Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Peacock’s Tearooms

Oddly, this post isn’t actually about the subject (or some such confusing thought) – but more later.

I always have to stop and look at the derelict building shown below, and it’s only recently I learned it was originally Peacock’s Tearooms, with a glazed shop and entrance on the right, and another shop occupying the left third or so of the ground floor.

Above, old pics of Argyle Street show the tearoom, with tables and other decor visible.

Today, it is a derelict on the Buildings at Risk Register, with the upper floor disintegrating – note the scaffold poles poking the windows aside the two uprights – although the ground floor is still able to support a shop.

Although it is still standing, plans were submitted for its demolition and replacement by flats as recently as 2013, but this seems to have come to nothing as the upper floor continues to decay.

Former Peacock's Tearoom in Argyle Street

Former Peacock’s Tearoom in Trongate

I hadn’t looked for this detail before, so it seemed silly not to note them here.

The REAL reason I was about to make a post arose while I was just looking up at the derelict first floor while I was passing.

On this occasion the light, and where I was standing, were just right to show off a fine wrought-iron balustrade fitted to the parapet along the top edge of the adjacent building to the left of Peacock’s:

Warehouse left of Peacock's Tearoom Trongate

Warehouse left of Peacock’s Tearoom Trongate

There’s little info on the building, other than noting it was a warehouse.

It might have been part of the development mentioned for Peacock’s. but that was earmarked for demolition, the façade of the warehouse was earmarked for retention.

A little closer, and why not?

I continue to be impressed by digital image sensors, as detail that would have been lost due to strong backlighting with film (unless preplanned) can be seen in the balustrade urns, and without making any special exposure corrections.

And, if you think this looks distorted – you should have seen it before I played with it!



June 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

The changing Sanmex Chemical Works building

There a really interesting and attractive building (still) standing on Dalmarnock Road, just a short way from the bridge over the river, and near the big new Tesco that opened a little while ago.

Unless somebody tells me otherwise, I’ll assume this building was (or is, since the company is still in business) the company’s offices, since the factory itself lies and extends into the land behind this building.

Having seen a photograph of the place from 1966, a number of changes are apparent:

  • The gate on the left was not present, and the wall was flush with the façade.
  • The wall on the right (actually a later building) was not present, as there was a gate there.
  • A chimney rose from the rear left of the roof.
  • A complete upper storey and pitched roof has been trimmed from the block on the right.
  • The extreme right was a matching but smaller version of that on the left.
  • The street lamp is a recent addition (there was one next to the gate on the right).
  • The dark rectangle on the left face, running the height of the building, was a large vertical SAN-MEX sign, now blank.
  • Further signs identifying the business were painted between the two storeys on the right.

While the remaining façade is reasonably attractive, the rest of the building is less so, having been rendered over the original brickwork, water has been seeping behind this over the years, and it is discoloured and damaged.

As for the chemical works behind…

Sanmex International is a perfume retailer which supplies a range of fragrances!

That rings a bell, as I think I had to visit the place once in my life, and the smell was of bathroom soap.

Sanmex Dalmarnock

Sanmex Dalmarnock

Although I knew this area had changed considerably (and I don’t mean the clearance for the 2014 Commonwealth Shames), mainly from looking at the few remains of Dalmarnock Power Station (which was only a matter of metres from this spot, but even those few relics were surgically cleansed for the Shames), I had no idea just how extensive the industrialisation of this area had been until I look at old pics of Sanmex, which naturally included the surrounding area.

It was almost saturated with works, and the tenements were buried amongst them, and the many rail tracks.

If you are interested, but have never looked up the online records and pics, it is well worth the effort.

This area has changed MASSIVELY in only a few decades.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, 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

Alternative Belgrove Hotel view

While most views of Glasgow’s well-known Bellgrove Hotel tend to favour a frontal view of the building and feature the name, I noticed that the demolition of what was quite new housing on the Gallowgate left a clear view of the side elevation of the hotel.

For those unfamiliar with this Glasgow icon, I should offer full disclosure and identify it as a Men’s Hostel, one which can be found to attract adverse publicity in the local media.

I don’t usually see this view, but found it by chance when taking a shortcut across the ground where the house had once stood.

This view would have been impossible, even when the hotel was first built, as a street ran along the side of hotel, with tenements across from it blocking any view, as can be seen in original B&W views from the past.

Bellgrove Hotel side

Bellgrove Hotel side

More usually seen as (one my old pics – this tatty view is now refurbished to match the above):

Bellgrove Hotel

Bellgrove Hotel

Part of the refurb included the addition of glass panels to the doors, revealing a surprisingly well-lit reception.

The downside is that I now have to remember to cross the road when passing – the last three times I passed the new glass doors I found it was a handy way for a ‘resident’ to stay out of sight and jump out just as you get near, and ask for 2 pence.

Seriously, 2 PENCE!

That’s really what I get asked for if I’m careless and forget to cross the road before reaching the door.

Best avoided at weekends too, if there’s a game on at Parkhead, in which case the residents just stand outside asking for money as the mass of fans pass.

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

The Monteith

Possibly another one of those things that can be passed many times without being seen.

This is a building called The Monteith.

While referred to as a hotel in records, it was really a men’s hostel. Reports of its performance can be found online at the moment, and unlike some such hostels which are still operating in Glasgow, appears to have had a reasonable reputation.

It can, for the time being at least, be found at the corner of Monteith Row and Monteith Place, near The Barras. But, given it is the last single standing building in an area that has been cleared of all similar structures, and has been closed and sealed at some time in the past few weeks, I think its days must be numbered. It has a minimal entry in Canmore, and is not mentioned in the Buildings at Risk register.

At a guess, it will disappear quietly and without much fuss, and there may even be plans in hand, since I saw some small diggers working on the surrounding ground not too long ago. It may have been unrelated work, but then again, it was happening just before the place was closed and sealed.

It’s probably been hashed around inside, and would be nightmare to re-use, given how changing building regulations can force radical restructuring to maintain compliance, things just become uneconomic unless grants are flowing freely. Simplest option is to give up and close.

The Monteith

The Monteith

This was actually another exercise in perspective and distortion, as I couldn’t find a position to get properly inline with the centreline of the building.

In this case, while the software would automatically convert the skewed view into a near perfect rectangle, this often results in a view which just looks ‘wrong’.

They eye is used to seeing a perspective view, and having perfectly vertical sides on a building is impossible, unless looking at plans.

So, in this case I took over and introduced a deliberate convergence into the view, to recreate the inward slope of the sides which is seen when looking towards the top of the building. It really does make the pic look a lot better, and more natural.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Former Scottish BBC HQ becomes Building at Risk

The old BBC HQ building in Queen Margaret Drive has entered the Buildings at Risk register:

BBC Buildings (Former), SCT Ref No 4826, Glasgow

Development plans have fallen through as cash evaporates, although the plan has not been dropped as such.

Demolition has removed much of the rear of the structure, leaving the frontage, but reports indicate the metal thieves see easy picking and seem to have been raiding the roof, leaving the structure open to the elements, and therefore subsequent damage.

via Former BBC HQ becomes Building at Risk – SeSco.

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

New proposals for Vinicombe Street garage

vinicombe garage

The garage in Vinicombe Street

It’s now well over a year since we posted some thoughts regarding the Vinicombe Street garage which used to be home to one of Arnold Clark’s premises. Dating back to around 1906, the Vinicombe Street garage, which now seems to be taking its name from the Botanic Gardens located a short distance away, is the oldest surviving motor garage in Glasgow.

When Arnold Clark finally closed their premises, and proposed demolishing the structure, there was a storm of protest, and in the following period the proposal for 35 flats to be built on the site was withdrawn, and Historic Scotland upgraded the listing of the garage from B to A status, so protecting it further.

New proposals, prepared by Glasgow based architects Keppie, would see restoration, refurbishment and structural strengthening of the main garage building on Vinicombe Street and Vinicombe Lane, as well as a large section to the rear of the building. Also proposed is that a central section to the rear is demolished and rebuilt, since it is structurally unsound. The front element of the building, including the decorative tile façade and other important architectural features, would be retained, strengthened and restored.

The revised plans also saw the number of residential units reduced from 35 to 20, described as the minimum need to make the plan economically viable.

It’s nice to see a Scottish/Glasgow based firm of architects get a look in at some work for a change. I find it endlessly tiresome that tales of architectural projects in Scotland seem to tell of foreign firms being handed the job, as if there was no Scottish firms of capable of taking on such projects – or is it simply no longer considered “kewl” to employ local talent?

It will be interesting to see if this proposal goes through – presumably after some fiddling to the detail of course – or if the undercurrent of anti-Arnold Clark types surface, and just act as “spoilers”.

It would be a shame if they were allowed to throw a spanner in the works, and the garage became another building cursed by A listing, with a stalled development proposal, left to lie and rot, and eventually succumb to vandals and arson.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Bute Burgh Buildings

Bute council buildings 2006 © Zak

Bute council buildings 2006 © Zak

Having offered a glimpse of the former council buildings on the Isle of Bute the other day, while mentioning the possibility that the town’s bell could face an uncertain end, maybe even as scrap, I thought it only fair to show the bell’s home for the past 174 years, since 1834.

This was the council buildings, which began as the Burgh Buildings in 1832 when the island itself was a constituency, a status it held until 1918, and returned its own MP to Westminster until that year. The Isle of Bute was also the seat of the County of Bute – which included the famous A, B, and C, the islands of Arran, Bute and the Cumbraes – dissolved in the local government reorganisation of 1975, with the area now falling within the remit of Argyll and Bute Council.

The buildings cost some £40,000 when constructed in 1832, and included the county and burgh offices, a jail, and a courthouse.

Now only a retained facade to provide a frontage for modern flats, the building’s official residents gradually migrated to new homes over the past few years, and the Sheriff Court now resides within Eaglesham House on
Mountpleasant Road.

There are some later shots of the retained interior and work in progress in the Housewrecks gallery.

See more of the island’s buildings in Zak’s Bute Buildings gallery.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rothesay Pavilion 70th anniversary

Rothesay Pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion

Rothesay Pavilion marked its 70th year this July, having opened on July 1, 1938.

It quickly gained popularity as a wartime venue for dances and similar events, as the Isle of Bute hosted a major naval base during World War II, HMS Varbel, within the Kyle of Bute Hydro, a grand hotel which did not fare so well in the survival stakes, and was demolished some years ago – leaving only its gateposts and a patch of grass to mark its existence.

The building has been listed since 1988, and its category changed from B to A on April 21, 2005, in recognition of being one of the most significant pleasure buildings of the style in the country, and having survived in remarkably intact condition. While it has seen some modification over the years, and lost a number of period details and features, its appearance is substantially unaltered. It has also remained in continuous use during its life.

The Pavilion is owned and operated by Argyll & Bute Council, and is available for hire, and is described as offering spacious and flexible accommodation for a wide range of events and performances. Sadly, even being on an island does little to prevent troublemakers and criminal causing problems, and youth related activities such as discos and similar events are no longer welcome, having been the scenes of various troubles, with violence, drink and drug related problems, and police attendance finally resulting in the end of such events, at least for the time being.

The upper floor hosts a cafe, but this too has ceased operating in recent years, and was still closed the last time we had a wander around the deserted building.

Despite the positive note regarding the building’s listed status, this means nothing in regard to maintaining the building, it provides only status, not the funding needed to go with it, and the Pavilion is in real danger of being lost if not maintained and refurbished. As recently as April 2008, The Buteman reported that pavilion supporters were going to have to fight with other projects if they wanted a chance of getting a share of available funding.

Being worthy and wanted is no guarantee of success, and the Winter Gardens lay derelict for years before they were finally rescued from impending demolition, and restored to become the town’s Discovey Centre for tourists, and cinema too, now that these have all been demolished – also once fine examples of Art Deco architecture like the pavilion, and replaced by ‘luxury flats’. Sound familiar?

You can visit the Rothesay Pavilion web page, which has a gallery of pictures taken in 2001.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | 1 Comment

Vinicombe Street garage

vinicombe garage

The garage in Vinicombe Street

Built between 1906-12, a historic garage in Vinicombe Street, Glasgow looks set to become flats and retail space if proposals regarding revised plans are found to be acceptable at a meeting later this week.

The garage was built in the days when motor cars were the exclusive playthings of the wealthy, and treated with the respect they deserved by the owner’s chauffeur. Unlike today’s attitude which sees cars as the Spawn of Satan, the early days saw the car being afforded a degree of respect, and garages were provided where they could be kept safe and tended to, while their owner was elsewhere. The Vinicombe Street garage is believed by some experts to be the oldest multi-storey car park in the world, and was the oldest surviving garage in Glasgow, until it closed.

The garage used to serve as one of Arnold Clark’s premises, but its location in a side street off Byres Road and Great Western Road meant that it wasn’t an ideal site (which I can attest to as it was also the Parts Department for one of my cars, and visiting the place just to pick something up was a trial, needing careful planning to try and make the sortie when there was lull in the traffic).

Scotland seems to spurn success, and Sir Arnold Clark, and the Arnold Clark garage(s) is no exception, with some individual out to vilify both – they may be right, but I’m not really interested. No business is perfect, and kicking up a fuss against a big business is better “business” than kicking a wee corner shop with no money. When Vinicombe Street was closed, the initial proposal was for demolition, and a new  four-storey build incorporating flats, cottages, retail space, and a restaurant. This brought local objections, and resulted in the building being raised from Category B to Category A listed status.

Want to bet that wouldn’t have happened if Sir Arnold hadn’t filed the original proposal? I reckon he’s smarter than the knockers give him credit for.

Not only will the new plan retain the building, specialist companies have been sourced to restore the majority of the building’s architectural features, including one which will use specially commissioned tiles, to rebuild the building’s frontage.

Doesn’t sound like the actions of someone who’s arm is being twisted up their back to do something, or keep a building they don’t want, but what do I know?

June 18, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Corrugated Iron Buildings

Following the recent offer for sale of a Corrugated Iron house, it was interesting to learn more about these old structures.

They come in many forms, and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to learn that the Portable Buildings, as they were known at the time, were available in a wide range of configurations, ranging from simple houses, all the way to dance halls and churches.

Dating back to their beginnings in the 1820s, their name/description is possibly a little confusing, and even unfair, as the Corrugated Iron referred to in their build is not the flimsy, general purpose steel sheeting we recognise today, but was then actually Wrought Iron, galvanised to resist the weather, relatively cheap, and able to produce a quickly assembled structure.

They are now quite rare, although there may be more around than is generally recognised, since once they are painted, there is little to differentiate them from a conventional build until the paint or any cladding is removed, and if they’ve have been extended with more modern materials, then they are even harder to recognise at a glance.

More common are structures made of the modern corrugated steel sheeting, often used to produce small porches and lean-to sheds, and the well known Nissen hut and similar structure during World War II.

Something else to keep an eye out for when touring around, and maybe even drop us a note of the location and a pic if spotted, as we have already noted some interesting structures on our Main Site page, and there will be more, ranging from ruined derelicts, through surviving originals, all the way to modern renovations.

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Civilian, Site News | , , , | Leave a comment


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