Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Legacy Hub at night

This is unusual. Evidence of life here.

I generally walk past this – The Legacy Hub – during daylight hours, but must do so on the wrong days as it always seems to be closed and deserted. Which is odd, given it houses the area’s Medical Centre.

While that appears to be open (the section to the right), I still don’t see anybody using the seated area to the left, signed as a café.

I’ve read that this smaller building/extension was part of a deal done to be allowed to parachute the big empty Emirate Arena that lies behind. I guess the name is a sop to the once often repeated ‘Lasting Legacy’ promised to residents in the wake of the silly 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Legacy Hub Night

Legacy Hub Night

Apart from taking this shot just to see if I could (remember, I don’t use a tripod, all shots are handheld), and test a lesson.

The night shot part is interesting in this case, as the sky, almost black when the pic was taken, is almost a match for the façade.

I did knock back the brightness in the café area, as it was so bright it almost blew out the internal detail.

The lesson?

Normally I insist on catching whole buildings, and avoiding cut-off roofs, corners, or ends.

That usually means having to correct the perspective later, as the camera has to be tilted.

This time, I tried to avoid my natural instinct and hold the camera level (almost – that missing upper vertex was killing me).

Well, what do you know? It works, and no perspective post-processing needed.

I left in a little converging perspective.

I see many pics that have had ALL the perspective edited out, and have perfectly vertical building edges.

I think these look horribly unnatural, as the human eye is used to seeing buildings with at least some perspective, and all natural views (what you see for real with your eyes) demonstrate converging perspective as verticals lead up to a natural vanishing point.


December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are we getting on the old Halford’s site?

I can’t remember the history of the occupancy of the site which was once home to Shettleston’s Halfords store.

Vague memories of some low-cost grocery shed, but I never paid attention, and it was an anonymous and featureless shell within on the few occasions I found myself inside. Halfords eventually filled the empty site with a purpose-built store, but that went too.

I did use Halfords for a while, but changing circumstances ended that. Then another change, and I want it back.

In the past year it would have been handy, as the nearest one is 5 miles away, and takes over an hour and a half to reach.

It’s a while since I passed the spot in daylight, but that meant I came across the start of a new development on the cleared ground.

No signs in evidence, so I wonder what we’re getting?

Former Shettleston Halfords Site

Former Shettleston Halfords Site

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

(Probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub no longer at risk of demolition

There was a bit of panic raised back in February when plans for the development of new student accommodation on High Street looked likely to lead the loss of (probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub.

I only say (probably) to avoid arguments with those who may believe otherwise, not because I have a problem with the claim.

It’s always difficult to make a non-emotional decision about such things, since I know from past experience it’s easy to complain about such losses based on feelings from the heart, rather than the head. While it can be easy to call foul on such things, this can ignore the age and state of an old building, especially if can’t justify the spend of ridiculous amounts of money to save it.

One need look no further than the unfortunate event of the fire at the Glasgow School of Art a few years back – I doubt many will be considering not restoring the losses purely on consideration of cost.

That said, an old, unlisted building like a pub could be in trouble – IF it wasn’t popular.

However, it seems that it will have to be largely replace in order to survive:

“However we will take the interior out carefully and create a snug which will give the locals a perfect replica of the bar as a refreshed version that will allow it to continue with its long running license.

Our amended plans aim to retain as much of the character and charm of the existing pub but to put it on a footing that’s appropriate for today to safeguard its future, hopefully for the next century.”

One of Scotland’s oldest pubs saved from demolition

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Soaves return to Baillieston shops

I recently noted that after moving from the shops in Baillieston – to a vacated former TV shop, then café, on the outskirts – an ice cream parlour appear to have closed, and speculated that the move had not been a good idea as the footfall at the quieter spot was insufficient.

Although not received as a comment here, I was later told the shop had indeed closed, and gone back to shared premises in the middle of the main street, and I would guess a better return from lower operating costs and more passing trade.

Story confirmed when I spotted this recently.

Soaves Return

Soaves Return

Referring to the original post…

The little clothes shop is said to have a new taker, and will open again (no details).

And then what can only be described as fantasy…

That the former bank building is going to open under the auspices of one of the big businesses I refer to as ‘Coffee Cons’.

It now has another sign indicating it has restaurant planning permission – but a new restaurant already opened recently, just along the road, so I guess that is not really going to help moving a building this size with its attendant costs of ownership.

A bank might eat those costs for a while, but you will have to be coining it to make this building viable.

Baillieston Bank Building

Baillieston Bank Building

I won’t give them free publicity by naming them online, but they cost city worker a fortune, selling paper cups of brown slops – coffee with various silly and trendy names – for around £2.50 or more a time.

People fail to think, and buy this stuff, costing them well over £100 a year for little more than hot water.

It’s no wonder these cash black holes use paper cups, and avoid any refers to… MUGS.

If an ice cream parlour can’t cut it here, then I doubt there’s any way a franchisee would be able to cover their costs operating from this deserted area with few customers to pay for such a huge building and the franchise costs.

It’s only the founder that becomes a millionaire and enjoys the trapping of wealth from such plans.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Flamingo Land land in Balloch?

I was intrigued to see the apparently hostile response to proposals for proposals (yes, I did MEAN to say that) for a theme park and development located near Balloch and operated by the existing Flamingo Land owners.

While I’m not a theme park fan in the sense of visiting them to take part, I have always enjoyed wandering around them and seeing people enjoying them and the rides. I used to enjoy a run down to Morecambe for the day, which included a wander around Frontier Land, but that was closed and razed some years ago, when the town also gave up its illuminations in deference to Blackpool. This unfortunately coincided with personal problems which meant I was unable to visit during the years this happened, and when I did eventually manage a return trip can only say that the town was a sad and dead place without those features.

While I don’t claim that’s equivalent to Balloch, I’m left wondering if the apparently massive negative reaction to the proposal is from the sort of people who just like to say ‘NO!’ to anything.

Flamingo Land chiefs have unveiled plans for a public consultation as they seek to progress their proposals for a £30 million leisure resort at Balloch.

The Yorkshire-based firm is in the process of creating a website showcasing the proposals in a bid to win over local residents.

Tens of thousands of individuals have already signed a petition opposing the plans, while a number of locals staged a demonstration against the proposals by gathering in Drumkinnon Woods – part of the land which could be affected by the development if it gets the green light.

Via: Flamingo Land at Balloch a step closer with public consultation

While some would also look at the handful of negative responses in the comments after the story, sadly, I’ve come to realise that most of the commenters on Scotsman stories are sad and miserable, or just out to make political capital.

Hopefully the media will follow this, as I’ll be more interested in the result of the public consultation, than the potentially biased response of a few noisy activists.

As the proposer says:

However, in September last year, Mr Gibb admitted that the plans would not go ahead if they weren’t supported by ‘most of the people in Scotland’.

He said: “Flamingo Land totally understands some of the local concerns about our proposed leisure resort in Balloch and we are committed to engaging with all parties involved to fully explain our ideas.

“Our bid was successful due to the sensitive way in which we have considered the site in question and we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the consultation group.

“To be frank, if our plans are not welcomed by most of the people in Scotland then we will not proceed further but I do not trust the results of the petition and we have not yet been given the chance to fully explain our plans.”

Amusement Park

Amusement Park

Just to be clear, I am merely mentioning this, although I expect to be misrepresented and said to be in favour of the development – merely because I have not suffered an immediate knee-jerk reaction stating I am against it.

For what it’s worth, I still think the theme park in Strathclyde Country Park looks out of place as a permanent installation. I originally thought it was just visiting when it first appeared.

I’m more interested in seeing how the National Park Authority plays its part, as I see it as a body that like to make rules to keep itself in a comfy well-paid job, has introduced rules that would probably have Tom Weir spinning in his grave given the restriction it has brought in for wanderers, yet seems happy to allow development and housed to be built within the park it is supposed to be preserving.

These links might help keep some folk’s blood pressure down:

Flamingo Land proposals are opposed by thousands

Our view on Flamingo Land’s Loch Lomond proposal

The LLTNPA’s involvement in the Flamingo Land proposals

The potential impact of Flamingo Land’s proposals on the National Park


July 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change – Progress – Development

As a car nut who has not lost touch with reality, I’m able to enjoy the changes that have taken place in their design over the years – unlike some I have rubbed shoulders with and describe any changes as a betrayal to their favourite marque.

I’ve never quite understood this, as the implication is that once the model they like was put into production, it seems they would have liked the manufacturer to stop development, halt progress, and set that design in stone.

In a sense, I can appreciate their view, but it’s also a dead-end and would lead to the death of the company they supposedly like so much.

Even Morgan, which some may consider to be set in their ways, has moved on, even if (some of) its cars appear largely unchanged.

In my own case I can look at my own little collection, and while one late 1950s model was amongst the fastest normal production cars of the day (excluding exotics), and was able to cruise the Autobahn at 75 mph all day, it’s 0-60 mph time was in the region of 22 seconds.

By way of contrast, my 1980s example would do the same cruise at 150 mph, and sprint to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds.

In the currency of their day, the first was around £2 k, while the latter was 16 times that, and over £30 k (and had climbed to a whopping £80 k when production ended almost 20 years later).

The other difference would be their handling – something that has advanced out of all recognition today.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a bog-standard present family day car will out-perform a sports car from latter part of the 20th century (again, exclude the handful of exotics – but many of them would actually struggle too).

I spotted this pic, which probably sums this up – both are great, but if you think the manufacturer should have stopped developing and stayed with the one on the left, you need help, or the opportunity to bet your life savings, house, and family, on being able to catch the one on the right while driving it.

Porsche 1964 to 2016

Porsche 1964 to 2016

While I’ve never found anyone that let me drive the one on the left, I have managed to get my hands on examples of the one on the left.

Having driven other cars from 1964-ish, and being aware of that era’s 911 reputation, I can say that the later version is actually stunning, and despite trying to provoke the ‘handling faults’ of the rear engine layout found this impossible in anything like sane driving.

Special mention for that engine too – floor the throttle in any gear and it will take-off as if a ghost had just been seem.

At anything over 20 mph I found the effort of changing down to accelerate was almost a waste of time/effort.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow City Council saves Glasgow School of Art again

I used to be part of a forum that spent much of its time kicking Glasgow City Council, but after I while I came to realise that this was not being done with any sort of rationale or logic, but was merely being driven by a few noisy people whose aim was to run what amounted to anti-council campaign, possibly based on little more than hate or politics, and which simply took almost every decision made by the council… and ranted against it, regardless of whether or not a reasonable person would have approved.

That’s not to say Glasgow City Council is perfect, but after looking at reports of other councils in the media – we don’t actually do that badly, and maybe better than some.

I see the council has just made the news by rejecting a planning application for a block of flats to be built adjacent to the Glasgow School of Art.

While I suspect it would be fairly safe to say there are few (not counting the developer concerned) who would disagree with the refusal, I did note that the report showed the rejection was not carried unanimously, but by a vote 12 to 6 against.

See Planners reject flats beside Glasgow School of Art

It’s kind of hard to see how anyone (from Glasgow at least) without something to gain would be for FOR this proposal.

I’d rather like to see the 6 who voted against being interviewed on TV, and asked to explain the reasons for their desire to see those flats built next to the GSA.

Glasgow School of Art post fire

Glasgow School of Art post fire

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, 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

(Probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub at risk of demolition

I’m always a little wary of making definitive statements, so only say that what is probably Glasgow’s oldest pub may be at risk of demolition, to make way for a new development of students flats after an application was made for a 12-storey block to be erected at the junction of High Street, Duke Street, and George Street, containing 326 cluster flats and 100 self‐contained studio flats.

Sloans and The Scotia Bar also claim to be Glasgow’s oldest pub, but it is thought the Old College Bar has traded under the same name since its licence was granted in 1812 – the longest of the three venues. The pub’s name refers to the University of Glasgow, which was based around the High Street from its foundation in 1451 until it moved to its current site at Gilmorehill in 1870.

See the sign above the door:

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

Of the others:

I’ve read Glasgow Tourist Board opts for the Scotia Bar in Stockwell Street, built in 1792, but no note of how long it has traded under, and I’ve read Sloans claim that it was established in 1797, beginning as a coffee house in Morrisons Court named after Glasgow Baillie John Morrison.

The building has no protection through listing, and it seems the various developers could be said to be engaging in ‘dirty tricks’ in order to clear the site for their proposals:

In 2013, plans were revealed by owner Colin Beattie to tear down the public house as part of redevelopment plans.

Later that year, the bar was forced to close for six months over mounting energy bills but it reopened in 2014.

More proposals to replace the pub surfaced in 2015 after the buildings were labelled “dangerous”, which contradicted claims from two years earlier.

Glasgow’s oldest pub could be demolished for student flats

And, I saw in the Evening Times:

Last year, adjoining buildings in George Street were deemed to be in a dangerous condition and were demolished.

However, Glasgow City Council refuted any suggestion the building housing the bar and its immediate neighbours was in any way dangerous.

A council spokesman said: “The Old College Bar building is structurally sound, it’s not a dangerous building.

“The building that was demolished adjacent to this site was a former tenement.

“It was demolished as a dangerous building.”

The application will be considered at a future meeting of the Planning Committee.

The building to the left is listed, being a former bank c.1895, then a shop or similar, and now appears to be small exhibition venue, according to sign in the doorway. Above, flats/accommodation.

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

This badly rendered graphic (credited to ADF Architect by STV News) gives an indication of the proposed new building on the site.

Somebody should tell them that verticals CONVERGE as a building rises towards the sky, theirs appear to DIVERGE!

New proposals: View from Duke Street. ADF Architects

New proposals: View from Duke Street. ADF Architects via STV News

On a more serious note, it may be worth considering yet another article which appeared recently, and questioned the growing number of student flats in the city:

Growing number of student flats raises eyebrows in Glasgow

Notably, the article raises the same point about Edinburgh as well, and seems more like an irrational rant against new builds rather than a reasoned consideration of the subject.

It would have been of some value had it raised issues regarding clearances and locations for these flats, which are needed in some form unless students are to sleep on the streets if education centres are expanding.

For example, while the High Street proposal seeks demolition of possibly historic buildings to make way for the development of student flats, there are empty gap sites lying unused only a few metres away.

February 5, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

National Museum of Scotland to get 10 new galleries

I was pleased to read that plans to add ten new galleries to the National Museum of Scotland were to go ahead.

It’s been a long time since I spent months visiting the galleries in the days when there was an admission fee, and I actually managed to spend all that time there for free!

Admittedly, this required all my visits to be made between 6 pm and 8 pm on Thursday evenings, when the admission charge being levied in those days was waived. However, various problems I was dealing with at the time meant I had that time free, and little else to do with it, so being able to scour the museum slowly was actually a handy diversion that kept me sane.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get back since the place was revamped, but maybe the new galleries will provide a bit more motivation, and I can save up for the trip.

Ten new galleries are to be created at the National Museum of Scotland for science and technology and art and design.

On Tuesday, it was announced a grant of £4.85m from the Heritage Lottery Fund will go towards what is the next stage of the museum’s masterplan.

The project, which will cost £14.1m, will see the galleries open in 2016.

They will explore the impact of scientific discovery and invention as well as the creativity of arts, fashion and design.

Over 3500 objects will be on display, with space in the museum increased by over 40%. Three quarters of the items have not been on permanent display for generations.

The grant means over £10m of the money is now in place, including £900,000 from the Scottish Government specifically for work on the roof of the west wing of the Victorian building.

It is the third stage of the museum’s £80m project to restore the building to its former grandeur.

Colin McLean, from Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The recent transformation of the National Museum of Scotland has been an unprecedented success. Modern galleries with engaging interpretation have encouraged millions through the doors to explore the cornucopia of artefacts that lie within.

Via Ten new galleries to be created at the National Museum of Scotland | Edinburgh & East | News

The above picture (showing the main central gallery of the museum) is the first I have seen of the museum after its refurbishment, and comes as a surprise and disappointment (bearing in mind I have not had the opportunity to visit since the work was completed).

While the changes may have allowed more items to be brought out, I can see the Millennium Clock has been lost to this space, and apparently shunted into a more obscure location, after it once graced the entire end of the main gallery. Reading other comments, it seems that the fish pond, once a focal point and useful for rendezvous, and the café, have gone.

I hope the rest is better, to make up for what appear to be losses.

June 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The lost part of Sandyhills Park

While writing about some of the prefabs in Glasgow, I remembered that some had been on land which became the foundation for Sandyhills Park once they were razed.

However, that was not the end of the story, and the once attractive and well laid out park (complete with a keep-fit exercise route formed within its paths) was all but destroyed when almost half of it was buried under a later housing development.

While it’s not possible to go back and document or photograph the features which were lost under this development, it is still possible to see the scar along the edge of the park, which marks the line along which the park was cut, leaving the remains to the south, and the development to the north.

In the aerial view below, Lochay Street (which can be seen running west to east across the centre of the view) marks the most noticeable feature which marks the division between the park and the development. The rest of the reclaimed area is generally bordered by what was once the perimeter of the park. Ignoring the original tenements and a few other buildings which have been there since around 1900, all the modern houses that can be seen to the north and east are built on what used to be park, and date from the 1970s.

Other features, such as Sandyhills House which was also nearby, have been lost from the area in earlier developments, and are not related to this change. Interestingly, the lodge which belonged to Sandyhills House still survives, at the corner of Shettleston Road and Glen Ogle Street, having been converted into a modern dwelling.

Fortunately, I happened to be writing the prefab item in March, when there was little undergrowth on the various paths in the park, and the council has been clearing up the dead leaves, fallen branches, and other rubbish that had built up on the ground over winter, so the timing was pretty good to head down there for a walk, and take a few pics of the scar.

I’ve never really thought about it, but I guess anyone new to the area might think things look a little odd, as the paths that used to lead into the northern part of park were just cut off when Lochay Street was built over them, so appear to come to a sudden end for no reason, other than coming to the edge of the road, which looks a bit silly once you have noticed this.

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park at Lochay Street cut

I’ve tried to show all the paths in the pics below, and how they just run into the edge of Lochay Street.

I used to think they might still lie under the road, but if we assume it was correctly constructed, then the paths would have been dug up as the proper foundation was prepared for the road.

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St detail

Sandyhills Park Lochay St detail

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

Sandyhills Park Lochay St

These are just a few more pics of the cut off detail:

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

Sandyhills Park Lochay St Cut

April 14, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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