Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Finally? GOOD news about Tollcross Winter Garden

It’s (almost) hard to believe I’ve been writing miserable for almost six years now, after discovering that Tollcross Winter Garden (glasshouse) had been closed after suffering storm damage back in 2011.

I used to make the occasional diversion through Tollcross Park so I could wander around the glasshouse, after finding it had been restored back in the period 1999/2000, having lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to rot at best. However, funding to the value of £1.7 million rescued the glasshouse then, when it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

One of my changes of route/circumstance meant I didn’t find out about the 2011 damage and closure until January of 2013, when I came across the shocking sight of the derelict, and posted…

Tollcross Winter Gardens refurbishment 2013

Tollcross Winter Gardens Derelict

Tollcross Winter Gardens Derelict (January 2019)

Followed by…

Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games shame – Tollcross Winter Gardens wrecked in 2013

And then fairly regular updates, about nothing happening.

Little did I know then, six years ago, that articles which were then reporting that the Winter Garden was merely ‘Closed for Refurbishment’ were complete fantasy, and the place had been abandoned – despite the millions being squandered on attractions for the dopey 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and being poured into the swimming pool in the adjacent Tollcross Sports Centre.

Things are, at last, looking up as official at Glasgow City Council are proposing funding of £1million to restore the derelict structure. The money, if approved would come from a £3million pot which Glasgow is to receive from a Scottish Government scheme aimed at helping town centres.

The adjacent visitor centre (referred to as a Millennium Building) is scheduled for demolition to make way for a new early years centre, as a report by officials states: “This creates an opportunity to bring the [winter gardens] structure back into active re-use as part of the wider project.”

Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre Broken Glass

Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre

I’m not sure what life that building was intended to have, but I never expected it to last, given the peculiar tent-like roof it was burdened with, which I’m pretty sure would have a high maintenance cost had it remained.

Granted it has obviously not been maintained (at a guess, I’d think it would have to be completely renewed at set intervals, IF it had been remained in service), but visits have shown that it let in lots of water, and the interior was clearly flooded and water damaged. One of my past posts showed pics of the interior, taken through the windows.


Tollcross Winter Garden Visitor Centre Wood Shuttering

Tollcross Winter Garden Visitor Centre Wood Shuttering

A statement about the proposal concluded with:

“The restoration of this building will also link into several other approved council strategies including the Property and Land Strategy in terms of the co-location options that a refurbished glasshouse structure could offer; the community engagement and management options that may be explored including engagement with Friends of Tollcross Park; and the city-wide analysis of the glasshouse structures that form part of the current feasibility report on the People’s Palace Winter Gardens.”

“Additionally, the principles and commitments in the recently approved Council Heritage Assets Plan could also be delivered in relation to this particular structure.

“The ongoing review of Neighbourhoods and Sustainability Depot provision may also be influenced by the restoration of this heritage structure and the services provided from it.”

TOLLCROSS Winter Gardens Set To Be Saved Under £1Million Council Plan

This touches on another story we have been following, that of the Winter Garden attached to the People’s Palace, which was inspection revealed to be showing the true extent of its century plus of life, and prompted a much wider review  of remaining glasshouses across the city.

I’m sure each case will be different, but the effect of a century of Scottish weather on cast iron structures (I’m assuming most, if not all, have such frames, of varying quality depending on the composition of the metal, which were cast in Glasgow’s foundries), and have aged differently depending on their location.

I’m not sure of how far the Tollcross glasshouse has decayed in recent years. I’ve taken pics that record recent collapses of upper parts of the glazed roof, but without looking closer can’t say if this is due to serious failure of the cast sections, or just rot in the glazing that sits over those parts.

I’m sure there are many out there who will embrace a good session of ‘council bashing’, but we really need to ignore such politically motivated wasters who merely wish to further their own selfish hate campaigns, and support whatever positive schemes can be created to look after our historic structures.

Back in Tollcross, the lovely, sodden, wet, rainy weather of the past few weeks means I haven’t been through the park for a few weeks.

Looking at reGlasgow’s drone pic shows that after languishing behind wimpy temporary perimeter fencing for eight years, the site has gained proper perimeter fencing during those weeks of my absence, set into the ground, and not able to be kicked or knocked over.

Tollcross Winter Garden Fixed Perimeter Fence Pic Credit reGlasgow

Tollcross Winter Garden Fixed Perimeter Fence Pic Credit reGlasgow


Local media spotted the planning story too, and summarised the past years.

The adjacent ‘Millennium Building’ is scheduled for demolition to make way for the construction of a new Early Years facility as part of the council’s response to the provision of 1,140 hours of statutory childcare.

And council chiefs say this creates an opportunity to bring the glasshouse back into active re-use, as part of this wider project.

As reported by Glasgow Live, The Tollcross Park greenhouse was shut after being damaged during the storms of December 2010 and January 2011 and has been closed ever since. It is presently on the register of buildings at risk in Scotland.

A decade earlier it underwent a £1.9million refurbishment, funded by the city council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland.

Glaswegians were up in arms at the idea the historic spot would never be opened again, with more than 100 turning out for a protest at City Chambers in June to demand the Gardens be saved.

Campaigners were opposed to the private nature of council meetings on its future, fearing that plans would put “profit before people.”

They also wanted to ensure the building would be reopened to operate the way it always did, rather than in a “repurposed or reimagined” way.

A council spokesman said: “The proposal to invest £1m in Tollcross Winter Gardens has the aim of the bringing the structure back into use as part of a wider project.

“Plans are already in plan to demolish the neighbouring Millenium Building with the intention of creating a new children’s nursery in its place.

“If approved, the proposed refurbishment of the glass house will assist the broader work to boost and promote the wider the Tollcross area.”

It’s hoped the project will build the profile of Tollcross town centre as a visitor destination, linking the historic built form of the area and the international class swimming pool, to the new nursery establishment, and enable the re-activation of the park.

Tollcross Winter Gardens set to be saved if council gives green light to funding boost

I’m not sure if the apparent hostility (by the vociferous ones at least) is altogether wise.

One of the problems with things such as glasshouses is their obvious fragility, and attractiveness to vandals.

Building and structures change over the years, as does their occupation and use.

I would have thought that a future, even with change, would be better than no future (remember, council money does not appear from a ‘Magic Pot’ but is raised via taxes), and utilising the building in a way which brings people and the community to it has to be better than keeping a decaying relic which few will visit.

26/08/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Didn’t take long – The Palaceum is… staying!

I noted an application to demolish one of nearby boozers recently – Is the Palaceum Bar going to join my demolition trail?

While we don’t know if the developer concerned will just go away now, or launch an appeal (so many of them do nowadays), for the moment at least, we will be looking at The Palaceum for a little longer.

Looking at the notes which came with the planning refusal, I seem to be reading quite a lot of these where the developer has stepped over the line and made some fairly over-ambitious applications, often containing plans for building considerably larger, or of materials and styles which are obviously out of keeping with the existing surrounding, and therefore unlikely to be approved.

This case also shows a newer requirement which some developers have clearly failed to catch on to, where the provision of adequate transport management has not been considered, in this case car parking and provision for bicycles.

It even seems to have failed regarding the provision of communal/open space or garden areas – even I have noticed this become a more important in recent years. But not, it seems, developers who are supposedly being paid to plan for such things (maybe they want paid twice – once when they fail, and then again when they ‘fix’ their plan).

A report by planners stated: “The design of the proposed building appears to have been developed to deliver a specific number of flats for the applicant. There has been no justification in terms of place-making for the developer to seek a four-storey flatted development.

“The built form proposed would be a very prominent feature on the street when compared to the existing townscape which includes two-storey housing and three-storey flats and cannot be supported in layout, scale and massing or design terms.”

Planning permission was refused for various reasons. Officials felt the proposals would lead to overdevelopment of the site and that there would not be enough communal garden and open space.

They added that there was not enough car and cycle parking and that there was an overuse of parking to the front of the building to the detriment of visual amenity.

REFUSAL For Flats At Shettleston Bar Site

Be interesting to see if they have a ‘second bite’ at this site.



I should get some better pics in the light, this was an evening grab.

Wouldn’t want to find it had all been demolished while I wasn’t’t looking!

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment


Cat vs Dog

Cat vs Dog

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

There goes West Street and Clyde Place

Some slightly odd, or quirky, routes exist through Glasgow, presumably from the efforts to produce a one-way system.

Those efforts almost work, but as a regular driver through the city, I’ve sometimes discovered that there are some sets of street which don’t provide a simple alternating direction as you cross streets, and you sometimes have to cross a number of streets before being able to turn in a given direction. But that’s anther story.

This relates to the route that takes you along the side of the River Clyde, via Clyde Place, after turning into West Street.

Until the motorway was expanded, I used to follow this frequently as I arrived in Glasgow via Paisley Road West, and always thought this filter was odd, but it worked, as it got me onto the right streets to head for the east end.

It’s pretty quiet nowadays (it used to be very busy), and is going to get even quieter, as these sections of road will be permanently closed to traffic in October, to be absorbed into the development of Buchanan Wharf.

The area has already had Buchanan Quay created on the riverbank (once a row of old industrial building along that bank were razed some years ago), and a segregated cycle path runs on the existing road – but the space will become part of Public Realm where pedestrians and cycles have priority.

A BUSY central Glasgow riverfront road will close to traffic permanently at the start of October.

Clyde Place and part of West Street will shut from 1 October as part of the massive Buchanan Wharf development in Tradeston.

The road will be stopped-up between Riverview Gardens and Commerce Street.

As part of the changes, the direction of travel on Kingston Street, above, will become eastbound only.

END Of The Road Coming Within Weeks For Riverside Traffic Route

I’ve mentioned this before, Buchanan Wharf development seems to be trying to save buildings at risk

As I didn’t have any pics from the area when I made that post, you’ll find an embedded Street View there.

However, I have collected some pics recently, and just needed this opportunity of the road closure mention to use them.

Construction of new buildings within the development is now well underway.

Buchanan Wharf Development

Buchanan Wharf Development

If you haven’t looked closed at the construction of the concrete cores of new multistorey buildings, from which the floors are attached as they grow, you might find it amusing to see the floors being clearly numbers as the structure rising – to make sure workers don’t miss one?

That WOULD be embarrassing!

This corner is where West Street (from the right) turns into Clyde Place – the Tradeston Footbridge across the ~River Clyde is just to the left and behind.

Buchanan Wharf Development West Street and Clyde Place

Buchanan Wharf Development West Street and Clyde Place

This is the Beco Building, one of only two original building still standing on the site, referred to in the earlier post about the development, and which the developer has managed to gain control of, and will be saving.

Beco Building

Beco Building

The upper storeys have been lain empty for years, and this shot of the rear – with its ‘art’ – reveals some of the resultant decay, not so evident from looking at the front of the building.

Beco Building Rear Graffiti

Beco Building Rear Graffiti

The second building referred to is Kingston House on Clyde Place, also planned to be saved as part of the development, and seen below with the Beco Building in the background.

Clyde Place Buildings Kingston House

Clyde Place Buildings Kingston House


26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

They DRIVE… They WALK… And… They even CYCLE

What are they?

Smartphone Zombies!

Walk the streets and you have to play dodgems as you get out their way. Fixated on their phones. they’ve no idea where they’re going until they end up on YouTube, walking into poles, tripping over stuff, falling down stairs, or into fountains.

Get on a bus and look down into passing cars, and you’ll see that regardless of the law and reports of fines, people drive with smartphones in their laps, in their hands, propped up in the centre of their steering wheels, and grabbed at every set of traffic lights when they stop.

Try watching for how often you hear horns blaring as drivers behind have to alert the car at the front that the light has changed from red to green (or even more sneakily, is a filter lane that’s gone green), and they’d like to get through the junction before the lights go back to red.

Seems you can add cycling to that list.

I almost had a head on crash with one of these morons (or smartphone zombies) on the cycle path along Berkley Street.

You would think this was relatively safe, with a two-way path segregated from the general road traffic.

This is just about the scene I saw as I looked along the road recently, complete with a cyclist in the same place too.

Berkley Street Cycle Path

Berkley Street Cycle Path

There’s only one small difference – that cyclist is travelling in the same direction as me, on the left of the path.

Turns out the one I saw was travelling AGAINST me, on the WRONG side of the path.

And has his face buried in his smartphone, which he was holding in his hand, and had forgotten he was on a bike.

When I looked again and realised I was on the same piece of road as an utter moron, it was too late to do much – the speeds may be slower than cars, but closing speeds are still TWICE that of a single bike’s speed.

Things happen surprisingly fast…

I thought of veering onto the ‘wrong’ side of the path – but if the moron looked up and realised he was on the wrong side, he’d probably instinctively correct, head over the correct lane, and then wonder why there was in idiot there, in front of him.

I could stay where I was, shout and try ringing the silly little bell bikes have nowadays – but then what? If that even broke his focus on his phone, what will he do when he wakes up? Panic? Carry straight on? Change lanes? Or not even notice?

As it was, there wasn’t really time for any of that.

I did get his attention with the bell, but he just ploughed straight on.

I veered off to the right, and although I didn’t look back, kind of hoped he rode into the kerb and fell off – maybe that would teach him to look where he’s going as he cycles amidst other people, rather than stick his face in his phone.

So, it’s true:

Smartphone Zombies

This sign needs to be updated!

There are a lot of riders with phones in Glasgow, but most of them have them in weatherproof mounts on their bikes, and are delivery cyclists who may have questionable ‘Red Light’ ethics, but at least seem to care enough not to endanger themselves.

Then there’s…

Cyclist and phone

Cyclist and phone

I’m NOT having a poke at this guy, who I just happened to spot a little later in the day (and is completely unrelated to the events described above)..

I just wondered how the law might see this, given that it is an offence for a driver to pick up their mobile phone while stationary at traffic lights, as it was here. He may not be in a car, but I’ve found some sheriffs/courts can be worryingly imaginative in their interpretation of the words used in the intent of some laws.

And finally…

Let’s be careful out there, because there are:

Zombies Everywhere

And, perhaps not quite on topic, but I have to add this – those last few seconds  🙂

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m going to bed early tonight

(Actually, that’s not really me.)

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment


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