Associated Historical Notes

Associated Historical Notes

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The old village of Pollokshaws enjoyed its first fresh water via the mains pipes which led from the Gorbals Gravitation Water works into the City of Glasgow. The dreadful private wells of the village were quickly shut down which was no real wonder as the ground water regime was on a level with the graveyard. The well in Laird Campbell's close siphoned directly off the adjacent graveyard where coffins often sat in water.


Pollokshaws maximum water rate was an old shilling per pound of rental and so in 1853 when the Glasgow Corporation took over the Gorbals works, Pollokshaws obtained the insertion of a clause maintaining the old rate that the Burgh had paid to the Gorbals Company.  At the time it was an absolute bargain but Pollokshaws lost out when Glasgow's water rate was reduced, as their agreement at the old rate stood firm.  It was not until 1871 that 1d. was taken off and subsequently a further 1d. reduction was made but even then Pollokshaws paid double the Glasgow water rate.

Walter Creber - Scottish Aviation Pioneer

Waulkmill Glen Reservoir, in addition to being a remarkable feat of engineering, has an additional claim to fame in pioneering Scottish aviation.

Walter Creber, largely now forgotten, managed the waterworks at the beginning of the 20th century and was something of a local hero, having the first car in the area, an 8 h.p. Albion 'dog cart' (pictured below). Under the auspices of the Scottish Automobile Club, he tested it for its 1901 trials on a daily run from Waulkmill Glen to the 1901 Exhibition at Kelvingrove.


Creber also had an interest in aviation and tested large model gliders on the winds skipping over the reservoirs.  By 1910 a large man-carrying glider had been built. It took four months to complete and was flown at Lyoncross and Northbrae in February 1910.

Creber was involved in air strip development at Barrhead and there, he and other Glasgow Aeronautical members, carried out trials. Creber’s glider made its first public appearance at the Pollok Estate Air Show on June 4th 1910.  It was Glasgow's first air show and was based around the estate's riverside cricket grounds.  Sadly for Creber his glider was wrecked in the stormy conditions of the aviation event.  Creber took his glider home and then seemed to fade from the aeronautical scene.


Waulkmill Viaduct

Although not directly associated with the water works, the Waulkmill Viaduct dominates the area.  

The Viaduct 1903
The Viaduct 1903 - Courtesy of Caledonian Railway Association
The Viaduct 2010
The Viaduct 2010

The train line cuts through the reservoir area and is carried across the southern part of the Waulkmill Glen Reservoir by a Victorian viaduct with 14 arches, constructed mainly of brick. This railway originally formed part of the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway which was constructed by Robert McAlpine (who also built the Glenfinnan Viaduct) for Caledonian Railways between 1884 and 1890. The original railway carried services from Glasgow to the Ayrshire coast but mergers with other companies and patterns of use caused changes to the route. Today the trains run from Glasgow to Neilston.

The nearest station was Patterton, originally opened in 1903 and constructed with an extra long platform as it was thought that there would be housing development in the area of the station!  Another station was planned at Lyoncross but this was never built.


Mearns History Group acknowledges the help of Brian Skillen and Dams to Darnley staff in the preparation of this web page.


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