A former Pollok Park Estate resident has celebrated her 103rd birthday this week in style at Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home, and has been reflecting on the last 100 years which she has spent in Glasgow’s Southside.
Sylvia Knox was originally born in Bedford before moving to Scotland aged three. Her family moved to the grounds of the award-winning Pollok Park Estate, where her father worked as a stonemason for owner Sir John Stirling Maxwell. Sylvia recalls many happy years spent in Pollok House and its grounds.
While looking back on her time in Scotland, Sylvia was treated to a cake and balloons organised by the staff, along with a visit from her daughter-in-law Irene. She also facetimed her granddaughters Jackie and Sheila, based in Tenerife and Aviemore.
Alongside the care home’s efforts, supermarket Aldi gifted the 103-year-old flowers, Scottish treats and a bottle of fizz, while she reminisced about her days as a member of Cowglen Golf Club, looking through the Centenary Book which was gifted by the club.
Working in Andrew Duthie’s Fine Art Dealers on Sauchiehall Street and latterly at Rolls Royce during the war era, Sylvia stayed in her childhood home in Pollok Park with her mother. She married her husband Nicky in 1943 and had two sons, John and Colin, before the young family moved to Shawlands. Her children later attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School.
Sylvia now lives in Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home, settling into her new abode in January 2019, only three miles down the road from Pollok Park. Throughout the pandemic, Sylvia has kept in close contact with family and friends over Facetime, though was over the moon to receive her first indoor visits last month.
Reflecting on her childhood at Pollok Park, Sylvia noted that the Maxwell family were extremely generous with staff, regularly organising resident parties, gardening competitions and staff trips to Belfast. She recounted one occasion, when aged five, Lady Maxwell sat beside her in the servant’s kitchen and announced she was on a diet, which prompted little Sylvia to ask what exactly a diet was.
When Pollok House opened to the public, Sylvia “couldn’t resist” going for a visit, and the memories of the parties held there when she was just a child came rushing back as she stood in her favourite room of the house.
Looking back on her memories in the Southside of Glasgow, Sylvia spoke of learning to dive at Pollokshaw Baths and playing along the edge of the river in Pollok Estate as a child.
Throughout her life, Sylvia has enjoyed a variety of hobbies, including embroidery, tapestry, gardening and golf, boasting an impressive handicap of 16 as a member of Cowglen Golf Club. Whitecraigs Care Home staff have encouraged her creative spirit, with regular arts and crafts activities for residents to enjoy.
Sylvia said: “I have had a lovely day celebrating my birthday. The party organised by staff reminded me of the many I attended in Pollok House - I have felt quite the Lady.
“I’m very proud that I was part of the life at Pollok Park Estate with the Maxwells, and I’m looking forward to my next visit to its beautiful grounds when safe to do so.”
Amanda Randou, home administrator at Renaissance Care’s Whitecraigs Care Home, said: “We are so pleased to have Sylvia with us at Whitecraigs, and hoped to make her birthday as special as possible under the current restrictions. We believe in adding the personal touch at Renaissance Care, and throughout the last year, this has been more important than ever, making sure each day is special for our residents.”
Residents at Whitecraigs Care Home are able to receive two indoor visitors a week in keeping with the latest government guidance.