Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Another Glasgow police headquarters building

Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up.

A post I made about the police headquarters building in Calton reminded me I had grabbed another such building, in the city’s St Andrew’s Square (apparently still classed as Calton according to its address).

Dated to only 1 year earlier than the first, 1903, the St Andrew’s building is described as an irregular plan building containing offices, court hall, cells, recreation, and reception areas, all built around a courtyard and built to conform to an awkward site. There would have been stables too.

Back in 2004 it was noted to be home to a police museum, but this moved to an alternate location a few years later, leaving the building abandoned and derelict since.

It has been decaying since then, but was sold in 2016.

There don’t seem to be any immediate plans for the building or its site, but pre-application discussions have been reported between the new owner and architects.

Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be any (easily) found recent history online regarding its closure.

St Andrews Square Police Headquarters

St Andrews Square Police Headquarters

This isn’t a particularly recent pic, but there’s still a fair amount of vegetation showing. If it’s not cleared, the roots can do considerable damage if left unchecked.


Recently passed this building and noted the entrance was barred only by wrought-iron gates, meaning the courtyard was visible.

Generally occupied by rubbish, the courtyard was originally bordered by stables, latterly used as garages.

The wall above still has the barred windows of the cells in place.

St Andrews Police HQ Courtyard

St Andrews Police HQ Courtyard


March 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

I found an old bank

It really is sad that it’s possible to walk so far and not find a decent old building, and when you do find one it has to get a mention before it disappears.

There is good news, as it was hard to drill down for data some years back, but the online resources have been made more accessible (but there seems to be less data than when it was in plain text databases – maybe I’m missing something obvious in front of my nose), and more importantly, having lain fallow for many years with old, out of date data, now seem to be better maintained.

This old British Linen Bank building still survives on Gorbals Street and Bedford Lane, and given its dereliction, still looks pretty good.

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

Apparently this is the last remaining Gorbals tenement, which had the bank on its ground floor.

The boarded area to the left of the boarded close entrance in the centre was a ground floor shop.

Scroll work from the bank entrance on the right is long gone, replaced by the bricked entrance with a steel door mounted in

See early pics here Glasgow, 162-164 Gorbals Street, British Linen Bank

Here’s a (bad) pic showing the carving still present over the bank entrance.

I don’t why this pic is so bad, I really ‘missed’.

British Linen Bank Entrance Carving

British Linen Bank Entrance Carving

This remains a Building at Risk with the last entry at the time of writing being 2015 when £345,000 was awarded for essential repair work.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Lasting Legacy of shame following Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games

With the passing of 2017, another year has been lost, and another opportunity to embarrass and shame Glasgow City Council over the dereliction of Tollcross Winter Garden and Visitor Centre has been delivered.

(For what it’s worth, I DO NOT subscribe to any of the generalised mindless criticism of the council, this is a specific case.)

In summary, the Winter Garden glasshouse in Tollcross Park was last rescued and refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having then lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to be vandalised or rot at best. However, £1.7 million was raised to save it then, when it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

But, having suffered storm damage during the winter of 2010/2011, it was simply closed and left to rot, with lack of cash being given as the reason.

Despite more than £300 million being squandered on the 2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow was lumbered with paying for the privilege of hosting, and who knows how much of that being spent on upgrading the adjacent Sports Centre and swimming pool in Tollcross park (allegedly great attractions that attract visitors and money), the Winter Garden and Visitor Centre was not considered to be a visitor attraction. NO MONEY could be spared from the ‘Games Pot’, nor has any been liberated from the so-called ‘Lasting Legacy’ the Games were supposed to bring to the area.

This earlier post summarised a number of reviews of the site

A visit to survey the structure at the end of 2017 showed that both the glasshouse and the fabric of the Visitor Centre were visibly displaying the signs of neglect.

Anti-council cynics would be quick to now suggest that we are approaching that time when the council issues the traditional demolition notice on the basis that the structure is unsafe, and it has to go to protect the public.

Or the vandals, who are now beginning to turn their attention to the once fairly unmolested glass walls and doors, will have a party and attempt to discover just how flammable some of the remaining structure might be.

And that is bound to be followed by that council demolition notice for the remaining ‘unsafe structure’ – and the removal of the problem.

Previously just about intact, the glazed Visitor Centre now has THREE glass panels boarded over, suggesting they have been smashed to kicked in.

The entrance doors have also been attacked.

The  suspended tent-style roof may have been a dramatic feature (and originally criticised as impractical), but without regular maintenance, it will eventually fail completely, and get beyond repair before that. Perhaps that early scepticism was well-founded.

The interior is wet, and puddles above and below suggest the roof is no loner weatherproof.

Plasterwork is breaking up and falling to the floor.

One set of doors to the glasshouse now appears to have gone.

The other side isn’t much better.

Perhaps obvious, but the glass is an easy target

Again, perhaps just stating the obvious, but damage to the glazing just grows over time.

Perhaps less obvious, a look at the closer shot given below (click to zoom) reveals that the underlying structure of the building is now failing, putting the whole structure at risk.

The spine of this gallery is now visibly distorted, showing that structural integrity of the cast iron framework is failing, and parts are moving.

The ridge should be straight – it is now distorted. Parts below should run straight and parallel to it. They no longer do so.

See also the fit and alignment of the framework around the windows.

Windows no longer fit, and the surrounding structure is curved rather than straight and aligned.

Click to zoom detail

I haven’t seen it appear to look so bad on previous visits.

I hope we don’t have any heavy or lasting snow falls during this winter (or any to come).

Most people don’t realise it, but water weighs 1 tonne per cubic metre, and snow is basically frozen water, so not far off that figure..

For comparison, a car now weighs around 1.5 tonnes (I’m not even guessing what a hulking SUV weighs).

Picture this structure with a line cars sitting on top – how long would it support them, and what might the effect of adding a few more be, or just increasing that load by mixing in some storm or hurricane force wind?

Reminder, from a year ago.

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Almost a secret – the Postie’s Box

I quite like to find out secrets, even if they’re not really ‘secret’, or maybe just not well known.

There are a few variations on the derelict example of the box seen below. For example, it has a form of cylinder lock, while others have use a larger mortice design. They also come in larger sizes. Some are post-mounted, such as this rusting example, and others can be found bolted to the side of the familiar red post box. They can be red, like this one, or a plain grey.

This one’s quite stable and solid, despite losing its paint and being very rusty, unlike one along the road from me, which looked nice and shiny, with little or no damage to its paint, yet its support failed completely a few days ago, leaving it lying on the footpath beside its perforated support. They tidied it away before I could get a pic.

Quite a few seem to have become abandoned and unused, and been burst open like this one, and filled with rubbish.

It was a long time before I saw one actually being used properly, by a postie, as storage for their mail bag.

Derelict Postie's Box

Derelict Postie’s Box

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | 6 Comments

I found a surviving old factory building – The Sentinel Works

While the city centre may provide a refuge for classical architecture from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with many continuing to live on into the 21st century and probably beyond (unlike a certain £400+ million skip built in Holyrood that will barely last decades before becoming an uneconomic wreck), the same is not true of much of the surrounding area’s industrial architecture.

I’ve written before about wasted weekends when I set out with the intent of grabbing pics of such structures some years ago, only to find it was largely a waste of time. Years of ‘tidying’ have seen many survivors being expunged, probably to provide some councillor or politician with proof that they are ‘Doing something’ for the community, and which was highly visible.

Now, such features are probably only going to be found by chance, unless extensive area research is carried out first.

I got lucky when I ended up in Polmadie, much of which has been razed, but has still managed to retain a few old remains which, although derelict, have the benefit of being listed.

Coming over a bridge, I saw the shell of one such building.

Sentinel Works Jessie Street Rear

Sentinel Works Jessie Street Rear

The most noticeable feature in this view must be the remaining cast iron supports which once led the way for a fire escape.

This is a concrete structure (probably why it has survived), based on the Hennebique method of reinforced concrete: Hennebique’s idea of strengthening concrete used steel reinforcing bars embedded within the bottom face of a concrete slab. This originated on a house project in Belgium in 1879 where Hennebique used concrete as a fireproof protection for wrought iron beams.

Concrete is strong in compression, but weak in tension. The bars reinforce the structural area in tension, so preventing early failure.

This factory was built in the period 1903 to 1904 for Alley and MacLellan, engineers, who built some built 500 ‘knock down’ ships – a type which was built, dismantled, and then reassembled on inland waters.

It has 4 storeys containing 12 x 3 bays, large metal-framed windows, and an off-centre entrance bay with wide door having 3 tall lights above, added in the 1930s.

The works are named after the Sentinel steam lorry, developed by Alley and MacLellan, and which was also produced at their branches at Shrewsbury and Worcester.

Sentinel Works Jessie Street Front

Sentinel Works Jessie Street Front

Records indicate that this was the first fully reinforced concrete building with a ferro-concrete frame and panels, and the third oldest  surviving in the UK.

The absence of arches is said to anticipate American-inspired daylight factories by Albert Kahn, using straight lintels.

To the rear lay a foundry, equipped with a light railway.

Owned from 1918 to 1937 by Beardmore, the building was taken over by the Weir Group in 1960.

Like may large buildings, there isn’t enough space to stand sufficiently far back to take a view of the façade, without expensive lenses.

But I can stitch multiple images (only radially though, not linearly), so can catch it all at once.

Sentinel Works Stitch

Sentinel Works Stitch

Just to be complete, I found a public domain Sentinel steam lorry pic – taken in Australia!

Sentinel Australia

Sentinel Australia

October 31, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Old buildings in Calton

I’ve largely given up on the potential for visiting or studying old buildings in Glasgow.

Most that were derelict or abandoned have been razed in recent years, with the reasonably reasonable aim of improving the appearance of the city, and making it more attractive.

At the same time, I think a number (especially along the river and close to the city centre) which were only recently vacated (as businesses closed) joined them, presumably on the basis that they would never be occupied again, and were not suitable for conversion to flats.

While a number remain, they’re probably earmarked for conversion to accommodation, or will join the first two groups I mentioned if plans fall through, or they’ve not already been converted (not forgetting some are still in use).

So, it’s nice to dive down some streets that are not exactly on the ‘beaten track’ or normal routes, where it’s still possible to find some oldies.

I found this pair down Stevenson Street in the Calton,

The first one started life around 1914, as a grocery warehouse for Andrew Cochrane & Son Ltd, with an office block to the right.

In those days, the growing population of Glasgow helped several large firms of grocers and provision merchants to grow and open branches all over the city, and they needed to warehouse their stock. Those companies set high standards of hygiene and value for money. The firm was still there in 1966., but like most of those multiple grocers and provision merchants were swallowed up by larger concerns in the 1950s and 1960s, as the pattern of grocery shopping moved towards supermarkets.

The two blue signs identify two different occupants: John C. Walker Ltd, Established 1888 (contemporary with Cochrane); and Kemray Hair Care Products. The latter seems to be long gone, with no online references noted.

20 June 2016: Local planners advise building warrants for the demolition of the two Cochrane warehouses has been approved.

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Not much better in some respects, but since I had to take a wonky wide-angle shot to get it all in, I took a linear shot as well. Maybe better for scale.

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Stevenson Street Warehouse

Masonic hall

Adjacent to the warehouse is an old masonic hall, built after the warehouse and dated to 1936 from a foundation stone in the front wall.

Stevenson Street Masonic Hall 1936

Stevenson Street Masonic Hall 1936

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

Modern demolition clears a path to an old listed works building

I can’t get used to wandering around some places I’m more likely to be passing through in the dark than the light, so keep spotting surprises that shouldn’t really be (surprises).

Case in point, this derelict yet still attractive works building I spotted through some trees as I wandered into Cambuslang.

I should have seen it before, but the usual combination of dark nights, and our lovely wind and rain usually mean I’m hiding beneath a nice umbrella and comfy hooded jacket. Not helped by the modern buildings (now demolished) which used to screen this turn of the century (c.1900) building from sight in more recent years (visible on aerial images).

Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works

If I’ve identified it correctly, this is the Rosebank Works (Engineering) (Ceramics/Brick Making: brickmaking machinery), of James Mitchell and Son, which seems to have survived until the 1980s – when I note documents relating to it were archived.

That probably explains the decorative brickwork frieze seen towards the top of the front wall, and the central columns made of the light-coloured bricks.

I’ve passed the gate where I took the pics below from many times, but always in the dark, and had no idea this gem was lurking in the distance. All I can usually see here are the signs warning of dire consequences for anyone who dares to enter. There’s not many left, but I do have a vague recollection of many some time ago, presumably when the modern ‘shed’ that once stood in front of this surviving gem was being removed.

It’s a shame, but seeing this one is a rather sad reminder of how few and far between such surviving relics of our industrial heritage are these days.

I probably don’t really need to point out that there is large area of derelict land only a few metres to the west of this building, past a football ground, where NOTHING survives, yet was once the site of a giant Hoover factory employing more than 2,000, but production ended in 2005.

It was a factory of its time (late 1940s), and something of a shed too, so let’s enjoy this earlier design:

Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works


Rosebank Works

Rosebank Works

This post reminded me of how dull and boring walks around this area have become.

Like many, there seems to have been a deliberate effort to purge the area of anything that reminds people of its past, or dare to have an untidy or just ‘old’ building left standing if it can be razed, presumably just to make the place look ‘Nice and Tidy’ for tourists, visitors, investors, or smart young people with money to move into, away from the problems of city living.

August 27, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peacock’s Tearooms

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

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

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

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

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

Former Peacock's Tearoom in Argyle Street

Former Peacock’s Tearoom in Trongate

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

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

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

Warehouse left of Peacock's Tearoom Trongate

Warehouse left of Peacock’s Tearoom Trongate

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

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

A little closer, and why not?

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

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



June 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | 2 Comments

Weird happening at the old pumping station

While passing the old Clyde Ironworks pumping station on the River Clyde last night, something odd happened.

As I came up from the river via the Clyde Walkway and cycle route, as I glanced over at the old pumping station I saw clouds of black smoke apparently billowing out from the roof.

Being late-ish in the evening, my first thought was that I’d come across vandal, possibly having just broken in and set light to the place, and started to make myself scarce – but when I reached the path closer to civilisation and turned to have a look and see what might be happening… no smoke, nothing, nothing at all.

I couldn’t take a camera this evening, or I’d have stopped long enough to catch a pic, so have no evidence.

I don’t know if this pumping station has been repurposed, or is derelict. I did have an explore around it once, but there’s little to see (most of it is bricked up) and the most interesting thing was walking along the ledge over the river.

The only thing similar that comes to mind is the cloud of thick black smoke that can pour from a large old diesel engine as it starts.

I have no explanation for what I saw, and regret heading south instead of west as I hurried away, as the latter would have given me a clear view from the bridge, only moments later. The way I went has it’s view blocked by trees.

Pumping station, River Cyde, Bogleshole

Can’t find my own pics quickly, so this fuzzy Google Earth clip will have to do…

Clydebridge Ironworks Pumping Station

Clydebridge Ironworks Pumping Station

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another abandoned and derelict house is lost

I mentioned a nice Victorian era sandstone house that was razed recently, having stood derelict for decades, although not apparently vandalised: There goes another old building

There was another house across the road, a cottage that had been occupied and refurbished/modernised over the years, but had for some reason had been wrecked by vandals, and also become abandoned and derelict

This is how it looked then, back in 2014:

Hamilton Rd Housewreck

Hamilton Rd Housewreck

It was a while until my wandering carried back there (only a year after the above pic, in 2015, but I completely forgot about it), but when I did see the spot again, it looked like this:

Demolished Derelict Hamilton Road

Demolished Derelict Hamilton Road

As of now, 2017, this spot is still empty, so the house was just razed to get rid of it, not to make way for a new build (yet?)

I’ve spotted a number of these losses over the years, I now realise that in most of these cases there is some sort of story behind the loss, often some sort of accident, tragedy, or failure in the life of the owner/family.

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I used to be a nice house

I have to confess to forgetting I had this pic, and must have caught by chance when out wandering, as I barely recognised it when I came across it this morning.

It’s actually one I mentioned recently, today made inaccessible with chained fencing and overgrown trees and bushes left around it, but was at least approachable last year. The irony of things is that I’d probably have got hassle, or even a visit from the police if I’d gone further as it is overlooked and open to view from neighbouring properties (or was until the fence and overgrown garden hid it), yet the vandals that visit at night get ‘free access’ to do as they please. I get chased for just wanting to take a few pics – they get all the time they want to party, and then set fire.

While it’s now burnt out, trashed, and probably been left structurally insecure due to fire damage of the interior, based on a broadly similar house I know someone sold not too long ago (and bearing in mind that unknown features can significantly alter base value), it would probably be on the books for ‘Offers over £2oo k’ at an average guess, at the moment.

As it is, the value is probably now just that of the plot, unless somebody had deep pockets and didn’t care how much they threw at it to recover it, not impossible, just expensive.

I used to wonder how houses ended up like this.

Now I know it’s often the result of a family disaster or tragedy, or some sort of failure, eg business.

Derelict House


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

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