Pollokshields Free Church Literary Institute


Pollokshields is an area in the south side of Glasgow. (For more information on this area, see see Gerald Blaikie’s article, ‘Pollokshields, Glasgow. Origins & History‘, on the ScotCities website). Members of this society were most likely part of the congregation of the Pollokshields Free Church, located on Shields Road. (For more information on this church, see ‘Glasgow — Pollokshields‘ on the Ecclegen website.)

The evidence for this society comes primarily from the magazine that was produced in manuscript by and for the society’s members (see ‘Additional Notes’ below). In the 1880s, the group met for weekly meetings at the church. In starting a magazine for their society, members hoped to improve the skills they had acquired at the meetings. Members aspired to improve not only their rhetorical but also their writing skills. The magazine, it was said by its editors, could be used as a marker of the progress that each contributor had made in his own work.

Date of Existence


Source of Information

1. Pollokshields Free Church Literary Institute, The Essayist. A M.S. Magazine, No. 2, Session 1883-84 (MLSC, G97615);

2. ‘Under the Reading Lamp’, Quiz, April 1885, p. 40 (review of The Essayist) (UGSC, Sp Coll Bh13-y.1-36);

3. (Listed as having a joint debate with the Queen’s Park U. P. Church Young Men’s Institute on 22 November 1886 and on 3 February 1887: ‘Syllabus’, 1886-1887, Queen’s Park U. P. Church Young Men’s Literary Institute (Glasgow City Archives, Mitchell Library, Glasgow, Queen’s Park, St. George’s UP, UF Church, Literary Institute syllabus, 1875-1912, GCA, CH3/1471/45) (Note: the 1886-1887 session is the first year in which joint debates were held between these two societies; there are other joint debates held in subsequent years; see Literary Institute syllabus, 1875-1912 for details)


Glasgow City Archives (GCA)

Mitchell Library Special Collections (MLSC)

University of Glasgow Special Collections (UGSC)

Reference Number

(See ‘Source of Information’)

Additional Notes

See also Queen’s Park, St. George’s UP, UK Church Literary InstituteVictoria Free Church Literary Institute, and Queen’s Park Free Church Literary Society with whom they held joint debates.

From the University of Glasgow Special Collections catalogue on the available issues of Quiz: ‘Library Has   v.1 (Mar. 1881:18) – v.36 (July 1898:7) missing vol. 1 no. 7’ [accessed 31 January 2018].

See also entry for The Essayist on our sister website, Literary Bonds.