Eye Spy Glasgow: In memory of the "Queer Folk"

The city boundaries of Glasgow have altered dramatically over the years.

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Parts of what are now East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire - like Clarkston and Rutherglen - were once part of the city.

Local government re-organisation has seen the boundary redrawn several times.

But it is difficult to believe that just 102 years ago, Govan, Partick and Pollokshaws were separate burghs in their own right and functioned quite independently from the city.

It was only in 1912, and with some controversy, that the three historical towns were annexed by Glasgow.

Pollokshaws was a predominantly weaving village with a history dating back to the 1600s.

A few weeks ago this blog focused on a memorial to one of the area's favourite sons, the Red Clydesider John Maclean.

On the same patch of land as the Maclean memorial - between Riverford Road and Greenview Street - stands another small statue with a reminder of the area's heritage.

It contains the words of a poem, The Queer Folk O' The Shaws, by James McIndoe, a local man who earned the title The Shaws Poet.

The "Queer Folk" were a group of Flemish weavers who came to the area from Belgium in the 1800s.

They were brought to Pollokshaws by the landowners, the Maxwells of Pollok, because of their exceptional weaving skills.

Locals dubbed them "The Queer Folk O' The Shaws", a nickname that, over time, was applied to anyone from the area.

James McIndoe was quite a local character and penned many poems, often poking fun at the local folk.

Sadly he died a pauper in the Govan Poor House in 1837.

The poem on the memorial reads:-

"Wha' ne'er untae the Shaws has been

Has surely missed a treat

For wonders there are to be seen

Which nothing else can beat.

The folks are green, it's aft been said

Of that you'll find no trace

There's seasoned wood in every head

and brass in every face.

Look smart and keep your eyes about

Their tricks will make you grin

The Barrhead bus will take you out

The folks will take you in."

Well worth remembering as a piece of social commentary on the area.

Local government

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