A detailed history of life and death in Pollokshaws

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The heritage group responsible for taking Extra readers on a trip down memory lane is fundraising for a history project — the first of its kind in Glasgow.

Pollokshows Heritage Group — which regularly submits pictures for the paper’s Window to the Past section — is looking to raise £1,500 to add to funding from Glasgow City Council, Pollokshaws Community Council and from its own coffers.

The money will be used for a research project on Pollokshaws Vennel, the old churchyard once attached to the Secession Church on Riverside Street.

The plan is to research and record every one of the 554 lairs using census returns, birth, death and marriage certificates and wills, local directories, newspapers, valuation rolls and court records — completing, for the first time, a detailed register of those interred.

In a letter to The Extra, the group writes: “We need your help. An as near to complete coverage, as possible given existing sources, of every person in each lair is the hoped for outcome.

“This type of project has never been attempted before in Glasgow, if indeed Scotland, and it is hoped that the final outcome will result in the most historically detailed survey of a churchyard in the country.”

With former provosts, councillors, school teachers, ministers and representatives of all the city’s trades laid to rest there — not to mention Robert Burns’ daughter, Betty Thomson, and his son-in-law and grandchildren — the group believe that the word needs to be spread on the wealth of history buried in Pollokshaws.

The group adds: “Pollokshaws has been harshly treated by the so-called progress of modernisation, and the churchyard is the last remaining link to the past. It’s the history of Pollokshaws.

“By bringing the past to life, we can help bring attention to Pollokshaws, not just locally but across the world, through former residents spread far and wide.”

The group is now appealing for donations, and offering anyone interested the chance to be involved — and trace their genealogical roots in the process.

To read the Pollokshaws Heritage Group letter and for info on how to donate, turn to letters on p30-31.