Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Kelvin Hall – an interesting little indoor vs outdoor comparison

An unplanned view, grabbed yesterday as I passed and realised it matched an earlier pic.

Kelvin Hall balcony door

Kelvin Hall balcony door

The other side of the balcony (ie the interior) over the front door was caught when I took a few pics of Glasgow’s Circus School, and happened to notice the stained-glass windows and door above the original entrance, as seen from inside the building.

The pics were just grabbed when I noticed the glazing, in case they became interesting – and they did.

The first pic was just context, to show the balcony over the entrance, and how it had the stained-glass windows and door (there’s a matching one on the right, out of sight). I’m guessing, but this was probably the original office area, overlooking the exhibition and display area of the hall below.

If you ever visited the Kelvin Hall when it was open and using the front entrance (which had numerous ticket kiosks in the area between the outer and inner doors) then you’ll have an idea of the space available for those offices on the floor above. Guesstimate up to about 10 metres overall.

The second pic is just a closer views of the balcony, and the taller glazed panels above.

The third pic looks in closer detail at the balcony glazing, door, and metal railing along the edge.

Kelvin Hall interior glazing

Kelvin Hall interior glazing

It’s nice to be able to wander into the old place once again, and see what’s left of the original interior (after it was all bashed around for the sporty types to have ANOTHER arena).

Now that it has returned to arguably more useful service, and you can just turn up and wander around most of it, temporary displays related to various museum resources can be found there, together with AV presentations about the hall’s history, and the work currently underway to rescue and restore the building.

Check the hall’s own web site for up to date information about its opening, access, and resources now available there.

You may be in for a surprise if you had written it off after it turned into (yet another) Glasgow sports venue, and the Transport Museum moved to Riverside.

Welcome to Kelvin Hall

Visit Kelvin Hall

A unique partnership between Glasgow Life, the University of Glasgow and the National Library of Scotland sees this historic and much loved venue transformed into an exciting new centre of cultural excellence providing access to collections, temporary displays, teaching and research, alongside a state-of-the-art Glasgow Club health and fitness centre. Entry to Kelvin Hall is free.


After being irritated by the lack of an actual pic indicating the distance between the internal stained-glass panels, and the external glazing, I found myself looking at that very thing today, so the grabbing of a pic became today’s job.

Kelvin Hall Entrance side view

Kelvin Hall Entrance side view

28/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Glasgow has a circus school

One of the surprises lurking in the slowly regenerating Kelvin Hall (since it was rescued from being some sort of sports arena) is something of a surprise – a circus school. This in addition to the cafe, sports facilities and various museum resources now housed there. It’s home to the National Library of Scotland’s Scottish Screen Archive, and will see The Hunterian move there in 2020.

Find out more at Aerial Edge: Glasgow’s Circus School

I wasn’t set up for pics in a dull interior, the hall is mainly lit by daylight from the roof, but most of the pics came out – and the motion blur seems appropriate,

I thought I was only get pics of the kit and interior, but a group of students walked in while I was there, so there are some ‘action’ pics too.

The only disappointing thing was the state of the interior (Pic 2), apparently left to look after itself while the ‘sporty’ types were in charge.

Pic 5 isn’t the school area, but looking towards the other end of the hall, which is the ‘front’ door area on Argyle Street.

Although open during the day, this is only to provide emergency exits, not access.

Above the doors original stained-glass panels can still be seen.

I don’t know what was up there originally, but there is one of those ‘Doors to nowhere’, and the discolouration of the walls indicates some original structure has been stripped away.

However, some £40 million is being spent on its redevelopment, which will bring several national organisations under the one roof, including the University of Glasgow, the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow Life (Museums and Sport), and the National Library of Scotland.

I just like being able to get back into the building after so many years.

Kelvin Hall Aerial Edge

Kelvin Hall Aerial Edge

16/08/2019 Posted by | council | , , | Leave a comment

Mildly interesting view from Yorkhill

During my recent wander through Yorkhill, I climbed the (nor very big) hill to the hospital for a look.

Sadly, there wasn’t much to be seen there either, but I did think the view from the hill was a little more interesting.

At top left is a different view of the old Pontecorvo Building (still no obvious news of its fate seen, but it must surely be slated for demolition), which can be seen to be decaying and falling apart now that it is derelict and abandoned.

From this viewpoint, an intriguing covered balcony can be seen just under the roof level.

I wonder if there was a technical reason for this open area, since most of the services tend to occupy this upper area, or if it was a privileged area few lucky people to wander out onto, and enjoy the view?

Perhaps it was Professor Guido Pontecorvo’s (1907-1999) penthouse suite, a perk of his job and position.

However, what really caught my eye at first was the glazed area that can be seen in the centre of this pic, with the planters making a nice little roof garden for the occupants.

Not obvious from the view, this is actually the roof of the Kelvin Hall, and is an area not visible from the street or ground level.

I had thought it was a secret penthouse at first, but a closer looks shows it to be little more than office space.

Before looking closer, at the interior, I’d even thought it might have been a staff roof restaurant, but all that can be seen are desks and computer screens.

Click for bigger.

View over Kelvin Hall to Pontecorvo

View over Kelvin Hall to Pontecorvo

Unless I’m making VERY bad searches online, I STILL can’t find any newer information regarding demolition of Pontecorvo than the original 2011 story, published by Glasgow University and noting that the building was due to be demolished, and that staff were in the process of being relocated.

That’s now EIGHT years old.

05/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

T.Rex in Town – ends on 31 July 2019 at Kelvin Hall

It’s been VERY interesting to compare the media coverage, and social media, regarding the two dinosaur exhibitions in Glasgow this year.

While the free show in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum produced a steady stream of media items, and endless mentions on social media, the Kelvin Hall event, behind an admission charge, generated neither.

In fact, had I not seen an early article about a wedding event held in the Kelvin Hall, I would have said there had been zero items – note that I’m comparing like-for-like here, with my source for media and social media items being the same feeds I use all the time. I don’t go looking for stuff. It either comes to me, or it doesn’t.

I wasn’t even intending to go to ‘T.Rex in Town‘ due to the fairly high ticket price, but relented when I got a concession. Back at the start, I noted the price was so high they had shown an excuse (or reason) on the web site:

About our Pricing

As with other major exhibitions, hosting ‘T.rex in Town’ is only made possible by generating income through ticket sales. The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on display is an incredibly rare and important fossil which is being brought to the UK for the first time solely for this exhibition, and as such it requires special care and conditions. The revenue generated by ticket sales is what allows us to bring exciting exhibitions of this scale and significance to our home town. We have done our best to ensure that tickets are reasonably priced.

I only raise this since Dippy’s show was FREE in Kelvingrove – and was mobbed. I recognise circumstances vary.

I almost didn’t get my money’s worth either, as I made the most basic of modern photography mistakes – picked up a flat battery!

As I knew this was a low-light show in and enclosed gallery, I took the dSLR as opposed to the compact. I even planned ahead and put a spare battery on charge – then left home without it. Confirming just how good my memory is 😦

Fortunately, I carry a spare camera, so the compact did its job, and saved me.

I took one shot just to see how things looked (and hadn’t bothered about the guy stepping in front of me) – and the camera died (and I suddenly remembered I’d forgotten the battery on charge).

T Rex test shot

T Rex test shot

And it came out just fine in the low light (well, it’s what I mostly shoot, after all), with no need for post-processing to sort anything nasty.

But that was it, and I had to carry on with the compact – fortunately, it’s been fairly well fettled for low light too, so a disaster was avoided.

I took a lot of pics (that admission charge) in case a lot failed, so ended up with quite a few. Since I couldn’t decide which were best, I just threw the lot into this slide show.

Compare views of the left side of the skull (lower jaw) with those of the right – the forward part is actually a manufactured part to replace a missing section. But note the holes that can be seen on the left side (near the gap) – those holes are described as having been made by the bite of another T-Rex.

Although not really visible in the pics, there are also areas on the ribs which show there were breaks, which have healed over time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a ‘virtual baby dinosaur’ to be seen, hatching from and egg, and looking cute.

I didn’t know if the camera could cope with this transparent subject, but it just about managed, although I wish it had been the dSLR, with a bit more control.

Virtual Baby T Rex

Virtual Baby T Rex

It fell… (poor shot, but it was dim and the subject was moving/animated).

Baby T Rex falls

Baby T Rex fall

There was a catering/feeding area just outside the exhibition (and shop), with another T Rex on duty.

I didn’t notice the ‘warning sign’ until later – I’m sure you can guess what it said 😉

T Rex lunch area

T Rex lunch area

It is actually a pretty good exhibition, complete with a number of interactive displays – mainly for the kids, although the adults didn’t seem to mind having a go.

There are some weird video presentations, by some of the team behind the project. They’re kind of funny, as the stand and look bored on screen (I think they even check their phones sometimes) until someone hits the button to start the presentation, when the pay attention, and deliver their piece to camera.

There’s one large presentation about how the skeleton was found, preserved, repaired (missing parts were created to complete it), and prepared for display.

As of this post, there’s just two weeks left of this exhibition.

19/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

T.Rex in Town – busy, but not mobbed

I’m going out a limb here, but suspect Trixie and T.Rex in Town is not going to beat, or even get close to Dippy’s visit records.

At £14 for an adult, and £8 for a child (with family ticket coming in at £39.50 – two of each saves £4.50), I think I’m fairly safe with that prediction.

I suspect the organisers, or someone involved, thinks the pricing is high – this is the first time I’ve seen an exhibition come with a section that includes an explanation of the pricing, and goes to describe what the admission money will be used for.

I’m studying the rules to see which concession category I can fit myself into, and get an £8 ticket, if I decide to splash out later.

I couldn’t make the trip yesterday, opening day of the exhibition, just to see if the place was mobbed for that.

I had to make do with lunchtime today instead.

As you can see below, it was fairly described as busy, and had I wanted to fiddle the pic I could have taken one of a completely deserted corner at some times, or a mobbed corner (as those leaving and arriving got in each other’s way).  So, I just went with the average.

Inside, things were much busier at the entrance to the exhibit.

Before you complain about the comparison, I’m perfectly aware it’s an ‘Apples and Oranges’ scenario (not like-for-like), and I’m only doing it as I know many others will, and it’s better to do it honestly rather than ignoring it.

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

Kelvin Hall T Rex in Town

19/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

It’s interesting to watch the Kelvin Hall come back into useful life

I have absolutely no idea when the Kelvin Hall ‘died’.

As a tiny, I was taken there regularly for various events, with the carnival, and the Modern Homes Exhibition being the ones that come to mind from those days.

Later, I would go there myself, this being for the Motor Show, and then a few custom car shows that were held there.

Then it was Glasgow’s Transport Museum.

That actually made me sad, not because it took over from the former installation at the Tramway (which I don’t think I even managed to visit – the one day I specifically headed out there I never made it – as a blind OAP decided to try to fit his car into a 6-inch gap to the left of my car, and another, as I waited to turn right into Albert Drive, ending my day out), but because the Transport Museum ultimately occupied what amounted to one small corner of the building, with the lion’s share given over to a sports arena in the 1980s.

But for the Transport Museum, which lived there until 2012, I’d never have been back there.

However, things are not all bad, and it seems to have undergone more transformations in recent years (the place seemed to be surrounded by rubble collection since 2014), with various resources now housed there, even some of Glasgow’s museum collections, which can now be visited there. I’ll get around to that soon, as it still seems to be developing. Whenever I’ve looked during the past few years, things always seem to have changed from the last time I had a look.

It has its own web site, where the current status of the useful facilities it now offers can be found…

Kelvin Hall

I see it is now the subject of a planning application, needed as it is understandably now a listed building.

GLASGOW Life is moving forward with plans for a multi-purpose play area and 140-seat cafe at the Kelvin Hall.

An area on the first floor is to be fitted out to create the facility which will include a climbing zone and soft play adventure play area.

PLAN For Play Centre And Cafe At Kelvin Hall

I hope the plan includes some soundproofing around that play area! 😉

It’s great to see the place return to the more general community, and not just a few sports fans.

Kelvin Hall Facade

Kelvin Hall Facade

11/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Kelvin Hall facade

Having had what I thought was reasonable success (with the tools available) with a wide view of the seldom featured front of Kelvingrove – the side that faces into Kelvingrove Park – I thought I’d try something similar with the view across the road… Kelvin Hall.

While this is generally seen from the front, with a lot of the façade in view, it tends to feature a more oblique view, simply because that’s easier to shoot, and I suspect many people just grab a shot while they’re looking across from Kelvingrove.

That said, it’s still not really possible to capture the full extent of the Kelvin Hall façade with a reasonably wide lens, and the extreme left and right will be lost. Although you can get a reasonable distance from the building, it’s still just not enough to make the whole thing an easy catch.

Fortunately (for me) it’s not quite as tall as Kelvingrove, so is easier to catch in just shots that are easy to stitch together, and avoid distorting the vertical perspective and having sloping verticals that need to be fiddled with.

This was relatively easy, just needing a couple of shots, and little aligning to level things up.

When things work as well as this, I start wishing I had the linear stitching option – then remember I’d have to have part with coin, and come to my senses.

Kelvin Hall Facade

Kelvin Hall Facade

05/04/2019 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment

The (onging) tale of two dinosaurs

I guess I didn’t dig deep enough when I ‘compared and contrasted’ the story of two dinosaur exhibitions, one in Glasgow, and one in Edinburgh.

They’d been a handy tool to have a poke at the Edinburgh v Glasgow silliness, but I didn’t realise Glasgow was going to follow on with a stop for the dinosaur that featured in the Edinburgh exhibit. I’d just kind of informally assumed that two were on tour, and Glasgow had got one, and Edinburgh the other.

Another case of ‘Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME’.

Trix the Tyrannosaurus rex will be visiting Glasgow as part of the last leg of its European tour.

The T.rex skeleton will greet visitors in attack mode, with her ferocious teeth and enormous head mounted at eye level, when it goes on display at kelvin Hall from Easter this year.

Tickets to see Trix, a 67-million-year-old female who is 39-foot long, around 13 feet high, weighs five tonnes, have gone on sale…

Another dinosaur is following in Dippy’s footsteps and coming to Glasgow soon

‘She’ will be on display in the Kelvin Hall from April 18 to July 31 of 2019.

However, unlike the more friendly Dippy, across the road and welcoming visitors for free in Kelvingrove, Trix comes with an admission fee.

Tickets for the exhibition cost between £8 and £14 and can be bought HERE.

Trix the T.rex uncreditted pic via Glasgow Live article

Trix the T.rex uncredited pic via Glasgow Live article

Dippy’s watching.

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

05/02/2019 Posted by | council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kelvingrove lights

Passing Kelvingrove, I thought the light was maybe right to catch the decorative lights that stand ahead of the façade.

I wasn’t far off.

In this case it was still light enough to take pics of the building, yet catch the lit fixture without the illumination burning out the detail.

The only disappointment was that it’s not really possible to get into positions where they line up in interesting way.

Well, you could try, but you’d probably also get carted off by the police, given how some people react if you stand in the wrong place,or climb onto something.

Kelvingrove Lights

Kelvingrove Lights

It’s nice to catch the light at this time of day, and get images like this without having to process them to alter the balance.

Kelvingrove Lights

Kelvingrove Lights


Kelvingrove Lights Kelvin Hall

Kelvingrove Lights Kelvin Hall

And… the Kelvin Hall, just because.

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

Kelvin Hall From Kelvingrove

Actually, I find I have to grab shots like this because I really thought it was something (a regular haunt) I’d never see for real again, some years ago.

Lamp Detail

I almost missed detail on the lamp, such was my interest in the few minutes of evening light.

As I walked away I noticed the lamp bases had Glasgow’s coat of arms cast into the base, I thought it was just the tree at first, but all the parts are there:

There’s the tree that never grew,
There’s the bird that never flew,
There’s the fish that never swam,
There’s the bell that never rang.

The fish (salmon) does have a ring in its mouth, it’s not a flaw in the casting.

Kelvingrove Lamp Column Base

Kelvingrove Lamp Column Base

I was sure I’d lined this view up accurately, but it seems distorted.

I’m not sure if these are the original light fittings, from the opening back in 1901, or if they are modern replacements or upgrades, I’d have to dig out original pics to answer that one.

However, as foundry items, they would never be ‘perfect’ due to way they were made.

The manufacturer really is SUGG, a company which has been making such items since 1837, so it’s entirely possible these are ‘modern’ items, but made with the original patterns. I just don’t know (perhaps an ‘expert’ is looking in 🙂 ).

I might ask, but it’s surprisingly ‘hit-and-miss’ doing this, as some staff are knowledgeable, while others have no idea. That’s not a criticism or complaint, as they do offer to help, I just find it a little surprising that info/knowledge is sometimes not easy to get. I think it’s simply that those who know seem to specialise in their own area, with great detail.

23/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Kelvin Hall museums plan on track for £5 million lottery award

Kelvin Hall transport museum

Kelvin Hall transport exhibits

I have to be honest, and say that I felt double-crossed by Glasgow City Council many years ago, after hearing the announcement that the original Museum of Transport (established in a former tram depot in Albert Drive in 1964) would move to the Kelvin Hall in 1987.

Not being a sporty type, I thought it was some sort of joke as I watched the Kelvin Hall became a massive sports arena. All the shows I used to go and see there came to an abrupt end, and the Museum of Transport was relegated to what was, in my opinion, little more than a corner at the back of the vast building.

Many years later, now that the Museum of Transport has moved to Riverside, it looks as if things might be coming good for the Kelvin Hall, as the sports are ejected and it returns to its proper duties, as intended before it was hijacked.

The building we see today dates from 1927, but this was preceded by another building on the same site, the Industrial Hall – a temporary wooden structure built for the for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901, which was held in Kelvingrove Park. The original hall burnt down in 1925, and was replaced by the new Kelvin Hall of 1927, designed to house large-scale exhibitions.

A scheme to turn Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall into a cultural, research and training centre has been given initial approval for almost £5m of lottery funds.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a first round pass for the plan to create a safe home for Glasgow’s city and university museum collections.

The city council said it would provide access to the city’s cultural legacy.

The Kelvin Hall scheme would house a combined 1.5 million treasures from Glasgow’s civic collection and from The University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.

The hall’s international athletics track is also due to close with the opening of the Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The Glasgow Club leisure facilities would remain at the site.

via BBC News – Kelvin Hall museums plan on track for £5m lottery funds.

27/01/2012 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last chance to visit Kelvin Hall Museum of Transport

Kelvin Hall transport museumThe last chance, ever, to visit the Glasgow Museum of Transport while it resides in a room at the back of the Kelvin Hall comes this weekend, April 17/18, 2010.

After this, the museum closes to allow preparations to begin to move the collection to its new home on the banks of the River Clyde, in the new, £74 million Riverside Museum, scheduled to open in spring 2011.

The museum has lived at the back of the Kelvin Hall for some 22 years, after moving there from its former home in Albert Drive, where it was first established in the former Coplawhill tram depot, in 1964. When it left, the building then became home to the Tramway arts centre.

To mark the occasion, there will be a series of free events taking place over the weekend, including music and dance performances, historic bus tours, a competition, and a final closing ceremony.


I don’t know much about the collection when it was housed in the old tram depot. I know I must have seen it, but the only thing I can think of is the accident I had at the traffic lights leading into Albert Drive. I was waiting to turn right into Albert Drive, and the lane to my left was controlled by a filter. Unfortunately, this lane was blocked by parked cars, as it always was, however, this did not prevent an OAP trying to drive his car through the 6-inch gap between my car, and the car parked in the inside lane – with the inevitable result. At least he wasn’t driving very fast.

I do remember reading about the ‘new’ museum which was to open in the Kelvin Hall, but not being a sporty type, failed to notice the matching news items about the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena. Little did I realise that the arena was actually getting most of the Kelvin Hall for sporty types to run around in, while the transport museum was all but shoved into the broom cupboard behind it. My expectations were well and truly dashed the first time I visited, and had to go round to the back (or side in reality) of the building to find the entrance to the museum. What a disappointment on my first visit, finding the ‘new’ transport museum apparently shoehorned into an L-shaped corner of the vast Kelvin Hall, almost looking like an afterthought.

I should add by way of explanation that I was used to attending a number of  specialist car exhibitions and events that used to take place in the Kelvin Hall in those days, including the Scottish Motor Show, and because I had/have absolutely no interest in the sports arena, had not realised that it was the prime tenant.

It may have taken 22 years, and it may be yet another major Scottish architectural project that has not sought to attract home-grown talent in its creation, but at least the new Riverside Museum is said to boast all the facilities a proper transport museum should have, and that it will have twice as many objects on display as the old site.

Although I may appear to have had a kick at the Kelvin Hall museum, bear in mind I was aiming at the planners, not the collection, the museum staff, or the displays, and I will miss the former displays, in particular the reconstruction of ‘Kelvin Street’, with its homely little cinema, and the old subway display. Despite sounding glum, this is not the case, and the museum itself was just fine.

See the collection before spring 2011

Although the collection proper will not be on display in the Riverside Museum until spring 2011, many of the exhibits will still be on view at the GMRC (Glasgow Museums Resource Centre) at 200 Woodhead Road, in South Nitshill Industrial Estate.

The centre is open 10: 00am to 5: 00pm Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday, and 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday and Sunday, and is closed to the public on Mondays. Note that ALL visits to GMRC must be booked in advance, and viewing is by guided tour.

Glasgow Museums Resource Centre

16/04/2010 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments


%d bloggers like this: