Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Oh look – a lost street

I should publish some books.


I’m amazed to see some people publish books of the same pics I take every day, and get on radio and TV with interviewers apparently beating a path to their door to make them famous.

One recent book of pics taken around Glasgow featured an image very similar to one I have, so I decided to go feature it.

I hadn’t bothered to note its name the day I caught it, and usually jump into Google Maps and Street View when I want to name these things later – but not this time!

From an area I pass through rarely (and which also unfortunately looks very like a similar spot not all that far away from it), when I went online to find the name – I found it was no longer listed.

As you can see, it’s been derelict for some time, although the left the lampposts standing for some reason, but a look online for mapping and imaging (detailed enough to identify it and get the street name) seems to have been removed, as it can no longer be driven along by camera cars.

Not a find I expected, so now I’ll have to find another way to dig into conventional records, or archives, and put a name on this street.

It would have been handy, and easier, to read the street sign which can still be seen on one of those lampposts. Unfortunately, the Sun is shining straight onto it, so it’s just been burnt out into peak white, with no detail or lettering to be seen.

Lost Street

Lost Street

I’ll have to find it, after all, I’ll need it for my…


In fact, this street (and most of the surrounding area) was razed years ago (think decades), and lay as nothing more than ‘spare ground’ until recently.

It’s been revived with some new build (still to be caught on Street View at this post’s date), but has got its name back on recent online maps.

Harfield Drive.


October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Police attend tragic Buckfast disaster in Glasgow city centre

Police rushed to attended at the scene of a tragedy in Glasgow city centre, when a 70 cl Buckfast bottle was broken, and the contents lost before they could be finished.

Here, officers can be seen on ‘Suicide Watch’, comforting the distraught owner while waiting for specialist Buckfast Loss Councillors to attend the scene, mitigate withdrawal symptoms, begin therapy, and start the former owner on the road to recovery from his loss.

Buckfast Accident Scene

Buckfast Disaster Scene

Closer look at the real victim, just gone to pieces.

Broken Buckfast Bottle

Sad Buckfast Bottle is really sad


Why me

Why me?

Yes, the pics are mushy, but I wanted to be as far away from this as possible.

September 22, 2018 Posted by | Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Charles Frank 67 Saltmarket

I wrote a post a while ago, which seemed to get a bit of interest following the news that Maplin had folded, and was closing (everything).

That post had been about the earlier demise of electronics retailers in Glasgow, specifically RME in Stockwell Street.

Responses to those thoughts included mention of Charles Frank, an optical and scientific instrument maker who, together with his son Arthur, had shops in the city’s Saltmarket, and later, Ingram Street.

That venture came to an end in the 1970s, with the shops finally closing their doors for the last time in 1974.

In his time, Frank designed, sold, and repaired photographic and scientific apparatus from the Saltmarket premises, with Ingram Street being described as a more upmarket showroom for the sale of his scientific instruments.

While I was never aware of the Ingram Street venture, I was dragged along to his establishment in Saltmarket, which had become an outlet for various sort of surplus just before it closed. Seems it was fuelled by a flood of high quality ex-military optical and photographic equipment in the postwar years. Frank Ltd took advantage of this by buying at public auctions held by the military which had no use for the items, and then reselling them to the public.

I have (as a child at the time) some memories of the shop and stuff stacked in it. Some large reels of quarter-inch recording tape were bought, and maybe some assorted slide rules, but that’s all that stuck in my mind. I’d always imagined going there when I ‘Grew Up’ – but neither of those ever happened.

See the note at the end of this post – my useless memory had the wrong Saltmarket shop tagged as Frank’s.

I’m amazed at being so wrong for so long – when the dumb strikes, it strikes hard!

I just learnt of my mistake after noticing the ’30’ above its door – Frank’s shop was 67.

Time to start hunting for confirmation, and I did find this old B&W pic on a number of sites, credited to the Jewish Archive, but I couldn’t track down the original, they were all ‘re-use’.

CH Frank 67 Saltmarket Jewish Archive Pic

CH Frank 67 Saltmarket Jewish Archive Pic

That made the hunt a lot easier to complete, and we can see the same shop today.

It’s a slightly bigger image than usual, so you can click for bigger.

67 Saltmarket Gilt Edged

67 Saltmarket Gilt Edged

Intriguing changes – there are now FIVE assorted electrical/electronic control gear boxes planted on this short length of street; the low wall in St Andrews Street (on the left) has been considerably heightened; and the close entrance which sat in the middle of shop (to the right) has had its original width reduced, and is now considerably smaller than it used to be.

My mistake

As noted above, tiny memories are not always reliable memories, and I walked past a derelict Saltmarket shop for years, sadly thinking (wrongly) of it being the remains of Frank’s.

I always thought it was this one, just across from the long-established pet shop in Parnie Street.

(Just how long has that pet shop been there anyway?)

Not Former Charles Frank Shop Saltmarket

Not Former Charles Frank Shop Saltmarket

When this group of shops was ‘modernised’ some years ago, I was here regularly, and was sad to see a (presumably original) stained glass window above the door to number 30 was gone when the shutters came down to reveal the ‘improved’ premises. I’ve always wondered what happened to that panel, undamaged for as long I watched it. Skipped, or ‘liberated’ by some lucky builder or salvager?

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, military, photography, World War II | , , | 3 Comments

Sad new about Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary near Oban

Sad to see that declining visitor number mean the Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Oban can no longer carry on, and has announced its closure.

Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary to close at the end of October

The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary has been educating and entertaining local families and those visiting the area since opening in 1979.

Sadly visitor numbers to the attraction have been in decline and after comprehensively reviewing every possible option, there isn’t a viable way to sustain the significant investment that is required in order to keep the sanctuary open.

Therefore we have come to the sad conclusion to close the sanctuary on the 31st October 2018.

The closure announcement in full

The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary

No doubt the ‘animal rights activists (aka ‘loonies’) will be dancing with joy at the news.

I don’t think I ever made it along to the centre in the days when I used to be a fairly regular visitor to Oban.

Just bad timing, as I don’t think it got a lot of publicity at the time (and don’t think it ever did, more’s the pity).

Sea Life Sanctuary Pic

Sea Life Sanctuary Pic

September 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , | Leave a comment

Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan) is gone

I got the tip about this in the early hours of the morning, but wasn’t sure if true as there was nothing in the media.

But it was true.

One of the few characters that stuck in my mind, I rather like the description “Jacqueline Pearce’s character was the best-dressed villain in the Universe“.

I’d recently been finding some of the audio versions of Blake’s 7, and found some digitally cleaned up episodes too.

Jacqueline Pearce: Fans pay tribute to Blake’s 7 star

For those of us I now consider to have been lucky to see series such as Blake’s 7 (often mocked for its sets and low budget production), it’s interesting to reflect how those series, supposedly inferior to today’s offering which feature great effect, but lack engaging storylines (and are driven more by keeping sponsors onboard than telling good stories), managed to hold our attention back in those days.

The mix of good actors and good stories is sometimes painfully absent these days, even in series that make it to the top.

Jacqueline Pearce As Servalan

Jacqueline Pearce As Servalan

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

You know I’m not going to walk past cute

Thee seems to be a bit of a campaign going on in my area at the moment.

And I have to say, long overdue.

While I’ve nothing against the doggie side of pet life, this IS a declared feline zone, and I’m disappointed at the lack of support and promotion for cat services around here.

I could take you around and show you any number of dog-related posters and services, not to mention a raft of ‘Dogs Trust’ shops, and even their Glasgow HQ just a (longish) walk to the end of one of my streets.

But cats, sorry, nothing at all, no even a charity shop with a feline connection to be found anywhere.

Cats Protection Glasgow Adoption Centre

Cats Protection Glasgow Adoption Centre

Cats Protection

Glasgow Adoption Centre

Tempted as I may be, I wouldn’t want to inflict my so-called ‘life’ these days on a poor cat.

I’m even a little surprised at how easy it is to adopt one of their cats, being more used to reading accounts from the US, and the sort of home checks such centres carry out over there before they’ll hand one of their rescues over to a new owner.

I don’t think I’d pass.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

New Remnant Kings kills Glasgow’s giant cat murals

Probably goes without saying that I’d rather see the giant cat murals of Howard Street and Dunlop Street than a Remnant Kings shop.

Have a look at the original view here.

Just look the replacement – what were they thinking?

Howard Street Remanat Kings

Howard Street Remnant Kings

I don’t usually slate Glasgow City Council’s planning department, but…

How could they pass the plans that took this away from the people of Glasgow?

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

Glasgow Dunlop St Cats

Coincidentally, the original Kings of Remnant were our neighbours when I was a tiny person.

My old dad came in laughing one day – it seemed he’d heard a woman shouting for help earlier, and when he went for a look eventually tracked this down to the Kings’ garage, where the elderly Mrs King had got stuck under some cardboard boxes that had tipped over and fallen on top of her. No actual problem, nobody hurt, just the boxes had landed in such a way that they jammed in the space they landed in.

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost cat is mute in Pollokshields

Another in the unfortunately undated ‘Lost Cat’ poster series, seen last night, but no idea how long it has been up.

Guess from its (the poster’s) condition.

No name for the cat either (he’s mute, not deaf).

The folk that used to live at the bottom of the garden a few years ago seemed to be able to attract cats, and always had one or two. Lucky they’re not there any more – the way the cats around here mostly won’t let anyone near them means they’d probably have been out of luck.

But we did get a call from once, asking if we’d unlock our garage and leave the door open a bit…

Seems they’d lost their current cat over the weekend, and had eventually tracked her down by following meowing coming from our garage.

We opened the door and had a look, but nothing seen – but the neebs seemed happy enough when we saw them later.

Lost Cat Poster Pollockshields Shawlands

Lost Cat Poster Pollokshields Shawlands

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

There goes the Britannia Panopticon charity shop

It’s been some time since I walked the bottom end of High Street, specifically the last hundred metres at Glasgow Cross.

I usually try to have a look in the charity shop for the Britannia Panopticon, even though I always seem to arrived there when it closed.

No worries over that happening any more – it’s now permanently closed, shut, and gone for good.


It is with great sadness that we have to let you know that oor wee shop at 49 High Street will be shutting on 21st April 2018.

Thank you for all of your support and kind comments over the years.

Come in and grab a bargain while you can!

This is, unfortunately, the price of success, not for the shop owners, but the city (or Glasgow), as its real estate becomes more desirable, and the costs associated go up accordingly.

I wrote a while back, about plans to upgrade the area (sorry, I can’t lay hand on the info quickly – it may have been an aside on a related issue), which those residing there claim has been forgotten and neglected.

Good job folks, somebody noticed – and here comes the price of success as a result.

I took a wider shot of the sadly empty shop after spotting it.

This shows the vintage shop signs still in existence over this, and the shop to its left.

Click for the larger view.

Britannia Panopticon Charity Shop Closed

Britannia Panopticon Charity Shop Closed

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Renowned director is surprisingly incoherent

Repeating a thought I’ve expressed many time over the years, the views by film director Wim Wenders on mobile phone cameras don’t actually seem to reflect the proposed idea that mobile phones, and their cameras, have led to the death of photography.

From what he says, it sounds more like he is bemoaning the fact the mobile phones have given everyone the opportunity to take photographs, and the ‘art’ is no longer the preserve of a few privileged people such as himself, who could afford to take photographs when it was confined to film and chemical processing, and needed the knowledge and skill to handle those materials. His own preferred medium of Polaroid was/is even more expensive, so open to even fewer.

My own specific complaint has not been aimed so much at ‘mobile phone photography’, but the fact that so many morons just take utterly worthless pics and can post them online. I have, for example, come across galleries in hosts such as Flickr, where someone has uploaded a hundreds of pics taken while they were on holiday. What’s wrong with that? Probably nothing if the pics were of interesting subjects they saw, and were just a little over-enthusiastic. But, the galleries I have in mind only seem to contain hundreds of badly taken pics of drunken youths partying. Seriously? ONE pic would have been more than enough.

I’m afraid WordPress won’t allow BBC video embeds, so you’ll have to view the clip at source:

Renowned director Wim Wenders hits out at phone ‘photography’

I’m sorry not to be agreeing with what he says, I wish I could, sadly I can’t.

But, to me, he just sound like someone unhappy about something which was once the reserve of a privileged few having become something that the many can now enjoy.

Just look at any of the ‘Your Pictures’ weekly galleries published by the BBC every week, such as:

Your pictures of Scotland: 21 – 27 July

Photography is far from ‘dead’, and we DON’T need a new word to describe it – the existing word is just fine.

On the other hand, all he says about most of it being rubbish can’t be argued with.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Oscar is missing in Oatlands

Another of the ‘professional’ quality missing cat posters was seen on my wanderings yesterday, this time in part of Richmond Park being redeveloped in the midst of new build houses in Oatlands.

I always plead for people to include dates on these, so we know if we are looking at a recent poster, or one that has been left up for ages.

See also Oscar is Missing

He’s 3 years old, and while he has a chip, it seems he doesn’t have his tail!

Oscar Missing Cat

Oscar Missing Cat

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

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