Pollokshields has as much to offer as the more touristy Glasgow west end and city centre from an architectural, environmental and social history point of view but is less known.

How to get there

Pollokshields lies on the South side of Glasgow (south of the River Clyde) and is accessible by cycle, train, bus or car:

  • The National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 75 goes from Glasgow City centre mainly on cycle lanes through Pollokshields to Pollok Park;
  • The train journey from Central Station is only seven to nine minutes to either Pollokshields West or Maxwell Park stations, Dumbreck or Pollokshields East stations (none has wheelchair access);
  • Buses 3, 38 and 57 go from the city centre to Queen’s Park/Minard Road, which is a 15-minute walk to Maxwell Park;
  • By road one takes the M8 west bound, then the M77 exiting at Junction 1, which takes the visitor straight into Pollokshields.

History of Pollokshields

Pollokshields was one of the first Garden Suburbs in Britain, with construction starting in 1851 on land owned by the Stirling Maxwell family of Pollok House.  The population was large enough by 1876 to justify independent burgh status, until 1890 when it became part of Glasgow City. The area is divided into two distinctive parts, namely East Pollokshields laid out on a grid pattern of sandstone tenements, whilst West Pollokshields consists of Victorian and Edwardian villas, with green spaces and wide oft tree-lined streets on one side of the railway and large, elegant tenements on the other.

For those interested solely in architectural history Pollokshields is full of treasures including the 16th century (later 19th century) Haggs Castle, formerly the city’s Children’s’ Museum and now a private residence, the 1892 Arts and Crafts house Ardtonish, the Art Nouveau Fotheringay Road tenements by H E Clifford and the 1903 Scots Baronial style Matheran, (private house), which in its many guises was a WWI hospital and a post second world war Occupational Health College. Trail leaflets for both parts of the area are available at https://pollokshieldsheritage.co.uk, where you can also find much more information about the area as well as Pollokshields Heritage, a local conservation and amenity society founded in 1992.

East Pollokshields includes the 1874 – 1876 four storey townhouses in Knowe Terrace (Shields Road), the Victorian Gothic style Pollokshields Church with stained glass by Scottish designer Stephen Adam (1848-1910) and other artists and the former tram works on Albert Drive, now the Tramway, a contemporary performing and visual arts venue.  A short walk from the Tramway lies the South side Gurdwara.

Parks include Maxwell Park beside the station and Pollok Country Park, (a ten-minute walk) from Maxwell Park station, containing Pollok House, built in 1752, now administered by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and the Burrell Art Gallery, due to re-open in 2022.

Where to eat

Eateries located in both West and East Pollokshields include the 1895 Sherbrooke Castle Hotel,  designed by the son of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, accessible by train to Dumbreck Station (at the more expensive end of the market) to Moyra Janes and Ollie’s on the Kildrostan Triangle (two minutes’ walk from Pollokshields West Station) and a selection of curry houses east of Shields Road, together with a café located in the kitchen of Pollok House.

Just outside Pollokshields, walkable from Dumbreck Road, lies the 180-acre Bellahouston Park, which was the site of the 1938 Empire Exhibition Scotland, held fifty years after the first International Exhibition showcasing industry, science and the arts, which had been located on the North side of the river Clyde. Each summer the park hosts outdoor live music events. The House for an Art Lover was built in 1996 to an original design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for a 1901 competition in Vienna. It houses a café and a restaurant and many excellent examples of Mackintosh’s designs and furniture.

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