Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

People’s Palace closure period dates announced

Provisional date have been announced for the closure period of the People’s Palace while work is carried out to alter the structure for its fire escape when access to the current exist is lost due to closure and loss of access to the Winter Gardens.

Now it has been announced that the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will close respectively on December 30 and December 31.

In a letter which has gone out from Glasgow Life, museums have been informed of the date, and that the intended reopening will take place at Easter.

The letter states: “The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will close on 30 Dec/31 December respectively due to the Winter Gardens building being categorised unsafe due to structure/glass issues.

“It is anticipated that the People’s Palace will reopen around Easter time (actual date cannot be confirmed until building work schedule approved) with the main changes being a new fire evacuation route within the palace as well as lift, public toilet access directly from palace.”

Here’s when the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens closes for repairs

It’s just a pity the article had to refer to the misguided petition raised to “Save the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens for the City of Glasgow”.

James Watt silently oversees developments at the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens.

James Watt overlooks People's Palace and Winter Gardens

James Watt overlooks People’s Palace and Winter Gardens


People's Palace And Winter Gardens

People’s Palace And Winter Gardens


People's Palace Winter Gardens

People’s Palace Winter Gardens


People's Palace and Winter Gardens

People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

While it was a miracle to have the Doulton Fountain rescued and restored – I watched it decay for years and thought it would eventually leave the Green in skips, it is a bit of distraction when trying to get the best view of the People’s Palace façade from the raised area in front.

I really will have to try to remember and try for the closer in, but wider, shot at some point.

People's Palace and Doulton Fountain

People’s Palace and Doulton Fountain

Inside the Winter Gardens.

People's Palace Winter Gardens Interior

People’s Palace Winter Gardens Interior

Wider view of the problem – the glasshouse roof.

People's Palace Winter Gardens Interior Roof

People’s Palace Winter Gardens Interior Roof

I did try for some more detailed views, but the interior of the roof is fairly well obscured by the various nets installed in the past, to prevent any falling glass from attacking visitors.

People's Palace Winter Gardens Interior Roof

People’s Palace Winter Gardens Interior Roof


Dec 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on the River Clyde

After seeing the story about the restoration work set to be carried out on the West Boathouse on the River Clyde, after thinking it might have been derelict, I thought I should really take a chance and try for some pics before anything changed.

This place is long (or wide, depending on how your brain is wired), so there’s no way to get a shot without something expensive, or you have to stitch multiple shots together. I’ll let you guess what I do.

Yes, it was late, not dark, just dusk – I’m surprised this came out so well, even with the low contrast.

Click for bigger.

West Boathouse Stitch

West Boathouse Stitch

There’s no problem if you’re far away, so I reshot the night shot from the previous post.

West Boathouse From Bridge

West Boathouse From Bridge

Then wandered along for a view from the opposite bank. Again, no problem with the length of the building.

Note the shoring on the left.

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

One end.

West Boathouse East End

West Boathouse East End

And the other – that shoring has been there for years. Another reason for thinking ‘derelict’.

I don’t know if the crazy angle of the boathouse in this pic is down to me, or if it really has subsided to that extent.

But, look at the fence, and the edge of the other building caught in this pic.

West Boathouse West End Shoring

West Boathouse West End Shoring

Not a bad catch, but for the dusk, lack of contrast, and little colour.

But it’s December.

Dec 2, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on Glasgow Green is not as derelict as I thought

I have to confess that, until recently, I thought an old boathouse on Glasgow Green was maybe derelict.

I’ve never seen it in use, or even open, due to the usual times I was down that way, and it was only a few weeks ago that I saw it with a door lying open, and people moving around inside.

In fact, plans have just been approved for a new 99-year lease to the Clydesdale and Clyde Amateur Rowing Clubs for use the West Boathouse and surrounding land.

Under the terms of the agreement, the clubs will pay £750-a-year between them for the site following the completion of the £2.8m redevelopment.

That work will be carried out by the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) who are set to install new changing facilities, lift access, multi-use spaces and a floating pontoon from next year.

The boathouse is a category B-listed building which sits in Glasgow Green and was built for the use of both rowing clubs in 1905.

As part of the work, the Trust will take over an area of Glasgow Green, which is not currently leased by the clubs, for a trailer park, rowing racks and an access route to pontoons.

The boathouse building will be redeveloped from a semi-detached unit into a fully shared space by 2020.

Both clubs have been paying £350-a-year since 1990 for use of the site but the new agreement will allow the council to transfer liability for maintenance and management of the building to the clubs.

Plans to revamp historic boathouse on Glasgow Green move one step closer

Pity I didn’t take a pic or two of some rowers I thought were mad to be out on the water a few days ago, when it was almost freezing – I like my playing to be fun.

I didn’t think I had any pics of the place, although I know I have some really old ones (on film) that show the place looking much as it does today, and in need of restoration, especially the area leading to the river. I think this was used for a shooting scene in ‘Taggart’.


I remembered I’d fired off some test shots on 05 November, while waiting for the fireworks on Glasgow Green to start.

The first one was just one of my habitual hand-held low light night shots, I can’t resist, even it was not the plan for that night. But, I still needed to have an idea of what area I could cover when I changed over to long exposures.

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

After playing around a bit, and finding a way to support the camera (exposures were going up to around 8 seconds), I began to get half decent results.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

And then there were interesting shots.

This one caught an early firework release, but the actual interest will be spotted in the bright lights.

Note now they have developed ‘drops’ which appear to run down from them, as the camera was moved too soon, at the end of the shot, before the shutter had closed.

One to remember for later use.

Interestingly, the lit windows of the building behind (Templeton’s), although appearing to be bright, were not bright enough to ‘drop’ or streak in the same way.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Dec 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My first SUCCESSFUL fireworks shoot (Part IV)

I think this is last part (Part I, Part II, Part III), but the learning has been good, even though I’ve been home late recently and not had the time to play. That’s one reason this ended up spread over a number of posts, and not just one ‘dump’ the day after the show.

Plus, as noted in one of the earlier parts, instead of finding just a few decent shots in the collection, when I went to delete most of the fuzzy or blurred images I thought were useless failures due to camera shake, when I checked the detail, I found they were images of fireworks that actually WERE fuzzy.

The last batch come from the latter part of the show, when I had to turn the camera from landscape to portrait as the shells were become so large, and flying so high.

Earlier, I’d been able to catch reflections in the river.

Fireworks 967

Fireworks 967

Then they started to creep up higher into the sky.

While I’d been able to support the camera on the parapet earlier, turning it on its side AND having to point it higher meant I had no support under it, and the only ‘fixed’ point was one edge or corner. The lens was resting on my clenched fingers – I’m still surprised that was good enough to hold it steadies for exposures lasting 10 seconds.

Shots like this fuzzy firework proved hard to edit a darker sky into – as it darkened, the fine detail of the fuzz was ‘removed’ by the tools. Even a simple attempt increase the contrast had a similar effect.

Fireworks 980

Fireworks 980

They weren’t all fuzzies thought, and some just left ordinary, clear trails.

Fireworks 992

Fireworks 992

One of the last, as the show came to an end.

Fireworks 994

Fireworks 994

One thing I noticed was that, unlike a number of displays I’ve attended in the past, Glasgow seems to avoid the temptation to end its display by launching a load of fireworks into the air at once, and have them all go off at once.

Some organisers probably think this is impressive, and it is, but it’s also maybe a bit of a waste, as so many go off at the same time… you really can’t see any of them in the mass of aerial explosions.

Maybe the best would be to throw up more at the end, but also time them better, so they overlap, giving an extended burst mark the end of the show.

Maybe they do, and it’s the timing that’s not quite accurate enough – yet 😉

I hope I get the chance to try this next year.

In Scotland, there’s no guarantee of a show, and a number of other displays (on different nights) were cancelled this year as a storm rolled in, while wind and rain saw off some more.

Whatever happens (and assuming we are not in the midst of one our proper wet spells, when it can rain 24/7 for more than a week), I should be out scoping the land for somewhere just a bit further away, but still with a good view of the Green – so I just might be able to see the whole area of sky they perform (now that I know where it is), AND be able to sit the camera square, rather than canted over at an angle (oh, and worry about it disappearing into the river).

Nov 9, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

My first SUCCESSFUL fireworks shoot (Part III)

I had thought my pics of the fireworks on Glasgow Green were pretty rough (the first proper fireworks I’ve been able to get to AND try proper pics), but after seeing the efforts some of the media/news services chose to publish under the generic ‘Your Pics’ heading, I changed my mind. I don’t know who picked some of them, but I think they need glasses.

That said, some of them (clearly taken by pros with privileged spots on the Green itself) were stunning, and just made me want to crawl back into my shell. On the other hand, while my kit would pay for a tank of petrol, their gear would buy a decent second-hand car!

Part II moaned about a wobbly camera (Part I was largely waffle), but found it didn’t really matter (as long as it was still short-term), and a wide lens that wasn’t wide enough, or being too close.

This time, I’m thinking about processing the images.

Most of mine tended towards over-exposure, leading to light backgrounds, but were not chronic, so unlike overexposed day shots, there was not a problem with hitting 100% white, which you can’t do anything with. This sort of over-exposure can be knocked back, and the overall balance can be shifted.

I was surprised to see some of the pro shots I referred to earlier were good in terms of focus, but terrible in terms of exposure, being so overexposed, maybe even pushed, to the extent that they almost looked like daylight shots, not fireworks at night.

I used to make the same mistake with my night shots, pulling as much detail out of the shadows as I could, but then realised I might as well have gone and taken the same pics in daylight, and saved myself the effort.

With these shots, I think the idea should be to enhance them, so they actually look as if they were taken at night.

This one probably gives the idea, with the original ‘corrected’ to darken the sky, increase contrast, recover faint colours, and improve the detail.

This was the pic as taken (note the shake thanks to my ‘neighbours’, which would have ruined the background pic, but had no effect at all on the fireworks).

Fireworks 996

Fireworks 996

And this is how it came out after processing.

I could have applied any of the changes with a heavier hand, but as noted above, ever since the days of film and filters, I’ve avoided anything that makes the use of such things obvious.

If someone asks ‘Did you process/filter/edit that?’, then I consider my job is done.

If they say ‘Oh, I see you used/did…’, then I consider myself to have failed miserably.

Fireworks Proc 996

Fireworks Proc 996

These have all been processed.

Nice single burst.

Fireworks 995

Fireworks 995

I like the ones where the lower display they had on the left look as if they are fountains.

I was going to dump this (and similar images) on the basis that they were failures, due to the blurry appearance of the larger burst on the right. However, this was actually down to the firework type, as the trails were being made by very slow burning effects that tool a long time to fade away, hence the apparent blur.

Fireworks 958

Fireworks 958

This detail from the original shows the effect I refer to.

You can see the faster, clear blue trails, with the slower burning fuzzy spray behind.

Fireworks 958 Detail

Fireworks 958 Detail

This was when they started to launch the real biggies, and I had to give up on landscape shots and try getting the high stuff using portrait.

Unusually, I caught these being launched with trails – most of high shots didn’t show any sort of trail, and the only way you knew they were coming was the initial ‘THUD’ of the mortar firing ahead of the sky burst.

Another thing learnt from these ‘fuzzies’ was that it’s not possible to darken the sky or increase the contrast greatly. All that happens is the spray gradually vanishes, so you’re left with very little.

Like I said earlier, there’s a surprising lot to learn about the art of firework pics, and I’ve never seen anybody tell these ‘secrets’

Fireworks 963

Fireworks 963

I think I’ll do one more post – having thought I only had a few decent pics, after looking at the detail and finding the ones I thought were blurred and ruined were actually accurate, I have loads!

That was the last of the landscape, I still have to look at the portrait catches!

Nov 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

My first SUCCESSFUL fireworks shoot (Part II)

Following on from Part I

This is turning out more interesting and educational (for me at least) than I first thought.

After the focus hassles of Part I, and finding I was too close for even a moderately wide lens to see enough, there was better news.

I already mentioned the brats poor little mites I was surrounded by, and had thought their bumping would have ruined most of the long exposure shots. Not so.

While a number show distinct wobbles in the light trails, others I expected to be useless due to the camera moving before the exposure was over turned out OK.

A moment’s thought explains this – the stars and trails from the fireworks only matter while they are present and their light is being recorded, so are relatively immune to any movement that happens before or after their appearance. This is very different from the static background, which is present and exposed for the FULL duration of a long exposure, so will record ANY and ALL movement that takes place during a long exposure of many seconds.

So, while the static detail in the background may show evidence of camera movement, the stars and trails won’t if they were captured while the camera wasn’t moving.

As noted, I couldn’t get a level support on the bridge parapet, so all the shots were taken at an angle. While I can straighten things easily, the narrow field of view means most of them are missing corners.

These are unprocessed, apart from straightening.

Landscape shots of the low fireworks were OK.

Glasgow Green Fireworks 960

Glasgow Green Fireworks 960

But once they started launching the biggies high into the sky I had to change to portrait, and lost width (and corners after straightening).

On the other hand – I did gain reflections from the river, so it wasn’t all bad news.

Glasgow Green Fireworks 960

Glasgow Green Fireworks 960

This one shows the slightly odd effect of (almost) shake free firework trails, but a very shaky and blurred static background.

Glasgow Green Fireworks 966

Glasgow Green Fireworks 966

But, then I even lost the reflections as the firework got even BIGGER and went even HIGHER!

Glasgow Green Fireworks 989

Glasgow Green Fireworks 989

I guess Part III will be… processing to make them look better.

The drone

One thing you may have noticed in the news/media was an official warning for anybody thinking of taking their drone to a display to take aerial views.

The warning was DON’T!

Drone regs are quite specific about flying over the public, and probably render anything but certified operation with permission illegal. If caught, you’d probably be fined and lose your expensive toy.


A little before the display was due to begin, I spotted what I thought was a passing aircraft (like a passenger jet) at altitude, but then realised the lights were too distinct to be at that sort of height, and I could see a vague outline. There were three flashing lights which did not correspond to the navigation lights, or strobes, of a normal aircraft, so this had to be a drone, and a big one.

I tried to follow it, but either the lights were extinguished to hide it, or avoid affecting images from it, and once the display started it would have been lost in the smoke anyway.

I got home too late to see any local news coverage of the display, so just don’t know if this was an official drone flight permitted to catch video for later broadcast.

Nov 7, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

My first SUCCESSFUL fireworks shoot (Part I)

While I’d liked to have started today by posting some successful (or maybe that should really be ‘Not embarrassingly bad) pics taken of the fireworks from last night’s fun on Glasgow Green, it wan’t really possible.

I’d planned to visit the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens (before they’re closed) in the afternoon, then just loiter after they closed at 5 pm, until the fireworks started at 7:30 pm.

While this was a plan, it spectacularly failed to take account of the complete closure of ALL access to Glasgow Green, including the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. I’d checked info about the display in advance, but I didn’t see any warnings or info about this, or more importantly, closure of the museum.

Having had 2.5 hours to kill until the show started, I ended up with more than 5, so by the time I got home I was both cold and tired.

So… I don’t have many opportunities to photograph fireworks (close), in fact none. Most events are closed, ticket only, and even here, buildings get in the way, so Glasgow Green is a fairly unique venue, for my access at least.

The last fireworks I even saw were from about 2 miles away, launched during an event in George Square, and I only caught them by chance as I happened to be on level ground in Calton, which gave me a view above the city centre roof line – it was pretty good, far enough to see it all, yet not so far everything was tiny, and even the bangs could be heard – eventually (delays courtesy of the speed of sound in air).

Prior to that, my last foray into this type of shot was so long ago I was still loading rolls of film into my camera, and the results… are best not spoken about (it was too expensive to practice).

Last night was a bit weird. I eventually decided the city side of the Green was too busy so headed towards the eastern side, and eventually planted myself (alone) on the north parapet of the King’s Bridge over the River Clyde. This gives a nice clear view back to the Green.

Although the place had been deserted when I arrived (very early), when I look around with less than an hour to go, there was already a significant crowd around me, and the place was soon mobbed.

This was relevant as my usual jinx of being the person on a bus or train who gets the local loony planted on the seat next to them applied, and I got families with revolting tiny children planted either side of me. So I, and my possessions were regularly kicked (and you absolutely MUST NOT complain about the little mites for fear of scarring them emotionally for life, and I dared not let go of my camera for fear of seeing it end up in the river below. That matters since you shouldn’t really touch it when taking this type of low light shot.

I learnt a lot from this first proper attempt.

While I’ve never had any problems setting manual exposure, probably the most frustrating lesson from this (and to be fair, other low light or night shots) is that manual focus handling on non-professional (cheap) lenses is DIRE! So called prosumer hardware really is built for mostly automatic use, and trying to manually focus is horribly hit and miss, being so sensitive that bumping, or even just brushing against the lens, can ruin a carefully set up manual focus point, as there is very little ‘stiction’ in the adjustment once autofocus has been disabled.

I found another frustration – even though I switched the lens to manual, I had to do the same on the camera body. It would not fire as it thought it the shot was not in focus, and would not release the shutter until I dug into the menus and found the setting to place the body in manual focussing mode as well.

I’ll probably have forgotten ALL these gems by the time I need them again – oh well.

I’ve labelled this Part I as other commitments mean I just didn’t have time to process and add pics – Part II will be along… soon.

Meantime, here’s one that shows reflections from the river, as it came, untweaked.

And yes, I was TOO close – this was an 18 mm (about 25 mm for 35 mm stock) view, and I missed lots.



Nov 6, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace S02

Surprisingly quiet one week after a supposed week of ‘outrage’ over the fate of the People’s Palace and Winter Garden, following announcement of certain closure of the Winter Gardens due to deterioration of the structure, and for the People’s Palace to be closed for at least a limited period, while provision for emergency exit are made, since this facility currently depends on access to the doors if the Winter Gardens.

However, there was at least one good example of how some people will try to ‘spin’ a story and twist it to suit their own agenda, as seen in this article. Having wasted more than enough time glancing through it to see its aim was just to denigrate Glasgow City Council (as opposed to saying something useful), the most obvious flaw, or perhaps deliberate misdirection, was the attempt to present the funding of National museums (which are the responsibility of the Government) as if it was the same as funding of local museums, which have no connection to that pot, and are the responsibility of local councils.

Martyn McLaughlin: Edinburgh’s museums get millions, Glasgow’s bawbees

It’s probably also worth considering the relative nonsense of the title, as we saw Kelvingrove raise £30 million for refurbishment a few years ago, and Riverside was built for around £74 million, also a few years ago. The breakdown of that funding can be found, and my point is merely that we have been funding these facilities, and the amounts involved are not trivial. And let’s not forget, Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall has a £35 million restoration project underway. That too has been funded from various sources, and it is not a ‘National’ venue, so again this is local, so again, success nor dependent on solely on Government money.

That article is embarrassingly opportunistic, and NO HELP to anyone but a politically motivated moron.

But, the pots concerned are neither bottomless nor ‘instant’.

The Winter Gardens scenario is emergency, in response to an engineering survey, and should be addressed as such – not by “Whose fault is this?, and “Whose head should roll?”

That’s a dangerous and stupid ‘social media’ response, geared at attracting ‘likes’ and does nothing but distract from the real need, which is action to source and place funding, not run around like headless chickens!


Things perked up towards the end of the week.

All the media sources jumped on the same story

As I pointed out, and it seems ONLY the BBC has the guts to state:

Although it never intended to close the People’s Palace long term, some reports suggested this might happen and a petition was launched to try to stop this.

People’s Palace needs up to £350,000 of modifications

The rest of the media basically cloned the rest of the story, about how the council had approved around £350,000 to provide for (reversible) works to modify the People’s Palace to allow fire regulations and safety concerns to be addressed after the Winter Gardens have been closed, as they will on 01 January 2019.

With the record set straight, I could kick the stupid petition and call it ‘stupid’ (oops, did I really type that?), but it was actually a valuable, if misguided, response which confirmed that people really do appreciate the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, although as a fairly frequent visitor I do sometimes wonder about their commitment as I wander around the deserted galleries, with only the echo of my own footsteps (and those of a few obvious tourists) of the hard wooden floor for company.

Possibly the most interesting and relevant thing to come out of this scare is a review of all the city’s glasshouses…

“At this point it is also right that we take stock and look for sustainable options for both the Winter Gardens and the People’s Palace.”

Ms Aitken said it would be part of a wider look at all glasshouses and other landmarks.

She added: “It is not enough to keep pouring money into our historic buildings and hoping for a different outcome, both physically and financially.

“We need to think creatively about how we use our built heritage so that the architecture that everyone in the city enjoys does have a sustainable future.

“This will be no easy task, but developing a heritage strategy will help us to determine what we need to do protect these buildings for generations to come.”

I stated in my first post after this news hit the headlines that it came as no surprise, nor should it have to anyone aware of the age of the structure or, sadly, the fate of similar building that have closed over the years, or even recently.

The council said the structure of the Winter Gardens was in need of repairs and the sealant used to secure thousands of windows in the glasshouse had reached the end of its life.

After a pane of glass fell into the public area of the building in 2016, protective netting was installed around the glasshouse.

The structural engineers commissioned by the council identified a number of structural issues with the Winter Gardens with the current repair bill estimated to be £5-7.5m.

At (sic) further report will be submitted to the City Administration Committee in due course which will explore options for the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and other historic glasshouse structures.

In the present scenario, it is expected that the work required to keep the People’s Palace open after the Winter Gardens close (indefinitely) will take about 12 weeks to complete.

The other media source are:

People’s Palace to remain open after £350k plan approved

People’s Palace in need of £350,000 worth of repairs to remain open

COUNCIL To Look At Future Of Glasgow’s Glasshouse Buildings

Where Glasgow leads, Edinburgh follows

(Just kidding, standard joke.)

But it seems that somebody in Edinburgh is following the news in Edinburgh, and has seen the news of problems with the glasshouses of Glasgow.

He [Simon Milne, regius keeper of the RBGE] said the glasshouses were at risk of falling victim to the elements and required extensive restoration so they could provide a safe environment for plants.

“Our research glasshouses, critical to the work we do in Scotland and around the world, are well beyond their lifespan and are already suffering during extreme weather,” he said.

“They will only survive a few more years without essential upgrades. As the seasons pass, the risks are increasing, so prompt action is necessary.”

Major upgrade plan for Edinburgh’s botanic garden

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh unveils refurbishment plan

What’s important to realise here is that unlike Glasgow, the People’s Palace, and the Winter Gardens’ problem is that Edinburgh has been able to get its glass house plans off the ground without the same political spin, moronic opportunism, hysteria, unsubstantiated false claims of further closures, panic, petitions, and of course, promotion of the ‘blame culture’ that Glasgow seems to enjoy.

We have to find someone to blame.

Think I’m exaggerating?

Look at the responses after the fire(s) at the Mackintosh Building.

A witch-hunt looking for someone to blame, lots of hate, even for the building which we are all supposed to love, calls of enquires… the list of negatives could probably go on and on.

Shit happens – and sometimes that all there is to it, and you have to pick yourself up, get on with things, and move on/forward.

Or if you prefer, just wallow in it, and get nowhere.

Calm down and look at pics

Lacking anything else, here’s a couple of pics taken a while ago, which were not really of the People’s Palace as such, but were grabbed on a day when I was evaluating a couple of cameras, one being a pocket compact, and the other a dSLR weighing down my poor shoulder for the day.

It’s also not bright or sunny, so horrible light, and also evening, as shown by the presence of illuminated street lights.

So it was a bit of test for the capabilities of each, as I never use a tripod, and rely on sensitive sensors, and vibration reduction.

People's Palace And Fountain

People’s Palace And Fountain


People's Palace and Fountain2

People’s Palace and Fountain

It’s a little unfair to call a comparison on the pics as shown in the Blog, they are considerably smaller than the original images.

Even so, these are unprocessed in terms of appearance, all I’ve done is straighten them up and correct for distortion, since I seem to have lost the ability to take a nice, square, level shot ever since I put my first digital camera to my eye. Or maybe I was just less critical in the days of film, since it was so bad.

But, I can still see that one shows better detail when looked at closely, and clearly the exposure differs between the two, with one being fairly dark, and one being lighter.

Now that you are almost at the last line, I can reveal the first pic is from a pocket compact (a fairly expensive one, but NOT with a large format sensor).

Funny thing, I often get comments to the effect that the darker images from the compact are more popular than the lighter, and more accurate, images from the dSLR.

I neither agree not disagree with those comments, since I can’t make an honest, personal, comparison since I always know which is the image source, AND what the subject actually looked like at the time the image was recorded.

Nov 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace and Winter Gardens S01

The impending closure of the Winter Gardens, and it knock-on effect to the attached People’s Palace may be a saga that runs and runs, so I’ll start a weekly summary, following the style of that for the Mackintosh Building.

I still think it’s a pity so many made an immediate ‘knee-jerk’ response to first news of closure of the Winter Gardens, and the possible  implications for the People’s Palace BEFORE the dust settled and Glasgow City Council had the chance to provide further details.

Instead, as per the first reports, we got the usual hostility towards the Council, stupid threats of legal action to challenge the closure announcements, and at least one petition to demand the venue is kept open.

Over 7,000 people sign petition to save Glasgow’s People’s Palace and Winter Gardens from closure

All pretty stupid of you stop to think for a moment, given the closure is down to safety issues, NOT because someone in Glasgow City Council merely thought it would be a ‘Good Idea’ to close these venues, and this is a decision that can be reversed purely by popular demand.

Now, the Council has had the chance to say it is doing all it can to make plans to keep the People’s Palace open, although it is clear that the Winter Gardens (with all that elevated glass) will have to close to the public.

Glasgow City Council are reportedly ‘working on a plan’ to ensure the People’s Palace can remain open to the public.

Mhairi Hunter, the council’s convenor for health and social care, Tweeted that moves are under way to create a new fire exit in the building, so it can stay open to the public, BBC reports.

Meanwhile, Hunter confirmed a structural engineering report found the glass and structure of the adjoining Gardens needs to be replaced.

The gardens is currently used as the fire escape route for the People’s Palace.

Glasgow City Council ‘working on plan’ to ensure People’s Palace can remain open

Glasgow City Council says staff are working on how to ensure this does not lead to any lengthy closure. Options are expected to be presented to councillors within weeks.

Glasgow City Council’s convenor for health and social care Mhairi Hunter told her followers on Twitter that a structural engineering report found that both the glass and the structure need to be replaced.

She said she did not know whether this was down to neglect or because there was “a shelf life” for glasshouse structures.

She added: “What we do know is that council officers are currently working on a plan to create a new fire exit in the People’s Palace so that it can remain open.”

‘Urgent work’ planned for People’s Palace

I really expected to see a little more on this as the week progressed, but as far as my alerting system was concerned, there was but one more item in the media.

Sadly, this was only a repeat of the story about the well-meaning, but misguided petition already mentioned above, and noting the number of supporters.

It notes:

A petition launched to save the People’s Palace from closure has been signed by over 35,000 people – in less than a week.

The news that the much loved museum and visitor attraction will close indefinitely at the end of the year prompted an outcry among city residents.

And now Glaswegians have been voicing their dismay at the decision by signing the petition, which was launched by Gavin Cunningham last Friday.

Petition to save People’s Palace from closure passes 35,000 signatures

It’s not only sad, but it’s spreading misinformation.

As noted, Glasgow City Council has announced closure of the Winter Gardens indefinitely due to safety concerns, something it is legally OBLIGED to do, regardless of what it may wish to do.

Glasgow City Council also announced that the People’s Palace could (not would) also have to close as a knock-on effect, since the emergency exit depended on access to the Winter Gardens. There are simply no other doors or exits to the building. That’s not the Council’s fault, that’s the way it was built!

This is not an issue where some little official or crazy councillor has, for some reason, arbitrarily decided the Winter Gardens, and maybe also the People’s Palace, will close to suit their plans.

The place is being closed because the structure is unsafe, and the Council has no choice.

So, there is little point in making a silly petition that makes the following statement citing legal obligation, as safety, liability, and ensuring no visitors are injured or killed take priority.

Seriously – can you imagine the response if Glasgow City Council just left the place open, and a visitor, or a visitor’s child, had their head sliced open by a pane of glass falling from the roof?

I couldn’t sign this petition, despite the numbers showing how many people care, it’s just plain wrong and misguided.

The ‘lost cause’ jibe is just insulting to the current efforts, and does little to enhance the chances of raising the £5 to £7 million needed.

Had it been worded with more care and thought, I’d have jumped at the chance.

Glasgow City Council are legally obliged to maintain and keep open this gift to the poor of the city and all its people thereafter. This is not political. This is a reminder to Glasgow City Council that a vital piece of the city’s heritage, a free space for families, an educational resource for all cannot be allowed to go to ruin and be denied purely because it has been neglected. Sign the petition and express opposition to this great landmark being treated as a lost cause.

Reality bites!

The rear of People’s Palace was completely enclosed by the Winter Garden’s when they were added and the three doorways it had comprise the two mounted in middle of each side, or the smaller one at the end of the glasshouse (just out of pic on the right, hidden by the lighting fixture).

Short of knocking holes in the walls, or smashing the windows, there’s NO OTHER EXIT other than the front door.

Peoples Palace viewing gallery above Winter Gardens

Peoples Palace rear

Oct 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Lovely unobstructed Glasgow Green

Not sure if just this year, but access to Glasgow Green was truly atrocious for periods of weeks during the summer of 2018, something I just don’t seem to have any recollection of in previous years.

Glasgow City Council should take more care when closing off the roads and paths on the Green, and consider those who have no interest whatsoever in the ‘great events’ which seriously disrupt access.

One major event may be perfectly acceptable, but I think there were at least three this year, maybe even more, but I can’t be sure as I just gave up going there for almost two months, preferring just to make the best of things, and find alternative routes.

Spread that sort of disruptive event around some other parks, or just snub the organisers if they won’t spread them around.

I’m almost surprised the other parks/areas don’t complain, about the Green getting all the top attention and benefits of visitors and their spending.

Oh, wait! Maybe those ‘benefits’ are just imaginary, and are hollow promises made by those who back these events, and are never actually delivered (other than the disruption and inconvenience).

I was reminded of this when I came across some pics I have of some nice clear avenues on the Green… notably clear even though it is obvious that there is at least one sizeable event taking place on the grassy area, but has not led to the adjacent pathways being blocked off as well.

One of the worst aspects of this year’s events has been that access to the Green was not only closed for the duration of the events concerned, but also in advance of them as part of those events, then largely left in place between them, and still causing issues in the days after, as they were not cleared as promptly as those closures which affected roads carrying traffic in the city.

Enjoy a rare sight  😉

Unobstructed Glasgow Green

Unobstructed Glasgow Green

So much nicer without metal barriers blocking them, and security staff on duty on every road to make sure nobody tries to get past or around them.

Click this one for a bit bigger.

Unobstructed Glasgow Green

Unobstructed Glasgow Green

Oct 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

What exactly IS James Watt holding?

(Please be aware this post is a rapid rewrite of one I just completed and had to revise when a tweet delivered the link to the PMSA entry for the statue.)

While I didn’t expect ANY response (as usual) to one of my posts, it seems I actually managed to catch the eye of one or two readers when I wrote in jest with respect to the instrument or tool James Watt is shown holding in his hands in his statue near the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green.

As the detail is not sufficient to be absolutely sure, I (jokingly) intimated he was holding nutcrackers, with a view to visiting some of those who had failed to pay the royalty on his improved condenser type steam engines, and owed him millions of £££.

It’s been suggested by some he is holding compasses, but even with the crude carving, it would be possible to depict ‘pointy ends’ at the ends of the two arms – after all, the screw and hinge where they join is clearly shown in the carving, so I doubt compasses.

There’s a possibility of dividers, but they seem a little crude even for that (but we found out otherwise, later).

There doesn’t seem to be any attempt to suggest the presence of any sort of scale on either of the arms, or at the hinge, so this device is not going to be measuring either length or angle.

James Watt's Instrument

James Watt’s Instrument

I did try to track down more info about the statue’s origin (online) but apart from a few general forum discussions about its condition and restoration, was unable to find any early history relating to it. It doesn’t seem to be listed in any of our historic references either.

I ended up giving up, as dozens of useless items kept coming up from trash web sites like Tripadvisor, with brain-dead moronic repeats of mentions of people seeing a statue of James Watt somewhere in Glasgow – these sites are a poison that needs to purged from the web one day. They can completely ruin attempts to search for subjects with common names.

I had finished this post with the line…

As someone said on Twitter “Suggestions on a postcard”, or maybe just in the Comments below (perhaps with a pic too, if you have, or find, one).

But even as I was writing it, the answer was already sitting in Twitter, just waiting for me to spot its arrival.

Thanks go to Derek Elder for this one:

Details of the James Watt statue on PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association)...

James Watt

Statue of James Watt (1736-1819) Portrait statue of James Watt in contemporary dress holding dividers and standing beside a steam condenser.

Commisioned (sic) by W. & J. Martin in 1864, the statue stood in a niche above the entrance to their leatherworks at 8 Baltic Street, Bridgeton. The statue was presented to Glasgow Corporation by the firm in September 1936, prior to the demolition of the building, and erected in McPhun’s Park (Glasgow Green).

Correspondents to the ‘Evening Times’ shortly after the statue was placed in the park complained about its decayed and paint spattered condition and the fact that (at the time) there was no inscription identifying the subject.

Surprisingly out of date though, as the statue was removed from the park in 2003, for restoration, and installed in its new home on the Green at the People’s Palace in 2006. No mention of this on that site by 2018.

I looked to see if this is project is still live – the last news entry is 4 years old, in 2014.

The last event listed is even older, 2012.

Sep 9, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

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