Pollok (Scottish Gaelic: Pollag "Pitpow" meaning a pool) 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.
The main features of the area are the nearby park, Pollok Country Park where the Burrell Collection is now housed, and the adjacent Crookston Castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, was once held.
Pollok is about 7 miles (11 km) from Glasgow International Airport, and 24 miles (39 km) from Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
Pollok is accessible from junction 2 and 3 of M77 motorway, and Pollok's main bus terminus is Silverburn bus station.
Pollok is served by three nearby railway stations; these are Nitshill, Priesthill & Darnley and Mosspark.
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 is an area south west of Glasgow, near Paisley. It is believed the name was adopted by some Breton knights in the retinue of Walter fitz Alan, Steward of Scotland to David I. Both families came via Shrewsbury, from Dol-de-Bretagne on the Brittany-Normandy border, around 1080, where Alan fitz Flaad was seneschal.
The founder of the dynasty was called Fulbert, a Norman name (in fact the same name as William the Conqueror's father in law, but not the same person). The name 'Pollock' is Celtic from Pollog, "people who live by a pool", and Robert de Steinton (Stenton in East Lothian) and his brother Peter appear to have been given land by the FitzAlan family in return for armed support, and perhaps changed their name and abode to Robert de Pollok, and Peter or Petrus de Pollok. They both have wax seals in the British Museum. Robert's shows a man on a horse with his hunting dog, and Peter's, a boar with an arrow in its left shoulder. Pollock tradition says it was granted by a king for saving his life hunting an old and wily boar that had unseated the king and was about to gore him to death. This boar has become a notable Pollock crest. These two seals are believed to be the earliest family seals (excepting kings and nobles) known in the UK as landed gentry—the Norman French "de" denotes their town of origin.
Sir Walter Scott heard this family legend from a descendant and adopted it for his hero in his novel Quentin Durward, also a name for a Glasgow pub, Quentin Durward pub, established in 1823.
Most descendant Polloks from Scotland or Ireland (Pollocks of Newry), use this "Boar passant quarterly or and vert, pierced through the sinister shoulder with an arrow passant proper". The family moved from farming to growing flax and becoming merchants, and one branch moved to Northern Ireland around Newry, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. Mountaintowns House, near Kilpatrick, just outside Navan, Co Meath, Eire is still owned by Pollok descendants in 2015, some 250 years later, purchased by A Dublin solicitor named Pollock.
Robert & Peter's names in Latin, Petrus and Robertus, appear as witnesses to charters in Paisley Abbey, so they were men of wealth and importance in the area, vassals of the FitzAlans, Walter FitzAlan became Steward to David I of Scotland, and the hereditary title became known as "Stewart", and the family name. The came from Dol de Bretagne,on the Normandy/ Brittany borders where Alan FitzAlan- whose son was Walter FitzAlan]] was seneschal or "daiper" for the Duke of Brittany.The appear to have moved to Oswestry, Shropshire to hold the border town for Willian the Conqueror, where they met David I and moved north to Paisley with him . They were precursors of the Dukes of Norfolk and Arundel,later to become the royal family of the House of Stewart through the marriage of James Stewart, later James I of Scotland to Marjorie Bruce or de Brus granddaughter of Robert I of Scotland.. Peter de Pollok was also recorded as builder of Rothes castle near Elgin guarding the Spey valley, before it became the Leslie Clan stronghold. The Pollock pierced boar crest, a plaster copy of which is in the British Museum,London, seals collection, the wax seal dating from between 1180 and 1200 is believed to be the oldest yeoman (i.e. non noble family crest), denoting loyal followers from an early landowner, farming, then later merchant( flax and linen producers)class.
Pollok was later divided into Upper and Nether Pollok. It is believed that later Polloks had land confiscated and given to the Maxwell family for supporting Edward I's puppet "Scottish" king, Edward Balliol, against Robert the Bruce. A Pollock castle existed until it was destroyed by a fire at the start of the twentieth century. The little known "Pollok Tartan" (red, green, pale green and white) is similar to the Maxwell tartan and several Pollok daughters married Maxwell clansmen. There is a Clan Pollock Society in the United States, and the 11th President of the United States (1844–1849) was James Polk (1795–1849), descended from Pollok ancestors, from Pollocks . A Democrat, Polk served only one term, but is considered to have been one of the more aggressively productive men ever to hold the office, and presided over the Mexican War.
The modern town of 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 its local primary school Bonnyholm Primary along with several other small school to combine and become part of Crookston Castle Primary School. There is also Pollokshields, an area built as a dormitory town for Glasgow.
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 and a summary is available at http://www.damstodarnley.org. The article has numerous references to "Pollock" however the correct spelling is "Pollok", without the "c". There are also some historical inaccuracies which are corrected below.
The castle was originally a tower dating from the 11th Century. 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 70s and a large prefabricated house erected on the castle foundations by Mr Greer who purchase 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 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.