Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

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

Argyle Street is glum

When I was little, and I mean really little, I was regularly dragged into “town” with my mother and grandmother. Those were the days when ladies went for tea, and tea rooms were still plentiful, with all the big stores being so equipped. No identical fast-food clones were to be seen. The stores were generally all well-respected big names (of their day), and generally sold the best of products.

In those days, Glasgow city centre was a very different place compared to what is seen today, and was rightly described as “busy”.

My memory may be flawed, but as far as I can recall, the streets (no pedestrian precincts back then) were packed with people like sardines, and the same was true of the road and its traffic.

Nowadays, I don’t see much of interest while wandering along Argyle Street, with some really crappy shops selling cheap rubbish, nameless computer bits, phone deals, discounted electrical goods (some of dubious brands) and lots of fast-food outlets, and clothes with overpriced ‘labels’. While there are busy spots, there is not the same general mass of people or vehicles. Crowds form near fast-food outlets, while traffic tends to be public transport rather than masses of private vehicles.

Many of the building are run down, with the upper floors apparently abandoned and derelict (filthy windows), and a number even have holes punched in those windows (or even the walls) with protruding scaffolding showing that the floors and walls are at risk of collapsing.

And this is without touching on the gaps where buildings have been removed, or trying to count the number of shops that are just empty:

Argyle Street empty shop

Argyle Street empty shop

This is an example of the sort of abandoned upper storey seen in Argyle Street:

Argyle St upper

Argyle St upper storeys

And a closer look (I need to work out if I can find records of what these building were built for, and who occupied them).

Argyle St upper storey single

Argyle St upper storey

And finally, details from that building which shows a piece of decorative carving, and what I think is some Art Deco window frame detail, together with the sort of holes I mentioned being punched through the windows themselves, complete with scaffolding and wooden reinforcement (click the thumbs for bigger versions):

May 8, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Lost petrol station on Hamilton Road

Chance remarks can reveal unknown sites of interest.

In this case, a conversation about a local character led to the discovery of lost petrol station on Hamilton Road.

While it’s not too interesting to lose a petrol nowadays, as there has (according to some) been some heavy attrition thanks to the rising price and increased competition for fuel sales. It seems few now dare to mention the ridiculous double taxation the people allow the Treasury to level on fuel, with VAT being levied on the total after duty is added to the price, so there’s tax paid on that tax, not just the base price, and the last I saw (since I no longer buy fuel) was something like 76% being given as the fraction of tax which makes up the pump price.

However, old petrol stations are more interesting, as they formed part of our heritage, and I’ve seen one or two old B&W pics which show former petrol stations in the area.

One that I hadn’t seen was on the site show below, which is now a crane depot where parts are stored.

This is the most recent occupant of the site, and to my shame, I can’t recall what business occupied the site before this. I do walk past occasionally, and saw the site abandoned a few years ago, but just can’t bring to mind what was on it before.

I don’t think I ever saw it as a petrol station, but then again, have no idea (and have not found any reference so far) when it was abandoned.

As noted earlier, it was mentioned by someone else as part of another discussion, and they suggested it was owned by the occupant of the house to the left of the site, and may have been owned by Coombes. But this was just a guess.

This might explains the entry and exit ramps that cut across the pavement, originally being for the petrol station, and convenient for the businesses that took over the site, but the pavement has been resurfaced in more recent years.

Hamilton Rd former petrol station

Hamilton Rd former petrol station site

May 5, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

More bricks

After noticing a batch of various brick at Mount Vernon Stadium (or the place that used to be Mount Vernon Stadium) I noticed a few of the bricks I had lying around the garage had different brickmarks (names cast into their faces) than those found at the stadium site. Most of these have been found nearby, some dug up in the garden (which was created around 1930) and kept as they come in handy as supports and props – for everything BUT the weight of a car!

As before, you can look up info on them on these sites dedicated to brickmarks:

Brick Spotting | a search for lost Scottish brickmarks

Old Bricks

Two of these finds are a little more interesting than usual:

The first one is a bit of a wanderer, and how it comes to be in Glasgow is anybody’s guess, since Sandysike and the Sandysike brickworks are described as being in Cumbria, to the north of Carlisle. Being so close to the border, for whatever reason these bricks must have been shipped as part of some contract or larger job.

Brick Sandysike


The next one is a special, larger than a standard brick, and has been glazed, giving it a white edge. One corner is also rounded (see the top left corner as seen below), and around here, this type of brick can still be seen in garden walls, where it forms the top row of bricks, capping the wall with a decorative rounded edge. Not all such walls which are finished in this way used the glazed brick, and most of them are completed using only the plain, unglazed version of the same rounded brick.

These are marked Robert Brown & Son, with the slightly indistinct lower line giving the location of their brickworks, in Paisley.

Brick Robert Brown & Son glazed

Robert Brown & Son glazed

I’ve read about pro-photographers doing odd things to make a shot work, but the glazed faces of this brick were filthy and splashed with tar, so I ended up having to wash and polish the faces before what was left of the white glaze was recognisable:

Brick Robert Brown & Son glazed

Robert Brown & Son glazed

The rest seem to be fairy standard. Broomhouse:

Brick Broomhouse



Brick Dewar



Brick Southhook


April 18, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Last evidence of Glasgow Zoo erased

While it’s not a particularly recent event, this is the first time I’ve been able to visit the former entrance to Glasgow Zoo and grab a pic to show that it has now gone completely, together with any remains of the zoo which had survived on the ground behind. This was the last piece of zoo grounds which the developer consumed to build houses on. Although I’ve been past a few time since the turn of the year, it should come as no surprise to learn that the weather was usually just too wet to risk taking an ordinary (ie not waterproof) camera out.

Needless to say, but just for completeness, all the zoo roads and building that had survived on this last piece of ground have been razed, and the ground cleared to make way for more new build.

Glasgow Zoo no more

Glasgow Zoo no more

For those not familiar with the view as it was, visible on the left (behind the wall) is one of the new houses nearing completion, while the gap on the right (with the pieces of temporary fencing scattered around) used to be the entrance, complete with wrought iron gates, and gatehouse to the left. This was largely destroyed by arson many years ago, and the shell stood until it was demolished a couple of years ago.

The old shot below gives an idea of what was left, in 2008:

Glasgow Zoo entrance remains

Glasgow Zoo entrance remains

March 31, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , | Leave a comment

Mount Vernon stadium surprise – and stuff

After having a fresh wander around what little remains of Mount Vernon Stadium, I was surprised to find something I had not spotted before… and some other stuff.

Pushing through some trees, I noticed a fairly hefty turn-buckle still connected to a braided steel tensioning wire, and followed it into the branched overhead.

Can you spot the ‘find’ in the pic below? It is visible.

(Don’t bother zooming the image – I no longer put any prime quality images online.)

Mount Vernon Stadium

Mount Vernon Stadium

The turnbuckle is part of a guy rope supporting an original telegraph pole, and I guess this served the stadium.

You can see the insulators at the top of the pole, and in the detail show below:

Mount Vernon Stadium telegraph2

Mount Vernon Stadium telegraph pole

And some stuff

While I’ve tried to find worthwhile remnants, and there used to parts of the buildings, track, gantries, lighting, and even the mechanical/electric hare or rabbit that the dogs chased, this has all been removed, or buried.

But you can still make modern ‘finds’.

This time it was beer cans with current dates (when the pics were taken) which show the place is still a handy, out-of-the-way drinking den for some, and a rather odd one this time… some medical electrodes, fairly clean, suggesting they had landed there not long before being photographed.

Mount Vernon Stadium finds

Mount Vernon Stadium finds


March 16, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | | Leave a comment

Stadium bricks

I happened to be wandering near one of the roads that leads to the site which once used to be Mount Vernon Stadium, so decided that the absence of rain (a very strange thing over the past few weeks) merited a longer walk, so I turned of the main road and headed to the old site.

While this once boasted enough bits of building and hardware which allowed its operation as a dog track to be confirmed (about 10 years ago), a few years ago the track was raided (for want of a better word) and all the metalwork, fencing, and track hardware disappeared. Not long after that, what little that remained of the trackside building was knocked down and carted away, including the last length of brick wall that used to carry some painted signage relating to the stadium, and its use for training.

Now, there’s little more to see than some concrete bases, some bricks scattered on the ground, a few pieces of concrete fencing, and the outline of the track on the ground – sometimes used by quad-bikes. Although, having said that, the ruts they wore into the ground a while ago seem to have disappeared, so the bikers may have been chased off.

With nothing else to do, I started kicking the bricks around, and noticed that many of them carried brickmarks, a distinct mark or stamp formed on one of the faces which usually denotes either the maker’s name, or the product/range. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, and other information can be found in these marks, which can be found on dedicated web sites, such as:

Brick Spotting | a search for lost Scottish brickmarks

Old Bricks

All the bricks found were produced locally, by which I mean within a distance measured in tens of miles, so local brickyard were used for the material.

Click on any of the thumbs below for bigger pics and a gallery.

You can still make out the ground marks in an aerial view.

I expect even this will be gone in a few years, as there’s a steadily advancing housing development approaching from the west, and the roads are being upgraded.

Worth noting that if the view shows a working yard to the south and west, then it’s an older view, this was a waste disposal site, but which is no more, having closed down by the time I went back to the area.

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Helensburgh’s oldest hotel has just closed its doors

It was sad to read news of Helensburgh’s oldest hotel having to finally close its doors as the owner pursues ‘other business interests’ – in other words, there are not enough ‘bums on seats’ to keep it viable.

Reportedly refurbished only last year, the Imperial Hotel in West Clyde Street is already said to be on offer online for rent at £35,000 per annum. Dating from the early 1800s, the horse and cart age when it once provided stables and accommodation, first as the Tontine Hotel, then as the George Hotel, and finally (possibly) as the Imperial Hotel.

The hotel, known locally as The Imps, was (in its day) ideally placed, overlooking Helensburgh’s pier and therefore one of the first to be seen by holidaymakers arriving via steamer. But Helensburgh (like  most of the Clyde coast) is no longer a holiday destination, and sees the bulk of its visitors in the form of day trippers. Times have changed.

I’ve certainly never been any help, being close enough to drive to Helensburgh to enjoy an evening fish supper in the pier car park while watching various happenings on the Clyde.

Nevertheless, while some parts of the town are seeing some recovery, and some small business and catering operations are prospering, others are suffering the changes badly, and I see a number of older establishments closing down and being boarded up. This fate also seems to be placing some of the fine ‘big houses’ (mansions) that once served as guest houses, business premises, and even care home, at risk, as they cannot sustain themselves.

Helensburgh’s oldest hotel closed last week | Helensburgh & Lomond | News | Helensburgh Advertiser

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

She really was legless

This is a rather sad pic I grabbed in Glasgow’s Savoy Centre recently, a once thriving indoor market. That poor girl is has just gone to pieces while trying to find someone to buy something from.

The pic needs an apology too, being the first pic grabbed in months with a ‘new’ camera suffering rather too much unfamiliarity. Although set for vibration reduction, other settings allowed a little too much reduction of shutter speed, and defeated that cleverness. That’s what I get for not getting round to using it for months.

It’s ages since I’ve been able to wander into this market, and it was a virtual desert of empty and closed units, with few people milling around. Not much good just before Christmas. A few years ago, this would have stacked with shops and people, often to the extent of having to fight to get to the stall-holder to buy something. Now, it’s as depressing as the Forge Market was found to be a while ago (and unfortunately still is.)

Still, it wasn’t just the market, as I had to remind myself I was wandering around Glasgow city centre with less than a week to go until Christmas Day.

Quiet hardly served to describe it, and deserted would almost have been a more appropriate word. I don’t know if everyone really is shopping (including Christmas shopping) in supermarkets, or if everyone is becoming a practising couch potato, ordering all they want via the Internet, but whatever the reason, it’s not just the local High Street that is suffering a lack of feet falling through the doors of its shops, it the City Centre as well.

Legless Savoy

Going to pieces while waiting for a bargain?

December 20, 2013 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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