Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The almost invisible commemorative stone on Parkhead Cross

I’ve come to be a bit of a parrot when it comes to getting folk to waken up and spot the sights of Glasgow which surround them.

Most often than not, I’ll be suggesting they “Look Up!”, since many features are to found decorating the upper parts of many buildings, but in this case I found the ‘Look Down’ can pay dividends too.

I don’t know how many times I have passed this stone and not seen it – it’s far from obvious.

It’s also easy to miss, since most folk will be concentrating on the traffic as they make their way across the four roads that meet on the fairly busy Parkhead Cross junction, which has a fifth road feeding in only a few metres away, and can bring an unexpected rush of traffic to bear down on the unwary.

Find this stone almost at the tip of the gusset formed by the junction of Tollcross Road and Westmuir Street on the cross.

Parkhead Cross Commemorative Stone

Parkhead Cross Commemorative Stone

The text is hard to read thanks to the grain of the granite, and can only be read clearly if close to the carving.

I tried to enhance the pic by altering the contrast etc, but nothing made much difference.

For reference, the wording is given below.

“There, ‘midst
the rattle, roar, an’ din
O’ countless hammers rivettin’,
Ye aiblins micht some knowledge fin’
Worth while to store,
An’ learn hoo such fame they win
The warld o’er.”

Bailie David Willox (1845-1927)

This stone was laid in 2016 to mark public realm improvements commissioned as part of the Parkhead Cross Townhead Heritage Initiative
Funded by Glasgow City Council Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.


March 3, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | 1 Comment

Inverness bunker sold

Back in November (2017) I noted the offer for sale of the Highland Emergency Centre (Raigmore) in inverness.

See that previous post for details.

I had no idea if it would or wouldn’t sell, or how long it would take if it did, or even what it was worth (prices vary, sometimes wildly).

The offer closed in December, and now the news is that it was sold, so I’ve missed another one.

So far, no details of price, buyer, or use it may be put to.

Past sales have led to clubs, or secure storage facilities.

Via Offer accepted for Highland Council’s Inverness bunker

Inverness Bunker Via Sub-Brit

Inverness Bunker Via Sub-Brit

February 22, 2018 Posted by | Cold War, council, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Green football pavilion

Sometimes you come across decent pics completely by chance, at times and in places where you might not even have thought about finding them.

With our dopey practice of ‘Moving the clocks’ there is at least the option of being in places which are dark, but not at times that would classed as insane (if you value your life).

One such place could be the walkway along the River Clyde where it goes through Glasgow Green. With clocks set back an hour, darkness can descend here while the shops are still open, and people are still around.

Being mostly open land or park, there little or no lighting, and when the few lights on the paths are dead – it gets dark fast down there.

But football pitches were established on the Green some years ago, and these are floodlit, and provided with a pavilion.

I should declare that if measured, my interest in football would produce a negative number.

So, first surprise for me was a pool of light, and that eventually produced a nice wide shot (click for wider).

Glasgow Green Nighttime Football

Glasgow Green Night-time Football (Click for wider)

But the real gem was the pavilion itself.

I got lucky here, as the failed path lighting on the Green itself seemed to extend to the lighting around this building, and even the street lights closest to it.

This meant the building was bathed in a dim but even glow from street lighting far in the distance, and there were no bright spots to screw with the exposure.

These were long handheld exposures, one braced against a handy old tree, the other while I was buried in thick hedge for support. Even so, I don’t know why they are not blurry, at over 2 seconds apiece.

You may see an apparently light/white sky, but this is purely an effect of the exposure time, and that sky was quite black in reality.

Glasgow Green Pavilion Front Night

Glasgow Green Pavilion Front Night

I have no idea how those railings were captured with sharp edges, as I was supported by nothing more than a hedge, which far from solid or stationary, and the rear of the building had even less incident light than the front, which had a few street lights shining in the distance. This backed onto the Green, so the only light was spilling from the illuminated pitch seen above.

Glasgow Green Pavilion Rear Night

Glasgow Green Pavilion Rear Night

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Missed by the BBC – Smudge!

Thanks to a hat-tip from our near silent followers, I was made aware of a nice cat-related story featured by the BBC:

Bureaucats: The felines with official positions

It’s a great article, and has brought a few characters to light which I’d never heard of.

If you’ve read the story of the CIA’s ‘Acoustic Kitty’ (which was NOT run over after the project ended), then you’ll not be surprised by the failure of the tale regarding the Belgian authorities, who in the 1870s recruited 37 cats to deliver mail via waterproof bags attached to their collars.

Yes, the Belgians clearly thought THAT through 🙂

But, sad to say, the story missed out Smudge, the People’s Palace cat.

Smudge Ceramic

Smudge Ceramic

Smudge was definitely part of the Bureaucatic system.

Smudge Memorial

Smudge Memorial

I’m NOT criticising the BBC for missing this one.

After all, when I visited the People’s Palace to find the memorial shown above, which is a paving stone visitors have to pass over in order to enter the north door of the Winter Gardens, not one of the staff had a clue where it was – which I thought was rather sad.

That said, anyone who was around at the time will also be aware of the departure of the then curator, when Smudge left with her, under circumstances which can best be described as gloomy, and Smudge’s memory was largely erased thanks to some sort of difference with the council. I’m aware if this as my mother was then in contact with the curator.

See ‘A strange decision‘ in this web site, which goes into more detail, and proves this is not my imagination:

Smudge, the Trade Union Cat. The People’s Palace Museum, Glasgow.

That seems to be long forgotten now, and I collected this during a recent visit to the People’s Palace.

Sadly, only a pic, and of an item I was completely unaware of, unlike the ceramic Smudge seen above, which I do own.

Smudge Mug 1990

Smudge Mug 1990

Display details.

Glasgow Peoples Palace Smudge Mug 1990 Description

Glasgow Peoples Palace Smudge Mug 1990 Description

I also kicked of a fairly extensive discussion here, some years ago.

Smudge, People’s Palace cat

January 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

George Square memorial lions in profile, as promised

I did promise to include these fine carvings in profile, after an attempt to capture them looking down their noses at everyone failed to come off as expected.

The loss of perspective and flattening of their full 3D glory was completely lost in the static image, even though I managed to take if from the desired location.

Looking back at the lions in that post, it actually looks better than I thought, maybe because I still had the ‘real’ view fresh in my head.

Whatever, here is that promised profile view, with the pair looking at one another (never going to happen in the real world) and can be clicked for a larger version.

Memorial Lions Profile

Memorial Lions Profile (Click for bigger)

January 23, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, World War I, World War II | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lasting Legacy of shame following Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games

With the passing of 2017, another year has been lost, and another opportunity to embarrass and shame Glasgow City Council over the dereliction of Tollcross Winter Garden and Visitor Centre has been delivered.

(For what it’s worth, I DO NOT subscribe to any of the generalised mindless criticism of the council, this is a specific case.)

In summary, the Winter Garden glasshouse in Tollcross Park was last rescued and refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having then lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to be vandalised or rot at best. However, £1.7 million was raised to save it then, when it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

But, having suffered storm damage during the winter of 2010/2011, it was simply closed and left to rot, with lack of cash being given as the reason.

Despite more than £300 million being squandered on the 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow was lumbered with paying for the privilege of hosting, and who knows how much of that being spent on upgrading the adjacent Sports Centre and swimming pool in Tollcross park (allegedly great attractions that attract visitors and money), the Winter Garden and Visitor Centre was not considered to be a visitor attraction. NO MONEY could be spared from the ‘Games Pot’, nor has any been liberated from the so-called ‘Lasting Legacy’ the Games were supposed to bring to the area.

This earlier post summarised a number of reviews of the site

A visit to survey the structure at the end of 2017 showed that both the glasshouse and the fabric of the Visitor Centre were visibly displaying the signs of neglect.

Anti-council cynics would be quick to now suggest that we are approaching that time when the council issues the traditional demolition notice on the basis that the structure is unsafe, and it has to go to protect the public.

Or the vandals, who are now beginning to turn their attention to the once fairly unmolested glass walls and doors, will have a party and attempt to discover just how flammable some of the remaining structure might be.

And that is bound to be followed by that council demolition notice for the remaining ‘unsafe structure’ – and the removal of the problem.

Previously just about intact, the glazed Visitor Centre now has THREE glass panels boarded over, suggesting they have been smashed to kicked in.

The entrance doors have also been attacked.

The  suspended tent-style roof may have been a dramatic feature (and originally criticised as impractical), but without regular maintenance, it will eventually fail completely, and get beyond repair before that. Perhaps that early scepticism was well-founded.

The interior is wet, and puddles above and below suggest the roof is no loner weatherproof.

Plasterwork is breaking up and falling to the floor.

One set of doors to the glasshouse now appears to have gone.

The other side isn’t much better.

Perhaps obvious, but the glass is an easy target

Again, perhaps just stating the obvious, but damage to the glazing just grows over time.

Perhaps less obvious, a look at the closer shot given below (click to zoom) reveals that the underlying structure of the building is now failing, putting the whole structure at risk.

The spine of this gallery is now visibly distorted, showing that structural integrity of the cast iron framework is failing, and parts are moving.

The ridge should be straight – it is now distorted. Parts below should run straight and parallel to it. They no longer do so.

See also the fit and alignment of the framework around the windows.

Windows no longer fit, and the surrounding structure is curved rather than straight and aligned.

Click to zoom detail

I haven’t seen it appear to look so bad on previous visits.

I hope we don’t have any heavy or lasting snow falls during this winter (or any to come).

Most people don’t realise it, but water weighs 1 tonne per cubic metre, and snow is basically frozen water, so not far off that figure..

For comparison, a car now weighs around 1.5 tonnes (I’m not even guessing what a hulking SUV weighs).

Picture this structure with a line cars sitting on top – how long would it support them, and what might the effect of adding a few more be, or just increasing that load by mixing in some storm or hurricane force wind?

Reminder, from a year ago.

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Burrell revamp funding is almost in place

Four supporters have pledged a further £1.4 million in funding for the £66 million project, bring the total to almost 65% of its projected cost to expand display space and improve visitor facilities. The Wolfson Foundation and The Headley Trust which each pledged £500,000, the Gannochy Trust pledged £250,000 and The Taylor Family Foundation pledged £150,000.

Glasgow City Council has agreed to pay up to 50% of the cost of the refurbishment, while the Scottish government has pledged £5 million, and £15 million will come from lottery funding.

The A-listed building in Pollok Park closed in 2016, at which point I discovered just how awkward it was to reach via the multiple varieties of public transport I would need to use to get there – I’d probably be better splashing out for the cost of a taxi! But I live in east, and the Burrell is in the west, so opposite sides of Glasgow. Ouch!

Being priced off the road – NOT fun.

The museum is presently expected to re-open in 2020, which means I have to keep going for another couple of years at least, and while most museum refurbs generally run to schedule, I kind of have my doubts about this one, given the extent of the work involved.

I’m keen to see the changes, since my past visits left me feeling that nice as it was, there was a lot more hidden away and missing from the displays. Bringing more material into view can only make better still.

Some of the collection remains on display in Kelvingrove, and while it’s only a tiny display it does include information about the changes too.

Burrell building

Burrell Collection, Pollok Park, Glasgow © Iain Thompson via Geograph

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Old Carmyle viaduct gets new LED floodlighting

Wandering past the old derelict Caledonian railway viaduct at Carmyle, it was hard not to miss the new floodlights which seem to have been installed recently, going by the freshness of the support poles and electrical control box nearby. Two similar lights have been installed across the river, on the Cambuslang side. The lights themselves are LED, also confirming that they are new.

Given the condition of the viaduct and warning signs plus barriers to anyone trying to access it, it really has decayed and the platform area is full of holes, I’m almost surprised to see the addition of these lights, as opposed to seeing the crossing being demolished.

It’s a shame they didn’t think it would have been a better idea to add a safe walkway over the old platform, and an access stairway at the Cambuslang end, which was demolished and comes to an end in mid-air. You’d have to climb up, or jump down, if you tried to access it.

It would be a very handy foot or bike crossing of the river, especially since the Fire centre was built a few years ago, and blocked much of the river access routes.

Although I’ve been nearby in the evening (dark enough at this time of year to have this lighting on), when the surrounding public/council lighting was switched on, none of the viaduct lighting was on.

Carmyle Viaduct Floodlighting

Carmyle Viaduct Floodlighting

If I don’t see it on soon, then this is somewhere I’m unlikely to be when it’s dark enough, and it will be autumn before I get the opportunity.

Over on the Cambuslang side.

Carmyle Viaduct Cambuslang Floodlights

Carmyle Viaduct Cambuslang Floodlights

I took a quick climb up onto the viaduct, or its approach at least.

Last time I was here, the local had sawn through the fence and bent the railing back to allow access, but it seems this has all been repaired, with the cuts welded shut, and additional heavier gauge steel bar welded in place horizontally.

That’s not barbed wire – that’s razor wire.

Carmyle Viaduct Barrier

Carmyle Viaduct Barrier

Poking the camera through the fence, the platform or deck can be seen.

Yup… MORE razor wire.

(I wonder who cuts the grass there?) 😉

It was once an interesting way to cross the river.

I really think they should install a pedestrian crossing over this.

A nice walkway could be dropped on the old deck, with some more floodlighting.

Carmyle Viaduct Deck

Carmyle Viaduct Deck

January 15, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Museums Store is nice, but…

This will probably be misunderstood, but here goes anyway.

It’s nice that Glasgow Museums all have shops that sell items related to their displays, and my comments are NOT intended to be applied across the board to all items on offer, BUT, it is a shame that all museum (and for that matter all Visitor Centre shops across the UK) are stocked up with overpriced tourist tat.

I don’t want to single any items out, but I’m sure if you visit a local museum and look at some of the offerings, and think for a moment, you’ll begin to see what I mean.

The Glasgow Museums Store that appeared in Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre some time ago is handy too, as it has a number of items unique to each of Glasgow’s museums, but now that I’m skint, all I do is ‘window-shop’ or just go in for a look.

Culture can expensive.

But it’s nice to drop in when there’s a sale on.

But as I said in opening, please don’t misunderstand a personal point, and never forget – Glasgow (and Scotland’s) national museums are free! So recouping some cash is fair.

When I used to visit similar museums down south, it was eye-watering to cough up the admission ticket price – and I was really sad for my English cousins.

I can fall into one of ‘our’ museums for free AND as often as I like.

Down there, you get one visit, and repeat visits will send you to the poor house, especially if you try visiting a lot of different places.

Glasgow Museums Store St Enoch

Glasgow Museums Store St Enoch

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

New view of Daldowie

Jan 1 has become something of a traditional visit to Daldowie (that’s Daldowie Crematorium for the non-local).

It can be a surprisingly interesting wander if time is taken to look at some of the memorials.

This year’s wander was a little different to usual, as I arrived a little earlier than usual (so it was still relatively light), and while past years have ranged from finding the place frozen stiff, buried in snow, or almost blown to ruins thanks to storms that have just passed, it was almost a little odd to be wandering there with only some light rain making a short appearance.

It’s hard to image the main building – get in close and you can only catch a little part of the long and low building with its chapels extending to each side from the central hub; step back to catch the whole structure only to find most of it is obscured by trees and bushes set on the lawn.

But, I’m getting better at making less distorted stitches, and stepped closer to take a series of images that avoided having any of the plantings obscure the building.

The biggest problem (which I don’t have a rapid fix for) was the sole employee’s car planted near the front door, as even today, the crematorium is open for enquiries. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s ugliest, so I had to deal with it quickly.

There were two small trees, but I managed to place them out of the way, and was still able to include the waiting room found to the west and east of the main building.

This one’s wide, so you’ll have to click on the thumb for the whole view.

Daldowie Wide

Daldowie Wide

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | 6 Comments

People’s Palace air display

I couldn’t think of something appropriate for the first post of 2018, although I had planned a series of relevant pics, they needed some fettling and that wasn’t finished.

Scratching around material collected but yet to be used, I remembered forgetting about a chance find from the People’s Palace, which even labelled itself.

If you’re familiar with the layout, and recognise the spot, then you’ll also appreciate why it’s so dusty, and why those items have been left where they lie.

Peoples Palace Air Display

Peoples Palace Air Display

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, Civilian, council, photography | | Leave a comment

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