Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The bird-brained inspectors of Glasgow City Council

Funny how the gist of a post can change while you are typing.

I was originally just going to start off with something light-hearted along the lines of “How many Glasgow City Council lighting engineers does it take to change a light bulb?”.

Then the arrival of a post-works inspector scuppered that idea almost before I had open the new post.

Things had started out fairly seriously this morning, when I notice a council vehicle with a platform lift backing up towards a street light that had died a few weeks ago. Usually they are pretty quick around here, and dead lamps are replaced within a few days, but this one seemed to have managed to evade the lighting department’s attention for some time.

As the driver got out and collected his bits, then jumped into the bucket, I couldn’t help but think of some of the old pics I have in my Glasgow archive showing the same job being carried out in the days of black & white photography. I won’t even try to guess their actual date, it’s not marked, but the existence of early street lighting and the use of such vehicles (probably borrowed from the tram works) give a clue as their age.

In these scenes, it seems to take the attendance of two platform vehicles and an army of men to change a light bulb.

One lot seem to stand by the second platform, presumably in case the first breaks down while the men are in the air, and have to be rescued.

It seems to take two or three men to travel up to the light and actually change the lamp, while another one operates the lift (which looks mechanical as opposed to the hydraulic versions we have today) as the controls are on the truck bed, rather than the bucket. Another looks bored and smokes a cigarette. He could be the driver, unions of the day would have ensured he only drove, and did not “steal” another man’s job. But then again, he might have been the highest paid member of the team – The Supervisor.

How things have changed, with one man carrying out the whole job on his own, without a supervisor, or even an obligatory mate to watch him “Work at Height” – something one would have expected some little council official Jobsworth lickspittle to have mandated as they quoted some non-existent Health and Safety rule which they claimed required a second employee to be in attendance while the other was more than an inch (sorry, centimetre) off the ground.

But the best was yet to come.

As I grabbed some pics to go with this story, the Works Inspector arrived.

He flew in and perched atop the lamppost, and wasted no time as he carried out a close inspection of the work, marked it complete with some white paint or similar he appeared to produce from out of nowhere (don’t ask, just don’t) once he was satisfied, then flew off to his next job.

Light pigeon

Nothing gets past me!

Left me reflecting on how long it is since I last actually saw this being done. Although I notice our street lights failing, I seldom see the replacement being fitted nowadays.

And this will become an ever rarer sight in future, as Scotland is gearing up to replace its street lighting with energy saving LEDs, which have much longer lives than the various sodium types current in general use. The change will also end the eerie yellow light we also become accustomed to over the years, as LEDs are tailored to produce a more natural light, closer to white or daylight as seen by our eyes. But the biggest advantage will probably the vast reduction LED street lighting bring to light pollution, as the fitting throw all their light down on the road, with little being lost to the side, or worse, upwards into the night sky.

Leaked spy pics of inspectors

In the canteen:

Pigeon lunch

Lunch break in the council’s staff canteen

In the crèche (please note that the image has been censored in accordance with current hysteria, to protect the identities of the children):

Pigeon creche

Council staff crèche

And finally, the inspectors get their daily pep talk from the council leader, before embarking on another busy day:

Pigeon briefing

Council staff briefing


June 25, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , ,

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