Save Hill House (and others) from ‘fake news’
I don’t work in the media, so have no need to come up with a constant stream of stories to convince the editor to give me a cheque, or to keep me on rather than fire me.
Headlines have recently referred to the proliferation of ‘fake news’ and the problems it causes, which is almost a ‘fake news’ story in itself, as the impression given is that it is new. I don’t think it is, and the real problem is that ethics and honesty are being subverted, and these stories are being created by people who have no concept of truth, just how many clicks (or cheques) they can bank on. They’re quite happy to spread plausible made-up lies as truths, so long as they get ‘paid’ and fly just below the line of prosecution or court by remaining anonymous, or avoiding accountability.
A few days ago I noted a planning application that could see the Old College Bar in Glasgow demolished. Part of the reasoning was apparently a claim by the developer that the building had been inspected and declared unsafe, but checks with Glasgow City Council confirmed that the building was safe, and no such declaration had been made.
Then I read that Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh, designed and built for publisher Walter Blackie, could be sold or leased to help solve problems with running costs and falling visitor number to National Trust for Scotland (NTS) properties. One claim was that it was to be sold for conversion into a hotel.
NTS responded by stating this was all “Untrue”, said that while significant monies were needed for maintenance, plans were underway to both fund and carry out the needed work, and that visitor numbers were NOT falling: “According to figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, 25,340 people visited the Hill House in 2015 – an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous 12 months. ”
There’s more detail in the original story here: ‘Millions needed’ for Hill House repairs – but it won’t be sold
That’s only two examples. Sadly, a dig around would soon find more.
It’s a shame that both the creators of these pieces of fake news, or to be honest, lies, aren’t held to account for them and the damage they can do, and the same goes for the media that happily publishes such nonsense, clearly without any fact-checking or verification.
None of them care, just so long as they can push out something that will attract clicks to their material, true or otherwise, the ad-revenue will roll in.
Meanwhile, places such as Hill House (or the NTS as it tries to look after the them) had to shuffle around, cap in hand, begging for donations and funding from grants and other sources.
It’s a shame that the very features that give building such as this their unique appearance are often the same ones that cause them problems decades later, as Scotland’s weather takes it toll on anything but the most traditional of techniques.
Coastal areas, such as Helensburgh, can be even tougher to cater for, thanks to and even damper environment and salt air. I used to get to Bute regularly, and watched some new flats going up towards Craigmore. I’m guessing the builder was not a coastal building specialist as it was not long before the nice white rendering was running with rusty brown weeping ‘sores’, and the finish was bursting and buckling off the façade as the presumably unprotected steel fittings behind rusted and expanded.
In comparison, Hill House probably weathered better:
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