Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Cambuslang Lodge pic in a narrow street

That went surprisingly well.

I’ve looked at a lodge building in a Cambuslang side street – Tabernacle Lane – and wondered how to take a pic.

It’s a narrow street. Two cars could pass without a fight, although there’s only room for one since the street usually has them parked along one side, leaving the other side as a single lane for access either way. As a pure guess, that mean only about 5 metres from the façade of the building until your back hits the opposite wall.

A 24 mm lens captures some, but this is most it can see, in a single shot.

Cambuslang Lodge Wide

Cambuslang Lodge Wide

Time for some magic, and a test to see how good it might be.

By taking a number of pics across the façade, these can be stitched together to form a view of the whole.

I got quite close, but I’m still finding it difficult to guess how much extra I need to include around the edges, to avoid missing any coverage, and the resultant black areas. In this case, I was just a little short of material in the bottom left and right corners.

Cambuslang Lodge Stitched

Cambuslang Lodge Stitched

On the other hand, I DID get the whole façade, the missing parts are outside the desired area.

And it’s considerably better than was achieved with a single wide-angle shot.

Unlike most panoramas, which usually only combine images horizontally, I can also do this vertically, and for any number of images, but found the less I use, the better. The single wide shown first is actually one of the shots merged into the stitched view.

Just my luck as usual – as I was leaving, a woman arrived and removed the car blocking the view of centre bottom of the building.


June 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

50 Argyle Street – Derelict Bank of Scotland – redevelopment underway

Although I’d read about this building having been bought, and redevelopment set to begin, sceptical me forgot about it until this chance pass one recent night.

It’s lain unused for so long, nicely decorated with some murals, that even reading such news is no guarantee of action, as a look at similar reports will confirm if you pay attention to them. Good ideas unfortunately become bad ideas when the changing demands and promises of market prediction come into play.

But, this one seems to have arrived in reality.

As usual, I can’t be bothered hunting through the planning applications to see what’s being done, so I’ll just be trying to remember to have the occasional look and see what eventually arrives.

I ended up with two pics.

First was a wide or landscape view, not too bad for perspective distortion (corrected) but couldn’t really catch the full height of the building.

50 Argyle Street A

50 Argyle Street A

I tried the same view in tall or portrait orientation, which gave a little more of the taller part of the building, but was harder to correct and process.

50 Argyle Street B

50 Argyle Street B

This one proved educational for me.

I normally work with the hi-res original, which is huge compared to the version that ends up in the blog, and carry out most of the edits there.

I’ve always wondered if the difference was visible if the edits were carried out on a smaller version.

I got the order of work wrong with this, and had to redo all the edits (I had reduced the size before realising I hadn’t corrected the alignment) – the final result was embarrassing mush.

I guess it DOES make a difference – especially with low light images.

May 27, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

There goes Dalmarnock

I was never hugely familiar with Dalmarnock, but did come to recognise quite a lot of it when I started walking there some years back.

I almost remember seeing a couple of high flats that once stood there, but saw more of them as piles of rubble coming out of a rock crusher after they were demolished.

I found a school there, closed, derelict, and also demolished shortly after I tripped over it.

There was one factory that managed to survive in Springfield Road (my company even did some work in it, but I never visited) – until the dopey 2014 Commonwealth Games had it eliminated. A pity, since it was vaguely historic and a little interesting, being nicely built in sandstone – but that didn’t save it as it stood in the way of the athlete’s village, so became a ‘Dead Man Walking’ and gave its life for the silliness.

Nearly all the sandstone tenements in the area were eliminated, only a few still stand at Dalmarnock Bridge. A few early 20th century houses that had somehow been missed in an earlier round of demolition were mopped up at the same time.

While I never saw the power station that sat next to the bridge, I did see the wall that once bordered the river, and even had jetties for coal deliveries (I think that only happened once in its life though – rail was the normal route. But, like the power station, that vanished too, again thanks to  the stupid Commonwealth Games.

There was one Stoddart’s bed factory down there, but that stands long abandoned and derelict now.

Probably thanks to that larger building, some smaller industrial units have survived alongside.

But a recent wander there suggests they’ll be for the chop soon, as they were occupied, but it’s so long since I was there during working hours it looks to me as if they are now abandoned too.

I used to spy inside this body shop as I walked past, there looked to be some interesting chassis lying around, as if someone did some serious racing as their hobby. But, the last few times I passed it didn’t even look as if they had power – although it was open and they were working, there were no lights on.


I’ve no idea, but the place has been closed whenever I’ve passed recently, and the state of the old sign suggests “There’s nobody home”.

Baltic St Body Shop

Baltic St Body Shop

The sign.

Rough Sign

Rough Sign

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The Monteith (most of it)

I first grabbed a pic of The Monteith back in January 2017 – when I noted it was boarded up, and suggested that it was not likely to survive, having been modified for use as a men’s hostel.

This means the interior is likely to have been extensively modified over many years to provide accommodation (like a guest house or hotel conversion, only not as nice), and restoring or repurposing it would probably be horrendously expensive – with the added costs of meeting current building legislation.

I took another pic in January 2018 – but it looked just the same, and was just as boarded up and derelict.

I haven’t been back since, so this view taken 5 months later (not surprisingly) confirms my prediction of January 2017 with the old hotel building surrounded by scaffolding to make sure it is safely – erased.

It never really had a chance.


Don’t miss one of the reasons for its former existence as a men’s hostel, which was conveniently left in sight at the bottom left of the pic.

(If you actually think I staged this – do you really think I’m even going to touch a bottle which has had the lips of a Glasgow ned around it?)

That said, as I reached the Crown Plaza Hotel on the Clyde Walkway last night, there was a teenage girl hauling a huge backpack sitting in front of it – and nursing a (large) bottle of Buckfast.

Tourist backpacker?

Following advice given on local things not to be missed?

The Monteith

The Monteith

The other side, in case it’s gone before I pass again.

The Monteith Demolition View

The Monteith Demolition View

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Old buildings in Calton

I’ve largely given up on the potential for visiting or studying old buildings in Glasgow.

Most that were derelict or abandoned have been razed in recent years, with the reasonably reasonable aim of improving the appearance of the city, and making it more attractive.

At the same time, I think a number (especially along the river and close to the city centre) which were only recently vacated (as businesses closed) joined them, presumably on the basis that they would never be occupied again, and were not suitable for conversion to flats.

While a number remain, they’re probably earmarked for conversion to accommodation, or will join the first two groups I mentioned if plans fall through, or they’ve not already been converted (not forgetting some are still in use).

So, it’s nice to dive down some streets that are not exactly on the ‘beaten track’ or normal routes, where it’s still possible to find some oldies.

I found this pair down Stevenson Street in the Calton,

The first one started life around 1914, as a grocery warehouse for Andrew Cochrane & Son Ltd, with an office block to the right.

In those days, the growing population of Glasgow helped several large firms of grocers and provision merchants to grow and open branches all over the city, and they needed to warehouse their stock. Those companies set high standards of hygiene and value for money. The firm was still there in 1966., but like most of those multiple grocers and provision merchants were swallowed up by larger concerns in the 1950s and 1960s, as the pattern of grocery shopping moved towards supermarkets.

The two blue signs identify two different occupants: John C. Walker Ltd, Established 1888 (contemporary with Cochrane); and Kemray Hair Care Products. The latter seems to be long gone, with no online references noted.

20 June 2016: Local planners advise building warrants for the demolition of the two Cochrane warehouses has been approved.

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Not much better in some respects, but since I had to take a wonky wide-angle shot to get it all in, I took a linear shot as well. Maybe better for scale.

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Masonic hall

Adjacent to the warehouse is an old masonic hall, built after the warehouse and dated to 1936 from a foundation stone in the front wall.

Stevenson Street Masonic Hall 1936

Stevenson Street Masonic Hall 1936

October 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Turnbull Building resurfaces

Recently, while walking along George Street, I thought things looked ‘different’.

It took a moment to work out just what had caught my eye, but I eventually realised that the barriers and fences which had been screening the Alexander Turnbull Building for the past few years were coming down – an obstacle in place since around 2015.

From the original story about the building’s redevelopment, it should now be student accommodation with 83 en-suite studio bedrooms, a gym, TV room, and study. Strathclyde University bought the building back in 1975, before which time it had been the offices of a tobacco company, and used as a warehouse.

The architects noted that the internal space was compromised and that the existing roof was in poor condition. In order to maximise the usable space, the existing roof and chimneys were removed and replaced with a modern lightweight roof extension which carried on the existing vertical lines of the building. Modifications were carried out on the ground floor, with a shopfront, hardwood timber screens, and larger doors to increase its usability.

I can’t recall the interior (singularly unmemorable I guess), but I did have to attend a short series of lectures as part of the business section of my course at Strathclyde, and I do have memories of being in a very small room with no windows. Other than that, the place was pretty much an anonymous black hole on George Street, with little more than the sign above the door indicating it was part of the university.

It’s hard to get a decent pic. It’s a tall building with no option to ‘step back a bit’ – shops and others building line across the road.

A decent wide-angle lens would help, but be a tad expensive.

As it was, I ended up taking about a dozen shots across the façade, and stitched these together to get my shot.

It also looks as if my perspective correction tool only offers pincushion correction (it doesn’t actually specify). While the final stitch has maintained the verticals with reasonable accuracy, the horizontal distortion remains strong. Applying my usual perspective correction to seemed to be working… until I noticed the sides were being curved to the same degree as the roof was being straightened, with no options to adjust these separately. Oddly, this is the first time I’ve seen this effect.

I guess I’ll have to hunting for a free correction tool for barrel distortion.

I’ve got other image distortion tools, but they are entirely manual, and just take too long use accurately.

Regardless of the bendy pic, it’s still nice to see that a building can be refurbished and repurposed, rather than being razed.

Turnbull Building

Turnbull Building

Frank Burnet and Boston, architects, 1897. 6-storey and attic, red sandstone ashlar Baronial office building. Irregular 7-bay elevation with squat 2-stage tower rising from eaves to right. Altered ground floor with large vehicle entrances to end bays, central main entrance with polished pink granite surround, consoled pedimented rouch-arched doorway. Sculpted tympanum, depressed arch fanlight.

All windows bipartite with fixed upper part, narrower at end bays. All windows modern pivot plate-glass. Cornice over ground, mutule cornice over 1st, 3rd and 4th floors with windows divided by giant order engaged composite columns. Heavy cornice over 4th. To right, octagonal turret with bracketted (sic) balustraded parapet. Brick flanks, some box dormers, slate roofs.

Information from Historic Scotland, 6 September 2012.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Seldom seen sculpture hidden in back street – Scottish Ambulance Service

After the clues (first, second, third) the answer.

The Scottish Ambulance Service building is in Maitland Street, near the National Piping Centre in the adjoining McPhater Street.

This pic shows the sculpture that started the clues, and the red cross that symbolises the building and service.

However, as noted earlier, this is now derelict, having originally been sited here as an emergency centre for use during a disaster or similar.

Now, it’s a potential disaster as it can be found in the Buildings at risk Register.

It notes the building origin and past:

Glasgow Corporation offered the St Andrews Ambulance Association the site at Cowcaddens for the Ambulance Association and the St Andrew’s and Red Cross Scottish Ambulance Service. The two services were linked by an integrated lower block although the linking door itself has now been blocked up. While the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association continues to occupy its half with the principal façade to Milton Street, the Scottish Ambulance Service who took over statutory provision of ambulances in 1974 now occupies the other half to Maitland Street.

The Cowcaddens site is significant as it was specifically planned to contain emergency services within one compact area. This continues today (2004) with the police station and fire station located in adjacent blocks. The contractor Logincon Ltd went into liquidation in 1970 and Drummond Lithgow were appointed to continue the work. The building was opened by HM the Queen Mother on the 26th June 1970 and the plaque then unveiled is located in the main hall. Recreational competitions amongst the emergency service staff and others were a frequent occurrence in the building. The hoist in the main hall was used to assist with setting up emergency situations. (Historic Scotland).

But by 2010 (first risk record) it was noted to be on offer for sale or lease, and reports now indicate it is decaying and deteriorating for lack of maintenance.

Scottish Ambulance Service building

Scottish Ambulance Service building

This is the more usual view as seen from Cowcaddens Road, with the adjacent Piping Centre just out of sight to the right.

Scottish Ambulance Centre 2

Scottish Ambulance Centre

I have to admit it was something of a surprise to spot this building for the first time a few years back.

I seldom have any reason to walk around this far from the city centre and the shops, so had just decided to wander around – and got a reward for doing so.

It’s a pity this area is now rather isolated, with few reasons for anyone to cross over Cowcaddens Road. Apart from the aforementioned Piping Centre, it looks as if it’s mostly flats. The rest looks fairly deserted and derelict  –  but to be fair, I’ve not had the opportunity to go back and have a closer look.

It’s always a shame when the commissioning occupant leaves a building such as this, purpose designed for their particular operation. It makes it difficult for anyone else to take it over, as the chances are it will need a complete and costly refurbishment to make it fit for purpose, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also for usability and functionality, making it even more expensive and unlikely.

With no VAT relief on such costs, it becomes easy to see why many apparently sound building end up being razed to make way for new build, which does come with various tax, and other, benefits can which ultimately make it a better option.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Seldom seen sculpture hidden in back street – clue 3

Following on from Monday’s first clue to the location of a sculpture and its building

And yesterday’s second clue

Today’s offering is a more obvious clue, and is mounting high on the building.

It may not face the city centre either, but at least is side-on, so is, at least, not totally hidden.

As a further hint, I’d say it’s a shame that a building created in the 1970s, and a pretty good-looking one at that (to me at least) is already an abandoned derelict considered ‘At Risk’ barely 40 years later, well, I’d say we’re doing something wrong.

It’s rather like St Peter’s Seminary, but at least we know the various reasons which led to that failure.

Today’s clue…

Oddly, very much like yesterday’s, only different…

Glasgow Big X 2

Glasgow Big X 2

No more clues – remaining details would give it away since they would include words!

Reveal will be the day after tomorrow, on Friday.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Seldom seen sculpture hidden in back street – clue 2

Following on from yesterday’s first clue to the location of a sculpture and its building

This is a more obvious clue, especially to anyone familiar with the area.

That said, despite the size and prominence of this feature, it is even MORE hidden than the sculpture chosen as the feature for this short series of posts. In fact, it is actually completely invisible from the city centre side as it is on the OPPOSITE side of the building, so faces AWAY from the city.

That’s a bit of a shame, especially since it could disappear – being on a derelict building ‘At Risk’.

It could be sold and demolished to make way for something more… useful… since it has not found a buyer, or been converted for some other purpose in the past few years. Even plans to refurbish it proved groundless, apparently applying to the adjacent structure only, omitting this one.

Enough for today – another bit as a clue tomorrow.

Glasgow Big X

Glasgow Big X

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Seldom seen sculpture hidden in back street

I came across a building (which I can’t describe in this post, but will do later) in an area of Glasgow that is now quite isolated, but was originally selected as it gave necessary access and space for its purpose.

Today, changes to the surrounding area mean that the poor old head has to be scratched for a moment or two, just to work out how to get to the building when looking at it from the nearest main road – well I did, since the spot is not one I’m not too familiar with, and it’s also on the opposite side of the road from what could be referred to as the ‘busy city centre’, and that road can be a busy one to cross if you have no real reason. I usually don’t.

On the plus side, I found they had at least provided a path through some trees and bushes, so it’s not necessary to follow the road, or go hiking.

Pic below is detail of the sculpture mentioned, clipped from a larger pic.

Do you recognise it?

I’ll add another detail from the building tomorrow. Incidentally, it’s now abandoned and derelict, and I see is also now considered to be ‘At Risk’.

Glasgow Sculpture X

Glasgow Sculpture X

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Salvation Army building in Tollcross Road

When I collect pics of interesting buildings I can usually find some sort of reference in archives to their history, and get an idea of when they were built and who was responsible for them.

This one is in Tollcross Road, not far from Parkhead Cross, but other than what can be seen on the façade, that’s about as much as I’ve ever come across, or can say about it.

As far as I can tell, apart from the façade, the rest of the building appears to fairly utilitarian, and is really just a hall with a decorative front.

The ‘doo’ (Glaswegian for pigeon) eyeing up the door looks just about as mystified as me about this building’s past.

It doesn’t even have some sort of date stone, so the best indications of its age are the Art Deco style letters carved above the entrance, and the pair of Art Nouveau stained-glass windows above that. Windows and doors below are modern refurbishments.

So, guess broadly around the first third of the 20th century, and this is no surprise, given the age of similar building in the area.

Tollcross Road Salvation Army Building

Tollcross Road Salvation Army Building

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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