Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Busy Baillieston

Thanks to the less than spring-like wintry weather of recent weeks, and some other problems, Baillieston has been out-of-bounds recently, so I’ve not been able to watch the changes there in detail.

But they’ve been going on, even without me watching.

The old Airdrie Savings Bank building on the main road polished up quite well, and the overflowing coffers filled from the sale of overpriced coffee in paper cups, it seems to have been the first past the finishing line.

I wonder what the small shops think of this ‘chain shop’ being parachuted in think?

I’m still needing to be convinced that (what I think are) the economics of this operation can be viable in this location. Soaves had to give up the bigger shop it took just across the road (I see that now has a sign showing it has been taken by someone, so we’ll have to see what appears there) and move back to sharing space in a smaller shop along the road – one which this place could maybe kill.

Airdrie Savings Bank Building Redevelopment

Airdrie Savings Bank Building Redevelopment

I’ll never be inside (this incarnation at least) so here’s the “Nose pressed against the glass” view of the interior.



Along the road, the Baillieston Credit Unit takeover of the old Chamber’s shop is still ambling along.

The scaffolding is gone, the former little barber’s shop has been reconstructed, and the ground behind is now being worked on.

Chambers Redevelopment

Chambers Redevelopment

Still further along the road, and with just under a month to go, Lidl’s refurbishment is presumably all going according to plan, and it will reopen on the 17 May.

It will be interesting to see what takes so long to change inside what is effectively a big shed with open floor space for self-service shelves and rack for the customers, and a few checkouts, plus stores area out of sight.

It doesn’t (or should I say didn’t) really look all the different from the most recent stores built nearby – or, frankly, from Aldi, which also brought a new store in, nearby-ish.

Maybe the real change lies under the skin, and the redevelopment is more to do with the fabric of the building, and the equipment etc instilled, replacing old, tired equipment with more efficient and newer hardware.

Lidl Refurbishment

Lidl Refurbishment

23/04/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The window destroyed by the Costa vandals

Sad to say, but I’ve come to understand the sentiments expressed by some who consider some building may be better preserved when left derelict, than they may be if taken over without the protection of listing, and enjoy the attentions of heartless architectural morons, such as Costa franchises.

While I don’t have any issues with the repurposing of a building, which means it may be stripped of most, or all, of the fixtures and fitting needed for its original business, I can’t extend the same understanding to the destruction of original features.

While it may have taken a moment’s thought and a little care to retain the original period window fitted to Baillieston’s Airdrie Savings Banks during its refit as one of those franchised vendors of grossly overpriced hot water knocked stupid and sold in paper cup, they simply trashed the lot, and replaced it with something – ‘better’.

The much ‘branded’ smaller ice-cream parlour that tried moving into larger premises directly across from this venture didn’t last long, presumably driven back into the better placed shop it shares in the heart of the main street, I’m guessing by lack of passing trade.

This place is huge, and has to fund not only its own operating costs but those of the franchisor.

I can see those numbers being made in their more usual city centre venues, where plenty of office staff are too busy to work out the shocking cost of a daily paper cup of coffee over a year, but I wonder where they think the numbers are going to come from to do the same in Baillieston?

Airdrie Savings Bank Original Feature Window

Airdrie Savings Bank Original Feature Window

That window was tough to photograph while preserving the unique zig-zag styling.

Good job I took the time to stop and grab a set of pics when the place was first put up for offer.

23/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Now Lidl joins the Baillieston closures

Don’t panic though…

This closure is just for refurbishment.

This was notified last week, with the store closing on the 18th (March) and planned to reopen on 17 May, a Thursday, which is handily the day Lidl usually throws out some extra offers.

Lidl Baillieston

Lidl Baillieston

Guess I’m lucky to still have Tollcross, Dennistoun, and Rutherglen to choose from.

19/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Busy Baillieston

I hadn’t planned on taking a look at Baillieston last night, but when the weather held up I decided that I needed the walk.

They’ve been busy with the work on the old Airdrie Saving Bank, and have sadly scrapped the novel original front window with its featured zig-zag glazing, now replaced with conventional flat glazed plain windows. Well, I think those originals were only single glazed – dating from the days when heating costs were trivial.

Airdrie Saving Bank Front

Airdrie Saving Bank Front

The side has changed as well, with the hole left behind when the cash dispenser was pulled being extended and now also appearing to be an ordinary flat glazed window. This will provide a view onto the outdoor seating area shown on the plans.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but the pic seem to show one of the (granite?) cladding panels to the right of the door has been lost, or removed.

Airdrie Saving Bank Side

Airdrie Saving Bank Side

Meanwhile at Chamber’s

The new Baillieston Credit Union (BCU) building works moved on significantly, with the former little barber’s shop which I noted had received a concrete base (on the area cleared when it was razed) now having walls and a roof added.

Chambers Barber Rebuild

Chambers Barber Rebuild

19/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Baillieston’s old Airdrie Savings Bank conversion underway

An unplanned jaunt through Baillieston provided a number of updates.

Biggest surprise was a big banner on its Lidl, warning everyone it closes in a few days, for a MONTH! Apparently it’s getting a major makeover to make, yes, you guessed it… BETTER!

Next was Chamber’s old shop, where I last noted the demise of the little side building that used to be home to a little barber’s shop. A concrete base has been laid on, so they’re going to be using the space released by this little bit of demolition,

But the most interesting development was at the old Airdrie Savings Bank building, where work was underway even though it was well past normal stopping time (I hope UNITE or the RMT is not involved, or the nation could be on strike soon).

Although the windows are still too high to see in over, you can see in past the edges of some very badly fitting plywood panels jammed in place of the original opaque glazing at the bottom of the main window, but there’s nothing to see.

I did notice the hole where the cash machine once lived had been worked on, but there was just some wooden shuttering over it, to close the hole.

I’ll look again next time I pass.

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

13/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Old Airdrie Savings Bank redevelopment sneaks into Baillieston

While I’ve been busy looking at things like the redevelopment of the old Chamber’s clothes shop, it looks as if someone has taken advantage of my attention being diverted to start work on the old Airdrie Savings Bank (ASB) building, which was put up for offer a few years back, after the bank closed.

I was always amused by this one, as I knew the manager of another ASB in a nearby town, and he lived in one of the streets behind this one.

I never asked (no, I don’t know why, I just never got around to it) why he lived a few yards from a branch of the ASB, which he could have fallen out of bed and into his work in a few minutes, yet had to travel miles daily, to the branch he managed.

I don’t know if it was a choice, or if there might have been a security issue, and it was bank policy for the manager to reside some distance from the branch he managed. I guess it could make it easy for unscrupulous types to attack the manager or his family if they were close to the bank if they decided to target it. Having the physical barrier of distance adds time, and makes it harder to apply pressure. I think an episode of The Sweeney used such such as scenario as the background to a bank job.

Back in Baillieston, I’d stopped watching the old empty bank building as various notices that said things might be happening over the past few years failed to materialise any changes. It closed back in 2015 as ASB ceased to exist as well.

But as I passed recently, and glanced over, I saw that some items had been cleared away, the sign offering the premises had gone, and there was a mobile scaffolding platform visible inside, behind the main window.

Guess I’ll have to remember to keep an eye on this one as well as Chamber’s.

The lit window is unrelated, and belongs to the telephone exchange behind.

The notices I saw previously related to application to turn the place into a restaurant, and it seems this application has now been approved.

Planning – Planning Application Documents:

16/01475/DC | Use of vacant bank (Class 2) as restaurant (Class 3) and installation of external flue. | 2 Glasgow Road Baillieston Glasgow G69 6JX

There’s more than 50 seats inside, with external seating showing more than 20 outside.

Given that another restaurant opened nearby a few years back, it will be interesting to see if there is enough trade to support this sizeable venture.

I’ll definitely be watching with interest.

Airdrie Savings Bank

Airdrie Savings Bank

09/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Chambers conversion continued in the snow

While I was laid low during the snow of past week or so (I was out and got chilled by the Beast from the East BEFORE it was announced in the news – and it hit hard that day), and missed almost every opportunity to grab a pic of anything, it seems those working on the conversion of the old Chamber’s shop to a new home for BCU (Baillieston Credit Union) were made of stronger stuff, and work there progressed even while I wasn’t watching.

Also, looks like my guess about the little barber shop to left coming to the end of its days was right. It was demolished and cleared away while I was out of it.

The exterior seems to be getting a scrape in preparation for being rendered to make it look ‘new’.

The roof’s being replaced, and it looks as if the central ornamentation on the roof has been removed as well.

This seems to be the latest trendy fashion these days, to hide the original appearance of buildings being refurbished, and while I never saw this being done before, all the neighbouring houses to mine that sold during the past few years received this treatment. Some had the original rendering removed first, while others just had some tinted gunk trowelled over the original, and stone chips thrown at it.

Looks good the day after, but I’ll be watching.

In good old damp and rainy Scotland, if this is done with ordinary cement as the base, this creates a waterproof layer that cannot ‘breathe’. Once moisture gets trapped behind it can ‘blow’ out the surface, especially if moisture freezes behind and expands during winter.

I know this as a cowboy (who was jailed for 5 years for other offences discovered a few days after he finished patching some rendering on my house with concrete). The patches are indeed blowing out now, and separating from the wall.


Chambers Conversion Grows

Chambers Conversion Grows

08/03/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Chamber’s conversion continues in Baillieston

I almost missed this, although it’s hard to miss.

I wasn’t really looking after all the other changes, AND because the place has already had scaffolding up and down (but not over the facade, just the sides).

Also… It wasn’t obvious before, since I’m only here at night, but looking in the window of the former barber’s shop in the low building to the left shows it now appears to be boarded up, so I guess it has gone as well. The wooden panel padlocked over the entrance is probably also something of a clue.

I hadn’t anticipated this going as well, as there had been ads for part-time barbers in the window just before all this started. I guess there weren’t any takers.

Oh well, there is still another barber just across the road – although I haven’t been there during its opening hours, so don’t take my word for it before checking.

Chambers Conversion

Chambers Conversion


20/02/2018 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Baillieston Credit Union seems to be on the move

Bad timing meant no pic to back up my claim that it looked like the Baillieston Credit Union (BCU) might be the next occupant of the former Chamber’s lady’s clothes shop.

Better luck this time, and a nice clear view of the sign on the wall beside the building.

Chambers Wall Baillieston Credit Union

Chambers Wall Baillieston Credit Union

I keep referring to this, but it can still be amazing to see the difference the steady change from yellow sodium street lighting to white LEDs makes, as this is virtually a daytime pic taken in the ‘dark’ of night, a fact that only the dark sky sitting over the top of the wall confirms.

13/02/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The Rhindsdale Tavern has left the room

Looks like the last pic I took of Baillieston’s Rhindsdale Tavern open for business was not quite what it seemed…

It must have been its closing down party.

Last night, it was not only closed, but sealed, just to make sure nobody gets in.

Rhindsdale Tavern Gone

Rhindsdale Tavern Gone

A closer look at the above pic from last night will show that both the windows and doors have been secured and sealed.

And this is the sign on the door.

Rhindsdale Tavern Sealed

Rhindsdale Tavern Sealed

Guess I’ll have to keep an eye on this one now, to see what happens.

I don’t hold out much hope, given the Circle Bar, probably in a more prominent position disappeared not that long ago, and became a convenience store.

And the pub at the end of my own road (not all that far away), complete with function rooms that appeared to be doing regular trade, was boarded up over a year ago with an ‘Offers Welcome’ sign nailed over it – and is still the same derelict today. That one really was a surprise given how busy it was, and I didn’t even realise it had gone, genuinely there one day and gone the next, with a door similar to that bolted over the entrance.

Going from memory, I think that still leaves two pubs in the main street, and two betting shops (recall I mentioned one closing a little while back).

I think there’s two chip shops too.

Maybe I should just do a single big photo shoot of both sides of the street one day.

13/02/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Rhindsdale Tavern daylight bonus

Since I was there anyway, and it was open too, I thought I might as well grab an unusual DAYLIGHT shot of the Rhindsdale Tavern.

Night is more usual for me.

Funny to see a pic with… SKY in it.

That’s all.

Rhindsdale Tavern By Day

Rhindsdale Tavern By Day

Compare and contrast?

Rhindsdale Tavern Still Lives

Rhindsdale Tavern Still Lives

Actually, last night’s shot was a failure by my standards.


Look at the pub sign, obscured by the traffic lights. BASIC MISTAKE!

Not my mistake, but unavoidable as some guy was playing/exercising his ‘hound from Hell’ on the spot where I wanted to stand, and the way it was mauling the football it was destroying… I thought discretion, and best possible pic under the circumstances was the smart way to go,

05/02/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

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