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7 Sept 2023

Pollok House to undergo major refurbishment

A view of the back of Pollok House on a bright day, with wide stone steps leading up to the parterre gardens directly outside the house. The house is a classic Georgian 'square' shape, with a small wing either side.
Glasgow’s iconic Pollok House is set to close for approximately two years so that a comprehensive refurbishment project can take place.

Update | April 2024: Pollok House, the shop and tearoom are now closed to visitors whilst essential conservation work takes place.

Pollok House will close on 20 November 2023 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.

Visitors and members of the National Trust for Scotland have until November to explore the house and view the opulent upper rooms used in the past by the Stirling Maxwell family, admire the precious works of art displayed and also discover the lower-level spaces in which staff and servants worked. The popular café and shop in the old servants’ wing on the ground floor and the outdoor space will remain open until the spring of 2024.

Pollok House was built in 1752, close to the site of earlier dwellings dating back to medieval times, and was extended between 1890 and 1904. In the late 19th and through to the mid-20th century, it was the home of Sir John Stirling Maxwell, 10th Baronet, a great benefactor to Glasgow and one of the founders of the National Trust for Scotland. It is said that the conversation that led to the Trust being established took place in Pollok House’s Cedar Room at the beginning of the 1930s.

A key part of the city’s heritage, Pollok House and the surrounding Pollok Country Park is owned by the people of Glasgow, after the historic mansion and the collections contained therein were gifted to the city by Sir John’s daughter, Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald, 11th Baronetess in 1966. The National Trust for Scotland has managed the house under contract to Glasgow City Council for 25 years.

The renovation work at Pollok House follows Glasgow Life’s award-winning refurbishment of the Burrell Collection, situated close by in Pollok Country Park. Glasgow City Council are also developing an integrated plan for the entire country park, which includes the £15 million project to refurbish and repurpose the stables and sawmill adjacent to Pollok House, funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme. Pollok Country Park is the city’s largest park and the only country park within Glasgow.

Grand connecting rooms inside Pollok House. The floor is laid with large intricate floral rugs, a chandelier hangs from the central ceiling, and archways between the space are held up by pairs of white columns.
Pollok House

Councillor Ruairi Kelly, Glasgow City Council’s City Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, said:

‘Pollok House is one of Glasgow’s most important heritage assets and I’m very pleased we are investing in a building that adds significantly to the enjoyment of visitors to Pollok Country Park.

‘We have been working in close partnership with the National Trust of Scotland on Pollok House and we want to ensure the whole process of renovation is managed as carefully and as sensitively as possible.

‘A huge amount of work has gone into improving Pollok Country Park and the renovation of Pollok House will add another dimension to one of the most popular parks in Scotland. While Pollok House is closed for refurbishment, we will also be looking closely at how we can improve the visitor experience, and we look forward to when this historic home can reopen again to the public.’

The National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Executive, Phil Long OBE said:

‘It’s been a great privilege for the National Trust for Scotland to have managed Pollok House over the last quarter of a century, especially as it was here that some of the earliest discussions leading to our charity’s founding took place at the beginning of the 1930s.

‘We’re therefore delighted that the house’s owners, Glasgow City Council, have confirmed that they intend to invest in its refurbishment, following on from their very successful project at the adjacent Burrell Collection.’

“We at the Trust will be delighted to play whatever part we can in assisting the city to develop its new vision for Pollok Country Park, working closely with Glasgow City Council over future plans for the house.”
Phil Long
Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland

Phil Long continued: ‘While access to the house will necessarily be limited by the works from November, the Trust will continue to welcome visitors and members to the sites we own and care for around the city, namely the Tenement House, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s Holmwood and Greenbank Garden.’

The Trust is in discussion with its staff and volunteers based at Pollok House, as well as their trade union representatives, about possible arrangements following the house’s closure, although the shop and popular café there will remain open until at least March 2024.