Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S48

No news this week (at least not in the feeds that I see), so I thought I’d try to lighten things a little, especially after last weeks’ fairly miserable and unhelpful article (or was it an ‘Opinion Piece’, or OP?).

You may, or may not, if such things don’t interest you, be aware of the current refurbishment underway at Rothesay’s classic art deco pavilion

Beginning with the closure of the building back in 2015, the location (which has seen even worse weather than usual), a ceiling collapse (which exposed hidden asbestos), and the discovery of areas of the building in even poorer condition than surveys indicated, has resulted in delays to the project, and significant cost increases to deal with them.

An initial budget of £8 million has risen to £14 million, with the additional costs being underwritten by the local council, and other fundraisers.

The opening is still scheduled for this year, but has been moved from its original date (first set for 2017, before the full extent of the complications was learned) of July 2019 to 03 September 2019. I’ll be a little surprised if that works, or if does, but there’s still a lot to be done before it’s all complete and the last contractor leaves.

While I’m not able to be on the island (something I once did regularly), I’ve been able, at least, to watch as work progressed on the outside of the pavilion building, thanks to the pics shared by Zak as he wanders around the Isle of Bute. I’m trying to get back for a look, and can’t believe this year has reached September and I’ve still failed miserably to even get close. Oh well 😦

This week’s pics included a view that made me think the pavilion was trying to make the Mackintosh Building feel a little better, as it has been wearing scaffolding that looks almost as extensive as that shrouding the Mackintosh.

This is how it looked this week (although that crane has now left the site).

Rothesay Pavilion August Scaffold

Rothesay Pavilion August Scaffold

There was even more scaffolding previously, as seen in April, making it look even more like its Glasgow cousin.

Rothesay Pavilion April Scaffold

Rothesay Pavilion April Scaffold

As always, thanks to Zak for these pics, more of which can be seen in his collection here.

And usually updated daily here.

A reminder of the Mackintosh Building.

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding


Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street

Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street

01/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S47

In the last summary, I noted a certain Glasgow MP whose name I keep seeing pop up on more media opportunities than most.

This time, I’m looking an article which I really can’t decide helps or hinders the future of the Mackintosh Building, but I get the feeling would (if I were to go through it) not be favourable towards the board of the Glasgow School of Art.

I find such articles, where I get the feeling that the writer is suggesting the board didn’t care about the building, to be irritating in the extreme.

While I can understand suggestions that mistakes were made, I can’t really believe anyone seriously believes those in charge somehow planned and allowed some mishap (not necessarily a fire) to happen on their watch.

I’ve been a director, and in control/responsible for a company and scores of people’s livelihoods.

Unlike those who threw stones at me and accused me of doing wrong, and making corporate decisions they couldn’t understand, I was in possession of all the facts, knowledge of the finances, responsibilities, and commitments which had to be satisfied. All things which extended much further than any of those critics’ scope, where they only had their own single issue to deal with, and couldn’t see or understand why THEIR problem wasn’t the one being given priority.

There’s a distasteful paragraph in the article (to my mind at least)…

What tourists learn now is very different. Recently overheard from a double decker tour bus on Sauchiehall Street, in view of scaffolding up the hill, incredulous words over the guide’s microphone: “…in 2014, and AGAIN in 2018!” If it weren’t actually true, it might so surreal as to be funny, but it’s still a shock to think the building burned down twice in four years.

Who is the Glasgow School of Art really for? – Laura Waddell

What relevance has the script of a tour guide got to with this?

It’s job is to be interesting, not even factual.

And if we’re considering factual content…


Sorry Laura – your credibility just evaporated at that point.

It may have suffered two fires, 2014 may have been a bad fire, a very bad fire, but regardless of what MIGHT have happened, the building did not burn down.

Maybe that line answered my opening question too, when I couldn’t decide if it was intended to help… or hinder.

Mackintosh Scott Street

Mackintosh Scott Street

25/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S46

Something a little different this week, as we move from consideration of the fire(s) and move onto intrigue – and a certain MP whose names seems to pop up in the media with some regularity these days.

I could be wrong, but with a crappy memory like mine, anything you can remember between appearances must be appearing fairly often.

Seventy staff have left Glasgow School of Art since the building suffered a second fire amid accusations of bullying and intimidation.

Forty staff have resigned since the blaze at the world-famous building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, while 30 have been made redundant.

Six have signed confidentiality agreements with pay-offs to departing staff totalling £210,000.

It is unclear, however, if figures from the school’s HR department include the resignation of director Tom Inns who, sources suggest, received £250,000 when he left suddenly last year.

Investigations continue into risk management at the school before it was destroyed by fire in June last year and a report from by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on the cause and origin of the second fire is expected within weeks.

MP Paul Sweeney believes pay-offs and confidentiality agreements must be scrutinised as official inquiries continue into the blaze and management of famous art school.

He said: “This speaks to a culture that is clearly not transparent. Light is the best disinfectant and a full independent public inquiry is long overdue.”

A former staff member at the school said many colleagues had left because of the management culture, including allegations of bullying and a lack of leadership from the art school board.

Seventy staff leave art school after second fire

Since this could go legal, I’d better not comment – or just suggest thinking of alternative reason for their departures is also valid.

I’ve taken a few spins by the remains of the old place, but other than some detail changes around the edges, the view is now pretty static, and taking more pics is pretty pointless as the changes would be next to impossible to see.

I think the perimeter has been further tightened, and some access gates removed from the fence.

It’s all pretty quiet to, with the most activity I saw recently being a (polite) comment emanating from one of the Portakabins (presumably housing some site security) as a girl walked up the hill during one of the now long distant heatwave days we had a few weeks ago.

Mackintosh Scott Street

Mackintosh Scott Street

18/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mildly interesting view from Yorkhill

During my recent wander through Yorkhill, I climbed the (nor very big) hill to the hospital for a look.

Sadly, there wasn’t much to be seen there either, but I did think the view from the hill was a little more interesting.

At top left is a different view of the old Pontecorvo Building (still no obvious news of its fate seen, but it must surely be slated for demolition), which can be seen to be decaying and falling apart now that it is derelict and abandoned.

From this viewpoint, an intriguing covered balcony can be seen just under the roof level.

I wonder if there was a technical reason for this open area, since most of the services tend to occupy this upper area, or if it was a privileged area few lucky people to wander out onto, and enjoy the view?

Perhaps it was Professor Guido Pontecorvo’s (1907-1999) penthouse suite, a perk of his job and position.

However, what really caught my eye at first was the glazed area that can be seen in the centre of this pic, with the planters making a nice little roof garden for the occupants.

Not obvious from the view, this is actually the roof of the Kelvin Hall, and is an area not visible from the street or ground level.

I had thought it was a secret penthouse at first, but a closer looks shows it to be little more than office space.

Before looking closer, at the interior, I’d even thought it might have been a staff roof restaurant, but all that can be seen are desks and computer screens.

Click for bigger.

View over Kelvin Hall to Pontecorvo

View over Kelvin Hall to Pontecorvo

Unless I’m making VERY bad searches online, I STILL can’t find any newer information regarding demolition of Pontecorvo than the original 2011 story, published by Glasgow University and noting that the building was due to be demolished, and that staff were in the process of being relocated.

That’s now EIGHT years old.

05/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Palaceum Bar going to join my demolition trail?

If I was the sort of person who worried about coincidences, I could become paranoid thinking about how someone was trying to erase my past before I die.

I waffled somewhere in here about how I tried looking on Google Earth, and even visited some of my former school sites only to find they had been demolished – I thought I was looking in the wrong place, yet one has been turned into a car park, and the other razed to make way for another school on the same ground.

I spotted this story about a planning application for a pub I used to visit occasionally, where we used to while away our lunch breaks from work.

I thought ‘Palaceum’ was a slightly odd name for a pub, so it was one of the first places I traced the history of.

Turns out it’s not the original building on the site in Shettleston’s Edrom Street, and the space was first occupied by a cinema.

The Palaceum opened in 1913, relatively small, comfortable, and popular with locals for substantially low admission charges compared to city centre cinemas. Variety acts also appeared there. Redesigned in 1936, it was damaged by fire in 1954 and demolished.

So, the current pub is not original, it just took the name.

Permission is now being sought to demolish the pub, and use the surrounding land for a  four-storey block of two bedroom flats.

PLAN To Knock Down Shettleston Bar And Build Flats

I can’t recall what I posted it under, but I did have some pics in here of the demolition of the public baths which backed on to this area some years ago. This large building lay derelict for years, until it was razed, and more flats were built on the land.

There are some shops on the street corner, but they don’t seem to be mentioned.

Thought I’d better grab a pic last night, while the place is still there, and I managed to remember!



I’d include a pic of the baths IF I could find the post.

I can’t remember what it was filed under though.

I have to admit to having stopped using clever or witty titles, they make it too hard to find stuff later!

23/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S45

Interesting developments in the considerations regarding demolition of the remains of the building I had no idea had so many fans.

The o2abc, or former Regal Cinema in Sauchiehall Street was little more than an ‘innocent bystander’ to the event of the Mackintosh Building fire, but that didn’t mean it was immune, and suffered extensive fire damage itself.

It seems (from the reference article) that the demolition submission for the building didn’t include any attempts to retain any of the original structure, which seems like a bit of a mistake.

This omission has attracted attention…

SCOTLAND’S historic building watchdog has lodged a strongly-worded statement formally objected to plans to completely demolish the fire-ravaged O2 ABC music venue in Glasgow.

In their response, Historic Environment Scotland state: “We object to this application for complete demolition of the O2 ABC building because the case for doing so is not adequately justified against national policy. It is our view that the applicant has not made an adequate effort to retain and preserve this C-listed building (or any part of it), and has therefore not met the tests for demolition.

“The special architectural interest of the building lies largely in the street-facing elevation and entrance foyer. We would not object to a scheme that retained these parts of the building, either with proposals for immediate redevelopment or propped and secured in a way that facilitated redevelopment at a future date.

“Although the building is fire-damaged, the principal areas of architectural interest appear to remain intact and the applicant has not demonstrated that they cannot be preserved.

“A number of the concerns they raise are not supported by evidence. While a degree of uncertainty is understandable at this stage, we nevertheless consider that the applicants might reasonably have sought more clarity on many of these matters before submitting this application.”

Certainly, from the exterior, the surviving facade looks as if it could be retained, but as an engineer, I’m painfully aware that it could be attached to little more than ‘chewing gum and string’ behind, if the heat of the fire was sufficient to erode the structural integrity of the supporting structure behind.

Removal of, or even attempts to restore, that could lead to total failure.

Reading on, it looks as if there may now be some dispute and disagreement.

However, in a new submission to the council on behalf of the owners, RM Consulting state: “The complexity of the issue we presently face in dealing with the front façade is the overall extent of the cumulative fire and structural damage that the facade has suffered; whilst not obvious externally, any detailed inspection internally will reveal the totality of the damage.

“Faced with the significant amount of cumulative damage to the façade structure and coupled with the overall catastrophic damage that the building has suffered in general, our professional advisors are at a loss on how to retain or rely on the severely damaged façade as part of any future project.”

RM Consulting have asked the council for a detailed response as to how it thinks the facade can be safely retained.

HERITAGE Watchdog Opposed To Proposed Flattening Of Iconic Blaze-Hit Glasgow Venue

In the past, such remains have not been allowed to stand as long this after major fires.

Then (from my recollections at least), it was usual for the Fire Service to announce that its inspection of the building showed it was unsafe for anyone to enter, and that it had to be demolished on grounds of safety.

We lost some pretty big buildings in those days. Again, my recollection is of places like large churches that were used as nightclubs.

I’m not suggesting they were wrong – bear in mind these may have looked solid from the outside, but dated to a time when there was no steel framework, and wood was used for the interior. With a sufficiently fierce blaze, that could be burnt away, leaving an unsupported honeycomb behind.

That said, even steel supports soften and bend if it gets hot enough.

Scott Street O2abc Roof

Scott Street O2abc Roof

I walked past the o2abc a few times during this week, after the sun started to shine, and we got some VERY hot days.

The place absolutely REEKS!

Not the smell of a fire, of which there isn’t the slightest hint of smoke.

But of a really old building which has been taken over by wet/dry rot. mould, and maybe years and years of sweaty bodies dripping onto it (and maybe other ‘bodily fluids’ as well.

It’s fairly disgusting, and wasn’t present before, when it was cooler.

Go have a sniff 😉

14/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S44

I think it’s fair to say that some people think that recovery after the fire involves more than ‘bricks and mortar’.

This dates back to November (2018), but only seems to be getting a mention now.

See the absolutely wonderful comment by Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White, at the end of the quote.

I have an excuse for not knowing about this until today.

What’s theirs?

A 28-year-old master’s degree student has set about one of Scotland’s toughest repair jobs.

Harriet Simms is working to rebuild trust between Glasgow School of Art and its fire-disrupted neighbours.

She says she has had to tread carefully but is already encouraged by the reaction of many people.

“It has been mainly positive but some people are still really angry, and that’s why I have been slow and considered and not gone in all guns blazing,” she told the i paper.

“I have been mindful to respect people and to say this is a long-term and considered role.”

One year on from the fire that devastated the world-renowned Mackintosh building for a second time, the area is still in upheaval.

An investigation is ongoing and many questions remain unanswered, foremost being what caused the fire.

Dozens of people who were forced out of their homes for several months are still suffering hardship and trauma.

Street protests held in the weeks following the events of June 15 targeted the Art School and city council for lack of communication and delays in getting people back into their homes.

Several businesses either moved or closed due to the chaos and loss of trade.

She is carrying out research into community participation and design alongside her role after completing a master’s degree at the Art School.

She said: “When I started there was a lot of anger, and a lot of valid anger, because of the trauma of last year.

“For a lot of people it was less about blame, it was more about ‘I want to get on with my life and get back to normal’.”

She has attended local council meetings and helped organise a community fete in the local park.

A multicultural centre has benefited from her input with new furniture, and was gifted student art works thanks to her involvement.

Local resident Uli Enslein said: “It now feels like someone cares – someone is interested in the local people who live here.”

Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White said: “It may seem a bit late in the day for some people, but I see this appointment as a positive way forward.”

A GSoA spokeswoman said: “Harriet’s appointment is a long term commitment on our part and we look forward to working in partnership with the communities around the School on many future projects.”

How Glasgow School of Art is building bridges with ‘angry’ neighbours after fires

Mackintosh Building Scott Street

Mackintosh Building Scott Street

23/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My favourite lump of concrete and rebar is finally gone

My favourite lump of concrete and rebar is finally gone. AND they’ve dropped the screens around the site, so we can see the ground.

Sadly, we can’t see the base of the block, since they’ve also finished clearing that away too, and the ground has been levelled.

It used to be a mass of concrete and twisted rebar too, but I only know that because I was able to eyeball it through a pinhole in the fence, so couldn’t take a pic.

So, all you get is the nice, tidy, cleared site.

(Although I’ve titled this series of concrete-y pics as Dumbarton Road, that’s only for consistency since I started that way. In fact, this is wrong, I’ve learned better, and at this point this road is actually still named Argyle Street.)

Dumbarton Road concrete and rebar gone

Dumbarton Road concrete and rebar gone

That’s all.

23/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S43

It’s the first anniversary of the big fire, and it seems it’s not been forgotten.

Although there’s little external evidence of ongoing activity at the remains of the Mackintosh Building (I know, I’ve been past it a few times, with little new to see), it seems that work is still being undertaken on a daily basis to make the structure safe, and parts are still being deconstructed.

Glasgow School of Art has re-affirmed its commitment to restoring the Mackintosh building, one year after it was ravaged by a tragic fire.

On the evening of Friday June 18, 2018, firefighters raced to the city centre blaze which had engulfed the Mack. When the fire was finally extinguished, a scene of devastation was left behind.

Ever since, Glaswegians have been left wondering whether we will ever see the Mack in its full glory again – the building was just months away from completion after being gutted during another major fire in 2014.

Yet Glasgow School of Art has this week confirmed to Glasgow Live the school’s intention to restore the building in honour of Charles Rennie Mackinstosh.

They said: “The Glasgow School of Art is committed to rebuilding the Mack as Mackintosh envisaged it. We will be bringing it back for our students, for the people of Glasgow and the wider world.

“This Friday will see 2019 Graduation which will be a day of celebration for our amazing students following a hugely successful Degree Show. Many will them will then be exhibiting work in London at the annual graduate showcases.

“We are focusing on this.”

However investigations into the fire continue, with Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service both involved – it is still unclear what sparked the blaze, with the building then under the day-to-day control of Kier Construction.

When asked by Glasgow Live what stage their inquiries are at, an SFRS spokesperson commented: “The investigation is still ongoing”.

Glasgow School of Art committed to restoring Mackintosh building one year after fire

Investigators are entering the final phases of their probe into the fire which devastated Glasgow School of Art.

The world-renowned Mackintosh building was extensively damaged when a blaze broke out on 15 June last year.

A year on, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said several hundred tonnes of debris still had to be removed from the remains of the building.

Neighbours of the art school told BBC Scotland they were eager to find out the results of the investigation.

Investigators have examined two sectors of the building following the removal of 400 tonnes of charred wreckage, according to the Scottish fire service.

They have also scoured hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and taken witness statements.

But before the final stages of the investigation can take place, more debris needs to be taken away from the “complex site”.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart said the fire service was working alongside on-site contractors to have the “significant volume” of remaining fire debris removed.

He added: “The fire investigation remains focused on likely origin and cause – but against the backdrop of an unprecedented large scale fire scene within a complex and challenging site.

“Our fire investigation team is working hard based on what remains within the building once the debris is removed, alongside all other evidence available to them.”

The probe is being led by fire service group manager David Dourley, who said the final phases of the investigation would be “challenging” due to the volume of debris.

“It is also a challenging site and we will require, at times, to work within confined spaces,” he said.

“But safety is paramount and each time we move to begin an excavation or go onto the site we will consult with Glasgow School of Art and also the on-site contractor.”

Earlier this year, the school of art was criticised by Holyrood’s culture committee, which found bosses did not give sufficient priority to safeguarding the building.

It has also faced criticism from some local residents and businesses who were unable to return to their properties for several months.

Ms Simpson said: “I want to know who is responsible for the fire because it is somebody’s fault. There is somebody, or a variety of bodies, that were to blame but you need to see the facts first before you start shouting ‘it was your fault’.

‘Final phases’ of Glasgow art school fire investigation

Probe into Glasgow Art School fire moves into final phases

And the ‘forgotten’…

To many Glaswegians, the major fire at the School of Art may seem like it was just yesterday, but for the residents of Garnethill this has been the longest year.

12 months ago, on Friday June 15, the area was devastated by a huge blaze which engulfed the heart of the community – the world renowned Mackintosh building.

Not only did the residents have to suffer the sight of ‘a fireball falling from the heavens’ on their very own doorsteps, some were unable to access their homes for three months in the fall-out from the fire.

Yet there is finally hope for those living in Garnethill and optimism for the future. During a deeply traumatic time, community spirit has never been stronger.

In the week in which Glasgow Live reported the School of Art’s unequivocal commitment to have the Mack reconstructed “as Mackintosh envisaged it”, we had the opportunity to speak to chair of Garnethill Community Council, Jane Sutherland, about the experiences of the area’s residents over the last year.

Recalling the night of June 18, Jane said: “It was very frightening – it was a very scary night.

“We were all out on the streets, watching a fireball fall from the heavens. It really was terrifying.

“The firefighters looked like they had water pistols on it. It was an absolute inferno. I think they expressed on the night that some of them had never seen anything like it. I believe it was visible as far afield as Motherwell. It really was like a volcano.”

While the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland’s investigations into the blaze continue, the scars of that evening are still understandably apparent, yet there’s a sense from Jane things are starting to move in the right direction.

She explained: “I think there is a traumatised community.

“As you can imagine, it’s been an exceptionally challenging time, for all of the residents in Garnethill and for all the people who work here as well, because access to Garnethill is very restricted and that’s the ongoing day-to-day problems.

“It’s also been difficult with access because of the Sauchiehall Street Avenues project – slowly that’s all opening up and that will see a boost and an improvement to the fabric of the neighbourhood – bring a bit of cheer to faces.

“It’s been really hard-going with all of that building work and all of the building work going on at the Mack and the Reid Building. Renfrew Street is still closed, and looks like it might be for sometime yet, which restricts access.

“The thing is not just to dwell on the challenges of it, how hard it’s been – it has been shockingly hard – it’s the efforts the community and the Art School, all kinds of groups, have been working very, very hard since the fire to improve the community relations and see what good we can bring out of this.”

And in spite of initial difficulties, the relationship between the School of Art and local residents has now strengthened, while the city has given its backing to local community projects helping to renew Garnethill’s sense of purpose.

Jane added: “Since November, I think the Art School have recognised their communications with the community wasn’t as good as it should have been. I think they’ve made sterling efforts to really integrate into the community here, and offer opportunities for practical help and assistance.

Glasgow Art School fire – traumatised Garnethill residents reflect on ‘shockingly hard’ year

I’ll just leave these here…

Remembering the Glasgow Art School fire – one year on from devastating blaze

02 ABC one year on from Glasgow Art School blaze – here’s what’s happening


Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street

Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street


16/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There goes Helenvale Sports Complex

While it may have been closed and abandoned years ago, Helenvale Sports Complex lay as a derelict until recently.

Recent news of approval to demolish the place and develop the ground as flats has quickly turned into reality, and what had been left is now nothing more than a pile of rubble.

Parkhead Library still stands on the corner, to the left of the site.

Glasgow Parkhead Helenvale Sports Complex gone

Glasgow Parkhead Helenvale Sports Complex gone

They split the buildings about a week ago.

Helenvale Sports Complex Library Split

Helenvale Sports Complex Library Split

Last look at the remains and entrance before they go.

Helenvale Sports Complex Last Look

Helenvale Sports Complex Last Look

14/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

St Ambrose and other Coatbridge schools

There’s an interesting story developing in Coatbridge, which almost means something to me, and seems to be a fair example of the good old ‘Lynch Mob’ mentality, or jumping to conclusions while ignoring, or not bothering, to consider evidence.

While I can read documents such as toxicity reports, I’m sadly lacking when it comes to the actual chemistry of the subject.

You see, when I attended (the original) St Ambrose… they weren’t able to find a chemistry teacher, so it was a subject I never studied, or was even taught, until I reached university (and the lecturer turned out to be the worst one employed there – so bad, the students had to complain about him to the board).

There seems to be lots of emotive responses and claims so far, but no objective evidence to back any of them, and as far as I can see, none if the toxicity or similar reports relating to copper mention the claims being made regarding the apparent cluster.

I mention and make this clear not because I’m suggesting there is no problem on this site. As I noted, I lack some of the education needed.

My point is that the effect of the ‘LOUD AND NOISY’ assumptions without evidence is to divert time and attention from research into the real causes, should they exist.

These are the media stories that have appeared (in my feeds at least) so far:

Children pulled out schools over ‘blue water cancer fear’

Angry backlash at meeting over Coatbridge ‘blue water’ schools

Angry parents demand answers over school cancer fears

Teachers vote to strike over Coatbridge schools ‘blue water’ fears

Teachers vote to strike over school water cancer fears

Blue water from copper pipes is far from rare, or unknown, and not related to cancer.

A ‘Kill the witch’ response may be good for emotions, and pleasing crowds, but jumping to conclusions can cause more harm, especially if it delays proper investigation by diverting attention and resources.

If this is down to the site, rather than just a statistical anomaly, any delay in finding the actual cause could be harmful to potential victims.

I’m sure this is set to run and run, so may post links to any further articles in an ‘Update’ section after this initial post.

At least the publicity surrounding these developments spurred me into getting up and making the effort to get over to Coatbridge for a look at the place, apparently now around seven years old.

Click for bigger.

St Ambrose and Buchanan Schools

St Ambrose and Buchanan Schools


St Ambrose and Buchanan Schools

St Ambrose and Buchanan Schools

Spot the difference – St Ambrose or Buchanan?

St Ambrose High School

St Ambrose High School


Buchanan High School

Buchanan High School

Maybe they should have left the original St Ambrose alone, instead of razing it in order to make a car park.

Although they’re locked away in my archives, at least I managed to collect some pics of the original some years ago, and might get around to digitising them on day.

Meantime, here’s how the place looked a few years ago, when I decided to take a trip and collect some digital pics, to save me the effort of digitising those originals.

I was just too late – they were still tidying up.

Blair Road Car Park

Blair Road Car Park


Blair Road Car Park Sign

Blair Road Car Park Sign

A view of ‘old’ St Ambrose, the ground it once sat on.

Old St Ambrose School grounds

Old St Ambrose School grounds

And I thought they’d made a mess of it the time I passed and saw that they had extended it by building over the playground, and adding a top storey to the roof of the multi-storey block, and enclosed the open area at its base.

I have pics of that too, but again, locked away in my film archive, so maybe to be seen one day.

I should probably add that they pulled the same trick with St Patrick’s, where I ended up as St Ambrose only catered for four years of further education, and I went on to further studies.

I didn’t find out that they had flattened St Patrick’s as well until I had a look at the area from above, using Google Earth.

I couldn’t find it!

I thought I was the problem, and couldn’t interpret the aerial images properly – but then found I couldn’t locate anything online for St Patrick’s.

Eventually I took a trip through there, for a look, and discovered they had flattened the old place and built another school on top of it.

Meet the ‘new’ Coatbridge High School, built on top of St Patrick’s.

Coatbridge High School

Coatbridge High School


Still going.

Standard ‘union’ response?

Pressure grows over Coatbridge school health fears


Buchanan and St Ambrose High Schools – Scottish Government orders independent review into health and safety concerns

More union goodies in this story.

Cancer scare schools: Independent inquiry ordered

Review ordered into ‘blue water’ school concerns


Review not even done, and…

Parents want new tests at Coatbridge ‘sick’ school

Their own idea? Or are they being ‘worked from behind’?

Back in time – this story dated 27/05/2019

Teachers at school built on ‘toxic site’ have the same rare cancer


It’s going to be interesting to see what is called for if there is ever an evidence based finding.

School closure calls after arsenic found in second pupil

Calls to close Coatbridge health fear schools early for summer

(18/06/2019. Unrelated, but interesting too.)

State-of-the-art £23m school given the green light for Maryhill site

Concerns over new £23m school for Maryhill being ‘built in wrong place’


Buchanan and St Ambrose High Schools – Government visit Coatbridge schools over water supply contamination health fears

Teachers strike at Buchanan and St Ambrose High Schools over health and safety concerns

Teachers at ‘blue water’ schools begin strike action

FM will do ‘everything necessary’ to allay fears over Coatbridge schools


Water and grounds to be tested at Coatbridge health fear schools

An absolute gem… the above has a pic of someone holding a card showing a ‘Methane Gas Warning’ – adorned with radiation symbols!

Water and soil tests to take place at ‘cancer fear’ school

More tests, but there will still be shouting/whining about not enough. I wonder who’s working these poor people from behind?

Environmental tests to be carried out at St Ambrose High in Coatbridge

Ah, rational thoughts and actions, you can’t beat them.

The mother of a pupil at a school at the centre of chemical contamination concerns says she will never send her son back to the campus, regardless of the findings of an independent review.

Josephine Morgan believes the site in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, is to blame for her teenage son’s sight loss.

Parents ‘in limbo’ ahead of Coatbridge school safety review findings

Yet more logic and reason based rational decisions – oh, sorry, I forgot this was from a union.

Teachers threaten new strike at Coatbridge health fears campus

Oh Noes! That will upset… THE UNIONS!

I suppose they will now have to go on an ‘Expert Tour’, until they find one that agrees with them, and then hold THAT up as the ONLY true and correct one.

I’m not actually making light of this, but am highlighting my initial comment that this whole sorry episode has been hijacked and diverted by sensationalists who are misleading the vulnerable – those who are suffering ailments, or have sick children and are seeking an easy answer.

They need THE TRUTH!

Not a load of mumbo-jumbo from people who ‘KNOW’ the answers without actually carrying out any tests or reviews, because THEY KNOW the answer is obvious.

And that answer is first convenient scapegoat, or in the says of the wild west, the first poor sap that could be dragged to the hanging tree, or in even older times, the first batch of virgins that could be slaughtered on the ceremonial altar to appease ‘The Gods’ and ensure a good harvest nest year, after the current year’s blight.

People get ill for all sorts of reason, and sadly, random clusters are actually normal. Those symptoms have to be looked into properly, not blamed on the most ‘obvious cause’ that activists and campaigners want to highlight to further their causes.

I could waffle about this sort of nonsense for hours – suffice to say that forming a mob and shouting ‘Burn the Witch’ never solved anything, but did effectively HIDE many real problems.

An independent review into fears of contamination at a school campus in North Lanarkshire has said that the schools are safe.

The report said there was no link between Buchanan and St Ambrose high schools in Coatbridge and ill health.

It also said water samples passed drinking water standards and soil samples were “not of concern”.

But the report also criticised North Lanarkshire Council for its “slow response” to the safety fears.

Review says Coatbridge health fears schools are safe

NO STV… You can’t repeat these lies and the cover-up…

Oh! You just did. (Don’t worry, so has the rest of the media – shocking example of collusion!) 😉

School campus not linked to health problems, review finds

Coatbridge schools at centre of health scares ‘are safe’

Buchanan and St Ambrose High Schools: no link between illnesses and schools, Scottish Government review concludes

I hope sanity descends on this, and more understanding, but I have my doubts. Conspiracy theories are so much more attractive than facts, and usually prevail regardless.

Ah, hopes of sanity – always a waste of time when there’s a union involved 😉

Official report clears the site, but the strike will go ahead anyway – until THE UNION checks things out since it clearly knows more than anybody else.

Teachers’ strike at ‘blue water’ schools goes ahead

Coatbridge schools NASUWT teachers begin strike action

Interesting – no strike now, for some reason.

Teachers set to return to ‘blue water’ schools as strike ends

All joking aside, the unions seem to have accepted the findings of the experts via the review, and although there has been far too long of a delay while the ‘obvious’ cause of health problems was being made a scapegoat, after time has been wasted there seems to be a realisation that attention has to be focussed elsewhere.

Hopefully, data has not been lost during the delay.

The NASUWT said: “Our experts have advised that they believe that the remedial action taken on the campus, particularly in relation to the water system and the commitment to ongoing, regular testing, enables them to advise that NASUWT members can return to work.

“Discussions are now underway with the Council for a planned return to work of NASUWT members on Friday. Meetings will be taking place tomorrow with the Council to prepare for this.”

The General Secretary of the NASUWT said the union is “reassured” by the experts’ comments but said there are still a number of issues to be addressed.

Ms Chris Keates, said: “It is reassuring that our experts believe that the remedial action that has been taken has now made it safe for our members to return to work.

“However, there are still a number of important issues which need to be addressed.

“The ongoing health issues being experienced by some of our members, including those diagnosed with bladder cancer, remain of deep concern.

“It has yet to be demonstrated that these are not linked to the conditions on the site in the months and years before the recent remedial actions were taken on the water system and other aspects of the working environment.

“Only this week yet another NASUWT member tested positive for elevated levels of arsenic. The NASUWT and its lawyers will be continuing to pursue these, and any other cases which present themselves, with the Council.

They need to stop fixating on the ‘easy target’, which they still seem to be doing despite saying they accept the review findings.

If the review finds no source of arsenic, for example, coming from the site, then START LOOKING ELSWHWERE.

And do it SOONER rather than LATER.

While these source remain unidentified, peple are at risk.

(With that last STC item dated 14/08/2019, it will be interesting to see the date of the next article, or some alternative environmental finding.)


We got all the way from 14/08/2019 to 05/09/2019 until ‘they’ managed to trawl up a tame ‘expert’ who claimed to find fault with the independent review, cast doubt on it, and whip up a little renewed fear.

A public health expert has raised fresh concerns about a Scottish Government study which found no links between ill-health and schools built on a toxic landfill site.

Professor Andrew Watterson identified three alleged failings in the review ordered in response to concerns from teachers, parents and pupils at St Ambrose and Buchanan High schools in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.

The Stirling University researcher told STV News the review, led by Dr Margaret Hannah, lacks transparency and does not provide complete reassurance.

His own report – to be published today – concludes: “However disappointing it is, the conclusion at the moment must be that not all the key questions about the site have been fully answered and not all the key evidence required has been collected and made available.”

His intervention seems likely to renew concerns about the safety of the schools which have a combined roll of around 1300 pupils.

Fresh concerns raised over schools on toxic landfill site

And it didn’t take long for one of the union’s to take firm hold of the ‘expert’ and come up with a demand:

Screening ‘should be carried out at blue water schools’

It really has become a farce, with people apparently just touring around until they find an ‘expert’ who has a report that suits what they want to hear.


11/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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