Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

They always do stuff when I’m not looking

Got a (pleasant surprise) when I returned to Parkhead Cross recently.

Having becomes so used to dodging the scaffolding at the bottom of this building in recent years, it took a while for me to work out what had changed!

The missing scaffolding at ground level was the obvious difference, but then I realised the rest had gone. I’d become so used to the frame added to the top of the tower I’d stopped looking as it was so depressing to see it up there.

Now it’s all gone, and we can see this very attractive red sandstone building in the clear once more, without obstructions.

Parkhead Cross Restoration

Parkhead Cross Restoration

A closer look at the top of the tower, no longer decorated with scaffolding to hold it together.

Interesting to note they’ve lined the compass points with the sides of the building, which is quite close to reality, but I believe it should be a touch clockwise (as seen from above) to have them correctly aligned.

But it’s still near enough to be just fine for anyone that does look at it, and believes it.

Still, it’s better than it was, as the older pic (below) shows this feature was previously even further out, and rotated anti-clockwise from its new alignment.

Glasgow Parkhead Cross Restoration Detail

Glasgow Parkhead Cross Restoration Detail

From the archives, a view of the same thing with ‘extra bits’ – added after (if my memory is at all correct) a bit fell off, fortunately not hitting anyone just before it reached the ground.

Parkhead scaffold

Parkhead scaffold

When I checked, I found this was actually a B listed building, with some notes about the corner.

Crawford and Veitch, 1905 (dated). 4-storey and attic corner tenement with renaissance ornament and decorative sculpture, square corner towerv with distinctive bell-shaped cupola of Scots renaissance type.

I’ve never looked, but there also mention of surviving Art Deco tiles in one of the closes.

The scaffolding in the street was always in the way for a clear view, but I will have to have a closer look at the closes (sorry) to see if those tiles are on view, or sealed behind the security door most tenement closes have gained over the years.


September 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

An oldie in Oswald Street

I once thought it would be a nice idea to catch views of some the old surviving buildings in Glasgow.

That was so long ago, cameras only had film in them, and the electronic bits only controlled the exposure.

But even that far back, I gave the idea up after only two weeks (or weekends to be accurate) since it quickly became obvious, even then, that most of the crusty, wrinkly, old buildings were long gone, leaving (mostly) those that had survived with some sort of use, or those that were abandoned, derelict, and featureless. Utilitarian types with nothing to distinguish one from another. The type where a pic of one is a pic of all.


It’s still possible to find a few surprises, such as this fragment I spotted by chance in Oswald Street.

There’s a nice sandstone building to its left – but much of the rest is gone now, with new builds having taken most of the street over in recent years.

This is close to being a gap site.

Oswald Street Remnant

Oswald Street Remnant

It shows another ‘feature’ I once thought of wandering around the city and collection from old buildings, but I was too late for that one too, most having weathered to the extent that they were almost invisible to the camera, even if the eye could still make them out.

Almost gone, this is only visible evidence of the once common signs painted on many of these buildings in their day.

I looked at the rest of the façade, but the decayed surface had lost any details that might once have been visible.

Oswald Street Sign Remnant

Oswald Street Sign Remnant

The shop unit on the right hasn’t seen a decent/real occupant for years, and remains unoccupied.

I suspect if the two remaining units ever go, this would soon become a proper ‘gap site’ which would be easier to sell.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Remember this Argyle Street building?

I noted a long-abandoned building which seemed to have managed to survive despite the fact that it was lying empty.

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

The above was noted towards the end of 2017.

A few weeks ago I caught it looking a little different.

50 Argyle Street A

50 Argyle Street A

I couldn’t see or find anything obvious relating to what was happening, but now have come across more details.

Just three years ago plans were lodged to knock down the prominent B-listed former commercial premises on Argyle Street at Miller Street and build student accommodation.

A report at the time concluded, after intrusive investigation, that the building had “come to the end of its useful life”, was “incapable of repair short of complete dismantle/reconstruction” and should “therefore be demolished”.

That application was later withdrawn, the building changed owners, and now a new proposal to convert the upper floors into 21 flats has been drawn up. Retail space would continue in the ground floor and basement with three flats on each of the remaining levels.

A document submitted to Glasgow City Council by ZM Architecture explaining the new development states: “In 2015, the previous owners proposed to demolish the building and the justification for this was based on detailed findings and a structural /economic assessment of the repair works needed to deal with a corroded structural frame.

“The scaffold that has been erected around the building for advertising…has allowed our conservation team with engineers David Narro Associates , to make a detailed independent assessment of the issues highlighted and the conclusion we are reaching is more favourable and that the building can be saved.

“Scaffold access has allowed tests to be carried out, a full stone fabric condition survey and structural frame opening up. This work is ongoing and a detailed stone enabling contract is to be organised so that full refurbishment of the façade can be undertaken with known risks and methods for stone replacement and treatment for frame conversion.

More details can be found here.

HISTORIC Glasgow Building Judged To Have “Come To End Of Useful Life” Can Be Saved

August 19, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

They really are refurbing the Burrell building

While it’s handy to have the media reports on things that fall within one’s sphere of interests, it’s also slightly worrying that one must depend on the competence of the reporter or writer concerned.

While most are reputable, it’s always possible for an innocent mistake to be made in a report, or some detail to misinterpreted – both are thankfully rare, and nearly always corrected. But, while some are properly corrected (with an alert or acknowledgement of some sort), some media sources still just edit the original quietly, leaving the only clue to be a change to the publication, triggered by the edit.

Then there’s the more insidious ‘Sponsored Article’ which may really be an ‘Opinion Piece’ for some activists or agenda group masquerading as a legitimate article, or simply a blatant advert sneaking behind a similar masquerade. Thankfully, even if they have sold out by currying such drivel, most reputable media sources also flag such content (usually to be found at the foot of the article, together with the source or author’s name), but not until the end – so always check the end of suspicious content before reading, so you can choose to skip it.

It was a whimsical remark about trusting media tales that made me think about the above, after taking the opportunity to take a spin past the Burrell Collection, or rather its building, in Pollok Country Park recently. It’s no secret that the collection is currently closed while the building is upgraded, and the closure for the £66 million revamp is set to last for four years, from 2016 to 2020.

I didn’t manage to work out an easy way to get there (since being priced off the road), and didn’t manage a revisit before it closed, but found an acceptable solution recently, and took the chance to test it out, albeit on a really grotty evening.

So, I can say I’ve not only read about the Burrell’s refurb and upgrade, I’ve actually seen that it’s real!

Wish I’d thought of this long ago – it really is years (many) since I last saw the collection, now have another two years to wait, and may not last that long!

The building is ringed by a perimeter security fence.

Burrell Collection Building Works

Burrell Collection Building Works

And there’s no way you’re going to sneak in the front door either.

Burrell Collection Building SealedII

Burrell Collection Building Sealed

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

New Police Scotland building in Dalmarnock

While it may seem that I favour only old building as I collect the odd image or two around Glasgow, this is not actually true.

What is true is that I actively seek anything that has managed to survive, and record it before it disappears for whatever reason.

What is also true is that there are few modern buildings worth effort of ‘collecting’ in the east end of Glasgow. Most offerings are just mass-produced flats or housing, generally following the pattern of previous years, and perhaps only differing in the material and methods used. I just don’t get to the areas where the new building are going up around Glasgow, and the city centre. On the few occasions I’ve seen the city centre riverside area, I barely recognise it – I wouldn’t know what to treat as ‘new’.

I will grant exemption to that generalisation to the buildings constructed for the ‘Athletes Village’ for the silly Commonwealth Games of 2104. Although I did collect pics of a number of those new building once the security cordon was raised and the people of Glasgow were allowed back onto their own land, I never got around to pulling the collection together and using the pics.

I was probably still suffering the effect of having to keep walking past the disgusting ‘Red Shed’ aka Emirates Arena dumped on Parkhead. Still looks like a ghost town down there, with vast, empty car parks – and the only possible benefit being a health centre stuck on the back, part of the deal for building the shed, and razing the existing community facilities to make space.

Moving past that, there is something a little nicer, and probably more useful – a new (or not so new now) Police Headquarters building, delivered to replace the Pitt Street premises that were in the city centre, which was probably not ideal.

Apparently I should be referring to this as ‘Riverside East’ (is that ‘Sales & Marketing DepartmentSpeak for Dalmarnock?), perhaps trying to connect the lowly east end with Riverside in the west end, where Riverside Transport Museum lives.

Planned while the Scottish police were still Strathclyde Police and before Police Scotland arrived, the building is home for around 1,100 (police officers and civilian staff), and cost around £24 million.

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway Building

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway Building

Despite the appearance of four ‘layers to this structure, it actually has five floors within.

I’m sure this building will not be to everyone’s taste, but I like its simplicity, and easy appearance to the eye.

I don’t know any structural or operating details of the building, but assuming the environmental aspects have been adequately addressed, with all that open glazing, it must be nice to work in, and have a view.

In my time, I’ve been landed with too many laboratory and controlled environments, buried deep inside buildings, with absolutely NO connection to the outside world, let alone a window!

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway

Police Scotland Clyde Gateway

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Old survivor hangs on in French Street

Dating from 1889, built as a Barrowfield weaving factory (which included the buildings behind as the total works site), this survivor from the past features polychrome brick, and the sort of geometric pattern that Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson would have recognised.

Built for John French and Son, power-loom muslin manufacturers. Records show the polychrome brick decoration costing some £700 in 1891. That would be around £85,000 in 2018.

It’s nice to see some love extend to old building like this, still in use, not abandoned and decaying. Hopefully this will last.

Obvious features are the modern roof, which looks pretty good, and extensive structural bracing of the end wall.

Safe to assume that if that hadn’t been added at some point, and this building had not been some sort of occupation and been in use, it would have disappeared long ago.

The grey lighting on the day didn’t do the building many favours, and the polychrome bricks don’t look as bright as they could on a bright day, and the decorative brickwork (between the ground and first floor) is all but invisible in this low contrast scene.

French Street Weaving Factory

French Street Weaving Factory


July 29, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Baltic Street Thomas Stoddart (beds)

I’ve pictured this abandoned factory in the past, and after the command to “Send in the wreckers” to clear Dalmarnock for the dopey 2014 Commonwealth Games nonsense, remain surprised to see this (and the adjacent old building) were left standing, given the urgency with which adjoining land was cleared – then left barren, and still standing barren in 2018.

Funny how none of the people who made a fuss about the clearance back then have ever been heard of since.

Given how loudly they were shouting back then (and some demanding silly money), one might think they’d still be protesting today.

There is now a new school being built in the distance, and the ‘new’ old people’s home that was boarded up as soon as it was built now seems to be in use. Or is it just staffed? There was an episode of “Yes, Minister” where they had a terrific new hospital, with some 400 staff, and no problems – it also had no patients!

Back in Baltic Street, the Stoddart factory just seems to sit there, barely changing – if you don’t count the increasing amount of plant life it seems to be supporting these days.

Now that I’m getting better at correcting images for perspective, I though I’d have a quick run at this one, and correct the converging verticals which are hard to avoid with any reasonably tall building.

Baltic Street Stoddarts

Baltic Street Stoddarts

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Baltic Street update (still good)

Last time I wandered around Dalmarnock, I was a little glum to see that a little garage might have closed – or at least never seemed to be open whenever I was there.

There goes Dalmarnock

There’s better news after the most recent bit of wandering, and I can say it is still on the go.

And there’s a decent number of cars scattered around that are being worked on. Nice.

Now that Google has expanded its historic imagery, I can also add that the sign has been up there, just the same, since at least 2009.

One day, I’ll work up the courage to pop my head in the door and ask if they have any electricity in there.

I kid you not, the place looks as dark inside as it looks in the pic, despite that floor to roof door being open.

Baltic Street Garage

Baltic Street Garage

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

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

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