Small village that turned into a weaving heartland

THE third sizeable community that was swallowed up by Glasgow, as well as Govan and Partick, in 1912 was the industrial village of Pollokshaws.

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And unlike Govan and Partick, the people of the area were – for the most part – happy with the move.

Even Pollokshaws' most famous son, born in 1879, Red Clydesider John Maclean, made it clear he was in favour.

When Maclean died in 1923, aged just 44, his health ruined by five terms of imprisonment and his period on hunger strike, his reputation was such that up to 20,000 people lined the streets to see his funeral procession from his Pollokshaws home to Eastwood cemetery.

At the end of the 17th century Pollokshaws had begun to change its character from that of small rural village, to a heartland of weaving for Scotland.

Although its origins date back to medieval times, it was then that Pollokshaws began to assume importance as a textile weaving town, using the water power of the River Cart and its subsidiary, the Auldhouse Burn.

Many of the weavers in the village worked from home, with records from 1782 showing 311 home weavers working in the village. This was reduced dramatically with the opening in 1801 of a factory in the town which operated 200 power looms.

The factory resulted in the steady reduction in the number of home weavers, until by 1850 records show they had almost disappeared.

Weaving was not the only industry that had its roots in Pollokshaws.

In 1742, the first bleachfield and printworks in the West of Scotland were established in Pollokshaws.

It was here the art of textile printing was advanced from wooden blocks to engraved copper cylinders, and within a comparatively short time the premises expanded to cover 30 acres.

By 1793, the works employed 226 men and boys and 174 women.

In 1782, a tannery was established in Pollokshaws, the first of its kind in Scotland.

Soon after two cotton mills that employed a combined 600 people were established.

These industries were the catalyst for other businesses opening. It saw the manufacture of linen, thread, brewing, dyeing, engineering, paper in Pollokshaws.

In 1807, one of the cotton mills was lit by gas produced within the mill, a first in Scotland for industrial premises.

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