IN recent years Glasgow's Pollok Park has been the centre of attention - both at home and internationally - for the much-anticipated refurbishment of the renowned Burrell Collection.

But tucked away in another corner of the Southside greenspace a similarly exciting project is underway to restore and protect part of the city's industrial heritage and see the return of the park's famous heavy horses, reports our sister title The Herald.

The first year of a £15.5 million three-year scheme to turn Pollok Stables and its sawmill into a net zero carbon Living Heritage Centre self-powered by electric turbines has now been completed with sections of the A-listed structure taken down and carefully conserved.

Glasgow Times: Restoration of the stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park. Pictured is Laura Baillie, building surveyor with City Property Glasgow in a former tack room next to one of the visitors stables. This area was inaccessible for many years due to the wooden

When completed in August 2025, the centre will see the transformation of an eyesore collection of buildings into a heritage centre, a cafe with outdoor terrace seating by the White Cart River, stables housing Clydesdale horses, a working sawmill, and luxury overnight accommodation.

It is also hoped the space will be useable for weddings and large events with a paddock available for event hire.

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Alex Fleming-Knox, project liaison officer in Glasgow City Council's property and estate management team, said: "The key thing is going to be the Living Heritage Centre, which will talk about the Maxwell family, who owned the estate, and the history of a working estate and how the horses would have played into that.

Glasgow Times: Restoration of the stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park. Pictured are stonework that has been removed from the stables. Each stone is numbered and will be put back. The A-Listed stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park will become a heritage

"The horses played a key part of our bid to the Levelling Up fund - we talked about horse power in the bid and how they were used in farming but also in the sawmill and how this all fits with our journey to net zero using electric turbines.

"This is such a nice, unique setting for both the heritage centre and the cafe and what will be a flexible space for events such as weddings - it's different from anything else you can find in Glasgow and is already proving popular with people enquiring about bookings.

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"What we're still trying to decide is what we're going to do with the section of the building that used to be residential. We want to keep it residential but we're trying to decide if it could be luxury accommodation that would make enough income to look after the rest of the complex."

Glasgow Times: Restoration of the stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park. The A-Listed stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park will become a heritage centre which will celebrate the famous Clydesdale horses that will once again become a feature in the park...

Pollok Stables has a long history dating back to a castle that was built in the grounds in around 1550; some of the footprint of the current collection of buildings are incorporated from that time.

The sawmill, which serviced Pollok House and the Maxwell estate, was built in the late 1800s and the main buildings date from early that century.

In 2018 the deterioration of the A-listed buildings became such that staff and the four resident Clydesdale horses were moved out and the complex closed for safety reasons.

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The animals were relocated to a farm, where they have joined a herd of around 30 other heavy horses, but it is planned that in 2023, when the centre reopens, new horses will return to the stables.

Glasgow City Council planners worked with local people to develop the scheme for the stables and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust has been integral to the project's planning stages with advice and support on conserving the unique structure.

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Pollok Stables is one of several schemes the Trust is currently involved in, which include the Victorian West Boathouse at Glasgow Green; the B-list Parkhead School, which will become an enterprise centre, community space and offices; and Whitevale Baths in the city's Gallowgate area.

Artists impressions by Glasgow-based Page Park architects show the scale of ambition for the site, which it is hoped will lure tourists, create local jobs and bring regeneration to the surrounding communities.

Glasgow Times: Restoration of the stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park. Pictured is Laura Baillie, building surveyor with City Property Glasgow. Laura is pictured on scaffolding looking at an area where part of the roof has been removed. Steel structural support

Further local engagement will be undertaken before the next stage of building goes ahead with public consultations set to be held next month.

Jane Slater, assistant project officer, said the historic element of the site had made it a fascinating project to work on.

She said: "It's been one of my favourite projects to work on because of all the history involved. I've been local to this park growing up so it's nice to see something happening with it and nice to see it reopen and let people walk through it again.

"Because it's got such historical importance everything has had to have been taken down very carefully so that's been a challenging aspect. It's striking how much care has to be taken in a project like this.

Glasgow Times: Restoration of the stables and sawmill in Pollok Country Park. Pictured are Alex Fleming-Knox (programme officer with Glasgow City Council), left and colleague Jane Slater, right, (assistant programme officer with GCC) in the saw mill. The A-Listed

"But seeing it come together is very exciting."

Painstaking work has been undertaken in the first phase of the project to ensure the building is properly conserved.

Workers in cherry pickers have photographed and labelled every brick that has been taken down before wrapping them in hession for protection and storing them on site.

Like a giant 3D puzzle, the bricks will all have to be carefully put back into position once the building has been made structurally sound.

Laura Baillie, building surveyor for City Property, has been involved from the start and is well used to working in Pollok Park, having also worked on the Burrell Collection refurbishment.

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She said: "The structural condition of it was very poor, which is why we came in when we did, to try to save as much of the building as we could but that probably was the biggest challenge, ensuring the structural integrity of the building.

"The stones have all been carefully preserved but it's going to be fun to try and put it all back together again - quite a challenge."

The project is being funded with £13m of UK government Levelling Up money, £1.5m match funding from Glasgow City Council and a fundraising endeavour currently underway to make up the shortfall.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: "The restoration of the dilapidated Pollok Country Park Stables and Sawmill to their former glory will deliver tremendous economic benefits to Glasgow and also preserve an important part of its heritage for future generations.

"This will deliver an exciting new attraction - including the return of the much loved Clydesdale horses - and support educational visits, while creating an eco-friendly facility that supports the move to net zero.

"The UK Government is investing £13m in the project as part of £2.3 billion to level up communities across Scotland."

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Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, described the stables as a "jewel in the crown" of Glasgow's heritage.

She said: “The A-listed Pollok Stables and Courtyard is a jewel in Glasgow’s heritage crown, and the ongoing refurbishment there will restore the historic buildings at what is an outstandingly beautiful corner of Pollok Country Park.

"When complete, the project will bring a world-class heritage centre, education, community and events spaces, and the return of Clydesdale horses to the park."

Find out the latest information on the Pollok Stables and Sawmill refurbishment project by coming to drop-in sessions at Pollokshaws Library on April 18 from noon to 7pm or at Pollok Civic Realm on April 25 from 10am to 7pm.

More information on the project is available at