Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Whitevale flats demolition (Feb 2015)

One of the things I never managed was to post the pics I managed to catch of the Whitevale flats being demolished – other things took priority, even though I did manage to remember to catch the odd pic.

Finding them in the archives makes it seem a shame that they were missed out, so I might pull out a few now that sufficient time has passed – to make them ‘notable’ rather than just… late!

This one looked good, taken not long after they got the  special ‘Top Down Demolition’ cradle in place, and started work.

This pic was delayed/forgotten because it had been a grey day, and the subject (the flats) were just grey smudges in the distance.

Now, I’m getting better at processing such things, and lifted the flats out of the murk with only a little effort.

If you look at the bus stop sign and pole in front of the left-hand flat, I didn’t exclude them, so you can see the difference in the pole where it crosses from being in front of the red brick building, to being in front of the flats. It changes from very light to very dark. A lamppost in front of the right had flats does the same trick.

Click the pic for a slightly bigger view.

Whitevale Flats Demolition

Whitevale Flats Demolition

Alternative view – this time to record how the skyline would change.

Whitevale Skyline

Whitevale Skyline



August 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S13

This seems to be the first week since the actual fire (back on Jun 15/16) was reported that the media has not had a featured article – I don’t go looking for them, just cream them off the top of the pile of stories they give prominence to every day, and none of their lists appeared to mention the building this week.

It’s nice to be able to get back into Glasgow, by whatever means (sorry, I found out I wasted the money on a train ticket during the week, for a trip that didn’t need to be made by train), and start to catch up on various things I’ve missed.

The obvious one was a look around Renfrew Street and the remains of the Mackintosh Building, as close as the cordon would allow.

Of note was that every street closed by the cordon also had at least one person stationed on the street, dressed in hi-vis kit and wearing the obligatory white safety helmet. The all had mobile phones in hand too.

I didn’t bother them… they didn’t bother me as I took a few pics.

Basically, I went as far as could along each street until I hit the cordon placed across it, then took a pic, or backed off a bit if I was too close for a decent pic.

I guess the pics speak for themselves, and were effectively as much as could be seen from each vantage point.

Beginning with the view east along Renfrew Street, the sequence carries on clockwise from that location.

The view under the Bourdon Building (the art school’s library and learning resource centre, and main building of the school of architecture) has always hidden the Mackintosh Building, which is a little odd, given its purpose, and that it was actually a creation of the same company Mackintosh worked for.

Or did they do this deliberately?

Mackintosh Renfrew Street East

Mackintosh Renfrew Street East

Next, a look from Scott Street.

Mackintosh Scott Street

Mackintosh Scott Street

Then Dalhousie Street.

Mackintosh Dalhousie Street

Mackintosh Dalhousie Street

Back into Renfrew Street, this time looking west.

Mackintosh Renfrew Street West

Mackintosh Renfrew Street West

From Douglas Street, now we are forced to look across Sauchiehall Street.

Mackintosh Douglas Street

Mackintosh Douglas Street

Same viewpoint, across Sauchiehall Street, but this time looking at a detail that was out of sight to the left of the first pic.

Mackintosh Douglas Street Detail

Mackintosh Douglas Street Detail

And finally, looking across Sauchiehall Street again, this time from Pitt Street.

Mackintosh Pitt Street

Mackintosh Pitt Street

August 5, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

There goes the neighbourhood III

Looks like some demolition spotted on Trongate, something we caught earlier, has been finished.

And there’s still something left.

I’m almost surprised this wasn’t extended further sideways, since they were knocking stuff down anyway. The other buildings are more or less unoccupied anyway. So, somebody must be paying for them to stay, and maintaining them.

I haven’t looked, but this means the gap site either has something planned already, or the owner has cleared it to make it easier to sell or let. I’ve noted a number of sites, both large and small, tidied recently, and then having ‘For sale or let’ signs stuck on them.

Trongate Demolition

Trongate Demolition

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S12

Hadn’t expected much in the news, but there’s almost a ‘brick-by-brick’ (or stone-by-stone) summary.

The south section of the east gable has been taken down to match the level of the south wall and steel roof beams on the north east corner were safely removed and lifted to ground level.

Most of the material removed this week was too badly damaged to be retained but a limited amount of material was in a good enough condition and taken from the building for recording before removal to off-site storage.

Further work this week includes further reductions to the height of the south façade, removal of debris from the second floor level, and down taking of existing scaffolding around the north east corner of the building.

Glasgow School of Art dismantling progress continues

The outstretched paws will be feeling a little warmer after this news.

The emergency funding announced by the Scottish government is for firms who can show hardship as a result of the fires.

It will be made available to Glasgow City Council for distribution to businesses within the cordons, and to those in the Sauchiehall Street area who can show hardship from the impact of the fires.

All businesses within both the Mackintosh Building and Victoria’s cordons will receive £20,000 of direct financial support, with other businesses in the area who have been impacted by a fall in footfall eligible for £10,000 of support.

Glasgow City Council will administer the funding with applications for all businesses open from 31 July. Eligibility criteria for those outside the cordon will be set out ahead of the opening of applications following discussion with local business advisers.

Following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art, the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council have already delivered 100% rates relief for affected businesses and grants of £3,000 made available to households in the cordoned off area.

The council has so far made 44 payments relating to 47 individuals in 33 properties.

Economy Secretary Derek Mackay said: “The terrible fires at the Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s are having a significant impact on many local businesses who are either closed or unable to access their premises. Given the scale of the on-going disruption, I am making up to £5m available immediately to support those businesses affected.

“The Scottish government has already increased our contribution to hardship funding from 75% to 95%, and made available £1,500, matched by the Lord Provost’s Trust for vulnerable citizens (so it’s really £3,000), to residents displaced from their homes by the Mackintosh building fire and will extend that to businesses facing the same impacts as a result of the fire at Victoria’s.

Hisashi Kuboyama, from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Many businesses in Glasgow city centre are likely to be facing short-term cash flow difficulties as a consequence of the recent fires. This additional funding is hugely welcome – and should help more businesses survive this difficult period.”

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement of the fund.

Businesses hit by Glasgow School of Art and Victoria’s fires given £5m fund

Fund of £5m to help businesses hit by Art School fire

Nice to see The Scotsman’s moron area delivers as usual. (I’m sure there’s a better way to address any inquiry regarding insurance relative to grants.)

Firms hit by Glasgow Mackintosh fire get access to £5m fund


While it’s not exactly about the Mackintosh Building, the fire which destroyed nearby Victoria’s nightclub back in March also led to fairly extensive road closures as plant and machinery was moved in to place, and the building was demolished.

Work to reopen a busy Glasgow street partly shut since a fire in March is beginning as demolition work ends.

A cordon was set up on Renfield Street following the blaze at Victoria’s nightclub on Sauchiehall Street on March 22.

The block housing the club was demolished following the fire for public safety.

Glasgow City Council said rubble from the demolition has been cleared away and heavy machinery has been removed from the site.

Work will begin on Thursday to move the cordon on Renfield Street back to the pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street.

It will allow traffic to move between Renfrew Street and Bath Street and pedestrians to use pavements on both sides of Renfield Street.

The pedestrian precinct on Sauchiehall Street will remain closed to the public while utility companies reconnect essential services, however.

Renfrew Lane will also remain closed and hoardings are being put up.

The local authority hopes that all work will be completed by August 3 but the cordon may be moved back further before then.

Busy Glasgow street to reopen after nightclub blaze

Busy Glasgow street to re-open after Sauchiehall Street fire

Sad to say I didn’t even notice this as I seldom have any reason to pass through that end of Sauchiehall Street now.

Unless there’s a noticeable gap site, since I wasn’t able to make it in earlier, I won’t get to see this at all, if I try to get along that far later.

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

Mackintosh Building S11

There’s not likely to much news for a while, unless something startling is found, as the building is dismantled, or made safe, as appropriate.

They confirmed on Wednesday the work which began last week has been going to schedule, with three cranes operating on site for 12 hours almost every day.

The central section of the south facade, above Sauchiehall Street, has been lowered and the south-east staircase – one of the most fragile areas of the building – has been taken down safely.

On the north-east facade the steel beams of the roof structure have been removed and in the centre of the north facade the turret and a section directly above the main entrance have also been removed.

Where stonework has been assessed as significantly damaged and too dangerous to lift off the building, it has been pushed into the interior.

Work continues on dismantling School of Art building

The following BBC article comes with some close-in pics.

The Glasgow School of Art stated.

Prof Tom Inns, Glasgow School of Art director, said: “The GSA’s priority is to make the Mackintosh Building safe and stable so that the community can return to their homes and businesses at the earliest possible moment.

“Our contractors are working hard to achieve this and are currently on schedule.”

Local residents and businesses have complained about disruption and a threat to their livelihoods as a safety cordon remains in place in the area.

Taking down the Mack piece by piece

Somebody’s not happy though.

Residents and businesses hit out over art school fire support

Residents protest cordon around fire-hit Art School

Residents displaced by school of art fire stage protest

I hope they don’t bring it down too quickly now.

While I managed to be in the same area during the week, I couldn’t divert to the remains, so missed the chance of a pic.

On the other hand, since it means I was able to get there, I don’t really mind the missed opportunity, and can try later.

July 22, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S10

Took a while, but the media has picked up on this again.

Hopefully a reflection of the care that will be taken, as well as an indication of the difficulty of the task in the restricted and awkwardly shaped site, eight weeks have been set aside for dismantling the unsafe sections of the fire damaged Mackintosh Building.

A brick-by-brick dismantling of unsafe sections of the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art will take at least eight weeks, engineers have said.

Dominic Echlin, who is leading the project, said the building was in a dangerous condition after the devastating fire last month.

Work has now begun to remove masonry at high levels to prevent collapse.

Mr Echlin said the aim was to make it was safe enough to reduce the exclusion zone around the building.

Mr Echlin, of David Narro Associates, said the aim of his work was to remove the unsafe main storey at high levels in the critical areas of the building.

He said: “That will allow us to get the streets open again and people back into their homes and businesses.

“That would also enable us to do the follow-on work within the body of the building.”

Work on the west side of the south facade and the west gable will be influenced by the stability of the ABC O2 music venue, which was also devastated in the fire.

The structural engineer said the masonry and brickwork would be dismantled in a controlled manner, “brick by brick, block by block”.

The heavier high-level stonework will be removed and transferred via hoists which will then be lowered down to street level for sorting and storage off site.

Where possible plainer areas of facades will be lowered into the site for later removal.

Glasgow School of Art dismantling to take eight weeks

Glasgow School of Art dismantling work begins

Not sure The Scotsman’s writer has read or understood his own presentation, or any of the announcements regarding the forthcoming work – it’s hard to reconcile his headline regarding work to ‘tear down‘ parts of the building with statements describing how a controlled dismantling of the unstable parts is to be undertaken.

Work to tear down unsafe parts of Art School begins

Pavilion remembered too

As a slight aside, Glasgow’s Pavilion theatre was more fortunate, and avoided the worst effects of a nearby a fire a few ago, but has not featured in the news since shortly afterwards.

A first look inside the historic theatre since it came under threat from a fire at the nearby Victoria’s Nightclub.

The manager of the theatre estimates it could cost more than £100,000 for repairs and might take up to six weeks to clear the damage.

Getting back into Glasgow’s Pavilion after fire threat

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S09

Robust security barriers have been put in place to seal off the area around the Mackintosh Building before dismantling work begins, and the south facade is demolished (before it falls down, as Glasgow City Council had issued a danger warning regarding sudden collapse of some parts.

A pair of distinctive wrought-iron finial roof decorations will be recovered during this work, to preserve them for the future. The floral orbs, crowned with a bird, were mounted one over the central roof of the main entrance , and the other over the east gable.

Last-minute discussions were held yesterday at a building control meeting between officials from Glasgow City Council and contractor Reigart, to finalise the methodology for the work.

A spokeswoman for the art school said: “The Glasgow School of Art’s expert structural engineers, David Narro Associates, and contractor, Reigart, have prepared the methodology for the work which needs to be undertaken on the Mackintosh Building.

“This has been shared with Glasgow City Council building control and Historic Environment Scotland.

“Over the weekend work to assess the condition of the Mackintosh Building continued with further drone footage collected. Meanwhile, preparation work for the managed dismantling of the elements of the building that have been deemed dangerous got under way, on schedule, today.

The spokeswoman added: “The main crane has been relocated to the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street, and a second crane is expected to join it tomorrow.

“The work to begin dismantling the south façade will start as soon as possible following approval of the methodology by Glasgow City Council building control.

“The cordon for the whole site, which includes the O2 ABC and Jumpin’ Jaks, remains under the control of Glasgow City Council.”

Ms Aitken also said that requests for photo opportunities inside the charred building received from David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland, and an MP, had been turned down.

Cranes move in to dismantle fire ravaged Glasgow School of Art

Looks like I wouldn’t get pics even if I could make it in.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be trying for that kind of pic – I’m more of a long-distance long lens type, and would be wandering around looking for chance glimpses from a distance.

Maybe later, maybe.

I just hate doing these posts without any pics at all, having used up all I had from the past.

July 3, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S08

Not really anything significant notable or new, as confirmation of the start of dismantling the building is given.

It’s impossible to make any predictions about what will be found as this proceeds, so the timescale is nebulous, with suggestions that the site may remain unsafe for up to three months.

Work to dismantle Glasgow School of Art building to begin

Glasgow School of Art (GSA) said its expert structural engineers, David Narro Associates, and contractor, Reigart, have prepared the methodology for the work which needs to be undertaken on the Mackintosh Building, which has been shared with Glasgow City Council Building Control and Historic Environment Scotland.

GSA said: “Over the weekend work to assess the condition of the Mackintosh Building continued with further drone footage collected.

“Preparation work for the managed dismantling of the elements of the building that have been deemed dangerous got under way, on schedule on Monday.

“The main crane has been relocated to the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street, and a second crane is expected to join it on Tuesday.

“The work to begin dismantling the south facade will start as soon as possible following approval of the methodology by Glasgow City Council Building Control.”

The cordon for the whole site, which includes the O2 ABC and Jumping Jacks, remains under the control of Glasgow City Council.

Engineers set to dismantle Mackintosh building after fire

Ah well, I suppose I can take something positive from that, and on that schedule, should hopefully be able to get back into Glasgow before all the preliminary work is complete.

July 2, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S07

Interesting first week following the proper inspections of the remains, and away from the sort of mindless uninformed speculation the media fed on in the immediate aftermath.

Reality regarding the extent of the damage is taking over from the overly optimistic thoughts of those who must have been in denial at the evidence shown in the first videos.

A number of options have been raised in this article by people better qualified than I might be (and based on actual reports), but are closer to the thoughts I expressed earlier, and recorded in the earlier posts. It really is MUCH better to deal with true situation, even if tough, than to pretend things are better than they really are.

This chap seems to be in touch with reality:

Fraught with risks’ – Prof Billy Hare, deputy director of the BEAM Research Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University.

He believes the architectural significance of the Mackintosh building means every effort will be made to save it.

“If it had been any other building that would not be happening now,” he said.

“No-one wants to put their career on the line by giving the order to completely demolish it.”

The first stage in the dismantling process is technically known as facade retention.

It is likely that steel trusses and concrete ballasts will be used to secure the Mack, which was left devastated after the fire on 15 June.

Prof Hare said experts will have to guard against “unintentional collapse” throughout this process.

He added: “Some of it could collapse inwards. It is fraught with risks.”

The academic estimates it could take six months to complete the process. In the longer-term, a rebuild could cost up to £100m while the bill could rise to more than £200m if the green light is given for a complete restoration.

Prof Hare based his £200m figure on the £500m restoration of the Berlin City Palace, which is much larger than the Mack.

What now for the Mackintosh building?

The fire service launched an interesting appeal for video to help with their investigation.

Camera equipped phones are largely a pain, since there are no restrictions, meaning they’re in the hands of too many morons.

But this reminds that they have their uses (the camera phones, NOT the morons).

Plea for images of Art School blaze to help investigators

Not sure if this is a justified criticism, or if the council is engaging in ‘deflection’ to divert attention from something else.

It’s too easy to kick insurers, and blame them for things that are nothing to do with them, or whine about them not helping with something not in the policy, and the insured wished they had included when they took out their policy.

We’ll see if this is raised again.

Council leader criticises insurers after art school blaze

The understory rumbles on.

Displaced residents meet after Mackintosh fire

Wheelbarrows may be needed once the payout arrives.

Another amateur headline – does STV actually pay someone for this sort of careless writing?

I’m pretty sure the Art School has NO residents!

Art School residents could be out of homes for months


July 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S06

While it’s not a bad end to the week, it’s not good.

As I predicted, from the post-fire drone videos of the remains, the Mackintosh Building suffered substantially greater damage to the remaining structure than some who chose to don ‘Rose Tinted Glasses’ saw when they looked at the images.

There’s not really much more to say at this stage, mainly because the full extent of the damage is still to be properly evaluated, but at least the current operation has been termed ‘Dismantling’ as opposed to ‘Demolition’, which means that rather than just send the wreckers in, the building will taken down in an orderly manner.

Given the proximity to neighbouring buildings, and the nature of the site (on a steep hill), this was probably something that would have happened anyway, although perhaps with less care.

As I noted earlier, the lack of stormy weather and high winds, which we had until recently, was one positive aspect. Without that, the place could have come down on its own, or could have had to be toppled quickly on grounds of safety.

Parts of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building are to be dismantled after it was ravaged by fire earlier this month.

Glasgow City Council said surveys had revealed substantial movement in the building’s walls and that a sudden collapse of parts of it was likely.

Work to partially dismantle sections of the building is expected to begin as a “matter of urgency”.

The building, which was completed in 1909, was gutted by fire on 15 June.

The city council said remote surveys and close-in surveys from baskets suspended from cranes above the charred remains of the structure had revealed more substantial movement in its walls than previously thought.

They have concluded that a sudden collapse of parts of the building was likely, rather than possible.

The statement said: “There is now a requirement to at least partially dismantle sections of the building as a matter of urgency.

Glasgow School of Art building to be ‘dismantled’

As noted in this next report, the problem could be what happens as material is removed.

Parts of the Glasgow School of Art are to demolished amid fears it’s likely to collapse.

Work is due to start on dismantling sections of the Mackintosh building on Renfrew Street after it was destroyed by a fire earlier this month.

It’s feared the site will partially collapse, causing bricks to fall and stones to roll downhill into other buildings.

The west gable of the building has continued to deteriorate while the east has continued to move outwards.

Contractors will start the demolition work, described as a “matter of urgency”, on the eastern side of the site.

Glasgow City Council’s head of building control Raymond Barlow said: “This building has undergone substantial stress in recent days.

“With each passing day a sudden collapse becomes more likely. It has become urgent that we take down the south façade.

“As the process begins it will be likely that the other walls will also need to be reduced.

“We do not know what effect this will have on the rest of the building so I have to be clear this site remains dangerous and is becoming more dangerous.

Art School to be partially demolished amid collapse fears

The real disappointment lies in the comment areas, which are an embarrassment to Scotland.

While I can understand that not everyone is a ‘fan’, and that it’s fine for those not interested who wish to pass a reasonable opinion, or not want to offer support, I can’t say the same of those who have sought to make political capital out of this incident (eg referring to the Scottish Government, Unionist, Nationalists, Separatists etc as the cause of the blaze), or those who clearly have hate issues and see this as another opportunity to inflict their sickness on the rest of us, and post mindless comments calling for the destruction of the site.

And I still can’t go for a pic of my own, so I;m afraid I can’t offer any sort of illustration.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

They really are demolishing Queen Street Station

I’d read a few stories in the news about how Glasgow’s Queen Street Station was going to be demolished and improved by rebuilding, but to be honest, I hadn’t realised the demolition was going to be as extensive as I recently found it to be.

In terms of building life, I seem to recall tripping over some old pics of the station dating from around 1970 or so, and it looked to me as if some fairly extensive clearing had been done back then, to make way for new build.

As seen from George Square, the demolition is being carried out all the way from the internal works of the station, all the way up to West George Street and the Square.

They’re not leaving much!

Queen Street Station Demolition

Queen Street Station Demolition

I spotted a nice ‘Arty’ view of the scene, with one of the statues looking on.

Then wasted when I failed to spot the arm overlapping the pole. Just a little further to the side and it would have been so much better, with the statue standing in isolation.

Queen Street Station Demolition

Queen Street Station Demolition

May 31, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

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