Bob Law’s Blog: Rouken Glen – A Park For All Seasons

The Big Duck. Rouken Glen.Glasgow

Rouken Glen is a park situated on the south side of Glasgow. It offers great variety and is beautiful in every season of the year. It has broad open meadows with scattered mature trees in grand estate style, a deep wooded gorge, several impressive waterfalls, a rolling meadow area, numerous woodland trails and a very scenic pond.

Evergreen.Rouken Glen in November

Today it’s a leafy peaceful area in East Renfrewshire but it was not always that way. Throughout the 1800s the nearby village of Thornliebank was an important industrial hub with large bleaching works, cotton sheds and printing and dye works. It covered  several acres with dark smoking tall chimneys and impressive rows of  factory buildings clustering around the Auldhouse Burn.

Water Lilies. Rouken Glen Pond in Late July

The modest stream running through Rouken Glen Park was deepened, widened, and controlled to provide liquid power. The remains of many dams, lades, sluices and wooden holding gates are still visible in the woods to this day.

Waterfall in Detail.Rouken Glen Park

The development was necessary to provide a steady flow of year round water to the mills and factories downstream. Together with the nearby village of Nitshill with its lime works, coal mines and brick works, these two villages were major industrial hubs. In their day they supplied  various goods to a worldwide market.

Barrhead, a town not that far away, did the same for bathroom ware, and was famous throughout the UK and the British Empire for exporting quality sinks, toilets and baths. At that time Britain was a real powerhouse of industry and almost every village, town, and hamlet was famous for some manufacturing product. Tens of thousands of workers were employed in the area, many from the impoverished Scottish islands, Ireland or the Highlands.

Autumn Morning. Rouken Glen Park. Glasgow

Today, most of these places are housing suburbs. Only a few jobs opportunities are available serving customers in local shops. Long gone are the major industrial and manufacturing hubs.

The park was originally landscaped by a rich factory owner in Thornliebank who owned the land and grand buildings within it.

Walter Crum, a wealthy industrialist from Thornliebank, bought the estate from a Glasgow merchant John Slater. It was during this period the walled garden was planned and constructed. Alexander Crum Was mostly responsible for planning and planting the beautiful mature tree species found throughout the park today.’  (History of Rouken Glen Park)

Bob Law, September, 2020.

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This section: Bob Law: photographer, walker and writer, Walks

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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