Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

There goes the neighbourhood II

Better hurry along into Glasgow if you want to see what little is left of some of its older and less desirable buildings.

I happened to be back at one site in Trongate, which now looks like this…

Trongate Demolition

Trongate Demolition

After only a week or so from this

Trongate Demolition

Trongate Demolition

While I’m not a member of the club that demands just about nothing be demolished, that doesn’t stop me wondering about some clearances I see. But, it also has to be remembered that not EVERY building was well-built, even if it looks great, the underlying structure could be woefully inadequate, built by less than dependable builders of the day, or made of little more than newspaper and cardboard. The latter apparently found in some Glasgow tenements, built by less than scrupulous people during the tenement building boom period.


I have noticed another trend while walking the streets of Glasgow recently, which can also be seen in the area surrounding the central area too.

A number of formerly vacant buildings, and even scraps of land as small as a couple of hundred square metres, have been cleared of ‘illegal’ occupants or users, fenced off or closed, and have large ‘FOR SALE’ signs from various agencies attached.

While I probably wouldn’t have noticed one or two of these appearing, there’s probably been around a dozen on the streets I walk.

I did actually spot a lot of these sites being cleared, and the temporary fencing going up over the past weeks, but the signs only appeared on those barriers in the past week or so.

(I could have taken many pics of these, but NO free advertising for them!)

Multiplied across the whole of Glasgow, if similar to ‘my’ streets, that could mean that hundreds of similar offerings could just have been openly placed on the market.

If what I spotted is correct…

I wonder why?

Why at this time, and why so many?


November 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

There goes the old Baillieston Police Station

It’s been a while since the old Police Station in Baillieston was deserted in favour of the new premises a few streets away.

Since then, it’s been sealed up and had various for sale notices and dates set, but none seem to have attracted any takers.

No great surprise given the little old building that has lain derelict for years, home to many pigeons, and similarly offered under various terms, even an auction attempt if my memory is reasonably functional.

It looks as if they’ve given up on the old building.

As usual, taking advantage of my absence from this route for a few weeks, first time I get back, and there’s the fencing and warning signs up to warn of the demolition that is set to take place.

I just had to grab this shot with the pocket camera – as the wind and rain arrived last night – the chances of passing in daylight are slim to nil before this building disappears.

I wonder what it’s like inside, in terms of conversion to flats, possibly too much trouble, due to its structure and layout.

There don’t seem to be any historic records for the building either, and I only got as far as a few feet inside the front door (once), and couldn’t really see much due to the way the front desk was arranged.

Old Baillieston Police Station Going

Old Baillieston Police Station Going

Note that the cones’n’stuff towards the right are unrelated to this work, and nearby signs indicate they are related to work on the local sewer.

Baillieston was choked up by similar traffic control for some weeks recently, as the main street was excavated for some major sewer works, and this was only completed and cleared away a few weeks ago, freeing up the road.

Looks as if somebody might have made a slightly major ‘oopsie’ if they are having to dig it up already.

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | 2 Comments

There goes the neighbourhood

Before getting into this one, let me be crystal clear – I am not member of the “You can’t demolish THAT!” club.

Taking the disastrous £400+ million skip in Holyrood as an example, some buildings can’t go soon enough, and it is a blessing that it’s such mess it will barely last decades, let alone centuries. We have to get rid of the rubbish to make way for future gems.

That aside (far far aside), I’m more of a “We’re living in the past” kind of person.

Not saying that’s good OR bad – just an observation of fact.

I often find myself wondering where the space will come from for new build, especially in some of the more historic towns, where many long-established premises are still in use. Getting inside some of them can be grim, as they can have modification on top of their modification to their modifications.

Glasgow’s Trongate is slowly disappearing, with gap sites already standing undeveloped for years, existing period building lying derelict since the businesses that occupied them departed many years ago (with no replacement), and others just falling out of use, no longer needed by their owners, who are still doing business in the rest of the shell.

These two pics are actually in reverse order – the rear view was actually just grabbed a few weeks ago, purely be chance when passing, but the front view of this part of the Trongate was taken a few hours ago, because I noticed it was a match for the earlier rear view.

Trongate Demolition

Trongate Demolition

While it’s not actually being touched, the closed shops and boarded windows of the building to the left must surely signal its fate is to follow those beside it.

Guess I’ll have to try to remember to keep this one in mind for future visits.

The view from behind.


Lots of clearance has already taken place back there.

Trongate Demolition Rear

Trongate Demolition Rear

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

Whitevale 2015 and Whitevale 2017

It’s been a while since my wanderings took me along that part of the Gallowgate that passes the remains of the old Whitevale Baths building.

By coincidence, I noticed I had passed the same spot almost exactly two years ago to the day, and taken a pic of the demolition of the high flats in the background coming to an end. Although I collected quite a few pics back then, I’m afraid I never got around to using any of them, but the ‘Top Down’ demolition process was interesting to watch. I have little doubt that Fred Dibnah would have been pleased, ad he didn’t see, to be too impressed by the dynamite men, and was happier to start at the top with his hammer and chisel, working his way to the ground.

However, it’s not really the flats that interested me on this occasion, but the clearance that has taken place on the former baths’ site in the foreground.

I always find this area slightly alarming (as regard my age and the fact that I still appear to be alive), as I can remember when the area in the foreground (the grassy bit between the footpath and the baths) was developed as a small row of flats with parking for the residents in the courtyard behind. Also, although not visible in either of these pics, there was also a small area of housing development built on the land to the left, bounded by the Bellgrove Hotel.

I find it hard to believe that BOTH have been razed. NEITHER was ‘old’ in terms of building life, and I wonder WHY they were vanished.

I would probably not have noticed this disappearance but for the fact that the bus I travelled on stopped in front of the small flats I mentioned, and I had noticed that the owner of a unique Classic car lived there, and their example of that car was one of only a handful that then remained on the road in Scotland. By the time I was old enough not be ‘Some daft kid’, the flats had gone, so I never even got the chance to talk to the owner.

The marque concerned was bankrupted in the early 1960s, but was reborn a couple of years ago – I might do a post about it one day, as it is succeeding in re-establishing itself.

Whitevale 2015-2017

Whitevale 2015-2017

I took this façade pic some time ago, but never used it – it was horribly skewed and distorted. I must have moved before the shutter fired, or just got it wrong.

But I’ve began to get the hang of perspective correction, so did a quick fix, and now it’s presentable.

As always… nice coat of arms

Whitevale Baths

Whitevale Baths

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

It’s like demolition is following me nowadays

It’s beginning to feel as if I should be eyeballing everywhere I look at these days, and pick the ones that are not going to be there the next time I look.

The most recent surprise was an old Cash & Carry on ground between Shettleston Road and Old Shettleston Road. When it was open, I think it was The State Cash & Carry, notable to me years ago as my grandfather managed to convince them to sell him his pipe tobacco at cost. This came in uncut chunks that muggins was given the ‘privilege’ of cutting up and turning into something that could be crammed into his pipe. This was no mean feat as he liked the black stuff, and this was more like a lump of black gum or tar than tobacco leaves.

Anyway, the place was gone when passed recently, at night, and I only managed to pass again in daylight and grab a pic of the razed site. Watch this space for some houses/flats?

While there was only a scabby old brick wall to be seen, I’d at least liked to have had a ‘before’ pic.

Shettleston Rd Fennella St Demolition

Shettleston Rd Fennella St Demolition

We might be in for a small flurry of new builds here.

There used to be Halfords just along the road, and it vanished while I wasn’t looking too, which is to say I had no reason to go in for ages, then it closed, and after lying shuttered for some years, was also razed recently.

I can’t lay hands on a pic of the place when it was open, so this one of the dead and shuttered remains will have to do.

This was classed as ‘Slightly Irritating’ since they do have a decent range of cycling spares, something I find myself in occasional need of recently, but now have to make my way to Rutherglen for.

While there are some nearby shops dealing in cycle parts, 9 times out of 10 they don’t have what I want, or when I hear their price I need an ambulance to help recover from the shock. Cycling seems to be very expensive if you don’t shop around, or go online.

Halfords Closed

Halfords closed

Then, a few weeks ago my next wander down that way showed it to have been removed without a trace too.

Halfords Demolished

Halfords demolished

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Changes at Carntyne Road and Todd Street

I’d forgotten all about a set of pics I collected by chance at the junction of Carntyne Road and Todd Street, showing some fairly major works underway.

I guess this is to make way for more houses, as the estate established here a few years ago is steadily expanding, and the raised areas that once supported the rail tracks and bridges here must be a nuisance for the developers.

The use of raised earth banks with stone facings and retaining walls seems to have been a common choice for the many rail bridges that passed over roads like this. There used to be a few of these near my home and it was fun to wander along the derelict track (both the rails and the actual bridges were gone before we moved nearby) and see into the back gardens of all the houses the track had run past. I think the biggest surprise was finding the number of people who had fairly ordinary houses, yet manages to squeeze some sort of pool into their back garden. Not swimming pools, or fish ponds, but paddling pools.

I was surprised to find that the Google Street View car had been there just before me, and caught the road diversions in place, just before the plant and machinery arrived.

I’m due to pass here again some time soon, and expect this work will be finished, so I’ll be able to get a fresh ‘After’ view, and maybe post it a bit quicker, for comparison.

First up was the view along Carntyne Road, with Todd Street crossing in the foreground.

Carntyne Rd Todd St

Carntyne Rd Todd St

According to the yellow sign, the disruption was planned to run from 24 October to 04 December.

Then looking the other way, along Todd Street, across Carntyne Road.

Todd St Carntyne Rd

Todd St Carntyne Rd

I’m quite glad to see this gone, the giant billboards are abhorrent, but at least sometimes amusing, legit, and paid for.

The old bridge walls were often hijacked by pervasive fly-posters, stealing the wall space, making the place look cheap and untidy, never cleared away by the council, and always advertising crap.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rothesay’s West Church set to be a partial survivor

It’s not been that long since I finally decided to give the unfortunate West Church in Rothesay a mention.

After many years of doubt, and not a little controversy with conflicting views, the church is now set to take on an altered appearance to render it safe:

Councillor Robert Macintyre, chair of Bute and Cowal Area Committee, told The Buteman: “The building standards section of the council have been in continual discussions with the structural engineer to establish the absolute minimum of work and most cost-effective way to make the building permanently safe.

“It has been decided that the roof of the main church building must be removed as soon as possible and the remaining walls lowered to a safe height.”

Via Partial demolition for former Rothesay church – The Buteman

I hope the cats that once called it ‘home’ have somewhere to go (of course they do).

It used to be fun watching them, and even thought they were too wary to let strangers near them (although the ladies that looked after them were, of course, tolerated), they would jump up on the car and stare at the occupants…

Maybe they thought we were in some sort of ‘Travelling Zoo’, and were placed there for them to look at!

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | 1 Comment

Demolition imminent for McColl’s Hotel in Dunoon

The issue of a warrant for the demolition of Dunoon’s McColl Hotel would seem to signal the end of a landmark.

While I wasn’t likely to stay there, the large white hotel building (visible on the left in the pic below) was something of a regular and welcome feature on a drive along the road past Dunoon, as it loomed ahead as you drove around Castle Hill, and below Highland Mary.

It’s nothing special, just one of those things that sticks in my mind.

There appear to be no current plans in place to replace the building:

The demolition of the hotel was described as ‘imminent’ in a response to a query by Cllr Mike Breslin to Brian Close, Planning Officer with the council for Bute and Cowal. The application does not include the Rosegarth Hotel site, adjacent.

Mr Close also told Cllr Breslin: “This will be closely monitored by Planning, Public Protection and SEPA in terms of waste material and burning on site.”

Mr Close continued in his response to Mike Breslin: “It is unfortunate that the applicants do not currently have a scheme on the table to develop both the McColl’s site and Rosegarth site.

“We have urged them to enter into pre-application enquiry discussions regarding suitable redevelopment of this very prominent and sensitive site.

“We would probably expect at this stage, blocks of high quality residential flats rather thann replacement hotel buildings, but future development options lie with the owners.”


August 24, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

Any love for the former West Church lying derelict on the Isle of Bute?

Any love for the former West Church in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute?

It’s one of a number of similar derelicts you can find on the island if you go for a wander, but is the only one I see being picked on in the media.

I’ve known this one for years, as it lies on the edge of once hidden car park. Access was via a narrow gap between two building on the main street, but was made easier when a second access was created using the space left at he front of the church, when it fell out of use.

It was a handy place to park off-street many moons ago when we stayed in a nearby attic flat. In later years it served as a handy place to stop for lunch, being close to the shops for some food (if we had no sandwiches), and a kiosk on the esplanade that sold giant mugs of tea (albeit in a plastic cup) to help wash it down.

Going back to the church, it was taken over by the local stray cats, and they were adopted by the ladies that look after and feed such lost souls, and make sure they see the vet. It used be fun spotting them, but they were generally wary of strangers, so little or no fun playing with them.

But the building has been derelict and abandoned for years now, and concerns are growing over its condition. Some are calling for it to be demolished, while others are trying to find a use for it, or maybe just part of it.

As always, not being there, or being involved, makes it hard to get at the truth.

Are those calling for demolition after the ground for themselves for some reason?

Are those who want it retained just sentimental, and have no idea how safe it is after years of neglect?

And now those who live nearby are claiming nobody is listening to them.

But I doubt that (since we are obviously hearing their story), and suspect more likely a desperate reporter who wants some clickbait for an attention-grabbing headline. Rather than reporting concerns, I suspect leading questions were asked, and that legitimises the application of some ‘artistic licence’ after the writer raises the issue… after prompting those being interviewed.

That said, I do have to be fair and say that there is a tenement block to the immediate right of the church, on the hidden side in the pic below. But I’d still take the view that claiming they are not being listened to is wrong on the neighbour’s part – what they really mean is that they think their voice is the one that should be heard, and those seeking to retain or re-use the church should be ignored. I don’t have a pic to hand, but you can see the building if you look in Street View.

What we are seeing is merely due process being followed, and they don’t seem to like that since they are not being given blanket priority without debate.

Here are the most recent news articles that appeared this month:

Former Rothesay church beyond help, says councillor – The Buteman

Can former Rothesay church really be saved? – The Buteman

‘No-one listening to us’ say West Church neighbours – The Buteman

Decision soon on fate of former Rothesay church – The Buteman

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | 3 Comments

A little demolition in Tollcross

Although there’s been quite a lot of demolition around the east recently, even though I tramp around the street quite a lot (since I have to walk to fetch all my shopping) I seldom come across any actual demolition work in progress. It’s rather like the parks, maintained by the council, I seldom see anyone actually carrying out the work, just the piles of cuttings they leave behind for collection.

I’m not sure of the build dates of the housing shown below.

My best guess is that it postdates the more widely publicised sandstone Victorian tenement, which came to an end some time after the turn of the century (c. 1900), which can be seen in many of the date stones these older buildings.

The newer houses, which I’m guessing (but have never seen such a claim) are supposed to be a sort of pretend granite look-a-like or similar, seem to pre-date the 1930s, which I can say because I have seen them under construction in aerial photographs of other features in the city, when they and there estates were caught in the same pics, and where those pics carry accurate dates as to their origin.

However, unlike the sandstone tenement, I’ve never come across any specific history or description regarding the background our history of these later grey building.

But I have seen comments from people who lived in them, usually in forums and discussion groups, and most them are less than memorable – in other words, they didn’t like them, and thought they were rubbish.

We’ve had many books and articles on the sandstone tenement – maybe someone who knows more about these grey building should write a book (or point me at it, if I’ve missed it so far.)

I’ve watched these former homes slip into dereliction over the past months, being abandoned, then boarded up, then having the glass removed from the windows. It looks as if these are being taken, rather than just stoned/broken.

I didn’t see the start of this work, as I wasn’t along this way for a while, so I went round the corner for the second pic, which shows the building just prior to this work.

Interesting to note that it’s the newer buildings to the right that are being razed, while the older sandstone examples to the left are staying in place.

Tollcross Demolition 2014

Tollcross Demolition 2014

Tollcross Derelict 2014

Tollcross Derelict 2014

May 20, 2014 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Inverkip landmark to bite the dust on July 28 2013

While the haters will no doubt be dancing (naked?) around the ceremonial fires and sacrificial altars where they probably consigned various offerings to a bloody death as they invoked various incantations, the Black Arts,  and any number of mystical spells to make the chimney at the former Inverkip Power Station disappear, I won’t be joining them.

For those who want to witness the loss, then they need to be in sight of the action which is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 28, 2013, at 10 pm (22:00 just to be sure.)

Via Final part of Inverkip Power Station to be demolished – Local Headlines – The Buteman

Also Demolition date for Inverkip Power Station chimney

Caught with the Waverly passing, from Zak’s excellent collection of images from Bute: Zak’s Photo Galleries at

Described as Scotland’s tallest free-standing structure, and the third tallest in the UK (until the 28th, at least), it rose to 236 m (778 feet) and was described as having some 1.4 million bricks and 20,000 tonnes of concrete within its walls. All seemed good reason to for keeping it, and if we listen to the Green Loonies, then this act of mindless destruction will produce a mass of pollution, waste energy, and create a huge pile of spoil to be dealt with. A task that will consume yet more energy to grind the result of the demolition into aggregate, as seems to be the norm.

Come to think of it, I pass a large pile of such material every day I go to the shops. Created when an office block was demolished, the resulting pile of crushed debris has lain untouched on the abandoned site for months. Maybe they left it there for the next occupant, to save them transporting aggregate… to build another office block.

While Scotland has become a tourist industry in recent years, I can’t help but feel that there’s no real innovation in the thinking of those responsible for bringing increasing numbers of tourists – and their wallets of course – to the country. They call for a 50% increase in the money taken out of those tourists’ wallets by 2015 (sorry, that seemed to change to 2016 while I wasn’t looking), yet offer little new to attract them. And a look through this blog will show that they don’t do much to support existing attractions, as I think I write too often about places closing, generally due to lack of funding or investment. Whether that’s down to them being unpopular, or badly managed/promoted is a moot point – all to often the notice of closure seems to bring about a campaign and lots of complaints about the closure. Seems nobody cares until it’s too late, and the places are heading to the wall, then there’s outrage.

I sometimes consider the drive to get people to come here is driven by too many ‘Old Men’ (and women). I might add I don’t mean that merely in the ageist sense, but in the way their heads work. There’s a lack of innovation and a tendency to rely on anything that grows from ‘Heather and Tartan’, and drives visitors into hotels. Traditional tourism venues get promoted, and I seem to recall hotels were all adding aromatherapy and corporate event facilities in the mid noughties onward, only to find they were largely ignored.

We had news of a castle owner adding a mini-tank driving facility in the grounds of a castle he is trying to raise money to restore. Instead of support, he was criticised for bringing something “Out of character” to the grounds around the castle ruin. Presumably allowing the castle to continue to decay due to lack of funds until it becomes a pile of rubble is more acceptable to the locals, and “In character.”

I see the demolition of the Inverkip chimney as a lost opportunity.

To build such a thing today would be out of any attraction builders’ pocket (unless they were an American billionaire megalomaniac who thinks he owns Scotland and could build a golf course on it while abusing the locals).

But it would be ideal to turn into a viewpoint, with the view it already has along the Firth of Clyde and the surrounding lands – and unlike Glasgow’s embarrassing shame seen the shape of the Glasgow Tower, it’s not likely to break down and be deemed so unsafe that no-one could ever ascend it.

There’s also the extreme sports and adventure types, who I am sure could come up with ways to use it as a climbing tower. For those who don’t appreciate the scale of this chimney, it’s huge. Climbers could use the outside in good weather, while the interior could be kitted out for use when the weather wasn’t quite so good – a handy option to have in Scotland.

I can’t help but think that if this chimney was overseas, or in Russia or the Ukraine for example, then it would be turned into something productive.


July 23, 2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: