Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Just walk along the road to visit Poland in Scotland

The connection between Scotland and Poland can become fascinating when you start to dig into it.

I should actually know more (a lot more) than I do, and only learned recently that I had the murderous Stalin to thank for my ignorance. But that’s another story, and one that will never be told now.

During World War II, many Polish troops ended up in Scotland, making up the numbers of men who had been conscripted into the armed services, and the many pilots inside Spitfires were actually Polish, if they had been lucky enough to get away from Poland as the Nazis invaded and wiped out any opposition.

Today, the east end of Glasgow seems to be full of young Poles, and I really regret that I didn’t get the opportunity to learn Polish (and German) as I grew up, as it would be fun to be fluent in the language now, as the new Poles chat away quite freely, assuming that the locals cannot understand a word. Reminds me of the holidays I used to spend down in North Wales, where the natives could switch from English to Welsh and back mid-sentence without missing a beat. I sometimes wondered if they even realised if they were doing it.

This all came to mind when I was wandering around the industrial estate near Cambuslang, towards Clydesmill.

It’s ages since I was last along that way, having given it up as a boring walk after they demolished the last part of the gas-powered generating station that  was left after they demolished the main power station many years ago.

I forget who operated the food factory on the estate, although I recalled some fuss in the media when it changed hands, probably with the usual whining about threatened closure, changes of conditions, and redundancies – and would not have been in the least surprised to see the site razed, had the new owners just got fed up, closed the doors, and gone away to set up somewhere they could get peace.

But there was still a factory there, although I’d never heard of the owners, Vion.

But the really interesting thing was my sudden inability to read and understand a number of signs placed around the factory.

Guess I know where quite a lot of the folk I listen to in the local shops are working, as the signs are in Polish, and some of them are only in Polish, with no English option.

Vion Cambuslang Polish sign

Vion Cambuslang Polish sign

Closer look:

Polish only sign

Polish only sign

This one, even I can manage, thanks to the English bit:

Bilingual Polish sign

Bilingual Polish sign

I might dig out some pics I took while wandering around Parkhead a while ago. They were just chance catches, as I was really just out doing some camera tests (digital cameras may be auto-everything, but I’m glad to say I’ve discovered that this only works some of the time, and you can still do better yourself), but when I got home and looked closer, I noticed that most of the shops I had photographed were actually Polish. There was a mix of food shops, hairstylists, PC repair, and (although this one is almost at Glasgow Cross) and an optician.

Interesting to note also that the local Tesco now sports a Polish food section too. Clearly, they noticed that shops like Lidl always had non-standard offerings as alternatives to the usual big name products.

Hope I didn’t just delete those pics, since they were testers rather than keepers.


Thanks to someone (who didn’t provide any details, or even the date of the pic) we can see that the sign I captioned “Polish only sign” on the factory gate was once partnered with an English version, now apparently lost, as is another which was addressed towards “All Contractors”, but I can’t make it out, as even the original is too blurry to read:

Complete set of gate signs

Complete set of gate signs


April 23, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , ,

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