Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Ah! So THAT’S where Glasgow is…

Don’t think I need to add anything:

Sometimes tourists have a bit of a skewed idea of what Scotland is like – there’s way less haggis hunting, kilt-wearing or ‘och aye the noo’-ing that they’d maybe expect.

Now a hilarious map has reflected just how shaky people’s concept of Scotland really is. And we can’t help but feel that Glasgow has been just a little bit sidelined.

A fake ‘Visit Scotland’ map on Reddit that shows how they think tourists view Scotland – and our colleagues at Edinburgh Live pointed out that it’s basically, a thin corridor linking Edinburgh to the Highlands.

And Glasgow? Well, it’s literally been plonked in the sea with a question mark next to it. Don’t worry, we won’t take personally…

A hilarious fake tourist map of Scotland has left Glasgow seriously sidelined

Glasgow via Reddit

Glasgow via Reddit

Of course, this comes as no surprise to anyone who saw my earlier pic of Nessie – how else did she get here? 🙂

Nessie In Glasgow

Nessie In Glasgow

24/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Enjoy this 1942 film: Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage

Unknown to many, there are still a few sites online using the NSV file format which was popular before YouTube came along.

I keep these playing in the background as they spare the viewer/listener from the abuse of disgusting adverts and advertisers, allowing us to enjoy untarnished content without interruption.

One of the surprises is this short film, which can be found on… YouTube (with unwanted ‘extras’, of course).

Song of the Clyde River: Elvanfoot To Glasgow – 1942 – CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage.

‘A film of the Clyde, from its source at Elvanfoot to its mouth at Glasgow, from rivulet to mighty waterway. Street scenes in Glasgow, shots of factories, docks and shipyards, of shipbuilding, of giant cranes, of ships loaded and unloaded. As its title suggests, the film has a notable musical accompaniment.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1942-43)

CharlieDeanArchives – Archive footage from the 20th century making history come alive!

It contains a surprising amount of varied content, especially the views of places now lost to time and demolition, along the Clyde itself, the shipyards, and Glasgow.

24/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Maritime, photography, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s not the place it used to be

Glasgow’s going soft. ‘No Mean City’ seems to be not so ‘mean’ these days.

Then again, it’s also said to be friendly too, so who knows?

With recent stories of vandals/neds breaking into charity shops and community centres (and even breaking up play centres created for disadvantaged children) for little more than the ‘fun’ of trashing the places and destroying donated items, I’ve been surprised at the number of locations where I come across, in apparently deserted spots, where presumably homeless (or maybe wandering) people have left all their possession unattended.

As I wander around, I find such stashes in places ranging from full public view from busy places, to other spots which are hidden from view in isolated locations with little footfall.

Given the way some kids seem to be drawn to anything left unattended, and either trash it or steal it, I find this surprising – or am I missing some secret code, or general awareness that these are ‘stings’ or traps, with the owner nearby, ready to pounce and beat anyone who touches their goodies to within an inch of their life?

This is one such example, which I recorded some time ago as I passed it on repeated occasions, noting how the goodies remained untouched for weeks, presumably until the owner moved on. When I say ‘some time ago’ I don’t even mean this year, so no good going there if you think you can get some freebies – the spot is long vacated.

Interesting underpass

Interesting underpass

On different days, it looks different.

All that stuff just left lying, and nobody around.

Interesting underpass

Interesting underpass

17/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s Doors Open Days 2019

It’s hard to believe I was hunting around for places to visit almost as soon as the first Doors Open Days event appeared in Glasgow.

I don’t know how long it had been running for before I discovered it, but I do know it did appear online, on what would now be described as ‘primitive’ web pages, made mainly of plain text plus pics, with relatively simple, or basic, search options.

Oh, and don’t forget most access was then by dial-up modems over the phone line, or if you were lucky (as I was) via ISDN, which was almost always on, and faster, 64 kbit/s. Dial-up had to dial and establish a connection, then ambled along at 56 k (or faster with cleverness applied). ISDN made an almost instant connection when demanded, and could even use pair two channels to achieve 128 k. BUT, you were billed double if you did that, as each line being used was charged for by the minute, albeit at a flat rate. We could afford 64 k, but not 128 k. Compared that to today’s always on broadband, and at GB speeds too.

Back then I used to download and print what I needed or was interested in, as this was cheaper than racking up connection charges for going back online to look at stuff I’d found.

I wonder if kids even believe this?

Sad to say, Doors Open Days was (and I realise this is entirely my own opinion) better then than I think it is today.

Then, there were still too many venues to visit in the time available, but there were just enough to let you pick your favourites, and with a bit of effort and planning, get to them.


There are so many venues on offer that it’s almost impossible to pick the best and make the trip.

No matter what selection I make, I feel as if I’ve made the wrong choice and should have gone to others, rather than the one I picked.

There’s one other slight irritation (which has grown over the years), and that’s the number of places that are ‘open’ anyway.

When it began, ‘Doors Open Days’ comprised venues where the public would not normally have been welcomed, possibly because they were places of business, offices, or meeting rooms where people would usually be working, or were places that had been closed for years, maybe even derelict, or being restored.

However, many of today’s venues are open to the public on a daily basis, and can be visited anyway, and seem to be joining in just to gain some publicity, which fair enough, but perhaps should not be included.

Removing them, or perhaps placing them under some sort of separate categorisation, would reduce the size of the list of truly ‘Open’ venues, and make it easier to see the ones which the festival is REALLY giving rare access to, and avoid wasting time looking at those which could actually be visited at any time.

(If there weren’t so many, I’d almost consider it worth the effort of compiling such a segregated comparison, just to see how many GENUINE participants were listed).

I’d also like to take this opportunity to upset the Green Loonies…

You really need a car to get to them all in the time available.

Public transport is just far too slow (and limited by its timetables), and while cycling is OK for a neighbourhood, if you want to catch unique locations in different counties, then that’s just not going to happen by bike.

Not sure if opening doors like this would be a good idea (as always, if you look for these old relics of the past, you can find quite a few still surviving – used for moving stock/supplies).

On the other hand, could be useful if someone you’re not too keen on asks for directions.

“No problem pal, straight through the double doors at the end of the corridor. OH! By the way, you’ll need to take a bit of a run at them, they’re always getting jammed shut”


Hope Street Doors

Hope Street Doors


It’s now Monday, 16 September 2019, and the main Doors Open Day web site has NOTHING listed for Glasgow.

Fortunately, Glasgow has its own web site for Doors Open Days, and that DOES have content.

Unfortunately, when I try to use the ‘search’ facility, it’s not well enough designed to return only the criteria I enter, eg ‘stables’, ‘police’, ‘office’, and the  like, and return a simple list of venues which are open, together with their locations and dates.

It returns everything on the site which mentions the criteria I input, so I get a whole load of sh rubbish which is of no interest, such as info about volunteering, city walk and tours, talks, other events, and events which may be taking place in venues.


What’s so hard about just returning a list of open venues?

That’s all I want to know about, so I can plan a route to suit my time and ability to get to the places I’d like to see.

Sadly, as I noted about, this event (or perhaps its organisation, management, and presentation) has gone downhill over the years, instead of getting better.

With lists of perhaps up to 40 items being returned, of which maybe a 5 to 10 are actually unique venues (and many of them are not genuine ‘Open’ venues, but could be visited at any time), I’m already fed up, and can’t be bothered.

16/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

No wonder I can’t spell Argyle… er… Argyll… er… Arg… Damn!

I don’t know why, but it took years for me realise I was spelling Argyll, or Argyle, wrongly.

It was just one of those things that hit one day, as I was writing about Argyll and Bute Council, and I realised I had been rambling on about the main subject without thinking, and noticed I had been switching between ‘Argyll’, and ‘Argyle’ without even realising it.

While I have become more observant (and tend to check sources, or ‘cut & paste’ from source, I haven’t looked into the history of the alternative spellings.

What I did notice was that once I’d noticed this, I found myself becoming ever so slightly confused in Glasgow city centre, as I found I was having to make more correction if I was in Argyle Street, and hadn’t realised BOTH spelling could be found there.

And here’s why…

If you wander along Argyle Street, and use the signs (or maps)  for reference, you’ll find yourself using ‘Argyle’, unless…

You’re unfortunate enough to be glancing at the Argyll Arcade, in Argyle Street, in which case you’ll find ‘Argyll’.

Bad luck if you just happened to look at that if you were looking for the spelling and didn’t know there was a difference.

For the street, look at a Street sign.

Argyle Street Sign

Argyle Street Sign

For the arcade, better look at the arcade signage.

Argyle Street Argyll Arcade

Argyle Street Argyll Arcade

Wander around the corner, into Buchanan Street, and things might become a little clearer.

Buchanan Street Argyll Arcade Argyll Chambers

Buchanan Street Argyll Arcade Argyll Chambers

Most noticeable is the semi-domed tympanum with ‘Argyll’ on the left.

But if you look above this you will see ‘Argyll Chambers’ between two female statues under canopies.

This is a pair of allegorical figures, representing industry and commerce, credited to James Milne Sherriff and dated to 1902-1904.

While I could find that reference, I couldn’t come up with any record detailing the original owner or purpose of the building, so just have to go with that generalisation.


06/09/2019 Posted by | photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Might Glasgow follow Edinburgh’s anti-tourist lead?

There were some intriguing media articles concerning the ever-increasing tourist numbers arriving in Edinburgh year-on-year, especially during the days of the Festival and the Fringe.

I can confirm the effect, although it’s many years since I was a regular visitor there, either on a random basis, or during festival time, and it could be busy enough and disruptive with the numbers I joined them. I can only imagine what it’s like there now, with significant growth in both the tourist/visitor numbers, and the matching growth in performers who have to be accommodated as well.

The locals are becoming hostile…

EDINBURGH residents left frazzled by the Fringe are snapping up passive-aggressive T-shirts aimed at getting tourists out of their way.

The bright yellow garments are emblazoned with the slogan: “Please, MOVE, I live here.”

In a bid to make sure on Edinburgh residents wear the £20 T-shirts, they are delivered free to anyone with an EH postcode. Outsiders have to pay a £30 delivery charge.

Edinburgh firm Print By Hand created the T-shirt to help locals navigate their city during August, when the world’s largest arts festival comes to town.

“Please, MOVE, I live here.” Edinburgh locals snap up anti-tourist T shirts

Apparently, Festival organisers are taking note, and adopting a ‘Not our fault’ stance…

Edinburgh is at risk of being seen as ‘anti-tourist’ in the wake of campaigners raising concerns about the impact of festivals and events on the city, the chief executive of the Fringe Society has warned.

Shona McCarthy hit back at critics of what is claimed to be a growing “festivalisation” and “exploitation” of the city centre for major events, describing some of the criticisms that had been raised as “a bit weird”.

She insisted the Fringe should not be held responsible for the management of tourism numbers in the city centre, but warned the city’s welcoming reputation was “seriously in danger” due to an ongoing debate about the impact of the industry.

Edinburgh is in danger of becoming an ‘anti-tourist’ city, Fringe chief warns

While I’m happy to let them work out their own blame allocation and solution strategy, I wonder if this might pre-empt a similar response in Glasgow?

I noticed disruption last year while passing through Glasgow Green, due to the numerous large scale events held there, although I tended to be there once they were over, so only saw the after effects,

However, this year I’ve found that the Green was completely closed at one point, and I was forced to cross over to the other side of the River in order to continue my journey.

And I’ve had my access to the city centre, and even bus journeys disrupted as the streets have been closed for significant periods to allow various events and sports to be carried out.

On the one hand, this doesn’t affect me much as I don’t live or work there – on the other, if I’m only there occasionally AND have my day disrupted, then as a percentage of my time there, that become a significant number.


If the claims I’ve heard by some, that what happens in Edinburgh eventually happens in Glasgow, will an anti-tourist movement  rise in Glasgow?

It may be nice to bring all these things to the city, and that includes the growing numbers of film shoots (which lead to days of street closures and ogling celebrity watchers), but I suspect that, like Edinburghers, Glaswegians may have a tipping point, and the patience of some may run out.

Media sources such as GlasgowLive now carry regular list of street closures for these events

They affect people whether they’re interested in these things, or not.

Just a thought.

Please Move t-shirt

Please Move t-shirt


So, it may not be tourism, but only days after the last closure(s), it is yet another event that’s closing the streets in the city centre, and inconveniencing those who are not interested – or just fed up being diverted.

Several roads will be closed across the city as Glasgow City Council host a free environmental event.

The Evolution Green fleet will be taking place at the City Chambers on Friday and Saturday – showcasing the Government’s strategy to improve air quality across the UK.

Road closures in Glasgow – Council ‘Clean Air Strategies’ environmental event to take place in city centre

How long until the next set of closures?

19/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s High Street revival project is gathering pace

I’ve mentioned the recent  initiative to bring the area around Glasgow’s High Street back into use.

The street has always been something of a notional boundary where the city comes to an end, and commercial properties become domestic accommodation. Many years ago it was more industrial, with warehouses and factories, but these have all gone, leaving deserted areas, or if they survived, lived on as conversion to flats. Some became shops, but many of those closed as the area became quieter in recent years, and were never reoccupied.

You can now read more on the High Street Area Strategy, running from 2019 to 2023, here:

High Street Area Strategy 2019-2023

And, some of the first shop units are ready to be occupied.

A new project, which will see 11 vacant shop units on Glasgow’s historic High Street and Saltmarket transformed into interim/temporary spaces – most of which are for the creative industries – was launched 26th June.

The Meanwhile Space project aims to increase the vitality of areas by generating footfall and supporting new and growing businesses. The initiative, one of 26 exciting projects planned as part of Glasgow City Council’s High Street Area Strategy (HSAS), by City Property Glasgow (Investments) and Glasgow City Council. It is also part of the Council’s Space for Growth strategy, which will see several long term vacant shop units transformed into temporary creative spaces.

The initiative, which has already seen success in London and Paris, is part of the HSAS plans to revitalise the area, helping to develop creative organisations and creating jobs while also supporting inclusive economic growth across Glasgow. Moreover, making units will help to support and grow a thriving local community.

New MEANWHILE USE Spaces Open on St Andrews Street

Saltmarket From St Andrews Street

Saltmarket From St Andrews Street

Some of the first tenants include:

SOGO – Sogo is a Scottish based bi-annual lifestyle and arts magazine, which promotes and provides a platform for Scottish creative industries and communities. They intend to design a programme of Art and Artists events throughout the year commencing with the launch a major retrospective photography exhibition by the work of David Pratt.

WASPS – Based in Glasgow, Wasps is the UK’s largest non-profit studio provider for artists, offering affordable workspaces in 19 locations across Scotland, currently supporting 900 creative tenants. They intend to continue this support by utilising Meanwhile Space to support activities in which creators can prosper.

New Glasgow Society – The New Glasgow Society (NGS) is a civic society promoting, protecting and raising interest in the City of Glasgow, through campaigning, discussion, projects, talks and exhibitions. They intend to continue this work throughout their Meanwhile Space tenancy.

TRACTion Cancer Support – TRACTion Cancer Support aims to raise awareness of, and support patients with, ADT (Aero Digestive Tract) Cancers (e.g. lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal chords and windpipe). The charity has been set up by cancer specialists who recognised the growing need for targeted ADT Cancer support in Scotland. They intend to use the space to continue this work in supporting patients with ADT.

Meanwhile Space arrives in Glasgow

There’s more on the beginning of this project here:

Glasgow City Council has approved a new High Street Area Strategy to breathe new life into vacant shops in the historic heart of the city.

The new project will see 11 empty shop units on Glasgow’s historic High Street and Saltmarket transformed into temporary spaces to be used by the city’s creative industry.

It follows years of debate on the city’s medieval quarter – home to 6,000 people and including attractions like the Barras, Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow Green, the Necropolis, Provand’s Lordship and the Tolbooth Steeple – being “left to ruin” .

Vacant shops to be transformed into temporary creative spaces on historic High Street and Saltmarket

And here:

ELEVEN shop units in Glasgow’s historic High Street, St Andrews Street and Saltmarket areas are being turned into temporary creative and enterprise spaces.

The Meanwhile Space project aims to enhance the vitality of the neighbourhoods by increasing footfall and supporting new and growing businesses. The first of these, the New Glasgow Society, an art gallery, moved in last month, with all of the other units to be occupied shortly.

The initiative, one of 26 being delivered as part of Glasgow City Council’s High Street Area Strategy (HSAS) and is being delivered by City Property Glasgow (Investments).

CREATIVE Solution To Empty Shops In Glasgow’s Historic Heart


Saltmarket towards High Street

It must be working – St Andrew Street has already gained a new mural in the past few days 🙂

St Andrews Street Mural

St Andrews Street Mural

17/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

It’s ‘Hunt the New Murals’ time

When I first read about a new set of murals being added around Glasgow, there was one, as seen below.

Midland Street Mural one

Midland Street Mural one

However, by the time I got there on foot, as opposed to shoogling past on a bus, it had gained a partner, and there was two.

Midland Street Mural two

Midland Street Mural two

Sadly, it’s been vandalised already, with somebody adding ‘tramp stamps’ and a piercing 😦

I thought this was all I was going to come across, but when I was dragged past the ‘lovely couple’, I spotted a third area apparently  being prep’d by a guy on a mobile lifting platform, so I guess I’ll just have to keep watching out of that bus window.


As I sped into St Andrews Street last night, what did I see in front of me?

Another new face!

St Andrews Street Mural

St Andrews Street Mural

If the pics look a bit grimy, then that’s because the first two came from Midland Street, which is a tunnel, while the third was taken around 22:15.

I’m trying to cut my blogging time, so pics may get less processing.


16/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Oh joy – Glasgow gets more expensive to live in while Aberdeen gets cheaper, and both happier and unhappier

Intriguing changes taking place in the list which looks at the cost of living in various places (not only in the UK, but around the world).

The annual rankings from Mercer look at the cost of living and housing for employees of firms sent to work abroad.

The company produces the rankings in more than 200 of the most common cities for expatriate employees and show how changes in the value of currency and the cost of goods and services can impact how expensive a place is to live.

Glasgow was the only British city to see living costs rise in relation to other cities in an annual global ranking.

Meanwhile, living costs in Aberdeen dropped down places in the rankings.

This means that for people living in the two cities, living costs have gone in opposite directions in relation to the rest of the world.


Aberdeen rose 18 places last year compared to 2017, and was listed close to cities such as Birmingham, but dropped three places to 137 this year.

Despite cost of living falling in Aberdeen, it’s still Scotland’s most expensive city.

Glasgow meanwhile saw a rise of three places with the city continuing its rise from 146th place in 2017.

Glasgow gets more expensive while Aberdeen living costs drop, say new rankings

While it’s nice to congratulate Glasgow (and Scotland) on winning things such as its fame for being used in big name films for locations, and the growing tourist business (which brings in people ready to be parted from their money), it also brings what may be referred to as ‘The London Effect’, where the people have to live in the same place where living costs reflect the wallets those being attracted.

London was ranked 23rd, down four places compared to 2018 and ranked below Dubai and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) which were ranked 21st and 22nd respectively.

Success is nice – but it’s worth remembering it doesn’t come alone.

Think of like the TRNSMT festival.

Great for the people who spent the past weekend enjoying it.

Not so good for those who live nearby, and couldn’t even get into Glasgow’s largest public space, or even pass through it!

This was the scene when I tried to cycle through Glasgow Green on my usual route, and was forced to divert across the Clyde, via the suspension bridge.

Same story later, when I tried to use the path past the People’s Palace, and security plus fences forced me onto London Road.

Glasgow Green path closed for TRNSMT

Glasgow Green path closed for TRNSMT

Seems we’ll have this to look forward to next year.

And, just to help…

Glasgow is simultaneously happy AND unhappy

Well Glasgow, we have some good news and some bad news for you today.

The good news is that our city is one of the happiest places to live in the UK! The bad news? It’s also the unhappiest place in the UK.

According to CV Library , Glasgow is one of the happiest cities to live and work in – with only Brighton and Swansea beating them to the top spot.

The study, which consulted 2,000 working professional discovered that 70.6% of Glasgow workers were more than happy with their lot.

CV Library pointed to the city’s high average pay rates, lower living costs and the impressive food, art and entertainment scene we’re lucky enough to have on our doorstep as the reason behind why we’re all so cheery.

On the other hand, the latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index has stated that people living in Glasgow reported being the unhappiest in the country

Their research suggested that it was those living in the Highlands and Islands that were happiest, with a score of 55.6. The natural environment and sense of community credited with helping to boost residents’ cheerfulness.

Glasgow named both happiest and unhappiest place to live in Scotland within 24 hours


Even the cats have caught this bug!

Sad Cat Happy Cat

Sad Cat Happy Cat

16/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

How old is Glasgow?

Depends on what you mean.

If you want to be strict, then you’ll find yourself back in 1700s and looking at settlements along the trickle that was then the River Clyde.

But that’s not the question I had in mind.

In this case, I’m thinking of more recent history, and of the buildings and streets we generally find ourselves wandering around today.

As a guide, I tend to answer the question by thinking of 1900 as a reasonable target, give or take a decade or two.

That covers most surviving buildings I come across, which have date stones, and can be found all the way from the city centre to the burbs of the east end.

You can find older, but not usually much older, as most structures from earlier periods have been swept away, often being pretty shoddy, and probably slums.

I recently mentioned the Beco building in Tradeston, dated back to the 1870s.

However, I happened to notice this one in Trongate (at the corner of Albion Street), looking great, and where my advice of ‘Look up’ showed it dates from 1855 (completion).

J T Rochead, 1854. Large Baronial 3-storey with attic building housing shops, offices and warehousing, built for City of Glasgow Bank. Long irregular 14 window elevation to Trongate, regular 24 window elevation to Albion Street. Tower feature to corner rises to 5 storeys with dormers in high saddle-back roof. Painted ashlar. Modern shops to ground destroying original design.

That’s from the A listing note, so this one’s not going to turn into a gap site any day soon.

But it has to be said that many remaining building are looking sad (and empty) with no takers for their ‘To Let’ signs in the upper storeys, and even the ground floor units are being deserted.

60 Trongate

60 Trongate

I took a closer look at the date itself.

60 Trongate Date

60 Trongate Date

Very crisp, very clean. I wonder if the numbers have been restored at some time?


28/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Best thing about living in Glasgow – you don’t have to do it for too long

It’s been a while since I last saw one of my favourite subjects featured by the media, but all is well, and it’s back – alive and well 🙂

Increases in life expectancy have stalled in Scotland.

Even worse, in some areas the amount of time you can expect to live is going backwards.

Between 2001-2003 and 2012-2014, life expectancy at birth in the region steadily rose from 73.5 years to 77.1 years for men, and from 78.8 years to 81.1 years for women.

But since then it has remained largely unchanged, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Total life expectancy was 77.0 years for men and 81.1 years for women in 2015-2017.

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy in the UK for both men, at 73.3 years, and women, at 78.7 years. The area has also seen increases in life expectancy stall in recent years.

When it comes to how long you can expect to live in good health, men in Scotland can expect 62.3 years and women can expect 62.6 years.

Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy in the UK for both men and women

I thought I’d slightly revise one of my Glasgow city centre pics in honour of this story (while I’m still here) 😉

Death in Glasgow

Death in Glasgow

If old doesn’t get you, somebody will probably just stab you in the head, with pair of scissors, since we can’t have knives now.

17/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

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