Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

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.


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

Just a gate – all that’s left of Loancroft

It was pure chance that I learned these gates were the only remains of a big house (mansion or villa) in Baillieston.

These pillars and some wrought iron fencing are all that remains of Loancroft House, which is now the site of the present Loancroft Care Home.

Loancroft Gates

Loancroft Gates

I can’t remember where I found this note about Loancroft, and searching online is futile since all the property and estate agents have their useless house sales web sites forced to the top any searches for a house, so ruin the usefulness of search tools.

That’s not helped by Loancroft House not being mentioned in the most common historic online references, since it’s long gone, nor does it appear in an old book which lists many of those that are gone, but has pictures and prints of many.

So, other than the name, and the gates, there’s not much I can add regarding the history of the old house.

If you anything, you could do worse than share it in the Comments below.

May 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The Big Safety-Pin at Rottenrow

I suspect I have a better pic of this giant safety-pin, but if I keep on trying to find it then I’ll never include one, good or bad. It’s not that bad, I just find it irritating that I didn’t notice some leaves overlapping, and forgot to include the plaque detail below.

Although its official title is “Mhtothta” (the Greek word for maternity), this 7 metre tall giant safety-pin sculpture is known locally as the “Monument to Maternity”, and depicts a nappy pin in memory of the Glasgow Maternity Hospital that stood on this site.

Made from stainless steel by Glasgow artist George Wyllie in 1996 and originally entitled “Just in Case”, it was originally created for the city’s local Mayfest festival. Wylie then took it to Portsmouth, suggesting it could be used to symbolise attachment to the European Community. It then went to Edinburgh when leaders of the Commonwealth were visiting, implying attachment to that body as well.

But it was as the nappy pin, with a small bird perched at the very top, that it was finally and permanently installed in Rottenrow Gardens, opened in 2004


The Giant Nappy Pin

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

The remains of Rottenrow Royal Maternity Hospital

As a bit of a follow-on from yesterday’s catch up with the Big Nappy-Pin at Rottenrow Gardens (apologies, that post has been delayed, but will be along shortly), I thought I should throw in a few pics of the remains left behind after the old hospital was demolished.

The hospital was famous in its day, as a place where worried fathers could be found in the street, banished there in the days when a birth was last place a man was expected to be found – there’s probably many early B&W pics to be found of the entrance below, where they can be seen loitering.

Today it is one of the entrances to Rottenrow Gardens.

Rottenrow Maternity Entrance

Rottenrow Maternity Entrance

An arch above a doorway in the adjacent North Portland Street carries dates relating to the founding of the hospital, and provides another entrance to the gardens:

Rottenrow Maternity Arch

Rottenrow Maternity Arch

Please note the date on the left is 1835 – I mistook this for 1885 at first glance, which caused some confusion.

A closer look allows some of the decaying inscription and Glasgow’s coat of arms to be seen, but I can’t quite make out the word preceding the 1880 date:

Rottenrow Maternity Arch Detail

Rottenrow Maternity Arch Detail

I’ve tried digging up earlier (but still recent) pics of this carving, but they all show similar erosion and loss of distinction of the letters, already confused as a result of their highly stylised form.

Any really old B&W pics I can access are just too small to show any useful detail.

May 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | 4 Comments

Trust in rust

Before jumping to any conclusions…

NO – that’s not me in the pic (or even one of my pics to be honest).

I came across this pic in a American thread sharing thousands of old motoring pics (no source given) and recognised the Jeep.

While it’s probably not identical, it is very similar to one I had – with the emphasis very much on had.

We moved home, and the pedal-powered Jeep ended up being ‘parked’ behind a garden shed… and forgotten. Not only forgotten, but lost from sight as the area was left to become overgrown and forgotten too.

Fast forward about 30 years, and muggins was tasked with clearing the garden of its undergrowth – yes, there was a lot.

The job was done a few years ago, but this pic reminded me of the abandoned Jeep, and its loss.

I should perhaps add, clarify, and emphasise… TOTAL LOSS.

I’m not sure what I found during that clear up, obviously some part that had not rusted or not rotted away over the years, and was sufficient to remind me of the existence of the Jeep, but whatever tiny part it was, it was the ONLY part that survived the effects of being left outside and forgotten for all those years.

Of the little Jeep’s body, panels, or pedal mechanism there was absolutely NOTHING found on the spot where it had been left.

Pity, they can be worth reasonable money these days.

Pedal Jeep

Pedal Jeep

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | | Leave a comment

Finally got a pic of The Barn in Shettleston

The Barn Social Club Advert 1972

Sometime something simple and straightforward can elude you for years.

Like ‘The Barn’ in Shettleston Road, a former social club, and as I later learned, a cinema before that.

I always forget about this place as it is really little more than an anonymous brown door between a close and some shops, and while I have seen it open, that must have been years ago as it has lain behind a ‘For Sale’ sign for years. And I’ve never been in it.

I also had no idea what it was like behind, until I saw it described as “A small back-court cinema” and looked closer on Google Earth (903 Shettleston Road).

It’s nothing more than a single storey pitched-roof extension tacked on the back of the tenement building – yet it was a cinema more than a century ago: “Premier opened in 1912, and originally sat 432. It closed in 1948.

Via Premier, Shettleston

According to another source, it has also been a Catholic church, bingo hall, and dancing school.  Although the information is undated, it showed the advert to the right, and dated that publicity for the opening to 1972.

I’ve tried to grab a pic for some years, but have always been out of luck with either various vehicles blocking the view, or semi-comatose can/bottle-clutchers propping themselves up in the doorway. Then again, these days there’s also the equally irritating smoker, social outcasts banished outdoors with their stinking weed, and always skulking beneath any available shelter from the rain.

I must try to remember to wander around the back one day, to see if there is any view of the extension/building itself.

The Barn Social Club

The Barn Social Club

I don’t know if anyone actually uses any of the directories or listing services published online, but when I tried to find details of the sale of these premises (and failed) I found that all those sort of listings still show The Barn Social Club complete with telephone number, address, and other details as if it was still open and in business.

I find these listing useless, never look at them, and would wipe them all off the Internet as all they do is clog up the first page of most business searches with out-of-date ‘information’ that is often wrong anyway, and has probably never been checked since the day it was first copied and pasted into these worthless parasitic web sites.

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Another abandoned and derelict house is lost

I mentioned a nice Victorian era sandstone house that was razed recently, having stood derelict for decades, although not apparently vandalised: There goes another old building

There was another house across the road, a cottage that had been occupied and refurbished/modernised over the years, but had for some reason had been wrecked by vandals, and also become abandoned and derelict

This is how it looked then, back in 2014:

Hamilton Rd Housewreck

Hamilton Rd Housewreck

It was a while until my wandering carried back there (only a year after the above pic, in 2015, but I completely forgot about it), but when I did see the spot again, it looked like this:

Demolished Derelict Hamilton Road

Demolished Derelict Hamilton Road

As of now, 2017, this spot is still empty, so the house was just razed to get rid of it, not to make way for a new build (yet?)

I’ve spotted a number of these losses over the years, I now realise that in most of these cases there is some sort of story behind the loss, often some sort of accident, tragedy, or failure in the life of the owner/family.

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My past is being erased – 01

One of the sad things I remember my mother saying one day was something along the lines of “I’m done. There’s nothing left in this world that I recognise“.

It was an understandable outburst from anyone who lived through the Glasgow of the 1960s and saw how the streets that they once saw teeming with life and people had become little more than vast empty spaces. The family home (and grandfather’s newsagent’s shop) was gone, having been razed to make way for London Rd Police Station.

While we may now reside in area where that’s unlikely to be repeated, I doubt I could find any shops in the city centre that mattered to me, let alone my parents. This was brought home some years ago when I decided to go collect some pics of ‘old surviving shops’ in the city (identified from books that were not that old), only to find that 90% had gone, making the task a quick one, and with little to show for the effort.

This has also been brought home to me recently, by chance, as I happened to trip over some places that I once saw frequently.

I happened to look across Baillieston Cross last week, not somewhere I see often since I was priced off the road.

It took a moment for the scene to sink in, and I realised that the road I once travelled on a daily basis to get to Coatbridge was GONE!

It was the area now being filled in behind the comes on the left.

Baillieston Cross

Baillieston Cross

I was obliged to travel that way to get to school (actually schools since I had to transfer after 4 years), unless I had to use the train.

In more recent years I’ve killed the odd spare hour by taking a walk to Bargeddie – at least I can still do that.

Here’s a closer look at the ‘erasure’ of part of my past, or infill of the former road.

Baillieston Coatbridge Rd Dead

Baillieston Coatbridge Rd dead

However, there is at least good reason for the change: M8 Missing Link Opens

Seeing this gave me a feeling something like nails being hammered into my coffin.

I’ll have to dig out some previous pics I collected a while ago.

These came from an earlier, but similar ‘shock’ – when I discovered not one, but BOTH of the schools I had attended in Coatbridge had been demolished.

The first I was prepared for (a few years ago), and actually made the trip to take a look after I couldn’t find it on Google Earth, and went to see why.

The second was more of a shock, as I had no idea it had just been demolished not long before I made the trip last year, and actually thought I had got off the train at the wrong station!

I hadn’t, and count myself lucky to have gone back in earlier days just for some pics – on film, which indicates how long ago that was.

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

There goes another old building

I’m sure I was only past this spot a few months ago, but it looks as if I missed something interesting (and disappointing). I haven’t been wandering along to Uddingston as often as I used to.

I’ve had to resort to Google (now a very handy resource though) to find a past pic, as I don’t seem to be able to lay hands on any of my own images of the building in question – odd, as I do have a reasonably effective filing system.

I’ve known this building for years, maybe even when it was open as a shop, and always been a bit sad to see that while the smaller cottages (and even some new builds) managed to gain occupants, this once fine Victorian sandstone villa remained derelict once the shop had closed.

As was, until recently:

Hamilton Road derelict

Hamilton Road derelict

Pretty sure it never saw any use after the shop close, other than by the local neds, and the windows were sealed some time ago, while the doorway was barred, with even the steps being denied access by having various obstacles tied across them, so you couldn’t even approach for an innocent look.


It’s just another piece of ‘spare ground’.

Well, at least we can see some of the interior, since a tiny piece of wall was left behind.

For what it’s worth, note the cycle lane that has been added here. Not a bad idea, although the road is not as busy as it once was (thank to the M74 changes of recent years), it does still get busy at peak times, and some of the driving behaviour seems to be particularly BAD, with many impatient people here for some reason. Or maybe they have just come off the M74 (or want onto it) and have not adjusted their speed perception appropriately. Whatever the reason, I’m often glad of the pedestrian bridge over the road here, as trying to cross as street level sometimes feels more like a suicide lottery than crossing the road.

Hamilton Road former derelict site

Hamilton Road former derelict site

I’ll have to watch out for my earlier pics of the place, and maybe post them later, if/when they turn up.

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

Demolition imminent for McColl’s Hotel in Dunoon

The issue of a warrant for the demolition of Dunoon’s McColl Hotel would seem to signal the end of a landmark.

While I wasn’t likely to stay there, the large white hotel building (visible on the left in the pic below) was something of a regular and welcome feature on a drive along the road past Dunoon, as it loomed ahead as you drove around Castle Hill, and below Highland Mary.

It’s nothing special, just one of those things that sticks in my mind.

There appear to be no current plans in place to replace the building:

The demolition of the hotel was described as ‘imminent’ in a response to a query by Cllr Mike Breslin to Brian Close, Planning Officer with the council for Bute and Cowal. The application does not include the Rosegarth Hotel site, adjacent.

Mr Close also told Cllr Breslin: “This will be closely monitored by Planning, Public Protection and SEPA in terms of waste material and burning on site.”

Mr Close continued in his response to Mike Breslin: “It is unfortunate that the applicants do not currently have a scheme on the table to develop both the McColl’s site and Rosegarth site.

“We have urged them to enter into pre-application enquiry discussions regarding suitable redevelopment of this very prominent and sensitive site.

“We would probably expect at this stage, blocks of high quality residential flats rather thann replacement hotel buildings, but future development options lie with the owners.”


August 24, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

Cat found under bonnet of car in east end of Glasgow

I’ve tried to do my little bit to help raise awareness of cats that like to crawl into engine compartments, attracted by the heat of engine while the vehicle is parked, especially during winter.

While there have been quite a few tales of cats discovered in such places, fortunate to be found and released, most of these have not been reported from my area, but now we have one from the east end, where one such unfortunate wanderer was found:

A shocked motorist found a cat trapped under the bonnet of his parked car.

The man realised the feline was stuck between the engine of his parked car in the Mount Vernon Area of Glasgow.

He discovered the trapped pet as he stopped to park his car after driving for a period of time.

The cat was freed and escaped unhurt and is now being cared for by animal rescue workers.

The Scottish SPCA is now seeking the owner of the cat after they were called out to rescue the pet on Sunday June 8.

The cat is now in the care of the charity’s Glasgow Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Cardonald, where he has been nicknamed Auto.

Via: Cat discovered under car bonnet in Mount Vernon, Glasgow | Glasgow & West | News

Animal Welfare Charity – Animal Rescue Scotland – Scottish SPCA

Auto is pictured below, courtesy of the Scottish SPCA, and anyone who recognises Auto is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Auto engine bay cat

Auto engine bay cat – pic via Scottish SPCA

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Lost | | Leave a comment

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