Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

One day, I’ll get into this church

Strange as it may seem, I’ve never managed to get inside Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson’s famous Glasgow City Free Church in St Vincent Street.

While I’ve passed it more times than I’d care to admit to, the doors always seem to be firmly closed and locked.

This came to mind last week, as I pass the place on an almost daily basis at the moment, and see it from a bus – I had to look twice, as the door was open!

Only for an hour or two at lunchtime, with a sandwich board inviting people to come in.

The only problem was that the sign didn’t make it clear why, it just invited people to come in, and I really don’t fancy making a return trip (assuming I have found a regular lunchtime invitation – and it;s intent is to recruit member to the Free Church. That’s not happening.

I did try to get in some years ago, when the ‘Doors Open Days’ were getting started.

I might even have made it once, but am not sure if I really did, and am thinking of pics and videos I’ve seen.

Even though it was early on in this event, Thomson’s church was already a major draw for visitors, and no matter when I went, the queue was always backed out into the street.

I used to try to get round as many ‘Open’ doors as  could in those days, and couldn’t afford the time to queue up for just one.

I’d also been to a few similar venues, where the queue and crowd was huge – frankly, these were all a waste of time, with the bodies packed in like sardines, it wasn’t really possible to look at the detail, or study anything.

Maybe one day, but today, the place was lit nicely by the Sun, and at least a decent pic was to be had, with the usual shaded areas visible.

I should go collect some details, as these can be stunning reveals of Thomson’s style.

Sadly, while some remain reasonably crisp (given their age), others were made of a sandstone which has not aged gracefully, and have weathered badly, almost lost as they’ve dissolved over the years.

Thomson Free Church

Thomson Free Church

Looks like it was a ‘church’ day, as I found this later at Glasgow City Free Church, Wat’s on:

23/04/2019 (12:00 to 14:00)
Church Open (including Word@1)


21/04/2019 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S39

Not really a Mackintosh Building item as such, but more of a spin-off, or just some observations

While the fire at the Mackintosh Building seems to have generated little more than a witch-hunt for someone to blame (and either burn at the stake, or maybe just fire) and given some really really hostile Glaswegians the opportunity to demand the site be razed and reused for something ‘useful’ which, does not need any public money, the Notre Dame fire of last week seems to have brought a more sympathetic response.

There was an almost immediate response which had promises of rebuild and restoration, with no calls for blame apparent, nor any demands that no money e wasted on restoring an old ‘pile of junk.

Also, unlike Glasgow’s fire, there was consideration of arson, which I don’t recall seeing anyone suggest may have been the reason for the blaze.


I found that unusual in a place once known historically as ‘Tinderbox City’ – but to this day, I can’t recall seeing even consideration that arson or deliberate fire-raising was behind the fire.

However, it seems that Notre Dame is not the only such building to have gone up in flames recently, and due consideration to arson HAS been raised in that respect.

Vandals and arsonists have targeted French churches in a wave of attacks that has lasted nearly two months.

More than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged.

St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, after Notre Dame Cathedral, had the large wooden door on its southern transept set ablaze March 17.

Investigators confirmed March 18 that the fire was started deliberately, according to the website of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, an independent organization founded with the help of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.

Vandals, arsonists target French Catholic churches

Then again, Notre Dame was also being renovated.

Nervous Renovation Ticking

21/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clutha inquiry S01

I’m changing this to a weekly summary option, rather than making a post when the media notices anything, as my interest in helicopters means I keep watching it, but I don’t really want to post about some of the stuff raised by the legal representatives, as some of it is more like ‘Points Scoring’ than relevant material (and is getting a little irritating as this is supposedly a solemn inquiry).

So, I’ll just tend to note progress.

Clutha Inquiry: ‘No evidence’ of helicopter fuel contamination

Clutha FAI: No smell of fuel at Glasgow crash scene, inquiry told

No smell of fuel at Clutha crash scene, inquiry told

Clutha Tributes

Clutha Tributes

21/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Still sunny and quiet in Kelvingrove Park

After the problems of the past few days, it was nice to be at the other end of Kelvingrove Park and see normal people just enjoying the nice weather.

This alternative view still show the ‘Big bin’, and just the one mobile CCTV unit.

I managed this with no time to spare, and was puzzled when I lowered the camera and there was no mobile unit to be seen!

It must have started moving as I pressed the shutter, and had almost left the place by the time I spotted it at the end of the road.

Click for bigger.

Kelvingrove Park Sunny Alternate

Kelvingrove Park Sunny Alternate

21/04/2019 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

University of Glasgow Department of Virology

Still to be found (for the moment at least) in Church Street, just off Dumbarton Road, this University Of Glasgow Faculty Building was the Department of Virology.

I hadn’t really noticed it before, being preoccupied with the adjacent multi-storey building, the Pontecorvo Building, Basil Spence and Partners in association with Peter Glover, 1961-1962, which housed the Institute of Genetics, or more interestingly for me, a Paternoster. That item featured in an episode of ‘Taggart’.

As can be seen, these building are now abandoned, and you will also see a demolition contractor’s van parked nearby.

The entire area behind this building (mostly the old Western Infirmary) has already been razed, and cleared for new development.

I assume the two buildings mentioned here will suffer the same fate soon.

Canmore says:

In June 1957 Basil Spence and Partners were commissioned to design the Institute of Virology for the University of Glasgow. The building, situated on Church Street adjacent to the Western Infirmary, was designed during 1958 and the construction was completed by 1962. The new building was to house the first Virology department in the UK, and contained laboratories, research rooms, staff rooms and a library. The four-storey concrete structure is clad in glass mosaic panels and green slate slabs.

In 1958 the practice was also commissioned to design the Institute of Genetics on an adjacent site, but construction work did not begin until 1962. The resulting building, completed in 1966, was a seven-storey structure built with reinforced concrete and clad in glass mosaic like the Institute of Virology.

I also read that the taller building was supposed to be twelve storeys, but Prof Pontecorvo objected to sharing space with other departments, and a compromise was eventually reached, seven storeys still in view, for the moment.

The Department of Virology building’s view is blocked by the narrowness of the street, and it’s usual to take pics from either size, looking along Church Street.

In this case, I was curious to see how my photo-stitching software would handle a set of images taken while standing across the road from this building

It also managed to catch a fair part of the Pontecorvo Building, on the right, which is interesting as it shows that the north face of this building has quite a few windows. If you look at the other side, it looks as if it has very few.

No idea if there was a reason for this.

Click for bigger.

Glasgow University Department of Virology

Glasgow University Department of Virology

This is the more usual view.

University of Glasgow Department of Virology and Pontecorvo

University of Glasgow Department of Virology and Pontecorvo

I even managed a pic from the other side, as noted, few windows.

I’m including this since earlier pics I thought were in here have disappeared.

Argyle Street Pontecorvo

Argyle Street Pontecorvo

As you can see, the older, adjacent historic building (Anderson College, B listed) is staying.

A modern one, with concrete and rebar, is already going.

Dumbarton Road Demolition

Dumbarton Road Demolition

In the few days since the above pic was taken, this concrete lump has been wrapped in scaffolding and a big plastic bag, to keep the dust down while it is pulverised.

On reflection, I think I should have used this wider pic above, instead of the crop, so…

Pontercorvo context

Pontercorvo context

21/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Correction/update to earlier Kelvingrove Park bin post, quieter Glasgow Green, and a barbecue

Having made a post about the ‘Big bins’ arriving in Kelvingrove Park this year than last year, and noted that there were no mobile CCTV camera units with them…

Of course, I had to be proved wrong!

When I went back a few hours later, not only had a mobile CCTV camera unit arrived – it had brought a friend to keep it company.

Click for bigger.

Kelvingrove Park CCTV twins at big bin

Kelvingrove Park CCTV twins at big bin

A little closer.

Kelvingrove Park CCTV

Kelvingrove Park CCTV

It’s sad to say that these are actually necessary, and not for the litter/rubbish, as was the case last year.

The police are already in the park enforcing Glasgow’s ban on alcohol consumption in a public place such as this (there are pics of them pouring away bottle taken from ‘teens’ – an option avoiding prosecution), but sad to say, this doesn’t prevent mindless violence which seems to have erupted with the sudden jump in temperature (I’m not going to start listing this stuff again, but there were TWO – actually more if I look just off roads I walk – violent crimes near me in the past day), as these new items relating to this park yesterday show…

Attempted murder probe launched after teenager chased through Glasgow park and attacked

Kelvingrove Park appeal: teenager scarred for life after fight

Boy ‘permanently scarred’ in Kelvingrove Park attack in Glasgow

There’s a big police presence around Glasgow

Although I didn’t note it, Glasgow Green (is it the East end’s equivalent of the West end’s Kelvingrove Park) is busy now, and I passed a number of motorcycle police stationed on the exits last week, partnered by SUVs inside the Green.

As far as I know, apart from the People’s Palace reopening, there wasn’t anything special happening. If there was, I didn’t see any evidence, but it was still off-putting to be wandering through so many police.

This weekend seems to see the return of outdoor events on Glasgow Green, and there were more foot patrols in evidence, plus cars, but no motorbikes.

I don’t know what this weekend’s event was, but I’ll class it as ‘Disgusting’.

I hate rap at the best of times, but whoever was ‘performing’ on the Green was below pathetic, and just shouting obscenities and swearing. At least that was all I heard when the noise he was making unfortunately drifted in my direction.

Maybe that’s why the Green was looking quiet, even thought there was something happening.

This was the middle of the afternoon – when I passed on my way home in the evening (around 19:30) the place was deserted.

Click for bigger.

Glasgow Green Disgusting Music Event

Glasgow Green Disgusting Music Event

It’s OK to have a barbecue in Glasgow

WHY you might want to is another matter.

Apart from the food usually being some sort of health hazard (I usually take one look at the near raw interior, under the burnt black exterior, and discreetly ‘lose’ it), I don’t see the fin in being blinded and having runny eyes for about half an hour as these thing smoulder away.

But, if you like being blinded and poisoned, it seems you’re free to indulge yourself in Glasgow’s parks.

Can you legally have a barbecue in one of Glasgow’s public parks?

No mention in there about the legality of dog meat.

Cat Dog Barbecue

Cat Dog Barbecue

21/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Surveillance | , , | Leave a comment


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