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Gaelic: Poll Mac Dè
Grid reference: NS595625
Location: 55°50’6"N, 4°14’38"W
Post town: Glasgow
Postcode: G42
Dialling code: 0141
Local Government
Council: Glasgow
Glasgow Central

Polmadie is a district of Glasgow, in a part of the parish of Govan in Renfrewshire. Polmadie is situated south of the River Clyde, and adjacent to the Gorbals.

The most prominent landmark within Polmadie is the twin chimneys of a now disused waste incinerator plant operated by Glasgow City Council.

Also located in the area is a large railway maintenance depot, which is the most northerly train stabling and maintenance area on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), since the line runs through Polmadie on its final approach into Glasgow Central railway station.

The area was also home to BOC's industrial gases filling plant and main Scottish base, until this moved to a more modern facility in early 2007 to Cambuslang just outside Glasgow, in anticipation of the completion of the M74 Southern link and associated redevelopment of the surrounding area.

The area is served directly by the M74 motorway, following its extension into the city centre which opened in June 2011.



The Glasgow firm of Alley & McLellan was a significant producer of smaller commercial vessels as well as the world's leading manufacturer of steam lorries (later Sentinel Waggon Works of Shrewsbury).[1]

The location of the Alley & McLellan construction yard in Polmadie might appear perverse, as the yard had been built a considerable distance to the south of the river,[2] with the expansive final approach into Glasgow Central Station imposing just one of many unbreachable barriers between it and the Clyde. However, the company specialised in supporting the far reaches of the British Empire[3] by constructing vessels that were dismantled into kit form once they had been completed. The resulting set of parts was frequently enormous and a logistical nightmare to transport; re-assembly also depended heavily upon the availability of skilled hands at the customer’s premises. However, as in the case of the SS Chauncy Maples, this was frequently the only viable option when the ultimate destination was very far inland, away from any semblance of modern communications.

Polmadie waste facility

Polmadie is the home of Glasgow's only materials recovery facility.[4] The MRF is based in the building of an old incinerator.


Origin and meaning of the name Polmadie

Polmadie is derived from the Scottish Gaelic Poll Mac Dè. The bulk of the place-names of the neighbourhoods of Glasgow were either coined by Gaelic-speakers or adapted to Gaelic from Cumbric. Polmadie is an early Gaelic name, containing the Gaelic "poll" (pool), but which usually means burn or stream in areas where Gaelic replaced Cumbric. From a late-12th-century form, Polmacde, it is clear that the middle element is Gaelic mac (of (the) sons). The third element could be either the personal name Daigh, or the Gaelic Dè (of God), referring to an early religious establishment beside the burn. A remarkable feature of this place-name is how the original stress-pattern has survived, even centuries after its meaning ceased to be understood by those using it locally. It is still pronounced "pawmaDEE" (with a half stress on "paw" and full stress on "dee"), exactly as it would have been stressed in Gaelic.[5]



  1. Hughes, William Jesse & Thomas, Joseph Llewelyn (1973) A History of Alley & Maclellan And The Sentinel Waggon Works: 1875-1930. Newton Abbot: David & Charles
  2. Millar, W. J. (1888) The Clyde, From Its Source to The Sea, Blackie & Son [1]
  3. Marshall, P. J. (2001)The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press
  4. Polmadie MRF
  5. http://www.theglasgowstory.com/story.php?id=TGSAG