Founder member of the National Trust for Scotland. The eldest son of Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-78), the young Stirling Maxwell inherited his father's philanthropic nature and taste in terms of art. He became an authority on architecture and the importance of the environment, as well as a noted art collector.
He was a founder member of the National Trust for Scotland (1931), becoming one of its first Vice-Presidents and President (1943-56). He realised the importance of green spaces within a city. In this context, he was determined to protect the Pollok Estate and give the people of Glasgow access to it, which he undertook in 1911.
Stirling Maxwell was also involved in trying to resolve the protracted problem of finding a home for the art treasures presented to Glasgow in 1944 by Sir William Burrell (1861 - 1958).
After his death, his daughter, Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald, gave Pollok House, a substantial proportion of the estate and her father's art collection to the Glasgow Corporation. This gift of land eventually allowed the Glasgow city fathers to erect a building to hold the Burrell Collection.