Following our outing at Pollok parkrun, (parkwalk for me and Jack) I decided to get back into training by doing a long run, well walk, with the dog on Sunday. To kill two birds with one stone, I decided to take the camera along and try to get a couple of shots of the local area.
We started our journey by heading along the road and into Glasgow’s third oldest park, Queen’s Park. With it’s commanding views, the flat-topped summit, is believed, to have been occupied since prehistoric times. More recently, albeit almost 450 years ago, the Battle of Langside took place on 13 May 1568 between the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots and her half-brother James, Earl of Moray and Regent of Scotland. It is believed that those who perished in the battle, were buried under what is now referred to as the Boating Pond.
The land came into Public Ownership, when in 1857, despite it being outside the City Boundary, Crossmyloof Baker, Neale Thomson sold it for £30,000 to the Glasgow Corporation.
Queen’s Park Arena
The famous Arena, which was filled by thousands on May Day 1960 as marchers listened to the powerful voice and powerful words of Paul Robeson as he entertained them with his moving songs and he told them “You will need all the strength you have got to see that you who create the wealth of the country have a chance to enjoy it!” The Arena’s renovation is nearing completion but I doubt if it will ever see the likes of Ol’ Man River again.
We walked through Crossmyloof into Shawlands, where Jack drew my attention to the two shops shown in the photo below.
We continued along Kilmarnock Road and turned right, into Pollokshaws, where there is little sign of the area’s weaving background, which dates back to the 17th century and saw the Maxwell’s of Pollok bringing a group of Flemish Weavers to the ‘Shaws in the 19th century.
However, there is a commemorative stone for one of Scotland’s most famous Socialists, the Pollockshaws born John Maclean. Maclean was the sixth child of poor working class parents, who had met each other after moving to the outskirts of Glasgow as a result of the Highland Clearances. His Marxist teachings and anti war campaigning saw his popularity soar at home and abroad. His death in 1923, at the age of 44, attracted the largest ever funeral procession that Scotland has ever witnessed.
His life is marked in the Shaws with a Commemorative Stone, in Pleasance Street which reads: In Memory of John MacLean, born in Pollokshaws 24th August 1879. Died 30th November 1923. Famous pioneer of working class education. He forged the Scottish link in the golden chain of world socialism.”
The Soviet Union honoured Maclean with an avenue in central Leningrad and in 1979, on the centenary of his birth, the Soviet Union issued a commemorative postage stamp depicting the teacher from Pollockshaws.
A few hundred metres away from Maclean’s commemorative stone are the ruins of the Sir John Maxwell Primary School. The large, three story, building was constructed in 1906-7, replaced its predecessor, built 1854, on a site donated by the owner of the Pollok Estate: the Eton educated Conservative MP, Sir John Stirling Maxwell; and was officially opened in 1909, by ….. Sir John Stirling Maxwell. The red sandstone building, continued as an educational institution until it’s eventual closure in 2011, some 157 years after the original school had opened.
We then crossed Pollokshaws Road and entered, what is now Pollok Country Park, Sir John’s only child. Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald, gifted the house, including its collection of internationally-famed paintings and 361 acres of parkland, to the City of Glasgow in 1966. with the condition that it remained a public park. Pollok House was opened as a museum in 1967 and management passed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1968. In 1969 she became the first Glaswegian woman to be given the freedom of the city. She died at home in her 105th year in 2011. The same year that the school closed its doors for the last time.
The recent severe flooding of Pollok Country Park, which resulted in the 264 year old house being closed for a few days at the turn of the year, still sees William Adam’s design surrounded by scaffolding.
Along to Bellahouston Park, up those steps and back home, via Nithsdale Road, saw us clocking up some 10.3 miles and reminded me of some of the amazing history of the south side of Glasgow.
Dame Anne Maxwell Macdonald Hamilton (1851