Pollok House

Pollok House, Glasgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Pollok House, Glasgow

Pollok House is a Neo-Palladian mansion, built on the banks of the White Cart Water, which was designed by William Adam (1689 - 1748) for Sir John Maxwell. The Maxwell family owned the Pollok estate from the mid-13th Century and had a succession of three earlier castles located here. Building started in 1747, under the direction of Adam although, following his death, the house was completed in 1752 by his son John (1721-92). Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1834 - 1921) sympathetically added two pavilions in 1892 for Sir John Stirling Maxwell (1866 - 1956), who was a founder member of the National Trust for Scotland. Indeed, it was at an informal meeting in the house that agreement was reached to form the Trust (1931).

Stirling Maxwell created the gardens around the house and gave the people of Glasgow access to the estate from 1911. He also allowed his house to be used as a military hospital during World War I. In 1966, his daughter, Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald, gave the house, including her father's art collection and 146 ha (361 acres) of the surrounding estate, to the City of Glasgow. The management of Pollok House was, appropriately, transferred to the National Trust for Scotland in 1998.

The house can be approached from a bridge over the White Cart Water, which was built in the 18th century. The visitor passes ornamental lions on the terrace, which were carved in the 1940s by sculptor Hew Lorimer (1907-93).

Opened as a museum in 1967, Pollok House contains the remarkable Stirling Maxwell collection of European paintings, as well as displays of furniture, ceramics, glass and silver. This includes perhaps the finest collection Spanish paintings in Britain, with works by El Greco, Goya and Murillo.

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