A Walk Around Darnley

How to get there – By railway from Glasgow Central Station to Priesthill and Darnley Railway Station or by First Bus 56/56A and 57/57A. Please always check before setting out. In 1968 the City of Glasgow approved the building of 2,048 homes in Darnley. This scheme was to occupy an area to the north of Nitshill Road covered by Leggatston Farm. A total of 1,336 deck-access, two to seven storey apartment blocks were built. Two primary schools and a community centre were also included. A social club and bowling green, a church, a small shopping centre and a library were all added throughout the 1970s.

(1) Priesthill and Darnley Railway Station

This station was opened by British Rail on 23rd April 1990. Originally the line was called Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston District Railway from 1845 to 1851 when the company was absorbed by Caledonian Railway. This station is located between Nitshill Railway Station and Kennishead Railway Station. At the time of the Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston District Railway and Caledonian Railway no station existed here.

Looking across the track towards Priesthill, in the 1840’s a mill was located here named Victoria Mill.

(2) Brock Burn

The Brock Burn runs throughout Darnley and Pollok.

(3) Original Location of Kennishead Road

Kennishead Road originally ran from Nitshill Road just outside Darnley Mill diagonally up to where the M77 now crosses Kennishead Road at Kennisholm Avenue. The road was re-aligned in the 70’s due to the building of Darnley Estate.

(4) Leggatston Farm

This was a well known farm in the area. Demolished due to the building of Darnley Estate.

(5) Darnley Sycamore

Mary Queen of Scots is said to have nursed her sick husband, Henry Stuart, the Earl of Darnley, under this Sycamore. This tree would have had to be in existence in the 1560s as Darnley died in 1567

(6) Toll Point

Locatied just to the West of the Darnley Sycamore

(7) Darnley Hospital

Darnley Hospital operated from 1897 until 1992. It was originally an infectious diseases hospital and was later used for tuberculosis patients. The hospital became a geriatric hospital until it’s closure. The site is now a private elderly home.

Glasgow Herald, 6th December 1937

(8) Darnley Fire Station

Memories of Darnley Fire Station

(9) Darnley Mill

Canmore Record

Page on The Glasgow Story

Pont (1583-96), Blaeu’s (1654) and Moll’s (1745) maps all show the of Darnley (or Darly) and Roy’s map (1747-55) It is John Ainslie’s Map of the County of Renfrew (1800) that first shows the location and presence of Darnley (or Darnlie) Mill.

On the first edition Ordnance Survey map (1858-64), the mill is noted specifically as a corn mill. Presently the mill is a restaurant.

(10) Darnley Lime and Fireclay Works

Originally noted on the Ordnance Survey second edition map (first revision) (1896-1899) as Darnley Lime Works. The works were located just South of Darnley Mill.

(11) Gun Battery

Located roughly at Langford Drive. There are no remains to be seen as the area is now a housing estate.

(12) Old Mineshaft

More remains of the mining and quarrying that went on in Darnley. This area is fenced off due to subsidence.

(13) Darnley House/Darnley Bleachfield

ln Thomas Richardson’s map of 1795, the site is labelled ‘Darnley Bleachfield, Mr Tennant’. It was at his bleachworks at Darnley that Charles Tennant (1768-1838) produced the chemical combination of chlorine and lime powder that led to the development of bleaching powder. It seems likely that he obtained the lime he used in this process from the local quarries. By the time the first edition Ordnance Survey maps were being produced, Darnley Bleachfield is simply noted as Darnley House. Close examination of the ground around here, you will see some markings of a residence here such as the way trees have been planted.

(14) Curling Pond

Is all that remains of Darnley House.

(15) Ruined House

This two storey building has been around for 150 years but has kept it’s history to itself. No one knows for sure what or who used the house – Charles Tennant or part of the bleachfields? The house is now in ruins and care should be taken when walking around it. Please keep away from the walls and don’t walk inside!

(16) Remains of Rifle Range

Located within the forest are a two trenches which were part of Patterton Rifle Range and Darnley Rifle Ranges. The area is heavily overgrown and care should be taken when entering the area due to the undergrowth and the deep trenches.

(17) Gorbals Gravitational Water Works Buildings

Commencing in 1845, the Gorbals Gravitational Water Company was established to provide clean water to the Gorbals area of Glasgow. At the top of Waulkmill Glen before you reach the first reservoir you will note a stone lined waterfall. The red sandstone archways contain sluice gates set into the dam. The small structure across from this also relates to the control of the water flow.

(18) Pollok Castle

The castle seems to appear on Pont’s map (1583-96), as a castle named ‘Pook’. It also appears on Blaeu’s map of 1654. (Pook is noted as a name for Pollokshaws in Blaeu’s map “Pook Shaws”). Originally a simple tower house the Castle was rebuilt between 1686 and 1694 by Sir Robert Pollock. The south and east walls of the earlier tower house were removed and what remained of the structure was incorporated into a wing extending to the east. The first edition Ordnance Survey map (1858-64) shows the castle and grounds in detail. The house was destroyed by fire in 1880, but photographs of the building both before and after the fire survive. The house was rebuilt in 1886 in the Scottish Baronial style, incorporating some of the surviving elements of the earlier structure.

The castle was requisitioned by the British army in 1939, but one wing of the house was occupied by the Pollock family throughout the war. The estate was apparently used as an ammunition dump throughout this period. The house continued to be inhabited until 1944, when Miss Ferguson Pollock moved out and it was finally abandoned. The poor condition of the building required that it be demolished less than ten years later, in 1952. The majority of stone from the castle was sold and used as hard core for an airfield runway. Subsequently, it is believed that several prefabricated houses were constructed on the site to form one large structure, but this was removed by the late 1970s. Today there is no visible trace of Pollock Castle, and the grounds contain private residences.

(19) Site of Darnley Mains

Located roughly where B&Q currently stands this was a major farm operating in the area. If you continue towards the dams you will get some stunning views and see some wildlife (and not all of the delinquent variety!)

A map to accompany this walk can be found here – http://awalkaround.wordpress.com/a-walk-around-darnley/

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