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28 Jul 2017

Oral History Project – we’d love to hear from you!

Looking down from the hill towards the front entrance of Pollok House, as the morning sun catches the east of the building. Hosts of daffodils pop out from the ground.
Pollok House
The project will run as part of the This Lad o’ Pairts exhibition, which will explore the life of Sir John Stirling Maxwell and the contributions he made to Glasgow.

Update | March 2024: Pollok House is now closed for approximately two years to facilitate the second phase of a £4 million programme of investment led by Glasgow City Council. The works will comprise roof and general building fabric repairs.

Pollok House was home to Sir John Stirling Maxwell from 1887 until 1956. Above stairs, the lavish family rooms are packed full of period furniture and a spectacular art collection. Below stairs, the vast servants’ quarters show the realities of running a country house.

However, Sir John had also inherited a strong sense of public duty. In 1912, he used his political influence to help create Westerton (near Bearsden), a co-operatively owned affordable housing project for working-class people, in the model of the garden suburb. In a similar vein, he saw the first turf cut for Damshot in Old Pollok in 1937. Sir John donated Burgh Halls to the local communities in both Pollokshields and Pollokshaws with gifts of stipends for their upkeep.

Pollok House and the core of the estate were gifted to the people of Glasgow in 1966; the estate is now Pollok Country Park, and Pollok House is managed by the National Trust for Scotland on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

As part of our oral history project, we would like to speak to members of the local community and hear their life stories. This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Stories, Stones and Bones’ project and the Trust, and aims to reintroduce Sir John Stirling Maxwell to the people of Glasgow.

“Sir John Stirling Maxwell is disappearing into the mists of time and I think that is a great pity, for he did so much for Scotland and especially the people of the Southside of Glasgow during his lifetime. Present generations of Glaswegians still reap many benefits from his gifts and contributions to the city.”
Joe Murray
Learning Officer at Pollok House

The exhibition about Sir John – The Laird o’ Pairts – will be shown at Pollok House in early 2018 as well as a smaller mobile exhibition that will tour local communities around Glasgow at the same time.

The oral history project has just got underway and our volunteer interviewers are looking to record anyone who used to live and work in Pollok House or on the Nether Pollok estate. We would also like to talk to people who may have had a close relative who lived and worked on the estate, as they may be able to help identify some of the people in the collection of photographs at Pollok House.