Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Tollcross Winter Gardens refurbishment 2013

When I dragged myself up the hill towards the Winter Gardens in Tollcross Park a few weeks ago, I was both surprised and disappointed to find it was closed and a state of serious disarray.

Surrounded by fencing and scaffolding, the glasshouse was devoid of plants, and a number of glass panes were missing or damaged.

I’m not usually taken by surprise by such things, there’s usually some sort of mention in the local free papers, or I chance across advance notice of such pending works somewhere in the council’s web site. But this time, I hadn’t noticed anything.

The Winter Garden in Tollcross Park were last refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to rot at best.

However, funding to the value of £1.7 million rescued the glasshouse then, and it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

I have had another hunt around the various council web sites that covers refurbishment to the park features, but other than mentioning the fact that the Winter Gardens are currently closed for refurbishment, there seems to little detail, and no mention of time-scale, so I can’t pass on any likely dates for re-opening.

As you can see from the photograph below, while the glasshouse is not likely to open in the next few days, it would not take many months to complete the work needed, and have this attraction open for summer – which I hope is the plan.

Tollcross Winter Gardens February 2013

I’ve had to dip into geograph for something earlier, as I have a problem getting hands on my own digital pics at the moment, and this can’t wait.

The Visitor Centre was, as I recall, the source of some controversy when it opened, due its tent-like design, but it seems to work, and I think everyone has grown used to it:

The two building are connected through a short connecting passage which opens into the area under the dome.

bigbobski on tripadvisor may be advised to stay anonymous in Glasgow

While checking on the status of the renovation works, my searches came across an entry for Tollcross Park from one “bigbobski”, claiming to be a “50-64 year old male hailing from Buckie”. According to him:

Nice to visit during the day. Has a Public Swimming Pool and Health Centre in one corner. Unfortunately bordered by Tollcross, and other rough areas making it unsafe at night.

Via Plenty for the family – Tollcross Park, Glasgow Traveller Reviews – TripAdvisor

It should be noted that the park officially closes at dusk, so you shouldn’t really be in there at night anyway.

And Tollcross Park isn’t “Unfortunately bordered by Tollcross”… it’s IN Tollcross!

While he might find the area unsafe at night if he lets the locals know who he is, I walk the roads here year round, and apart from the common-sense approach of not going alone into dark areas which one would be wise to employ anywhere in the land, have not even come across any “bother”.

The area used to (and may still) be a favourite of TV documentaries which spread mis-information about the level of violence to suit the programme makers’ pre-conceived ideas based on Glasgow’s past, and I recall discussing the subject in another forum a few years back, where one of our number claimed to have come across a documentary team that got bored while waiting for a gang fight to spontaneously erupt in this very park. After a few hopeless nights, it seems they got fed up, and eventually paid some kids to noise one another up in front of the cameras, so they could go back to London with the footage they wanted.

The only gang fights I’ve seen are on a TV documentaries – but I’m not saying they don’t happen, just not in built-up areas where police and others can attend quickly and deal with them.

While I cannot personally vouch for the veracity of the park story, I can recount a similar tale which I do know is true, from a mile along the road in Shettleston – another “rough area” bigbobski might want to steer clear of now.

A builder friend of mine was trying to land work in an estate agents’ office, to refit and modernise the office. When they could not agree a suitable time-scale to complete the work without disrupting the business, he offered to do the work after hours, after the office closed for the day. This offer was declined, as the owner (who lived in the west end, as did the staff) would not stay in Shettleston, or allow the staff to be in the office after 6 pm… “Due to the danger they faced from the gangs fighting in the streets once the shops shut.”

He probably doesn’t even know the Co-op a few doors along opens until 10 pm every night, and there’s a 24-hour Tesco a few streets away. He and his massive Range-Rover are always off home well before 6 pm.

No problems, and I use them both… in the dark!


February 28, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , ,

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