Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

A ‘Sir Billy Connolly’ coincidence

It’s not my imagination, spooky coincidences DO follow me around.

Last time, there was a Billy Connolly show in this gallery, I was there (not at the gallery, just on the spot).

This week, he was in the news again, basically announcing the end of his tours, as he has Parkinson’s (and Sir Billy Connolly was in Glasgow to launch his new art exhibition ‘Born On A Rainy Day’ which is running until the end of November at Castle Fine Art on Queen Street).

So, I got the chance to take another pic, or two.

That portrait is still there.

Queen Street Sir Billy Connolly

Queen Street Sir Billy Connolly

And his exhibition.

Castle Fine Art Billy Connolly On A Rainy Day

Castle Fine Art Billy Connolly On A Rainy Day

And the window.

I have to say his work falls into the ‘Not my cup of tea’ category, but that’s just me, it does seem to have some good reviews, and has a style I can see some people would like.

Billy Connolly Art

Billy Connolly Art Show


Nov 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The Reward Of Cruelty at The Hunterian (Updated)

After the previous post about the creepy benches at Glasgow University, I had to include a pic grabbed at the exhibition I mentioned in that post, William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum (in the Hunterian Art Gallery until the January 2019).

I’ve included the text from the work.

I should be able to give more details, sadly I can’t.

The exhibits had no plaques. Instead, they were all numbered and visitors could collect a free printed guide-book which contained the details of each exhibit. I didn’t note the number of this one, and there were more than 200 items listed.

The partied hard back in the 1750s – just jam a screw in the guest’s head to keep him up!

Spot the dog – I wonder if the cadaver was cruel to the ‘wee dug’, and this was his reward.

We could bring this back for animal cruelty today, might work better than the paltry fines and simple ban on keeping pets handed out nowadays.

Hunterian Art Gallery The Reward Of Cruelty

Hunterian Art Gallery The Reward Of Cruelty


Image Text

Image Text


Somehow, I managed to find the description!

William Hogarth (English, 1697-1764)

The Four Stages of Cruelty:

The Reward of Cruelty

1751 Etching and engraving on paper.

Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty drew attention to the barbarism in eighteenth-century London. Here, an executed prisoner is dissected in the course of an anatomical lecture, the circular anatomy theatre being possibly that built by Inigo Jones for the Royal college of Physicians, where Hunter may have witnessed dissections.

Nov 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Hill House rescue works release Mackintosh items for Lighthouse display

Work to help preserve Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh have provided the opportunity to display some of the contents in Glasgow’s Lighthouse.

Good old Scottish weather (and Helensburgh doesn’t help by being beside the sea, and having a nice salty atmosphere) means that while Mackintosh may have been a revolutionary designer, what were cutting-edge materials and building techniques of 1902 have not stood the test of time, and The National Trust for Scotland is currently carrying out an extraordinary conservation project which involves enclosing the house in a mesh box, in order to protect it from the weather and allow it to dry out.

Since this has required the contents to be moved out of the house, it has allowed them to be moved into The Lighthouse as a temporary exhibition, so you can see them even if you can’t get to Helensburgh.

Working with his wife, Margaret Macdonald, Mackintosh designed the rooms and interior features of the house including those most well-known: the entrance hall, drawing room and main bedroom. Items from all these spaces are represented in this exhibition of more than 30 objects from the house, including chairs, light fittings, beds, mirrors, and tables.

Emma Inglis, curator (Glasgow and West), the National Trust for Scotland, said: “The Hill House is the most complete surviving example of Mackintosh’s whole-house approach to design. He designed the architecture of the building, interior decoration, and household furnishings to work in unison, creating rooms rich in interest and colour. Fundraising is still ongoing to save the Hill House and this exhibition is an opportunity to display objects which represent the heart and style of the Hill House.

Find The Hill House at The Lighthouse between 04 August and 23 September 2018 in Gallery One.

This is the drawing room of Hill House, as seen in 2017.

Click the image to see the huge original by Tony Hisgett on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons licence.

It’s actually one of a number of photographs you will find with it, taken inside the house.

Hill House Drawing Room by Tony Hisgett on Flickr by Creative Commons

Hill House Drawing Room by Tony Hisgett on Flickr by Creative Commons

Aug 6, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lego exhibition in Glasgow Cathedral

I noticed this more because of what struck me as an unusual venue for this exhibition rather than the subject.

I tend to be a bit of purist when it comes to individualistic subjects, and that includes Lego.

While I always accepted the need for specialised bricks, such as lighting, doors, windows, and similar generic types, I really went off the stuff when it started to get specialised components that only allowed ONE item to be built, rendering a toy that inspired imagination into nothing more than a 3D jigsaw puzzle.

But, I might catch a Lego exhibition depicting subjects such as the wonders of the world which has gone on display in Glasgow Cathedral, and also features scientific discoveries such as the Big Bang Theory, DNA, the Great Wall of China, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Hoover Dam.

I haven’t really even seen Lego for years, so I’ll be interested to see how much depends on the standard brick and imagination, and how many special, or custom, forms are used.

It has just opened and will be in place until 23 September 2018, then move on to Stirling Castle.

Lego wonders of the world exhibition opens in Glasgow

While I don’t dispute this graph, I think it should be modified for the UK.

We REALLY need proper tests to evaluate the relative pain level associated with stepping on a UK 13 A plug, and to see where it lies on this graph – unlike the Lego, the pins from our lovely mains plug can also pierce the skin and enter the foot of the truly unwary who go wandering around in the dark if disturbed while asleep (thereby becoming even MORE disturbed, but very awake).

Pain Graph

Pain Graph

Jul 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition underway at Kelvingrove

As noted last year, an exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth has opened at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

The exhibition forms part of a year-long celebration entitled Mackintosh 150.

It features more than 250 objects including stained-glass, ceramics, mosaic, furniture, textiles, interior and tearoom design and architectural drawings, most of which have not been shown in Glasgow for more than 30 years.

Making the Glasgow Style  features works on display for the first time in a generation, illustrated in chronological order, spans his life up to 1928, and includes works by The Four: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his future wife Margaret Macdonald, her younger sister Frances Macdonald and her future husband James Herbert McNair.

Mackintosh and building

Mackintosh and building

The programme of events includes The Lighthouse, Mackintosh at the Willow, The Glasgow School of Art, House for An Art Lover and The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow.

Via Exhibition celebrates 150 years since Mackintosh’s birth

Be aware that although not mentioned in the media, this exhibition is NOT INCLUDED in the free entry to Kelvingrove.
Admission tickets for this special event cost £7.

Apr 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

There IS a Dalek at Parkhead Cross

I had to grab this in passing one night, and was going to wait for a chance to visit, but at the present rate of progress the Dalek will probably be sitting back on Skaro with nice cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit.

Unfortunately, the posters don’t indicate how long this display will be on show.

Nor is there any mention on the library’s web page: Parkhead Library

Parkhead Library Doctor Who Dalek

Parkhead Library Doctor Who Dalek

At least the leave the lights on, so I managed a reasonable pic.

Parkhead Library Dr Who Display

Parkhead Library Dr Who Display

Closer to the Dalek.

Who’s that peeking from behind the shelves?

Parkhead Library Dalek

Parkhead Library Dalek

From my own point of view, it’s nice to see this concentrates on the classic period of Doctor Who.

I tolerated the rebirth of the series when it returned in 2005, but not as Doctor Who, and could really only watch the tripe they served up under the title if I pretended it was some new series, unrelated to the original.

While the original had made a few stars by taking relatively unknown actors and giving them a chance to be seen, the new version reversed the model completely, foisting costly names (celebrities) on the viewer, and rather than finding hopefuls to take on the part of ‘The Assistant’, placed more celebrities in that role too.

It was fairly sick-making to watch the weeks before a new series started, with the assistant generally being pushed in our faces, and appearing at events to massive acclaim – but we had not actually seen them play the part for a second.

Yet they were already stars able to fill events?

Still more budget was squandered on the special effects, and the series joined many which suffer the fault of spending more time on those effects than a decent story, as if serving up a visual feast somehow makes up for weak stories, or will divert people’s attention.

I gave up watching the series completely in 2016, as it had become a parody of the original, and a vehicle for waste-of-skin celebrities.

After the further nonsense that followed in 2017, I won’t be returning.

Dec 8, 2017 Posted by | council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War


World War I was not confined to the more well known venue of The Front, but also extended into the sea, with German submarines deployed in order to disrupt supplies – fishermen working off the coast were potential targets:

A new exhibition has been launched to honour the fishermen who died in service during the First World War.

Anstruther was one of the fishing communities affected when war broke out, as fishermen were called to fight.

Many men from Scotland’s fishing industry went to fight in the conflict, and fishing regions were highly affected by the injuries and casualties they suffered.

David Christie from Anstruther sank a German U-boat in 1918. His granddaughter Davina Knox has the casing of the shell and his medal.

She said: “They were on a drifter patrolling the Irish Channel and they only had one gun on board the ship and this U-boat must have come up and they had a wee battle seemingly and they fired a direct hit and they took the 36 men prisoner. There was no loss of life.”

David Christie’s story features in a new exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in the town.

via Anstruther exhibition honours fishermen killed in the First World War | Dundee & Tayside | News.

The First World War had both personal and collective impacts on those involved, whether they were away fighting or at home.  In this exhibition we explore the specific effects that the war had on those who made their living from the sea.  Using objects from our collections and individual stories of those affected we paint a national picture of the war in Scotland’s coastal communities.

At the beginning of the war many fishermen entered the services and swapped the familiar hazards of life at sea for the dangers of the trenches or naval work.  For those who stayed at home fishing became severely restricted.  Fishermen were left with very small areas left to fish in and many boats were requisitioned for the Navy.

Exhibition Dates:

28th June – 26th October

Entry : included in museum admission, accompanied children FREE

A Shared Experience · What’s on · Scottish Fisheries Museum

Jun 30, 2014 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, Transport, World War I | , | Leave a comment

Britain From Above – Scotland’s Industrial Might at The Lighthouse 14 Feb – 27 Apr 2014

I only came across this exhibition a few days ago (but doubt I’ll be in Glasgow before it ends), and there’s still time to catch it at The Lighthouse in Glasgow’s Mitchell Lane, as it runs from 14 February to 27 April, 2014.

Drawing on many rare and previously unseen aerial images, this exhibition traces the histories of factories, shipyards, mills, ironworks and their surrounding communities over three decades, from 1919 to 1953. Industries are shown operating at peak and also in decline, as the ‘bird’s eye view’ tracks the impact of social, political and economic change on the urban fabric of Scotland, from the Great Depression to reconstruction in the aftermath of the Second World War. While many buildings are now gone, they live on in the memories of workers and their families – the economic powerhouse of the past is the heritage of today.

Via The Lighthouse – Glasgow : Visit : Exhibitions : Britain From Above – Scotland’s Industrial Might

There a bit of a coincidence with this, as I recently found a little shop selling assorted bric-à-brac (ok, junk) and other items, probably collected from house clearances and similar.

First time I passed, I noticed a dish full of mounted (but not framed) B&W pics of Glasgow. They looked to be largely industrial, but I didn’t have time to take a closer look.

Next time I was there, they had migrated to the wall, and I could see they originated from a well-known Scottish archive. I even recognised some of them, and knew where to download them (for personal use, of course.)

I thought they were just a single collection, but while discussing them, learned they were £2 each, or could be bought in sets for a reduced amount – and I didn’t ask any more.

I’m being deliberately vague, as I don’t want to make the guy in shop grumpy by affecting his sales (the prints are high quality and nicely mounted), not do I want to end up in the midst of some copyright nonsense involving the archive, which I know gets a little ‘nippy’ if it finds its material being used in a way it does not approve of.

Apr 26, 2014 Posted by | Civilian, photography, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

Great Train Robbery at the Grampian Transport Museum

The Grampian Transport Museum is set to open its 2014 season on Sunday, 30 March 2014.

The Past & Future of Transport in the North East – Grampian Transport Museum

This will include a brand new exhibition for 2014 produce with support from the British Postal Museum & Archive. The Great Train Robbery is a new temporary exhibition for the museum, and reunites two of the three vehicles used on the night of the raid: an Austin Loadstar lorry and an ex-Army Land Rover. Additional material for the exhibition has been loaned by New Scotland Yard and private collectors.

First ever Great Train Robbery exhibition to open in Aberdeenshire | Aberdeen & North | News

Although it now falls into the category of “a few years ago”, I do have quite a few visits to this museum under my belt, and can thoroughly recommend it as a destination and somewhere to get lost for a few hours, especially if you like to examine the exhibits in detail. While it doesn’t look like a vast museum that cover a great deal of area, it does contain many items, and has (or at least had, when I was there) properly composed stories behind the exhibits. I have to say that, since there is a disturbing trend to ‘dumb down’ the displays nowadays – supposedly to make them more interesting to very young children, according to the brains behind such things. Given the number of adverse comments I read about display boards in recently revamped museums… that’s a mistake, and one which should be rectified sooner rather than later.

I had a look online for some newer pics of the museum site that I could use, as mine are not that recent, but what I found was not much newer, at least amongst the shared offerings. This is the view from the car park, looking towards the entrance, but it appears to be closed when this shot was taken.

Mar 28, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club static event at Kingdom Shopping Centre

Aircraft plan view

A static exhibition is planned by the Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club for Saturday, March 15, 2014, at at Lyon Square in the town’s Kingdom Shopping Centre.

Club members will be joined by friends from other clubs in the area, including Dunfermline, Balbedie, and Kinross, and will be displaying their model aircraft at the special event in the Centre.

The Glenrothes Club was formed in 1960, and has consistently had a healthy membership within the town.

Currently they have more than 60 regular members who attend events across the region.

The Glenrothes club is highly respected amongst the aeromodelling fraternity, and boasts a wealth of facilities including its own clubhouse and five-acre flying site with runway.

Via Glenrothes models take to the skies! – Fife Today

Fife Today might have been just a little over enthusiastic with their headline, since this is a static display.

It seems this is first time this sort of display has been organised for some years.

Although it’s years since I was last there, I was at the club site and enjoyed the flying displays they put on at the fairly numerous events held there.

Find out more on their own web site:

Home – Glenrothes Aeromodelling Club

Mar 8, 2014 Posted by | Aviation | , , | Leave a comment

Arctic Convoy exhibition opens at Edinburgh Castle

A reminder that the War Museum at Edinburgh Castle is hosting a special exhibition about the Arctic Convoys – admission is included with admission to the castle.

The date seems to have changed slightly compared to the advance news of the exhibition, when the opening date was given as May 24, 2013, and the date given now is today, May 29.

The museum’s web page does not indicate when the exhibition ends, but it was previously given as March 2014, so you don’t have to rush.

Then prime minister Winston Churchill admitted the mission to keep the supply lines of munitions, tanks, lorries, fuel and food open was “the worst journey in the world”, and they were dubbed the “suicide missions” by many of those who served on them, as the convoys had to run the gauntlet of submarine, air, and battleship attacks in harsh sub-zero conditions through the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic Convoys: 1941-45

Open daily 9:45–17:45

Material has been gathered from numerous sources, including private collections, loans from the Imperial War Museum, and museums in Russia. The exhibition will also include recordings of personal testimonies from surviving veterans of the convoys. It is often forgotten that many of those who took part in the convoys were not actually in the Royal Navy, but were simply merchant seamen or fisherman who had been called up for duty.

Those involved with efforts to establish a permanent museum to the Arctic Convoys, to be located at Loch Ewe, where many of the convoys formed and departed from, have also helped with contributions to the Edinburgh exhibition.

Jacky Brookes, manager of the Russian Arctic Convoys Museum Project in Loch Ewe, said: “We’re delighted the exhibition is happening and hope it will help raise the profile of getting a permanent museum”

We have had occasion to mention the museum project at Loch Ewe before:

Ross-shire museum call for Arctic Convoy veterans

HMS Scylla, a Dido-class cruiser of the Royal Navy, served with the Home Fleet on Arctic convoy duties, and is seen below while anchored on the Clyde:

HMS Scylla on the Clyde

HMS Scylla on the Clyde

Click on the image below to see a British Pathé short, shot in Scandinavian waters, and showing various shots of ships in a large convoy en route to Russia where:

Aboard the cruiser ‘Scylla’ Lieutenant-Commander McKean in a fur hat keeps a running commentary on the battle for the benefit of the ship’s company.

A column of black smoke rises into the sky after one of the ships is hit. The Scylla draws alongside the minesweeper ‘Harrier’. The two ships are lashed together while travelling at speed as the Scylla and takes on survivors of a torpedoed freighter.

The escort Commander, Rear Admiral Burnett, is put in breeches buoy and slung across to a destroyer so the Scylla can go ahead with survivors. C/U of Burnett on a ship, smiling and looking through binoculars.

May 29, 2013 Posted by | Maritime, military, Naval, Transport, World War II | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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