Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

More graffiti scum tagging

It’s hard to convey just how much contempt I hold for so-called graffiti artists and taggers, who think the world deserves to see their crap as they vandalise and damage people’s property.

As always, this does NOT extend to those working with permission.

In this case, some worthless little tagger chose to vandalise a lifebelt alert sign AND showed extreme disrespect by doing it next to someone’s memorial tribute.

Now that I see it with fresh flowers laid, I’m guessing someone died here, either drowned in the river, possibly an accident, or perhaps a suicide who jumped from the old Polmadie Footbridge, which lay just to left of this pic (and is now the new Polmadie Footbridge).

I don’t know the details, and queried the reason for a bottle of water being tied to the railings (fence) here. Original pic and query here: River Clyde pilgrimage point

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Lifebelt Sign Vandalised At Memorial

Impressive fence painting too – dribbling nicely down from the top of the sign.

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Dec 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Statue unveiled in memory of Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown – Britain’s Greatest Test Pilot

I have to confess I had no idea this statue existed, let alone was complete and set to be unveiled.

I came across Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s name on numerous occasions whenever I was investigation aviation related stories, and my attention became all the greater when I learned he was a Scot from Leith.

I did raise a page to his achievements in our Wiki, but it was really only a token gesture, so I could avoid being accused of not noticing him. There’s just too much to mention.

He even met Yuri Gagarin, and learnt how Gagarin ejected from his spacecraft and parachuted to Earth separately – something denied by the Soviets, and not revealed officially until some years later.

Episode 40: April 2nd 2011: Gagarin in London : Captain Eric Brown

As well as the summary, there are a couple of short video clips featuring him.

Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown

Edinburgh Airport has unveiled a statue of Eric “Winkle” Brown, Britain’s greatest ever test pilot.

The life-sized bronze sculpture outside the terminal was funded by former pilots from the Edinburgh University Air Squadron.

Prince Andrew revealed the statue on Monday (01 July 2018).

Sir Jon Elvidge, chairman of Edinburgh Airport, said: “Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown is someone who is synonymous with RAF Turnhouse, and is in turn a key figure in the history of what is now Edinburgh Airport.

“His achievement (sic) speak for themselves and the fact his remarkable career is still held in such high regard after all these years is testament to the man himself.”

Statue of Britain’s greatest ever test pilot unveiled

Jul 2, 2018 Posted by | Aviation, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

La Pasionaria on the Clyde Walkway

I think I missed this for years, so have finally taken a decent pic and collected some notes.

I was more than a little surprised the first time I came across a pic of this statue, and couldn’t recall ever seeing it. To be fair to myself, in the past I seldom walked on that side of Clyde Street, let alone next to the river on the Clyde Walkway.

The statue, La Pasionaria (The Passion Flower”), is a tribute by the city of Glasgow (and the Labour Movement) to the British Volunteers of the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9. Their fight against fascism is embodied in the statue of Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), a heroine of their cause and a leader in the Spanish Republican and Communist movements. The sculpture was commissioned by the International Brigade Association of Scotland in 1974, and produced by the Liverpool based sculptor, Arthur Dooley. His fee of £3,000 was funded following an appeal to Trades Unionists and members of the Labour Movement in Scotland.

It stands about 9 ft (3 m) high, is made of painted fibreglass, and mounted on a rectangular plinth on a steel pedestal made from a vertical steel girder.

Find it near the south west corner of Clyde Street, facing the River Clyde from the Clyde Walkway, where it was erected on 5 December 1979.

Sad to say, the dirty world of Politics threatened the existence of the memorial, and it seems that it attracted hostile opposition from Glasgow’s Conservative Councillors, who vowed to demolish it whenever they unseated the city’s Labour administration. Despite my low opinion of certain aspects of this world, I do think things are better now, and such a threat would not be risked today – if only because of the effect of so-called ‘social media’, and the potential backlash.

The memorial’s construction led to further problems, such as under-funding and its weight. The latter led to a shortening of its girder pedestal before it could be transported from Liverpool. While the sculptor had intended to form the statue in bronze, this was not possible due to the cost.

Dooley reportedly had six attempts to perfect his design for the ‘gaunt, outstretched figure’ of Ibárruri, apparently living in poverty in his Liverpool workshop and staying in a working men’s hostel when in Glasgow.

Thanks to the Political nonsense noted above, the statue was erected without any public ceremony, in case those opposed to it caused some sort of embarrassing incident.

The sad story continues since the subject, Ibárruri, could not be invited to a non-existent unveiling, and the sculptor never saw his finished work, seemingly penniless and unable to afford the fare to Glasgow.

Via City of Sculpture: La Pasionara

BBC Archive article inspired the series ‘Coast’ La Pasionaria Memorial

Having been threatened with being torn down in demolition, it is now A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow Clyde Street, Statue of Dolores Ibarruri, La Pasionaria

See also 2009 restoration appeal article La Pasionaria: the fading icon

There are numerous articles online now, covering the sculpture’s history.

Not bad, given the threat to its existence and lack of ceremony.

Glasgow Clyde Walkway La Pasionaria

Glasgow Clyde Walkway La Pasionaria

Jun 18, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The hidden memorial to Joseph Lister (responsible for antiseptic)

Another High Street area gem.

While he’s probably ultimately responsible for saving millions of lives, I think few people are familiar with Joseph Lister, whose work led to the general use of antiseptic treatment.

In a similar vein, I think few locals, and maybe even fewer visitors, are familiar or aware that a memorial stone to Lister lies in one of the wall of Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

It’s almost hidden behind a bus stop (Castle Street and Glebe Street) at the GRI, and while I’d like to say you can see it in Google Street View, I can’t. Thanks to the worried people who were afraid of being caught having affairs or being pictured visiting sex shops, the automated face and registration number blurring algorithms see the text on the stone – and blur it! (Now that I’ve mentioned this, somebody will probably remove the blurring, just to prove me wrong).

I often wonder if anyone waiting for the bus ever turns around and sees this stone, or even realises who it commemorates, or the work he did.

I’m aware of its presence (now), but have no idea how often I passed it before I noticed it.

Joseph Lister Memorial Stone

Joseph Lister Memorial Stone

And…

Just a couple of random shots of the GRI behind this.

Although this now just used as part of the hospital, it used to be the A&E entrance.

While I’ve managed to avoid this, I did have to take someone there, and was allowed to dump my car on those double yellows – I didn’t even get shifted when the police arrived (with casualties from Glasgow’s streets), and was just asked to move along a few inches, to let them in.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary Old A and E Entrance

Glasgow Royal Infirmary Old A and E Entrance

The forecourt and one of the building entrances can be glimpsed through a gap to the side of the memorial.

These views bring mixed emotions (although I am ‘Over it’). While I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the place, it’s also one I’ve had to spend more time inside than I’d like to have.

While it may be busy during the day, and when visiting hours were in place, many of my visits were of the “You may visit at any time” type, while others were calls to get there quickly during the night, and the place is quiet and spooky.

I’ve no idea what it’s like now (and am obviously quite happy for that state of ignorance to continue).

Glasgow Royal Infirmary Forecourt Entrance

Glasgow Royal Infirmary Forecourt Entrance

Mar 26, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

A cat called Boris

I have no idea – just a pic (not mine) I got after the earlier post today.

Boris Cat Memorial 1996

Boris Cat Memorial 1996

Jan 28, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Jim Clark Museum secures final funding

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

It’s nice to see something manage to reach a successful conclusion without a great fuss or multitude of problems, but this does seem to be the case of the proposed Jim Clark Museum in the Borders.

I’ve followed this development over the years, purely by chance, and while it may have taken a while to see the progress of the small facility to the driver’s memory, to the current project to create a formal museum, it never seemed to be a project that would fail, or be over-ambitious and cause its own demise. There’s nothing worse than seeing a good idea collapse due to over-reaching ambition that has no real chance of being fulfilled.

It had always been hoped the development would be completed by 2018, a year which will mark the 50th anniversary of the driver’s death at Hockenheim in Germany, when he was just 32.

Born in Kilmany in Fife, Jim Clark was raised in the Borders, and went on to win the Formula 1 world championship in 1963 and 1965, and won a total of 25 grand prix races.

Via Jim Clark Museum in Duns crosses funding finish line

Pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sep 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fort William sculpture will recall the Ford Model T climb of Ben Nevis

One of the things which has always intrigued me is an event I am reminded of whenever I open a number of the books I have collected regarding the history of motoring in Scotland – the time a Model T was driven to the top of Ben Nevis.

The stunt took place in 1911 (repeated in 1928) and was carried out by Henry Alexander Jr, the son of Scotland’s first Ford dealer, who drove the Model T up and down the mountain as a publicity stunt to show the superiority of the mass-produced American car in comparison to hand-crafted British cars.

The attempt was not simply a case of turning up at the foot of mountain one day, and heading for summit, but was carefully prepared for.

It took six weeks to prepare the route for the challenge, with workers laying a timber path along the route to the summit, and five days to complete the trip, during which the car would frequently sink axle-deep into the boggy ground and have to be pulled out by rope. It seems that some obstacles were dynamited to clear them from the path. A newspaper report from the time said that one wrong turn of the wheel could have resulted in a fall that would have destroyed the car and killed the driver.

See film of the climb: Lost film of Ford Model T on Ben Nevis found

The 5-minute film is not embeddable, but can be seen here, on the BFI site: Motoring Ben Nevis 1911

It’s intriguing to note that, contrary to modern expectations where large tyres (or even tracks) are used to reduce loading and sinking into soft ground, the Model T’s skinny wheels and tyres actually worked with the car’s high ground clearance by allowing it to sink into muddy or soft rutted ground and gain traction at the bottom of the rut, where the ground was still relatively firm, as it not been churned up.

Back in 2015, an organisation called Ben Nevis Bronze Ford Committee began raising £86,000 to pay for a full-size bronze sculpture of the 1911 Model T, to be installed in Fort William.

Funding is now in place to have the sculpture made in Edinburgh, cast at the Powderhall Bronze Foundry, and installed in Fort William’s Cameron Square next May.

Via: Ben Nevis Ford Model T sculpture to be made

The actual climb took place between May 9 and 13 of 1911 – with plenty of snow still in evidence.

Ben Nevis Model T

Ben Nevis Model T – pic via BBC News

Jul 22, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Jim Clark Museum granted planning permission

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

It feels as if I’ve been watching stories about plans for a museum dedicated to racing driver Jim Clark for years, but it’s not really been that long.

While there have been a few objections about its appearance, and fear of a few extra cars needing to park nearby, it seems that they have been overcome, and planning permission has been granted.

It is hoped the development could be completed by 2018 – the 50th anniversary of Clark’s death at Hockenheim in Germany, aged just 32.

A proper facility seems like a good idea. Despite being aware there was a small collection of some sort there, The Jim Clark Room, I never got around to finding or visiting, even though there were times I was in the area regularly.

All they need now it the funding – the £1.65 million has a £300,000 crowdfunding campaign, while Scottish Borders Council has pledged £620,000 towards the museum, with a similar sum being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Via Green light for Jim Clark museum project in Duns

Pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Feb 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The shifting Cambuslang Miners Memorial

There’s an interesting memorial to be found just outside the built-up area of Cambuslang Main Street.

It’s dedicated to those who worked in the area’s extensive coal mining industry, and does not forget those who also died, or that children as young as six would be sent down the pit to help support their families.

While the location is fairly prominent, it’s a pity the council didn’t take a little more care regarding the positioning of regulatory road signs, which are almost impossible to easily exclude from pics.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

This isn’t the first time I’ve caught this memorial.

This was an earlier pic I grabbed one evening – you can ‘lose’ the sign, but the view is not so pleasing, but the lighting is effective.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

It’s some years since I fell into Cambuslang, and I’ve probably never wandered along to this spot until last year, when looking for a nearby address. Then, I was amazed to see the memorial, as it used to be sited on a hill in the industrial park, about a mile away. It vanished from the park many years ago, when I used to use the near derelict area to practice flying model helicopters, but had to give that up when the ground was razed to make way for factory units as the park was developed, and I stopped visiting. With little on the Internet then, I had assumed it had been lost or trashed.

Unknown to me until recently, it was dismantled, moved, and eventually reassembled at the end of the Main Street, and dedicated in May 2005.

I wasn’t sure of the date of the original, but happened to find a much earlier pic of that first installation, from 1983, which provides a further reference confirming it was still there in 1986 (which is around the time I was flying).

A little more info can be found on Geograph:

Coal Mining Monument in Cambuslang

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Note

Lest anyone feel I’ve made a terrible mistake by not including the possessive apostrophe with Miners as it appears above, be aware that I have merely followed the text as it appears on the memorial plaque, which has been prepared without this mark.

Jan 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Nikola Tesla Day – July 10

I can’t recall coming across this particular memorial before, and when I looked at the related information sites for Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943), while they mentioned the efforts made to create this day, and they showed various letters and representation dating back to 2002 (where I looked), none of them appeared to show any document that confirmed which year July 10 was officially confirmed as being Nikola Tesla Day.

(Having done some more reading, after writing the above, I think that 2014 might have been the inaugural year of the day).

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

I had intended to pick some interesting links and articles to share with those who are still unaware of just who Nikola Tesla was, and why he is so important to those of us involved in any sort of electrical and/or electronic engineering, but to be brutally honest, most of the web sites are simply just an embarrassment to his memory.

I don’t normally suggest referring to Wikipedia for information, not because there is anything wrong with it, and I am an advocate of the creation, but I usually consider sending anyone to a source they could obviously look at for themselves to be lazy. It is a reference, not a source of original information (which many people seem unable or unwilling to understand), and links should normally be given to sources, not references, if for no other reason than they can change over time, while original sources should not.

But in this case, I will point those unfamiliar with Tesla to the Wikipedia article: Nikola Tesla

And I do so because it does not dwell on the fringe lunacy which unfortunately pervades any specialist/fan sites claiming to honour the man, but which do the opposite.

I also have to include: Tesla Memorial Society of New York

Unfortunately, not allowed to be embedded in WordPress, the film given in the link below dates from 1980 and I believe gives a good account of Tesla’s life and work:

Nicola Tesla – 1980 Yugoslav film

This serious article from The Smithsonian also caught my eye recently, not least because it concludes with the sad decline of Tesla and his mind towards the end of his life.

It mentions the Wardenclffe Tower, Tesla’s downfall project which many of the loonies and ‘free-energy conspiracists’ cling to so desperately today, quoting and referring to it as if it was some sort of suppressed technology, rather than a fundamental mistake. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics effectively demonstrate the errors of the concept, and quosh any thought that power could be distributed around the World by such a tower – but facts have no place with such advocates, who think power can be magicked out of thin air.

The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla and his Tower | History | Smithsonian

I’m not going to name any other sites, merely refer to the general disrespect many sites which claim to be dedicated to Tesla actually display, as they concentrate not on his career, work, developments, patent, and the many problems those brought, but on the last few years of his life, where I believe it is clear that all those problems and disappointments affected his mind, and when he was no longer working productively. Then, he turned to more fanciful and imaginative thoughts, ideas, and projects, such as death rays and wireless transmission of electrical energy.

Sadly, it is often for these last items that his name is used, and conspiracy theorists speak of his work being stolen and suppressed, and his research destroyed.

Funny how it’s all the controversial stuff that not only disappeared, but cannot be reproduced or repeated even today, yet all his earlier work can, as is all the development that followed it.

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Sadly, I can’t make the loonies that have hijacked Tesla, his work, and his memory for their own selfish purposes and agenda, and use his name to give their failed theories and ideas some sort of credibility by association. Significantly, when pressed for evidence, their response is usually something mumbled along the lines of it having been stolen (by the government or some secret agency acting on its behalf or instructions). Assume for a moment we join their flight from reality – If all these wonderful inventions were indeed stolen (as they put it) by government, or other, agencies – they have they never used or developed them? If the resulting devices they supposedly produce were in existence, then whoever had them would hold considerable power, yet no-one appears to be in such a position, or even be threatening to deploy any of the stolen technology.

Why not? Could it be that it exists nowhere other than inside the heads of these people? And that they are little more than con-artists, getting funds on promises, or selling their useless device to the gullible? Their devices never seem to work, and they tend not to hand them over to real laboratories for independent testing. So, I know what I think of them.

But if I can do nothing else, I can ask that when you read items about UFOs, various forms of ‘Infinite energy devices’, Free energy devices’, non-existent death rays and the like, and when the authors use Tesla’s name as some sort of justification for their silliness, ignore them, and treat them with the contempt they deserve for stealing someone’s good name and reputation for their own disreputable purposes.

Read more on Tesla and current events

There’s not much point in me doing yet another summary of some of Tesla’s achievements, or even recounting the problems that came between Tesla and Edison.

On the latter point, I tend to agree with the suggestion the we need BOTH Teslas and Edisons. Both are needed in order to innovate and move things forward. That they might disagree and end up head to head – that’s just the way life happens.

The Tesla Museum is set to become a reality, and this is no small part to recent appeals, and Elon Musk, who named his company’s electric car after Tesla:

Elon Musk Donates $1 Million to New Tesla Museum

Notably, he assisted with the original campaign to save the original museum at Wardenclyffe. Now there will be a NEW museum on the site.

Photos: Tesla’s Lab at Wardenclyffe

Happy 158th, Nikola Tesla! Strange Facts About the Inventor

Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

A mention for Teslamania, Toronto, CanadaTeslamania

A little too far for me to have a look at, but just got word of:

TeslaMania 2014 – Nikola Tesla Festival and Expo

Described as four days to “Celebrate the Visions, Inventions and Life of Nikola Tesla”, this takes place from July 10 to July 13, 2014.

I have to say I don’t have any first hand experience of this event, but the agenda suggests it revolves around the more serious aspects of Teslas’s work.

 

Jul 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Over another wall – a footballer memorial

I’m often found trying to convince other folk to “Look up”, or “Look over walls” as they pass the, as it’s often that case that many interesting things are missed by most people simply because they are too focussed on themselves, or where they are going.

And today we have the curse of the various flavours of mobile devices, which people are determined to either stare at, or poke, during their every waking moment.

I’d been walking up and down Cambuslang Main Street on a fairly dull and miserable day recently, when I decided to stop for a rest, and ended up leaning against a wall near the station. Without thinking, I turned around and looked over it – and found it to be a monumental sculptor’s yard, full of headstones and similar.

But most noticeable was the footballer, pictured below.

I’ve no idea if this depicts someone in particular, or is just a generic offering the artist has for those who are keen.

I have absolutely no interest in the subject or the game, so can’t even have a guess.

But, it does at least prove that ‘looking over walls’ can pay dividends – but please remember to do it carefully!

Sculptors footballer memorial

Monumental culptor’s footballer memorial

Mar 11, 2014 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

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