Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Helensburgh handcuffs

With the disappointing, but not unexpected, changes to the front of Helensburgh, I seem to find the side and back streets have become more interesting.

Most of the shops I used to like to look at have gone since I was last there, and had lasted so long I almost expected them to stay. But, I’m not that silly, and saw this first on Bute (which I visited more regularly), when I realised my usual walk around the town began to miss the ‘old format’ shops, which had very different arrangements of entrance ways and window compared to later shop. Today, they maximise floor space. In the past, they concentrated more on window displays, and even quite small shops would have long entrance corridors leading from the pavement, flanked by long windows along their sides where shops would display their goods. That’s gone, probably everywhere, unless you trip over a shop that has not been ‘modernised’.

This, however, is not about a shop, it’s about a Police Office, or as we’d say nowadays, a Police Station.

Helensburgh’s original Police Office is now just a historic remain, abandoned and up for redevelopment.

But, there still a fairly impressive stone carving in place above the main entrance. There are other entrances to the side, since the office housed a number of related facilities.

It wasn’t really the large carving that caught my eye at first, but the two cute pairs of handcuffs carved into the detail.

I’m afraid this pic is a little incomplete – I’m doing a lot of switching between dSLR and compact at the moment, and while a dSLR viewfinder actually shows about 90% of the image to be recorded (so there’s a slim border around the edge, with more image than seen), the compact viewfinder shows 100% of the final image – so there’s no ‘safety net’ of extra image around the edge. Fine if your brain remembers, not so fine if you’re not fully alert to which camera you have in your hand.

Excuse the ‘missing’ bits.

Helensburgh Police Office

Helensburgh Police Office

I think this building is dated to 1906, but the record I found was not specific.

The carving has survived well, given its location in a seafront (or side) building, with much detail still to be seen.

The composition of the stone used was well suited to the site, which would be exposed to damp salt air from the sea.

I’ve come across many examples of stonework in Glasgow which have only had (industrial) air/rain to contend with, where some blocks of stone have dissolved and lost all their structure, yet may be located beside other pieces of stone which have survived with almost no evidence of weathering.

This can be seen easily in some of the carvings on Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson’s well-known Free Church in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street, where some have been reduced to featureless blobs, while adjacent examples of the same work, but on different blocks, remain almost complete.

04/05/2019 - Posted by | Civilian, photography | , ,

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