Imagine owning the whole south side of Glasgow. The Maxwell family did for almost 700 years until well into the last century. Their ancestral home, Pollok House in its 361 acres of park and woodland sits only minutes away from the city centre. In 1966 family member Anne Maxwell Macdonald presented the mansion to the city of Glasgow. The National Trust for Scotland now manages it.
The mansion designed by William Adam in 1752 is now the historic jewel at the heart of Pollock Park. It overflows with collections of Spanish art, antique furniture, silverware and ceramics, and an impressive library. The Country Park itself offers woodland walks and cycle tracks. The mansion shares Pollock Country Park with the Burrell Collection another spectacular compilation of art and antiques. The short walk between, past Highland cattle grazing verdant pastures, is a delight.
There is always something going on in Pollock House. On some Saturdays couples are wed in the library overlooking the garden. The magical quality of the Christmas celebrations at the house offers something special. There are also regular antiques fairs and special children's events. At the weekend staff and family members dress in period costume giving an entertaining glimpse into what life was like in the Victorian era.
The interiors of the house are spectacular with marble and mahogany hallway and period ceramics, silverware and furnishings on display. The numerous paintings on view contain important works by the English poet and artist William Blake, and an impressive collection of Spanish paintings, including works by El Greco and Goya, including the famous ‘Lady in a Fur Wrap’.
Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878) collected most of the paintings. He became an authority on the art and history of Spain, and published the first reference work in English on the subject. He had the paintings hung to complement the interiors.
The furnishings are mostly eighteenth century and there are several beautiful and interesting rooms to explore, including the “upstairs” quarters of the family. Take a look round the servants’ quarters and you will see the grand scale needed to keep a large family home running. Look for the photograph of the Victorian servants and count the number of people employed. The head housekeeper’s sitting room is now the Trust gift shop, which includes a food shop, and the former dining room for the more “important” servants is now a bookshop.
Once you've built up your appetite head for the Edwardian kitchen. It now forms an award-winning restaurant serving such culinary delights as home made soups and baking. If preferred you can sit outside in a small courtyard.
Before leaving explore the beautifully kept gardens with their collection of over 1,000 species of rhododendrons. Walk also along the White Cart River to the farm buildings to see the heavy draft horses and the water powered sawmill. Although not now including the south side of Glasgow the well-manicured grounds are still extensive and well worth exploring.
If you are an art lover or if you don't like it, you will enjoy this Art Collection. The air among these original pieces of art is special, you have to breathe it. I think I will never forget the face of Charles II, King of Spain, looking at me directly when I came into one of the rooms.
The building is amazing, solid archichecture but warm space inside. The library is a jewel you can't loose. Walking across the house you will get a good idea about how people used to live there. Downstairs you will find some shops, food, cards, souvenirs and some things like that. It's a good idea have a look although you wanna buy nothing. They love Xmas!!
Pollok House sits in the middle of Pollok Park, about 300 plus acres, which is also home to the Burrell Collection. The area around the house itself is the nicest though, with lovely gardens [see the travelogue for more pics], lawns and the River Cart passing directly behind the house. It turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day and we had brought a picnic lunch so we grabbed a picnic table between the house and river and had a gorgeous view as we ate our lunch! Then we had a wander around the rest of the lovely gardens.
Pollok House was formerly the family home of the Maxwells with Sir John Stirling Maxwell being one of the last owners. His daughter handed the house over to the National Trust for Scotland and its now open to the public. You can see round many of the rooms and also enjoy the beautiful gardens. We went on a beautiful bank holiday weekend, armed with a picnic lunch and had a lovely relaxing afternoon there. Well worth a visit!
NTS members get in free and the grounds are free to everyone
see the travelogue for more pics & info