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.
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.
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.
Last of the set, and it turned out to be the hardest to catch, almost being missed.
This should have been easy, but a change in habit meant hardly being in Baillieston at all over the season, and when I did get there… found the layout was hard to catch in simple pics.
Always placed at the cross, the tree is quite far from the main street, and while all the lampposts carry lights, they are quite slim, so hard to show in a pic if not facing straight on to them.
In the end, I kept three pics, but the street decorations look better than in their pics, and the tree was lying at an angle (due to the ground) so I had to try to straighten it, just a little.
I still find it intriguing that my varied walking routes, which I change every few weeks to stop becoming bored, mean I see changes I would not see happening gradually.
They also mean I see some significant changes, not least of which is the way road barriers are trashed when I go back to a route, indicating vehicles went onto the footpath at speed.
I noted one in Baillieston a while back.
They didn’t replace the barrier, but it looks as if they later added a more substantial bollard to the corner.
Yup… when I went back to this route, the bollard had been flattened too.
Clearly needs MORE foundation!
Not much that need to be said at this attempt.
Fully on the footpath and blocking any possibility of a wheelchair user or a pram getting past, they’d have to take to the road, which is a busy main road – and sports (worn out) double yellow lines.
To the left, and not immediately obvious from the pic (it looks as if the footpath just carries on at the same level, but it doesn’t), is a drop of more than 6-inches down into the Tesco Extra car park.
The car park fills up fairly quickly, especially since the other shop units (out of sight to the left) were occupied, but that’s still no excuse for inconsiderate or illegal parking.
I could probably collect a clutch of similar pics on a daily basis, but usually pass when it is quieter (and darker) at night, otherwise it would be like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel.
It’s some years since Calderbank House, near Baillieston, was destroyed, apparently the victim of a ‘mysterious’ fire followed by a quick sale to a developer
It was listed by NHS records thus: Calderbank House Hospital near Baillieston was opened in 1919 and functioned as an annexe of Bellshill Maternity Hospital until 1964. When it joined the National Health Service in 1948, Calderbank was placed under the Board of Management for Coatbridge, Airdrie and District Hospitals.
Later, it was a Talbot Association Residential Home, their aim being “To provide care and solace for all destitute men and women in the form of accommodation including homes of rehabilitation to help individuals gain a useful place in society“.
So, no concluding dates relating to its existence. However, the building has been completely demolished and all evidence of the building removed.
Once Glasgow Zoo had also been eliminated, this laid the land open for development, a process which has slowly consumed the ground, and now seen the destruction of an area of forest that once occupied the land next to the Calderbank.
A few years ago, there used to be a gate across the path that led to the old house. It barred the way to traffic, but anyone on foot could just walk around it:
That gate disappeared a few years ago, to be replaced by one which controlled access for construction traffic and builders working on the housing behind.
A similar shot of the same spot shows the gate they installed is now of even less use than the one seen above, and how the wood behind has been removed and replaced by roads and a roundabout:
Another view taken from further along the road shows the extent of the change – all the area to the left of the road used to be wooded, now cleared of trees, it’s just some road and a roundabout. Note the old style lamppost on the right of this view, which shows the how the original road has been rerouted and moved to suit this new layout:
Looking across the area to the left, as seen above, what was once a wooded area shows only a few root stumps and wood chippings on the ground:
The Clyde Valley Community Forest seems to have had no protection from developers, and been a waste of time and money:
Now both subjects of this sign are nothing more than figments of the imagination:
A few months ago I noticed some slightly odd behaviour around the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Baillieston Main Street.
People crossing the road were stopping half way across, and kicking the road, while others even got down on their knees for a moment.
Curiosity got the better of me back then, and I followed one of these groups as they crossed the road – and learned that they were all being tempted by a tiny 5 p coin embedded in the tarmac. This had been rolled flat into the surface by the traffic, so was never going to be removed by feet or fingers – a tool would be needed.
And shortly afterwards, when I crossed the road a few weeks later, the 5 p was gone.
A few days ago, I noticed the ‘game’ had started again one night, and sure enough, a wander across the road found a 1 p coin stuck in the tar surrounding one of the crossing’s road markers.
Wonder if anyone will bother about the single penny, worth so much less than a 5 p coin?
I’ll try to remember to have a look when I pass.
I seem to have mentioned the ‘tidy effect’ once or twice in recent posts.
This refers to some areas finding that anything old is automatically unwanted, and considered to bring down the tone of the area, so has to be removed to clear the place up, tidy it, and make it look ‘better’, and probably show that the local councillor is ‘on the job’, so deserves a vote.
I noticed a little sign on a long surviving shop in Baillieston, and I wondered if anyone ever even noticed it.
I spotted it because I try to remember to ‘look up’ (sometimes), just in case there’s something interesting to see off the usual eye-line, or towards the upper storeys or roofs of building I’m passing.
I won’t give the exact location, so locals who may have missed this over the years can play at finding it – thought it should probably be fairly obvious for anyone that knows the place.
It’s odd how you can come across something you have never seen before, but must have been present.
Probably just a case of chance, and not having been there at the right time.
I can’t recall having noticed black traffic comes before, but as I stumbled through Baillieston recently, there was a small flock of the things guarding the road outside a funeral director.
The cones were even customised with reflective bands carrying identification.
Curiosity awoken, I had hunt around the Internet to discover these could be purchased relatively, complete with reflective bands if needed. The only restriction seems to be delivery. The ‘custom’ colour means that there are no great stocks of black cones to be had, and they are made to order, with delivery being in the order of 6-8 weeks, which is probably appropriate for such a sedate business.
Ever since I noticed this particular flock I’ve been on the lookout for more in the wild, but so far have only seen ordinary orange being pressed into service.
Falling into the category of ‘My eyes are broken’ was the first time I saw this old car in Baillieston.
I was standing in the queue at Lidl when I spotted it. framed in one of the shop’s windows. Between the dirty window and the lighting at the late time of day, I first thought it was a picture on a piece of paper stuck to the window, but when it’s position shifted when I moved in the queue, it was obviously somewhere outside. The only problem with this was that it had to something like 4 metres above the ground – not a usual place to see a car.
All was explained when I got outside, and was seen to have been hoisted into the air and was sitting in the premises of an engineering shop that deals in gearboxes.
The car is an Austin A30,powered by an 803 cc A-Series engine, and one of 223,264 manufactured between 1951–1956. It was followed by the A35, almost identical, but for one detail visible in the pics that allows the two to be differentiated. A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 reached a maximum speed of 62 mph (100 kph) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 kph) in 29 seconds. A fuel consumption of 38.8 miles per imperial gallon was recorded. The test car cost £553 including taxes, the optional radio an extra £43, and the optional heater £9.
At the time, it seems the country was still recovering from the effects of World War II, and ‘branded’ petrol only began to return to the forecourts around 1952.The A30 could be coaxed up to a top speed of 70 mph according to the factory), and The Motor magazine managed 67.2 mph, with a 0–60 mph time of 42.3 seconds. This has to be taken in context: petrol then available nationally only has an octane rating of around 70, allowing only relatively low compression ratios to be used, so reducing the performance all cars, especially small ones. As the years passed, octane ratings rose, together with compression ratios, leading to improved performance.
It’s funny how coincidences seem to follow me, as I’ve mention a few times in here and in the Forum.
Symbolically, it was a very odd coincidence that my last wander of 2013 should find me coming across a dead fox, and that this should happen in Baillieston, as both proved to be problematic during the year.
The dead fox was just as inexplicable and puzzling as the earlier problems, as it had no visible evidence of injury or bleeding, and looked as if it had literally just dropped dead on the spot. It didn’t even have the eye or tongue signals I’ve found in the past. It could almost have been asleep, but the for fact that you’re rather unlikely to find a fox asleep in street.
Being hit by a car, or being shot, usually leaves some sort of sign, but this one was pristine, and would have possibly been a handy find for a taxidermist, with no ‘repairs’ needed.
The only similar find was near Uddingston a few years ago, a badger, but it had clearly had an argument with something bigger and faster. There was a ‘problem’ with this one though… a little kid on a bike, intent on letting me know what he’d found and following me down the road with “Mister, mister, come and look at this dead badge, come and look!” Patting him on the head and adding “Yes, seen it pal, thanks a lot, kthksbai” didn’t do much to get rid of him – until we got too far away from it, then he finally went away to find another ‘victim’ to show his find to.
Goodbye and good riddance to 2013.
Here’s to 2014 and a fresh start. I might post some plans and intentions for the year, then again I might not, as they like to come back and bite.