Pollok (Scottish Gaelic: Pollag, lit. 'a pool', Scots: Powk) is a large housing estate on the south-western side of the city of Glasgow, Scotland. The estate was built to house families from the overcrowded inner city. Housing 30,000, it was built from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Pollok was built by the old Glasgow Corporation and was the first of the big four peripheral housing schemes built to improve Glasgow's slum housing conditions in the inner city. The building of Old Pollok commenced in the 1930s but was interrupted by World War II. The urgent need for housing after the war along with budgetary constraints meant that the original plan to build a 'garden suburb' was abandoned in favour of higher density, lower quality housing.
Pollok suffered the same social problems that also emerged from the other large housing schemes (Castlemilk, Drumchapel and Easterhouse). The slum clearance programme disrupted the network of the old communities and the extended family. There were few shops, no pubs, cinemas or leisure facilities. People lived far away from their places of work and there were very few employment opportunities locally.
The post-war tenement buildings were of poor quality and suffered from damp, condensation and lack of soundproofing. Glasgow Corporation (later Glasgow District Council) could not maintain the buildings in the face of budgetary cuts imposed by central Government. Local manufacturing jobs were outsourced to overseas countries and unemployment rates grew to unprecedented levels. Those who were able to left the area, the remaining population enduring poverty, lack of opportunities, ill-health and lower life expectancy.
In recent years there has been a sustained effort to improve the area. Most of the post-war tenement housing has been demolished or refurbished, and new private housing has also been built.
Pollok has two secondary schools: Rosshall Academy in the north and St. Paul's High School, which recently gained national coverage for its rise up the league tables. This was attributed to the highly controversial streaming of pupils, introduced by Headteacher Rod O'Donnell. St Paul's High School is recognised as one of the 'schools of ambition' in Scotland. In 2009 Pollok lost a local primary school, Bonnyholm Primary, which emerged with other schools and a new primary was built (and was officially opened in August 2007. on the grounds of Crookston Castle Secondary School called Crookston Castle Primary School.
Pollok House is a Georgian building built in 1752 with many fine paintings, and Pollok Country Park was chosen to house the "Burrell Collection" in a modern contemporary and clean air green space. It is the largest park in Glasgow.
Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook work on the Pollok Castle site and history in 2000.
The castle appears to be noted by Pont's sixteenth-century map. The castle was demolished and rebuilt as a large stately house 1686 by Sir Robert Pollok. It was completely destroyed by fire in 1882 (after remaining empty for some while) and then rebuilt again shortly after in the Scottish Baronial style, incorporating some of the surviving elements of the earlier structure, by Mrs Ferguson Pollok of that Ilk.
It was finally abandoned in the 1940s and fell into ruin thereafter. Some of the ruins were dynamited in the 1970s and a large prefabricated house erected on the castle foundations by Mr Greer, who purchased Pollok Castle Estate from Glasgow council. The gate houses at each end of the estate were also rebuilt along with the gardener's house and the castle stables and sold on as private residences.
The prefabricated house was removed and the site cleared in the early 1990s, and the castle was again rebuilt in 2003, in the Scottish Adam style by Alex Hewitt. Some of the original foundations and castle walls remain, on which the house has been built, notably a portion of the five-metre-high (16 ft) north moat wall still remains.
Pollok is home to the Silverburn Centre which opened in October 2007, replacing the old Pollok Centre. The centre, the largest of its kind in Scotland, has brought many hundreds of jobs to the area. Key stores include a 24-hour Tesco Extra adjoining the centre. This was the largest store in Scotland when it opened in July 2006. Other key anchor stores are M&S, Debenhams and Next. Altogether, the Centre houses 95 shopping units and 14 restaurants and cafés.
Next to the Silverburn centre are the recently renovated and extended Pollok Health Centre and the Pollok Library and Swimming Pool.
- A History of Mearns Parish by J.A. Stang 1939 hand-typed document circa 500 pages donated to the Mitchel Library Glasgow ref Shelfmark: 597928-30 A History of Mearns Parish by J.A. Stang 1939 hand-typed document circa 500 pages donated to the Mitchell Library Glasgow ref Shelfmark: 597928-30
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