Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Sun shines on John Logie Baird (while it rains in Glasgow)

I see some Glasgow media is already posting material regarding the sad memory of four days of ‘heatwave’ enjoyed here recently, filling space in their pages by just rerunning all the stuff they published a few days ago. Not bad if your staff are stuck for something new 😉

Yesterday did, however, prove interesting, and when I got up, the morning weather suggested a great day was on its way – I should, of course, have known better.

While it was sunny and warm, and almost tempted me to use the bike instead of the bus, I got lucky as I had to use the bus as I was headed further out later in the day.

I’d have been fairly upset had I been cycling. After being stuck indoors until just after lunchtime, when I emerged, no Sun at all, and the rain was back. Perhaps not chucking it down, but not just a quick shower, and not looking as if was about to stop.

Slow forward (the bus to Helensburgh is anything but rapid), and for once I’m glad to be at the seaside – it’s not raining there, the streets are dry, and the Sun is shining. I’m a Glaswegian at the seaside – I EXPECT to be rained on there, and be blown over by the wind!

In case you think I was imagining the nice weather, here’s the memorial sculpture installed in memory of the town’s local hero, John Logie Baird.

I’ve not seen much, but I’m pretty sure that’s sunlight shining on it, and even casting a shadow 🙂

The bust is on West Clyde Street at William Street.

Just for the record, when I got back into Glasgow in the evening, I got soaked as I walked home, so I really did spend the middle of the day in the right place.

John Logie Baird bust Helensburgh

John Logie Baird bust Helensburgh


John Logie Baird bust Helensburgh

John Logie Baird bust Helensburgh

I should have collected the plaques on the other sides of the column.

Guess that’s a ready-made reason to go back.

26/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Free film and TV location guide dedicated to memory of John Logie Baird

VisitScotland has produced a free brochure/booklet describing many film and TV locations in Scotland.

The publication has been dedicated to the memory of inventor John Logie Baird

A new guide to TV programmes which have either been filmed in Scotland or have Scottish links has been dedicated to John Logie Baird.

The Helensburgh-born inventor became the first person to demonstrate a working television in 1926.

Tourism body VisitScotland has dedicated its free book, TV Set in Scotland, to Baird to help mark the 130th anniversary of his birth.

It contains details on more than 60 programmes.

Baird’s son, Prof Malcolm Baird, said he was delighted the guide was dedicated to his father.

He said: “Television will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2026 and I am currently in touch with an independent producer and an experienced screenwriter, both based in Scotland, about a possible film or TV series on the life of John Logie Baird.

“If the project goes ahead, there will be no shortage of Scottish locations.”

Prof Baird said these location could include Helensburgh, which he said had kept much of its character from the time his father lived there.

He added: “Between 1906 and 1914 he studied at Glasgow’s Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde, where an historic plaque has been placed in the electrical engineering department.

“A few blocks away, another plaque recalls his long-distance transmission of television in May 1927, from London to a room in the Central Hotel, now the Grand Central Hotel.”

New TV guide dedicated to inventor John Logie Baird

Baird Wonder Wall Wider

Baird Wonder Wall at Strathclyde University

31/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Maps, photography | , , | 1 Comment

-1 out of 10 for being alert and observant

Sometimes I wonder if my thoughts about being dyslexic (I’m sure I am, but have never bothered to be checked, but it would explain lot of mistakes I make and only ‘see’ later) reveal more about its effects.

Over the years I’ve picked up on a number of items I’ve not noticed, despite their being in plain sight, and right in front of me.

Case in point – the great big painting of John Logie Baird which form part of the Strathclyde Wonder Wall in George Street, and I only just spotted recently… despite passing (and looking towards, if not at) dozens of time over the past few years.

I’m pretty hopeless at faces though, recognising changed people is an art I have never mastered, so maybe that contributed too.

I’ve featured the lesser image before, but never realised the larger one was above.

Seriously – how do you miss seeing something that size!?

Baird Wonder Wall Wider

Baird Wonder Wall Wider

05/10/2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

John Logie Baird on the Strathwonderwall

Glasgow is building up a large collection of murals with official ‘blessing’ (as opposed to the illegal graffiti and vandalism which mars many locations), now even with booklets showing ‘mural trails’ to help visitors find them.

The Strathwonderwall is one collection which can be found easily on the city’s George Street, on Strathclyde University’s Graham Hills Building, formerly owned and created by BT under its various names in earlier incarnations.

Strathwonderwall doesn’t seem to have a dedicated web site (although it has spawned the #strathwonderwall hashtag), but can be found described on various art web sites simply by searching online for the name.

But my particular mention here is for the memorial to John Logie Baird, shown beside his 600-ine colour television (which I think dates from around 1940), and is a reminder that he innovated many features, not just the early mechanical televisions normally mentioned, forgetting his other work.

Baird strathwonderwall mural

Baird strathwonderwall mural

The mural is not a random creation, but is based on a photograph of Baird with his electronic television:

Embed from Getty Images

The Strathwonderwall runs the length of Graham Hills Building.

Worth the effort of visiting if you are nearby, and you’ll find some more pretty impressive murals adjacent too.



04/03/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Parliamentary motion to commemorate the 125th anniversary of John Logie Baird’s birth

Jackie Baillie MSP has proposed a motion in the Scottish Parliament to recognise John Logie Baird’s contribution to the television industry.

The motion read:

That the Parliament commemorates the 125th birthday of John Logie Baird; notes that the television inventor was born in Helensburgh on 14 August 1888 and considers that his legacy is truly global; acknowledges that the Helensburgh Heroes Project has purchased John Logie Baird artefacts to add to its Heroes Centre collection and has the backing and support of John Logie Baird’s family to promote his achievements in the town; recognises John Logie Baird’s contribution to the television industry, and remembers his lasting achievement.

The motion was supported by a cross-party group of MSPs — Jim Hume, Dennis Robertson, Nigel Don, Clare Adamson, Jayne Baxter, Angus MacDonald, Jackson Carlaw, Adam Ingram, Colin Beattie, Annabelle Ewing, Neil Findlay, Kenneth Gibson, Anne McTaggart, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Stuart McMillan, Kevin Stewart, Sandra White, David Torrance.

Motions, Questions and Answers Search – Parliamentary Business :  Scottish Parliament – Motion S4M-07617: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/09/2013.

Via Holyrood recognition for Helensburgh’s John Logie Baird | This Week | News | Helensburgh Advertiser

Also noted on Parliament recognises Baird

Which mentions that the inventor’s son, Professor Malcolm Baird, is honorary president and active member of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust, and that the Trust has a permanent exhibit of Baird equipment and memorabilia in the Heritage Centre at Helensburgh Library.

20true,%20″”,%20″”,%20false,%20true))”>Motion S4M-07617: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/09/2013

21/09/2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

British television production ends

The rise and rise of the various forms of thin, flat screen television (not to mention the cheap labour to our east) has finally put an end to large scale television production in the UK, and todays’ closure of Toshiba’s Ernesettle plant in Plymouth (Friday, August 28, 2009) follows production of its last television set the day before. Production will move to Poland as the company tries to keep pace in a market which the company has described as “fiercely competitive”, and seen the loss of 270 jobs.

The occasion is particularly significant, as the first practical television, and television service, was based on technology created by John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor from Helensburgh. His Televisor was demonstrated in 1925, and manufacture of his Model B began in 1926, by what was then the only television manufacturer in the world in – the Baird Corporation. A remarkable achievement, as the BBC would only start television broadcasts in 1929, so those who bought the sets had to be rich enthusiasts.

Baird’s system was mechanical, with all the problems inherent in providing television using such a system, but it did work, and was the first into service – but it was ultimately doomed as it became increasingly complex, and could not practically compete with later, fully electronic systems, which would ultimately displace it from 1934 onward.

Of course, both America and the Russia like to lay claim to being the inventors of television, and in truth, there were many others involved, such as Paul Nipkow, whose spinning disk system was at the heart of the Baird system, many years before Baird (the scanning disk was described about 1884, but probably never built, and predated the light sensors needed to be workable), but Baird was the one that took television to market first, as a practical, working system, and earned the accolade.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The whole CRT (cathode ray tube) sector has collapsed over the years. Mullard (Philips) once had a successful television factory in Durham, which I had the opportunity to visit on a number of occasions, but which was forced to close around 2005, after producing some 65 million CRTs over 34 years. Around 1990, it was given the job of producing a 21-inch CRT for £50, a task it not only achieved, but was to improve on over the years, and eventually bring its production cost down to less than half of the original figure. Visiting the factory in those days, as it was as busy as it could be, it would have been hard to believe any predictions that it was to disappear in the next few years.

Closer to home, Motherwell saw the arrival of Taiwanese manufacturer Chunghwa, with the opening of a CRT factory in 1995, but in the years it took to commission, the market changed, and market price of their product halved. Production changed from 14-inch computer monitor CRTs to 14-inch colour television CRTS, but by 2002 the factory had been closed.

Once the largest CRT manufacturer in Europe, it seems this country now has no such manufacturing facilities remaining.

27/08/2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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