Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Glasgow 2018 bribe?

So, was this ‘free and unticketed’ event really just a bribe by the organisers to divert the people’s attention and make them think they were getting ‘something for nothing’?

They (or I should say ‘we’) lost free access to many parts of Glasgow (and still have in some places, as it has yet to be restored) to give priority to races on our roads, and even this ‘free’ event led to a large part of Glasgow Green being closed off by a perimeter fence manned by security personnel at all times, and only accessible via controlled access points even though ‘free and unticketed’.

I have no idea how well attended this was as I only ventured onto the Green in the evening, arriving around 7 pm or later, to ensure I could get through it without having to alter my usual route too much. Although even then, a number of access points were still denied by closed fencing, and those ever-present security staff, who at least had seats and didn’t have to stand all the time.

Glasgow 2018 Bribe

Glasgow 2018 Bribe

Just make it all go away now – please!


August 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

My favourite pics of Glasgow 2018

These are the best pics I’ve taken or seen of Glasgow 2018.

(I’d quite liked to have had some pics of the last day, as it was cold and wet, raining frequently if not heavily – but still just the right traditional Scottish ending to this nuisance. However, I’m not daft enough to go out on a day like that!)

(I got my wish 🙂 – see this collection of pics shared on the BBC’s Your pictures of Scotland: 10 – 17 August page. There’s a lovely pic of the thoroughly soaked and sodden road cyclists splashing through Glasgow.)

The CLEARING AWAY of this week plus of madness and disruption to the lives of the good and patient people of Glasgow, and the return of their city to them!

Note the corner of the kerb, cut away and replaced by a tarmac ramp so a few cyclists (no, sorry, my apologies to real cyclists) privileged racers could have a smooth run, and not have to stop or slow down to negotiate the kerb like the rest of us.

I wonder if this will be left, or the kerb will be reinstated?

I’ll watch, and update if this is changed.

It should also be noted that while the rest of the country moans about growing numbers of unrepaired potholes on their roads, there was a full team of road maintenance workmen, plus road surface scrapers, road laying machines, and road rollers repairing this (and other road surfaces around the city).  Again, NOT for the citizens, but this group of privileged cycle racers who were being worshipped throughout Glasgow 2018, with many roads closed so they could have clear passage.

The rest of just have to fight our way through the daily traffic.

Good Riddance Glasgow 2018

Good Riddance Glasgow 2018

Lovely view.

I could have sat and watched this for hours, I found workers working into the night in a number of places, clearing all the barriers and obstruction away, but it was getting dark and I had to go home.

Good Riddance Glasgow 2018

Good Riddance Glasgow 2018


DON’t hurry back.

Aww… Rubbish – He’s just making this stuff up!

Nope. Sorry, but it’s all true.

I took these pics for myself, during the week before this nonsense started and it became too much hassle to get near Glasgow Green or the People’s Palace.

These are the very road works, plant, and machinery I referred to.

Glasgow Green 2018 Prep

Glasgow Green 2018 Prep


Glasgow Green 2018 Prep

Glasgow Green 2018 Prep


Glasgow Green 2018 Prep

Glasgow Green 2018 Prep

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

I really do hate ‘Glasgow 2018’

Another black mark for this.

I just received a gallery of pics for the ‘Merchant City Festival Carnival Procession’.

Looks nice, I’d like the option to have visited – but continue to feel isolated from the city for the duration of the disgusting ‘Take Over’ of the area, and loss of what I consider my ‘Safe Routes’ (via road) into Glasgow during the day, when Glasgow 2018 events are taking place.

The 12th cannot come fast enough, and all this Glasgow 2018 rubbish is cleared out of the city, and the roads are returned to the people, not the elite few who have been parachuted in from Europe.

There was another black mark in the evening, as I was almost barred from getting out of Glasgow Green in the evening, and had to push through what appeared to be the entire French cycling team, which had decided to park itself in front of a gate, caring not for the locals trying to enter/leave the Green.

Why would they do this? A metre to side, the gate would have been clear, and I wouldn’t have been able to moan about them.

Speaking of cycling teams…

I wonder how long the black gunk that has been stick to the road to turn many kerbs into ramps for the cycle racers will be left, or how long and inconvenient the works (which only took a few days to install them) to remover them and restore the kerbs will take.

(I should take pics, but at the moment don’t have the time as the longer routes I take are stealing my time.)

I still don’t know if the host bears the costs of all this work to accommodate these stupid games, rather than the games organisers, as is the case with the equally irritating Commonwealth Games.

Please, Edinburgh…

Try to make out and present a better case for this sot of stuff to be held on YOUR streets in the future.

Or Perth, or Dundee, or Aberdeen, or Peterhead, or Fraserburgh, or John O’ Groats, or Wick, or St Kilda.


It’s maybe not ALL bad, since we seem to be a UNESCO City of Music, and there’s a musical event in George Square.

I spotted this young lady, from Germany if I know my accents, singing her heart out in the middle of a big empty stage.

George Square 2018

George Square 2018

Not very welcoming though – the place was swarming with ‘volunteers’ and other related staff, almost outnumbering those visiting.

I kid you not, everywhere seemed to have some sort of ‘Event Staff’ in attendance, or watching.

This also sparked of an unrelated thought which often comes to mind when I get near these events.

Why do so many supposedly ‘professional’ sound engineers seem to be blessed with ‘cloth ears’?

While the sound system appeared to be decent, why was it (like so many I have come across) set up so that distortion appeared as soon as the performer got a just a little bit loud?

It’s not hard to set up a system so that it doesn’t do this – why can’t these so-called ‘professionals’ manage it occasionally?

Is their motto ‘LOUDER IS BETTER! – and to hell with quality’?

August 5, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

I found The Site Of Allan’s Pen (it’s on Glasgow Green)

I usually preach “Look Up” to people walking around Glasgow, as there are many interesting finds to make in the city centre by doing this. I’m sure many features are missed by many people, too busy looking in shop windows and the like.

But the more general “Just open your eyes and look” is equally valid wherever you may be.

In this case, I was near the new Polmadie Footbridge works, on a part of the Clyde Walkway that has access back up to the main road, and was wandering around the spot (ok, I was photographing abandoned Buckfast bottles) when I noticed a slightly different stone set in the wall along behind the undergrowth along this path, so had a closer look.

I didn’t realise it had an inscription and was a plaque, since the embedded metal letters and the stone are now almost the same colour under the gloomy light down there, but it turned out to be an interesting spot.

This pic is the best I could do at the time, it wasn’t very light, and flash didn’t help. Unfortunately, the weathered stone and metal lettering appear much the same colour, and even trying to enhance the pic made little difference, such is their similarity.

I’ve tried repeating this on a sunny day, the result was even worse.

The grey stone and the grey metal letters are just too close in terms of colour, and the letter are flush with the stones, so both would need to be cleaned to make a difference.

The Site Of Adam's Pen

The Site Of Adam’s Pen

Fortunately, I have quite a nice collection of Glasgow references to look through, and was able to identify this one, although I had never come across it before.


Pen in common parlance means to coop up or confine. In the present instance, in East-end vernacular it is a big close or passage. Thus a close was generally taken to be a passage about five feet wide, but a pen close was always considered to be wide enough for the passage of a horse and cart. Allan’s Pen however, so far as the writer can remember from the remnant of it remaining in his day, through which he has passed many a time, would be about eight feet by eight. It was virtually a subway or tunnel, the side walls of stone and arched with brick, extending from the south-east exit of Glasgow Green to Rutherglen Bridge, and was constructed by Alexander Allan of Newhall to give him unbroken access from his demesne to the river. This was done by turfing over the erection. It was an outrage on the public rights, but no action was taken as happened later in the Harvey’s Dyke case. But the river coming down in high flood with broken ice during the ensuing winter destroyed the greater part of the structure, on seeing which the proprietor made only half-hearted efforts at repair. Meantime his action had incensed the Bridgeton people, who were at that period mostly employed as hand-loom weavers and nearly all strongly imbued with Radical ideas. The result was that every one became Mr. Allan’s enemy, and he, while largely interested in the sugar trade of the West Indies, was also a manufacturer in the city and gave out webs to be woven. In this he was boycotted, as the weavers declined to work to him, even at increased rates. This was the first check that his arrogant and over bearing attitude to the public got.

The origin and history of Glasgow Streets

The plaque seen above appears to have been installed by a descendant.

Creation of the Clyde Walkway removed most, if not all, remaining evidence of the ‘Pen’.

I need to make a return trip, having seen that there may be a further marker on the street above, which I didn’t cover.

There are also recent, but not very old, pics of the same wall while there were still tenements above, and show the wall before the trees and grass were added to the path. Unlike today, the plaque was in the open and obvious, it is now lost behind trees and bushes.

Try here for one such pic.

Return trip

I did make the trip back, and the marker I read of was indeed located on Newhall Street, above the plaque.

Allan's Pen Marker

Allan’s Pen Marker

I didn’t see it as I passed behind it, from which direction the (weathered) concrete marker looks like little more than a broken plank sticking out of the ground (sorry).

There’s a second marker, even less noticeable than the first, probably due not only to their thinness, but also the angle it sits at relative to the road.

Allan's Pen Marker 2

Allan’s Pen Marker 2

While the Sun lit the first obliquely, and picked out the wording, it was behind this one due to the angle, so its engraving was not so easy to make out.

A closer pic shows the detail.

Allan’s Pen Gate refers to the fact that these two markers sit on either side of a short road that leads off Newhall Street towards the Clyde Walkway and Glasgow Green, also the Polmadie Footbridge (being rebuilt as this post is being written, having been closed and demolished for safety reasons some time ago).

Allan's Pen Gate

Allan’s Pen Gate

It’s a pity these markers are not more noticeable, and just melt into the background if you’re not aware of their presence.

Since I was there anyway, I took a more general and wider shot of the wall and walkway where the plaque is mounted, giving a similar, but present-day view of the online pic that shows the tenements and grass/tree free view of the same site some years ago, and prior to the demolition of those tenements.

The plaque is located on the wall behind the space between the two benches.

Newhall Street and the marker are up the steps to the left, and behind the tree.

Allan's Pen Clyde Walkway

Allan’s Pen Clyde Walkway


August 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Found cat – Bridgeton or Glasgow Green

Spotted this slightly different poster for a ‘Lost’ cat yesterday, hope it is a genuine one.

Not the usual ‘Lost Cat’ poster, but a ‘Found Cat’ this time.

Unfortunately, like many ‘lost cat’ posters, this one has no date, so there’s no way to tell if it’s new, recent, or old – other than by making a guess based on its condition under out lovely Scottish weather. But with the recent dry spell, it could still be weeks old.

Still, it can’t be that old, as this guessing came of age is often harder of the page is properly plastic laminated.

Some are put in plastic sleeves, but as these are really just unsealed plastic bags, they make things worse since they fill with rain water, which can’t then evaporate, and destroy the paper/print even faster as it never dries once it gets wet.

Assuming this is legit, hope the little tuxedo cat gets home.

Found Cat - Bridgeton or Glasgow Green

Found Cat – Bridgeton or Glasgow Green

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Greening Glasgow Green

It’s been the best part of almost two months since I was able to get to Glasgow Green, and a couple of news items contained references that caused me some concern.

Not that events were held on the Green, that’s fine, and what the place is for, and why the people of Glasgow have the enduring right of access to the area and, as noted previously, used their influence to ensure the council did not grant permission for a coal mine to be opened there after deposits were found below. And that coal is STILL down there.

My problem is this:

The park was reopened to the public on Sunday afternoon after weeks of being fenced off, and council staff are laying new turf on affected areas to make it look green again.

Glasgow Green off colour after summer of sun and music

And repeated here:

The park has reopened to the public after being fenced off while the festival was on.

Glasgow Green has lost its ‘green’ due to sunshine and festivals

I’ve no issue with the festivals, but like the dopey 2014 Commonwealth Games, object to be denied access I apparently have a right to – during the stupid games, I found that one event led to the People’s Palace being fenced off, and had I visited on the day after that which I was there, I would have found it closed and fenced off while privileged competitors ran around it.

I say that’s just plain WRONG.

But, on a positive note, when I did return there last night, I found that although the temporary fencing had been dismantled in places, and that the reality may be that the grassed part of the Green was restricted access, and one could still access the Green, and the route along the side of the River Clyde, which would naughty, but perhaps acceptable.

What of the grass, referred to in the two news items referred to above?

While the aerial shots accompanying the stories look alarming (and may have been edited to make them look even worse – the media has been known to do such things), the view from the ground is much less dramatic, although it is still a matter of concern that vast areas have had to be returfed.

Who Pays?

What’s MISSING from those stories is identification of WHO PAYS for the turf and labour.

The people of Glasgow through their Council Tax?

Or is the cost of this work covered by the event organisers?

I’d like to know. How about you?

It’s a good job we aren’t enjoying a hosepipe ban like our cousins down south, as the new turf was getting a little drink to help it settle in last night.

Glasgow Green Returf

Glasgow Green Returf


July 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Green – a communal resource

Glasgow Green isn’t just a park, it’s a communal area to which the people of Glasgow have a number of rights, although few are generally exercised, and I wonder how many are aware of them.

That said, if anyone tries to offend the principle of this being the “people’s area”, it generally doesn’t take long for public opinion to be roused, and those people to become rebels.

The same is true of George Square, in the city centre, where the last plans to change that into a more ‘Continental’ venue (with things like fountains) led to the council backing down, after making the mistake of announcing the changes were coming, rather than asking if anyone wanted them. But that’s another story (buried somewhere in this Blog).

While the Green has been tidied and improved, added to, and had some of its features moved around (to their benefit) over the years, any plans to build anywhere on it (or even open a coal mine – which was attempted more than once) were resisted by the people.

These pics show one of the ‘rights’ enjoyed by the people of Glasgow.

As they’re wide, they can be clicked to make them a little bigger.

Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green


Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green


Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green


Glasgow Green

Glasgow Green

This memorial stone, embedded in the Green a few years ago, when the poles were refurbished, tells the tale.

(Sorry, the contrast and light on the stone just don’t make it an easy read.)

Glasgow Green Drying Green Commemorative Stone

Glasgow Green Drying Green Commemorative Stone

This should help:

For centuries, Glasgow Green served as the common washing green for the city.
With improvements in sanitation and the introduction of piped water to
people’s homes, this tradition largely died out.
However, the Victorian clothes poles originally erected to serve the
nearby public wash houses were still in use as late as the 1970’s. One of
the more unusual rights acquired by Freemen of Glasgow is to dry
their clothes on Glasgow Green.

The drying green was even noted in Atlas Obsscura

The Drying Green

The old tradition of drying laundry on poles in the public green is still guaranteed by Glasgow city law.

Glasgow Green, the oldest public park in Scotland’s largest city, was once where local citizens went to dry their clothes. The green’s location in the city’s east end meant it was easily accessible to the working classes who populated the factories and industries of what some call the “second city of the Empire.”People would wash their clothing in communal sinks within the city’s tenement buildings or the nearby washhouses, then leave them to dry in the open air at Glasgow Green. The city council provided iron drying poles for this purpose, allowing people to string their laundry between the structures. If all the poles were already in use, people would simply lay their clothing flat on the ground to dry.

Even after the public washhouses were built, many families still preferred to wash and dry their laundry in public on the green. The centuries-old tradition continued right up until the late 1970s. Indeed, to this day all residents of Glasgow retain the right to dry their laundry on the green, as codified in the city’s bylaws. The drying poles are kept and maintained for this purpose, though they’re seldom put to use.


July 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Glasgow Green’s Penny Farthing Bike Rack (mystery?)

A while ago, I got one of those anonymous ‘hints’ (aka an email with no details) telling of a ‘Penny Farthing themed bike rack’ somewhere on Glasgow Green. I’m not sure if this was offered in light of my interest in Glasgow, or in things related to The Prisoner.

Over the years I’ve probably crawled over most of the Green, yet this came as a complete surprise – so I had to investigate.

After going online, I eventually came up with the following photographic confirmation, captured by the very helpful Thomas Nugent back in 2008 – all of 10 years ago!

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green
Penny farthing shaped racks in Glasgow Green, near the adventure playground.

This at least explained why I hadn’t this rack over the years – I’m a little past the ‘adventure playground’ stage.

But I do know the place, so off I went for a look, TWO looks in fact – BOTH failed, although they were both late evening detours (kind of dark), and covered all the area around the playground.

What’s not clear from the above is that the playground lies adjacent to a Cycle Training Centre

I’d taken a few pics back in 2017, and when I examined them I got a surprise – I already had a pic of the penny farthing rack!

Penny Farthing Bike Racks

Penny Farthing Bike Racks 2017

So, they were still there, but I still couldn’t explain why I hadn’t seen them a few day earlier, hence the hint of (mystery?) in the title – I really did look at the cycle training area, this being the obvious place to look. Maybe it was just too dark, and they couldn’t be seen from the perimeter fence (the place was locked by the time I got there).

I checked the centre’s own pics, and found this view, bear in mind their pics are probably ‘old’ as it opened in 2011.

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Note that the two ‘old’ 2010/2011 pics show the racks sunk into the block paving.

Fast forward to 2018, and my third visit – this time directly to the area in front of the Portakabins in the cycle training area.

There was no problem finding the racks this time (or even seeing them from the perimeter fence, which I checked before heading for them).

If not immediately obvious, it’s worth noting that the racks no longer lie in their original location – sunk into an area of block paving.

They’ve been lifted so their base is no longer buried, and now just lie freely on the ground.

That could mean they’re fair game for scum metal thieves.

It also means they may not have actually have been out on show when I was there earlier, and had been stowed in the training area’s containers for safety during the dark evenings.

Let the pics begin…

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

June 17, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘shows’ are back on the Green

I never know what to call the fun fair that arrives on Glasgow Green at this time of year, and in the past feel sure they were referred to as ‘The shows’ when being spoken about.

Probably my own fault as I was never a great visitor, although I would take a walk through for a look.

I’ve really no idea why, but you could probably count the number of fairground rides I’ve been on in my life on the fingers of one hand.

I didn’t realise it was time for this to arrive.

Coincidentally, I had been reading a short history of Glasgow Green (very short), and one of the things it had pointed out was that the fair which arrived on the Green used to set up on the grass. To be more accurate, it used to set up on the ground where the football pitches and their building have been installed near the area known as Flesher’s Haugh (where is the place I tend to remember they would set up on).

However, since the Green has been extensively restored and the grassy areas are actually well engineered (drained) and maintained nowadays, the fair has been moved to the tarmacked area around Nelson Monument, and this is where I grabbed a pic of both this weekend.

I’ve no idea when it was, but I was near the Green much more often then, and it was a surprise to see vast areas of grass lifted while the ground beneath was carefully structured to stabilise it and provide support and drainage.

There’s interesting stuff under that grass – and I don’t just mean those works, as there have been historic discoveries made down there over the years, with the odd relic and artefact being uncovered during works. It’s an area worth reading about.

There’s coal down there too. Despite a number of proposals to add a coal mine to Glasgow Green in the days when coal was ‘king’ in the 19th century, none of them ever gained approval. When Glasgow council tried reviving the idea (ironically to make some money to purchase parks) the people of Glasgow protested, and the idea was dropped.

Looks like the fair just fits, and no more!

Glasgow Green Fair

Glasgow Green Fair

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

Dassie Green on Glasgow Green

Another feature to be found in McPhun’s Park on Glasgow Green is the gate to Dassie Green.

Robert McPhun was a local wood turner and owner of Greenhead Saw Mill in Mill Street. Around 1773, he funded McPhuns’s Park, which was entered by this gate.

I believe this was moved from the street where it formed a gate in the fence that ran along the footpath here, when that was replaced, some time around 2003 from what I’ve found online.

Unfortunately, my pic of the former gate is a little hard to see and read clearly – its colour just wants to merge with the trees behind.

I tried taking a closer pic, but it was just the same – I think the only good way to show this clearly with a pic having the sky behind, and to avoid perspective distortion, that demand a revisit in the depth of winter, when the trees are bare.

I’d wondered about the name, Dassie Green, and what it may have referred to.

According to old OS maps of the area, this was known as the Daisy Green.

However, I haven’t noted any tales regarding the spelling of Daisy as Dassie.

Unless YOU know better.

Dassie Green Gate On Glasgow Green

Dassie Green Gate On Glasgow Green

While looking for anything referring to Dassie Green, and finding Daisy Green, I came across various discussions about the names used for Glasgow Green.

Daisy Green seems to raise the number to three.

Glasgow Green itself refers to a stretch of parkland in Glasgow’s East End, between London Road and the River Clyde, reportedly first mentioned in 1175, said to make it the oldest public park in the whole of Europe.

There is also the Fleshers’ Haugh, an area of land largely contained on three sides within a loop of the River Clyde, at the Green’s eastern extremity. ‘Haugh’ is a Scots term generally applied to low-lying, level meadowland beside a stream or river. Also, members of the Incorporation of Fleshers were allowed to use the pastureland there for their animals (fleshers was a term applied to butchers).

While considering the various areas, it should be borne in mind that the divisions resulting from roads through the Green and its parks are fairly recent in its life, date from around 1900 and later.


May 24, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The Time Spiral in McPhun’s Park (Glasgow Green)

Ever passed something and never seen it?

Although I’ve passed McPhun’s Park many times, that’s just what I’ve always done – passed it!

I guess the railings (fence) and gates put me off just wandering through it – and I’ve come across some nasty types in the past (not here, I hasten to add) who think their little piece of fenced off greenery is just that, THEIRS, and woe betide any strange face they see in it, which must clearly belong to someone who is up to no good.

I decided to give the place a glance after reading it had been the location of a World War II Barrage Balloon site, and that some slight evidence remained in the form of bumps on the ground (but I forgot to check exactly where they might be found – oh well, another visit some day).

I’d seen the collection of large stone blocks from the road, so decided to look closers, and they turned out to be much more than they looked.

Click the pic for a little bigger.

Glasgow Green McPhuns Park Time Spiral

Glasgow Green McPhuns Park Time Spiral

Described best by one of its own plaques.

Sadly, the plaque doesn’t detail its creation date.

It was around in 2006, but when did it arrive?

McPhuns Time Spiral Plaque

McPhuns Time Spiral Plaque

And a sample of one of the plaques – I picked the Charlotte Street on deliberately, as the little house that manages to survive there is just nice to see.

Time Spiral Plaque 1780

Time Spiral Plaque 1780

It’s a quiet spot, which is nice for the little park and the nice folk who go there, but it also makes it easier for the morons who like to damage stuff, and some of the plaques have been attacked with a vengeance if they refer to sensitive items.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

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