are spaces for cars and coaches beside the house.
  • Toilets: accessible toilets are available in the house.
  • Refreshments: pupils may bring packed lunches to eat in the country park or gardens; a wet weather area can be made available in the house (booking is essential).
  • All the school programmes have been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no admission charge for schools with Trust membership on a teacher-led visit (please let us know you are bringing a group at least 24 hours in advance).
  • Non-member schools are welcome but there is an admission charge of £1 per pupil for teacher-led visits.
  • For our school programmes (combining a tour of the house with activities in the education room), there is a charge of £1 per pupil from member schools and £2 per pupil from non-member schools.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free of charge.
  • All class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit to the site.

During your class visit

  • Upon arrival: please report, with payment and letter of confirmation, to the ticket desk at the front entrance hall.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • For the programme, your class will be split in two: one half will visit the education room and the other the house. The pupils then swap over.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils do not need to bring any materials for the school programme.
  • Pupils may take photos in the education room and outside (but not within Pollok House).
  • Coats and bags can be left next to the education room (on site).
Download

If you prefer to print this information you can use this download. Please note that some of the information may now be out of date.