Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S34

Reading some of the comments made about an application to demolish the few remains of the O2 ABC venue made me go back and reread the announcement that it was actually just an application at this stage, and that the demolition had been approved.

APPLICATION Made To Demolish Iconic Blaze-Hit Glasgow Music Venue

Plans have been submitted to demolish the O2 ABC in Glasgow, BBC Scotland understands.

The music venue was severely damaged when fire broke out in June 2018 at the neighbouring Glasgow School of Art building for a second time.

During the ABC’s 144-year history it has been a diorama theatre, a circus, a dancehall and a cinema.

The O2 ABC, which opened in 1875, has had a long history.

By 1888 it became one of the first buildings in Glasgow to be fitted with electricity and in 1896 was the site of Glasgow’s first public film.

Construction work on the art school began next to the entertainment venue in 1899.

As well has being a cinema venue it has been home to a dance hall, a circus, a pub and restaurant and an ice skating rink.

Plan submitted to demolish Glasgow’s fire-ravaged O2 ABC building

I’d never even heard of the place, other than passed it as a cinema if I was along Sauchiehall Street, but not one I’d ever been in (so, I’m a peasant that haunted the east end).

Despite the history some seem to be touting for the remains, it seems little actually remains from the early days as it was extensively redeveloped over the years…

GLM director David Gibbon, a chartered building surveyor accredited in historic building conservation, told STV News that Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow City Council will first look at the significance of the building before deciding whether it can be demolished.

He said: “It’s such a multilayered building according to the list description that there are lots and lots of different aspects to the significance of it.

“Probably, what you can’t say is that the fabric of the building is all that significant because it was largely rebuilt and then much more recently in the 21st century completely done over on the inside.

“So there’s not a great deal that exists that predates 1929.”

Mr Gibbon stated that the officers will consider who built the building, how important it is architecturally, and whether a better structure will rise from the ashes.

He added that other factors will be taken into consideration, including its past as a dancehall and circus.

He said: “That sort of thing will weigh somewhat in the decision-making process.”

Mr Gibbon stated that there will most likely be a presumption in favour of finding an economic use for the site.

He said: “It is a C-listed building, not an A-listed building or even a B-listed building.

“So it’s of local significance, not everybody in the world has heard of this building.

“And it isn’t a great landmark, and in fact it was only listed in the 21st century so it doesn’t go back very far.

“If that which is significant about the building has largely been lost in the course of the fire, then really there isn’t a great deal of point in trying to create a replica of that.

“If, however, a lot remains of particular value and interest as far as the public is concerned, then that will be weighed in the balance.

“It’s quite a striking building in the streetscape. It might be that the planners would say the interior is of no great significance but the facade continues to be an important feature of the streetscape.”

ABC music venue set to be demolished after art school blaze

I read that analysis as pretty much summarising an application that will be approved, with the provision that the façade is retained.

It would be hard to justify anything that required more cost or effort.

As someone who only visits the area to look, or to shop, I’m stunned by claims such as…

Concert promoter Paul Cardow said the loss of the venue was “a blow to the local community” in an interview after the horrific blaze .

He added: “The sad thing is the street was finally getting back on its feet.

“It was being redeveloped and the art school was almost finished and we would have all the students back in the area.

“The ABC is a massive part of the community and a venue that is hard to replace.”

Glasgow’s iconic ABC demolition plans submitted after Art School blaze

A promoter, and concertgoers, might think that.

And I guess we know what part of the community was responsible for the various comments made against any thoughts of restoring saving the Mackintosh Building almost as soon as articles appeared in the media, and allowed comment to be made after them.

These comments are pretty poor, and I hope strangers to Glasgow don’t take them as typical of the wider community.

Others expressed their fears over the future of one of Glasgow’s busiest streets. Businesses have suffered following two blazes in the space of a year along with the council’s regeneration scheme, which has seen parts of the high street shut off during works over the last year.

Singer Lou Hickey said: “Sauchiehall Street is already dying on its a**! Many business still struggling to recover from the fire. If the O2 ABC goes it will be the final nail in the coffin. We don’t need more student flats, we need art and culture! It’s what our city is famous for.”

“Wonder what hotel will be built there now?” John Campbell Clark deadpanned.

Ann Turner said: “Typical – all money for the place that caused this yet these companies have no help but to go.”

Evelyn McChoul fumed on Facebooked: “So lots of money for the art school again and nothing for this!!! Not impressed!”

Glasgow reacts over plans to demolish iconic O2 ABC after Art School blaze

Reading these comments about business claiming problems there reminds me of once being scolded, and told “Yes. Sure, It’s everybody’s fault but yours!”

Blame the Mackintosh Building fire.

Blame the works in Sauchiehall Street, But (aren’t they supposed to be making the street more attractive?)

If I was as ‘nice’ as some of the folk who made their views on the Mackintosh Building crystal clear, I’d probably be asking who the ‘Delusional 4,000+’ were, and what was wrong with them.

But, of course, I won’t.

What I would say is that people (not looking at any one side of this story now) really have to grow up, and STOP concentrating on wider issues as if they were single issue subjects, where only ONE view is the correct or acceptable approach.

As I’ve already noted above, I’d never even heard of this O2 venue before, don’t care about it, BUT… I do want the remains of the structure left behind saved, however, I’d qualify that by adding if possible, and economic.

Lesley Mitchell, who grew up in Airdrie, launched a petition which already has more than 4,000 signatures.

The petition, to Glasgow City Council and the owners of the O2 ABC, states that “The building appears to be structurally sound. Please consider saving the building and turning it back into an excellent music venue. We don’t want to see more student flats!”

Speaking to Glasgow Live, Lesley explained why she started the petition.

She said: “I heard on the radio that the plans had been submitted to demolish the building and I was very sad to hear that.

“I checked to see if anyone had already started a petition and didn’t find one, and so decided to start my own.

“I believe the Council need to know that the building means so much to so many people in its incarnation as a music venue, but also as a cinema to those of us growing up in the ’80s and ’90s and before that as a dance hall.”

‘It’s as important to Glaswegians as the Art School’ O2 ABC petition passes 4,000


The petition is being pushed along.

Petition to save 02 ABC set to pass 10,000 today as Glaswegians rally against demolition


10/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

DUH! Of course Glasgow is best if you are under 26

Some headlines make my day, and some even make me laugh, like this one…

Glasgow is the best city to live in Scotland if you’re under 26

Apparently a BBC survey and some research was carried out to find out good places to live IF you are young…

Variables considered include access to mental health care, average rent prices and levels of unemployment.

The list ranks 378 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland from highest to lowest. Comparative data for Northern Ireland wasn’t available.

Know Your Place lets you check how your local area performs in 11 different categories.

The data, which was selected by BBC News, also looks at the number of bars, pubs, clubs and music events in each local authority, as well as access to sports facilities and 4G.

The project also carried out a poll of more than 1,000 young people to help ensure that the measures used are important to them.

A second interactive tool lets you choose which categories are more important to you and shows three areas which perform well in those categories.

Where to live if you’re young: Local areas ranked for under-26s

What this survey missed!

Those of us (still) alive in Glasgow, and who are older than 26, obviously know this survey completely failed to state the real reason for Glasgow being the best city for under 26s to live in.


I’ve lost track of all the media stories that tell the world how Glasgow (and my east end of course) usually tops not tables of the BEST places to live, but to DIE, as they seem to dance with glee every time they can publish yet another article that shows Glasgow (and Scotland) usually tops tables for poverty, disease, early death, drinking etc etc etc etc…

I could waste my time digging out these more usual ‘winning’ tales, but I’ll just mention the last one – Shocking news! Glasgow is only the SECOND unhealthiest city in the UK

Over the years, I’ve mentioned quite a few similar articles in the blog, and the joy it seems to bring to some sources to run these stories with a nice big headline, just to make sure nobody missed it.

I think this is probably how most 26-year-olds see their cats, on the morning they turn 27 🙂

Hospital Cats

“Don’t worry hoomin, just go back to sleep – we got this”

10/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Interesting temperature stats

I’m just dropping this in here as I noticed I don’t have a max/min/ave graph option on my weather data, just a ‘live’ feature that shows it up to the current day. I’m too lazy to pull the old data and make it later.

While we’ve had some cold days (or to be more accurate, nights), since the Storm Erik hit a few days ago we’ve seen a VERY noticeable rise in temperatures, together with a fair amount of rain.

I’ve had to shed extra clothes and other efforts at staying warm, and have even had trouble sleeping, as I just get too warm during the night. I even had a very short run one night, and had to give up before I melted!

I could have been imagining this, or been ill (and I was, just to confuse things), but a look at the live max/min/ave to date shows the rise is rapid and real.

I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it doesn’t suddenly reverse, and have already started trying to catch up with stuff put in abeyance at the end of November, when it got too cold to play.

Usually, I don’t really start pulling out jobs to restart them until we’re well into March, and some years we’ve not seen the end of ambient temps little above zero last until April. I’ve still got a Christmas tree up! But they went up late too, as I wasn’t feeling Christmassy at the tight time.

It actually feels ‘odd’ being able to this so early in February.

Be interesting to see if this needs to be revisited later, either to show the trend continued, or if winter comes back and gives us one of its ‘Kicks in the Face’, not an unusual event.

Feb Ave Temp

Feb Ave Temp

10/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

Odd colour effects

Another old pic (really two old pics) I didn’t use when I took them, as the result was not as expected.

I don’t come across this problem very often, but it is irritating as it doesn’t show up to the naked eye, but becomes very obvious when I get home and review pics collected during a wander.

There aren’t many old signs that had changing colour effects, so I think this is confined to newer LED products which have allowed this feature to be installed at reasonable cost. Doing the same with incandescent lamps and suitable control gear would be prohibitive for most ordinary buyers.

While the colours seen by eye are vivid, when photographed, or videoed, the response of camera sensors is quite different to that of the eye, and not helped by the way LEDs produce their colours are specific wavelengths, or by secondary emission, converting intense blue light, or ultraviolet to others, or even white, by existing phosphors which absorb the high energy light from the LED, and re-emit it at a different, lower, wavelength. As no process is ever 100% efficient, the new colour will contain a component of the source colour.

I’ve tried taking pics and video of scenes where there are intense colours dominating the view, and while these can be captured with reasonable accuracy, I’ve come to learn not to depend on a successful capture, even if my eyes tell me the colours are strong and vivid.

Some that look as if they should look good turn out to be terrible when I review them, and find that what appeared to highly coloured views deliver very poor colours.

This was an early find from some time ago, actually the first colour-changing sign I ever saw of this type. Spotted from a distance one night, I had to go for a closer look,

I collected not only pics, but video from two different cameras – both videos barely saw any colour despite a constantly cycling spectrum in the sign, and were useless.

Still finding the same variation, success one day, failure the next, and haven’t managed to find a ‘rule’.

Samantha's Sign

Samantha’s Sign

10/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Long overdue – Plans to turn the Broomielaw into a ‘River Park’

Apolitical as I am (have always been, and always will be), as someone who was around in the 1980s (I think is roughly the right period), I grew up in a time when ‘Glasgow City Council’ was almost a dirty word. The then council appeared to be a law unto itself, didn’t seem to have much respect from the citizens of Glasgow, and it seemed that everybody and their dug knew a councillor that was on the fiddle and running an undeclared building company that they were using to cream off council money through overpriced contract they awarded themselves. And that usually followed an unexplained fire which removed historic building that were blocking new developments on the land they occupied.

I’ve no idea how true any of that was, but the tales of cronyism and cliques seemed to be pervasive, and true or not, did a lot of damage.

It was actually so bad (to me at least) that, like Conspiracy Theories today, I just gave up paying any attention to them, such was the degree of their silliness when analysed.

I have to mention that as I find that in recent years I can’t fault Glasgow City Council on the majority of decisions and plans they’ve put in place and carried out in recent years.

That’s NOT to say I think EVERYTHING it has done is right, or above reproach or criticism – rather it’s the case that the ‘naysayers’ case against the council and councillors is no longer as easily made as it was in the past, and it’s maybe time to stop beating on the council, and get behind it.

Sadly, that’s never going to happen because – Politics!

No matter what the council does, if it’s not the right colour for some, they’ll NEVER support it, even it happens to be doing things they demand. Politics is a sad business.

So, why did I start with a ramble?

I recently noticed that the Broomielaw was largely unrecognisable to me, as I’d been unable to get back to Glasgow for some years. In that time, many of the buildings that had been there for years had disappeared, leaving much open ground in some parts, or been replaces by very new and very modern shiny office blocks (I think).

Regardless of what they are, the main point is that the Broomielaw, to somebody returning there after some years, is anonymous, dead, and apart from the Clyde Walkway, has little to attract people there, which seems not only wrong, but a bit of a shame. The place even used to have shops, all disappeared years ago.

Cycling through that area is almost like cycling through a desert at the moment. It’s busy in summer, but with not reason to go there other than a nice view of the river, people just don’t seem to go there. Even the road is so quiet it’s quicker to zoom along it than use the cycle path! (Don’t tell the grumpy cycling activists that though – they think the road is gridlocked, polluted, and dangerous).

That’s why I’m fairy stunned to see plans being proposed to turn that very area into a ‘River Park’ revitalise it, and attract people to it. I thought somebody should ‘do something’ there, and almost as soon as I think that, a plan appears! Is there some spooky mind reading going on?

Glasgow City Council are considering plans to change the face of the Clyde in a major transformation.

Glasgow could soon have a ‘River Park’ on the Clyde as council sets out to transform Broomielaw

There are pics illustrating the idea here…

Plans to turn the Broomielaw into a ‘River Park’ could change the face of the Clyde

Broomielaw River Park Proposal

Broomielaw River Park Proposal

In the past, I’d probably have shaken my head at this.


Today, I think for myself, and no longer let politically motivated naysayers even get a look in.

I look at things that have been achieved in Glasgow (even those I don’t like and wouldn’t support) by the council, don’t claim they are ALL perfect, but see more successes than failures, and certainly better than we had in the 1980s (Glasgow Garden Festival excluded of course).

The city centre needs to be more people friendly at the east, something that is being done with an initiative to develop the High Street area.

Now this provides a matching incentive at the west end of the city centre (as distinct from the ‘west end’), and should tie in with things like development around Anderston, and the Avenues project, together with The Underline.

10/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment


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