Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

2018 marks 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

It was nice to see early news of a temporary exhibition taking place in Kelvingrove during 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I always feel rather sorry for Mackintosh, in some ways

largely ignored during his life, he only came to notice (along with others of his kind such as Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson) after his death, and then suffered the fate of many in Scotland, where his is mocked and devalued because he became famous and popular. (Note: Does not apply if you are that modern ‘waste of skin’ known as… a celebrity!)

Mackintosh and building

Mackintosh and building

It’s now well known that a number of their buildings have been lost, for various reasons, and that many that survive have advocates trying to save those that have become abandoned and derelict. Fortunately, many lesser known examples have survived in use, and are occupied by residents who know and love them, and actively preserve and restore them.

Glasgow Style

Glasgow Style designs and art works were created by teachers, students and graduates of The Glasgow School of Art in the period between about 1890 and 1920.

Said to be at the core of this movement were Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald, Frances Macdonald, and James Herbert McNair.

Exhibitions and Events

Glasgow Museums will commemorate the landmark of the Glasgow-born architect with a programme of events in 2018.

One of the highlights, according to curators, will be a temporary exhibition held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

It will showcase works by Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries.

Many of the works will be on display for the first time in a generation, while others will be given their first public appearance.

The exhibition includes works by The Four: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his future wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances Macdonald and her future husband James Herbert McNair.

Alison Brown, curator with Glasgow Museums, said: “Charles Rennie Mackintosh is rightly celebrated around the world as one of the most creative figures of the 20th Century.

“He is regarded as the father of Glasgow Style, arguably Britain’s most important contribution to the international Art Nouveau movement.

Via: Exhibition to mark Mackintosh anniversary

There don’t seem to be any details on offer at the moment, so I will be watching for more news to appear, and post more then.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fire Tiger is gone

I came across an old pic that had happened to catch the Fire Tiger mural at the side of the Clyde Walkway, near the South Portland Street Suspension Bridge. It ended up in a post about cat murals.

Big Fire Cat Clyde

Big Fire Cat Clyde

I’ve only got that one skewed pic, caught more by accident than design, so when I was near the same spot recently, thought it would be a good idea to update the ‘library’.

NOPE!

It’s gone now, replaced by (to my eye at least) a nicely finished, but much inferior offering. It’s just ‘ordinary’ now.

Tiger Mural

Tiger Mural

I’ve been staring at this for a while, trying to work out what is ‘wrong’ with it, and why it doesn’t ‘jump’.

I think I’ve spotted what it’s missing – EYES!

Those empty black spaces where a pair of attention-grabbing eye could have appeared just kill any impact this image could have.

It might be intentional, which is fine, but a pair of bright yellow and threatening eyes would really draw the viewer into this image.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Clyde rower

Not sure how I actually managed to catch this, as I was carrying the compact in my pocket.

Compact – find… find ‘ON# button… wait for Bzzz, whir, click, click, bzzz of start-up routine and self-test EVERY DAMN TIME!

Then try and frame shot with power zoom back and forth.

Not to mention having to use LCD on camera back as there is no real viewfinder.

Then wait while camera has ‘tea & biscuits’ as it sets things up in response to your plea for it to ‘TAKE THE DAMNED PICTURE’ after you press the shutter button.

Ok, in reality it does not take THAT long (except for low-light or night shots), but compared to the instant response of a dSLR, and the fact that it is ‘Always On’, the compact FEELS like it takes an eternity as it does its stuff at every power-up.

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

Clyde Rower Dalmarnock Rutherglen

I believe this boatyard, across the River Clyde from the Dalmarmock Sewage Work, next the Dalmarnock railway bridge, and below Dalmarnock Road – is referred to everywhere online as the Rutherglen Boatyard, and is all that remains of the old yard founded by TB Seath.

Oddly, even historic record for the area show this Rutherglen boatyard on the spot, yet make no mention of Seath.

Seath built many boats, sailed down the Clyde and over the tidal weir to reach the sea, including the Cluthas which provided ferry services on the river.

Benmore, a 200 ft paddle steamer, was famously grounded on the weir on its deliver sailing, but was finally rocked off and set free!

It seems there is no sea access these days, closed off by various changes to the river, and a lack of dredging to maintain an adequate channel along the whole length.

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

St Peter’s Seminary future finally seems secure

I’ve watched the various highs and lows of the efforts to save the remains of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross with an assortment of emotions ranging from hopelessness (expecting the next story to be one of an announcement of site clearance) to thoughts of ‘Too little, too late’ as impractical suggestions were reported.

After all the years of abandonment, dereliction, and decay, the only positive note could be that the concrete structure, if not the facility, would remain. And that was probably key to the only practical solution – preserving the site as a modern ruin by clearing the site and stabilising the remains, and restoring the land around it. Anything else would be a bonus – and that would seem to be the creation of an arts venue.

This opening summary from Helensburgh Heritage probably tells the main story:

ITH major funding now in place, construction works will begin at St Peter’s at Cardross later this year.

Instead of attempting to turn back time and restore the building to its former glory, the NVA approach will accept the loss and ruination that has happened over the last 30 years as an important part of its story.

They will consolidate much of the building in its current state to create an intentional modernist ruin. The former chapel will be partially restored as a multi-functional events space, and the original ziggurat roof light which stood above the altar will be reinstated.

Path networks will be re-established in the woodland and we will begin to grow native and exotic plant species to gradually bring the landscape back to life.

They will soon be looking for volunteers to help them to restore the beautiful woodland surrounding St Peter’s. Anyone interested in getting involved, please sign up for a volunteering account at volunteer.nva.org.uk.

Read the full article here: St Peter’s funding now in place

I’m always slightly irritated by my own past, having passed the area on an almost weekly basis for years, but unaware of the place, and that it would have been a nice exploration and place to collect some pics of it the years before it became such a well-known cause.

Specter of St Peter's

Specter of St Peter’s (NOT a misspelling by us!)

A couple of years old now, but this is still worth a look if you have not heard of the place before:

St Peter’s Seminary as seen by ‘Sometimes Interesting’

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | 1 Comment

Glamour at St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge

I don’t usually do people or candid shots, and don’t move in the right circles to find glamour, but got lucky yesterday.

While I was wandering around Glasgow Green I was followed by a small photography team with a model, and it was inevitable that they’d eventually intrude into one my collections.

I hope they had permission, as I recall reading that Glasgow City Council requires this (currently £434 for a half day – less than 4 hours – or £881 for a full day) for commercial TV, filming, or photography.

Glasgow City council – Book of Charges (pdf)

I wouldn’t normally have even noticed this, but for some recent court cases I noted, and the issues they raised…

Photography can be risky in the UK – just having a camera might get you into trouble

In this case, they ‘intruded’ into pics I was taking of the St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge over the River Clyde, and its plaque in particular.

I live in fear now, having caught this view without planning it, of a presumably professional model, and DON’T have a signed release authorising my use of the image.

I await the knock at my door, the frog-march to court, fine, and possibly even jail-time for my heinous crime.

Or worse! Since I have taken a picture of a woman’s bare legs… and arms… without asking her permission.

Perhaps I should just go and hand myself in at the nearest police station, and save myself the days of worry.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge Model

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge Model

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s Smaller Suspension Bridge

Not too long ago I caught a fairly clean view of Glasgow’s Bigger Suspension Bridge, and that post has the details too.

This reminded me I had never bothered to take any pics of its smaller partner to the east, the St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge, built 1853-5 by Neil Robson, engineer (£6348), and I promised to correct that sin of omission.

I happened to be nearby yesterday, and fortunately had the compact in my pocket, so the pics are not great, but at least complete the pair.

I thought I wasn’t going to get a decent side elevation, as a downside of the arrival of spring is the greenery that obscure many views that are an advantage of winter sparseness, but fortunately there is a viewing pier a little way downriver.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View East

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View East

On the left is the lifeboat station of the Glasgow Humane Society, the service that usually attends to drag bodies out of the river. Look online for George Parsonage to find videos of their work.

Before I found the clear view from the pier I grabbed a couple of shots from the ends to show better detail.

The pylons consist of heavy entablatures supported by pairs of Corinthian columns almost 6 metres (20 ft) high , all of cast-iron. Flat link chains support a light lattice girder span. Described as an attractive and little known structure.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View South

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View South

Spot the gorgeous cast iron lamp-standards standing beside, and almost visually hidden, by the columns. I was too busy to notice them at the time, or I would have taken closer detail.

During 2005, the bridge was given a fresh coat of paint, enhancing work carried out in 1997 when the parapets and timber decking were replaced, and the ornamental cast iron features of the Corinthian columns refurbished.

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge View North

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge View North

Sorry about the National Cycle Network pole – it’s just too close the structure to stand behind and still get a decent shot.

At least I don’t have to go do some more research and a summary of the bridge’s history lies nearby:

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge Plaque

St Andrew’s Suspension Bridge Plaque

And, having two pics of the two bridges to compare – I can dispel the claim that one is a copy of the other.

Clearly, they may both be suspension bridges, but are quite different in design.

May 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Irony at the antique shop window

(Full disclosure: Sad to say, this is actually an old post that got lost in ‘Drafts’ years ago, but since I found it and it was almost complete, I’ve finished it since the content remains interesting. However, the shop mentioned is long gone these days, and has been upgraded and opened as something else.)

Irony: There are plenty of clever definitions of various flavours of irony to be found in dictionaries, so I’ll go with a plain language version that didn’t come from such a source, A simple way of putting it is that irony usually signals a difference between the appearance of things and reality.

It’s been some weeks since I visited Parkhead Cross, and even more since I walked along Westmuir Street to get there. Other needs generally see me going along Shettleston Road, or Tollcross Road, and missing this one. It’s kind of depressing, as quite a few of the shops have thrown up the shutters in recent times.

However, new ones do appear, and when I did get near the cross itself I noticed what appeared to be a ‘new’ antique shop. Some would just call it a junk, or second-hand, shop, but it doesn’t really fall into either of those categories either. The reason I say that is down to the eclectic selection of items that (visually at least) are genuine antiques and could be valuable to the right collector, and I could also see some items which would be classed as architectural salvage, and command a fairly hefty price tag.

Parkhead Shop

Parkhead Shop

(I’ve since been past again, but did not have time to stop and look closely, but spotted a pile of original B&W prints in card frames, which appeared to be 1950’s survey pics taken over Glasgow. By the time I get back there though, I expect they will be gone.)

One thing caught my eye, almost hidden in a wooden cabinet with glass doors – a ceramic Smudge.

Smudge, for non-Glaswegians, was the famous Glasgow cat that resided in the People’s Palace, and was immortalised by a short run of ceramic copies of her likeness, and once sold in the museum’s shop, later came to be known as ‘replicats’ by some. Sadly, I have no idea what they cost, which varied as they were produced in different sizes. I believe 50 were planned originally, but the number was increased to 500 due to their popularity.

Smudge Ceramic

Smudge Ceramic

(This image actually came from Pinterest, which I have no idea how to work. I don’t have details of the source, and Pinterest blocks access if you click on an image, unless you respond to their blackmail and register an account to gain further access – and I will NEVER register with such a site.)

All the Smudges were hand-finished, and I think the one I have looks better than the one above.

Oh…

Where did the irony come from?

While I was standing at the window of this shop, trying to spy enough detail to work out if I was looking at collectibles or modern copies (not worth anything), I was repeatedly approached by a local elderly ‘character’, trying to ‘tap’ me for 2 p. While this made a nice change from the usual kids or neds that generally accost me here, and want me to go into the shop and buy alcohol or cigarettes for them, I still wasn’t contributing.

If I need 2 p, I can generally find such a coin in the street, and almost suggested he try the same – and that’s where the irony came in.

When I turned around from the window and walked away… the first thing I saw lying on the pavement was a tiny 5 p coin, just waiting to be rescued. So, if he’d taken my advice (which I’m sure he wouldn’t), he’d have been 3 p up on the deal he wanted. As it was, I got the whole 5 p!

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Morris Minor

Nothing special, just catching up on an old pic I let lie and almost forgot.

A very tidy Morris Minor convertible split window I tripped over while waddling around the back streets.

In this case, near a repair shop where I know the owner is into Classic Cars and suchlike.

Morris Minor Convertible

Morris Minor Convertible

As someone who is more used to wondering how to get a large engine into a small car (or rather engine bay), I will never get used to seeing one of these with the bonnet up, and seeing a tiny engine lost in a vast volume of near empty engine bay.

By way of contrast, the last time I had to have a ‘serious’ car alarm/immobiliser fitted – they had to give up and fit it inside, behind the dash and a corner of the footwell. This would not have been so bad but for the insurance requirement to have TWO sounders, one inside and one outside the car, the umpteen decibel sounder supposedly forcing a car thief to give up and leave it after a few minutes. The manual keyswitch for disabling this was on the larger control unit, intended to be in the engine compartment, but lack of space meant that module was INSIDE the car AND hard to reach to switch off!

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Missed me – again

It seems to be a long time since I came across a proper ‘Missed me’ scene – nearly all the walls, fences, and bollards on my wandering routes seem to have been fixed, or just removed if that better suited the relevant budget.

I know this is new, apart from passing the spot reasonably regularly, there were fresh, clean, and shiny bits of broken car stuck in soil at the bottom of this ever-so-slightly modified fence.

The knobbly footpath shows this happened at a pedestrian crossing, and is clearly the result of a car coming up Clydeford Road at speed, possible ignoring the traffic lights, losing control,and speeding through the junction into this fence.

Make your own guess as to why the driver didn’t manage to negotiate a simple traffic light controlled T-junction.

I’m just glad I wasn’t there, and thinking about crossing Cambuslang’s main street, but then again, it probably happened in the middle of the night, so I wouldn’t (have been).

Cambuslang Fence Crash

Cambuslang Fence Crash

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Cocky guide dog sticker explained

I finally got around to solving a little mystery that has been puzzling me for a long time.

It’s more than a year since I first spotted a few of the stickers seen below, around Duke Street (and near Tennant’s Wellpark Brewery – but I never knew that would be significant), and wondered what they meant. Sadly, there are actually some sad people who can afford to have idiot nonsense stickers printed, and just throw them up for no apparent reason – I thought this was maybe an example of that affliction, so never really bothered about them.

But a few have survived the weathering and tidy-ups, and I decided to snap one, and see if there was anything online – there was…

Cockier Guide Dogs Sticker

Cockier Guide Dogs Sticker

Seems that Tennent’s Wellpark was:

a new Scottish series of online comedy sketches, has been released on YouTube and social media.

Developed by a collective of up-and-coming talent that were brought together by Tennent’s Lager, Wellpark was borne out of the hope to create something not only funny, but also bold and original.

Well, I don’t have the time to sit through the rest – but I hope they are better this truly dire offering…

There’s probably a good joke in there – but whoever thought this one up certainly didn’t find it.

Still, staying positive, at least I solved the mystery of the sticker.

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

No more Shoplifters

While this could have been a happy little story about the restoration of the gallows on Glasgow Green, and the return of a once popular attraction there…

Before executions were held in Duke Street jail and later in Barlinnie, they were held at the entrance to Glasgow Green, in an area called Jocelyn Square facing what is now the High Court building in Saltmarket. The first executions there took place in 1814, and 67 men and four women were hanged there. It’s said they met their ends with their back to the court, facing the Green’s Nelson Monument.

An inscription in the flagstones there reads: “Jocelyn Gate. This area, formerly known as Jocelyn Square, was the site of both the famous Glasgow Fair and, until 1865 of public executions.”

Dr Edward Pritchard was the last to be hanged there in 1865, in an execution that was such a sensation it became one of the city’s greatest tourist attractions that year. Pritchard had been a respectable doctor established in Sauchiehall Street, but was convicted of murdering his wife and mother-in-law by poisoning.

Account of the day tell of thousands of people travelling to watch his execution on the gallows, filling the square and surrounding streets while drinking and celebrating his demise.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s just a sad little story about the loss of a shop sign I’ve enjoyed passing for a number of years.

The pic below was taken exactly one year ago.

But when I passed the same spot a few days ago – the sign was gone, and it looked as if the shop and its neighbours were undergoing a complete refit.

Must be one of the few ‘Shoplifters’ anyone will be sad to see gone.

Shoplifters

Shoplifters

May 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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