Set in the substantial grounds of the Pollok Country Park, the fine Georgian country manor of Pollok House was built in 1752 for the Stirling-Maxwell family, who held it until Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald donated the property to the City of Glasgow in 1966.
The Maxwell family lived for six centuries on the site in total, but the main part of the present building dates from the mid-18th century. Pollok is an example of Scottish Georgian grandeur that would easily be at home in a Jane Austen novel.
The house was extended in the early years of the 20th century, before building listing came into place, but even then the original Georgian features were sensitively preserved. Since its donation to the Trust, Pollok has remained home to a vast art collection, put together by Sir William Stirling Maxwell from artists around the world.
In 1931, Pollok House was the venue of the meeting to discuss Scotland having its own National Trust, after England formed its own in 1895. Designed with the same principles of the National Trust, Scotland’s own society is designed to look after buildings of historical importance, and it is interesting that after the initial conversations happened at Poll, the house is now back in the care of the conservation organisation it helped form.
The house has an extensive garden, boasting a collection of over 1,000 species of rhododendrons. The gardens that are found behind the main house contain the famous Pollok Park Beech, which is thought to be over two centuries old and really looks it. Not at all aging well, the Beech has a swollen trunk, wide girth and a gnarled mass of branches.
Visitors can take a wander around the upper floors of the house for a captivating look at the world of upper-class Edwardian Scotland. The lavish family rooms are still packed full of original furniture and artefacts from the period, and the vast library was designed to hold around 7,000 books. A must-see part of the house for avid readers!
People can also now explore life ‘below stairs’, with a labyrinth of tiled passageways snaking throughout the property. In its heyday, Pollok employed around 50 members of staff, to serve a family of just three. It really was an opulent life in what is usually considered one of the more deprived parts of Great Britain.
Like many National Trust properties, the traditional style café is incredibly popular with visitors, and offers a range of delicious soups, cakes and Pollok’s signature scones, all based on original recipes.