Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural

I wasn’t able to get along for a look at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh mural mentioned some time ago in this story of a little problem with it. The mob in the Briggait blotted their records with this one, and didn’r even ‘man up’ with a statement afterwards. Maybe they wanted the job for their… ‘charity’.

As the chap behind the mural said:

“I can’t believe an arts organisation is objecting to a tribute to one of the world’s greatest ever artists.”

Green light for giant Mackintosh mural after planning row

I don’t know why people can’t get along these days, and every little thing has to be a ‘court case’.

Forget the folk next door, and enjoy the mural, which turned out rather well.

Given other events, is that a tear in the corner of one eye?

Maybe some smoke got in it.

Click for bigger.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Mural

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Mural


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

Last week was almost like Mackintosh Week

Last week was something of a bonus for those who like Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

I’m always slightly wary of mentioning such things, since certain ‘types’ I don’t like to be associated with decided to adopt Mackintosh as one of their heroes, and decided it would be ‘kewl’ to pretend they had always liked him and his work.

“The city that rejected him now plasters his image on everything from tea towels to fridge magnets,” says Lachlan Goudie.

First surprise was spotting Mackintosh feature in a documentary (available online until the end of June 2018):

Mackintosh: Glasgow’s Neglected Genius

Glasgow artist Lachlan Goudie examines the life, work and legacy of Scotland’s most celebrated architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh – the man Lachlan Goudie calls “The greatest genius in the history of Scottish art”.

The film examines Mackintosh’s iconic buildings, notably the Glasgow School of Art. Interwoven with his architecture, design and watercolours is the personal story of Mackintosh. Little known at home, his work found favour on the continent. In later years he struggled for work, and came to endure real poverty, but continued to create remarkable pieces of art.


Then there was some fairly significant news regarding the completion of works to restore the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street.

A tea room designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been reopened to mark the 150th anniversary of the great architect’s birth.

The public had the chance on Thursday to preview the Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms, first opened in 1903, after it underwent a £10m restoration project.

The 200-seat restaurant and tea rooms will have a phased opening during the summer with the official opening of Mackintosh at the Willow in September.

It is estimated the tea rooms in Glasgow will welcome at least 360,000 visitors a year.

The building at 217 Sauchiehall Street is of international significance.

It is the only building where Mackintosh had total control over the architecture and the decorative elements, including the design of the cutlery and the waitress’s uniforms.

The new heritage attraction will include a gallery, billiard room and an exhibition, retail, learning and education and conference suite in the adjoining building.

Mackintosh tea room reopens 150 years after his birth

Much as I’d liked to have included my own pic of the exterior at least (which I passed a few days before this news was published, and I’m not likely to ever be inside), at the moment, that’s not possible, so you’ll have to make do with the news publicity pic.

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA

Mackintosh at the Willow Pic Credit: PA


If you have never managed to visit any Mackintosh creations (and, don’t forget there is an excellent display of some of his work always to be found on show in Kelvingrove), then this selection of images featured in a BBC article will hopefully give you an idea of what those of us who admired his work in the years before he was hijacked by the ‘kewl brigade’ were attracted to, long before dropping his name in company became ‘fashionable’.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the rooms that inspired Europe

Of the featured locations, I didn’t realise the Glasgow School of Art ran tours of the interior, although I’d seen the exterior and grabbed the odd pic more than once. Then, although I was a regular visitor to Helensburgh, I’d never tripped over Hill House by accident, so eventually made the pilgrimage there many years ago, and it was worth the effort. Probably the one place I visited frequently (without realising it) was the Mackintosh House at The Hunterian Museum.

I’m sad to see that each visit to the Mackintosh House now has an admission charge of £6 – when I was wandering around there some years ago, entry was free.

I guess this is the price of ‘kewl’.

The Mackintosh House

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Hill House

House for an Art Lover

And finally…

Green light for giant Mackintosh mural after planning row

A giant mural to Charles Rennie Mackintosh overlooking The Clutha bar has been given the green light despite an objection by an arts charity.

Bar owner Alan Crossan had hoped the tribute would have been completed in time for the 150th anniversary of the iconic designer’s birth on Thursday.

But Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland (Wasps) said he didn’t seek permission from Glasgow City Council.

But a planning enforcement officer has now ruled the mural can go ahead.

Scaffolding was erected outside the Clydeside pub at the end of last week and the wall, which is around 60ft by 40ft, was painted white.

But work had to be abandoned after Wasps objected on the grounds that the pub is next door to the A-listed Briggait.


To some extent, it’s understandable that somebody would think they could do what they like with their own property, but on the other hand, it’s a bit hard to believe that anyone involved in a business in Glasgow city centre wouldn’t check with the city’s planning department before doing anything overseen by neighbours, or the public.

Or perhaps that an artist’s studio that wasn’t part of a mural that appeared beside it might not find a way to drop a ‘hint’.

I’ll have to make a point of getting down there later, as I won’t be able to get there in the near future.

Well, since I never got around to using this stitch of the original Clutha mural, I might as well use it here – since it shows The Briggait just to the right.

Also, it no longer exists since a chunk was carved out of wall in the middle, to open out the area for a ‘Beer Garden’.

Click on the mural image for a slightly bigger version.

Clutha Mural Stitch

Clutha Mural Stitch

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Vaguely Soviet mural’ is gone

Sad to see the mural I dubbed as ‘Vaguely Soviet’ has gone, to be replaced by something more conventional.

See the original here: Vaguely Soviet Shettleston mural

Looks like I caught this one early, and it’s currently a ‘Work in Progress’.

Despite the appearance of the pic, it was actually quite late as I passed the scene and spotted the change, and I couldn’t see how much of the creation was still initial sketch with no colour added. I only realised this when I saw the original pic.

I’ll have to get past again, and catch the finished work.

Shettleston Wellshot Road Mural Work

Shettleston Wellshot Road Mural Work

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Billy Connolly Wire Mural – and follow-up to his 75th birthday murals

When (Sir) Billy Connolly was given a series of three giant murals spread around Glasgow city centre, I was (for once) quick of the mark and went off to collect a set of pics for myself.

More on that later – this post is really about another ‘mural’ I discovered while tracking down the three new works.

While I might describe this installation more as a sculpture than a mural, I have to yield to the description to be seen on the plaque that accompanies it, and shows I missed this 2011 event.

Billy Connolly Wire Mural Plaque

Billy Connolly Wire Mural Plaque

I’m not sure if I knew about it at the time, back then my chances of getting there for a look probably ranked in the region of ‘slim to nil’, so while I might have seen it announced in the news at the time, chances are it would have ‘Gone in one ear, and out the other’.

But, I did find out about it, and exactly where to find it, and even managed to get there and grab a pic.

My collection is compete!

Billy Connolly Wire Mural

Billy Connolly Wire Mural

Although the plaque seems to fail to mention it, one of the reasons this installation was placed here is because Billy Connolly was born in Dover Street, Anderston – but that was demolished in the 1970s, so they couldn’t really put it there.

75th Birthday mural updates

While the birthday murals created in 2017 remain unchanged, I noticed that they had received small descriptive plaques.

Well, to be accurate the Gallowgate and Old Wynd murals have plaques, but I couldn’t find one for the Vettriano creation in Dixon Street.

See the pics here: (Sir) Billy Connolly’s 75th birthday murals got some plaques


June 6, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

The giant tartan octopus of Millerston Street

At least I think it’s based on an octopus. It’s a little hard to tell for sure, but since squid also have two arms, and I can’t make this detail out, I’m going with octopus.

There is always another option…

Mutant bagpipes!

Tartan Octopus

Tartan Octopus

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Maybe just ONE more – the High Street mural

So, I lied, and here’s another High Street item (also (yet) another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up).

This is actually an old pic I never got around to using, and was taken on a pretty grim day when this work was probably not long completed, hence the fencing at the base.

Actually, I’ve realised I caught it before it was finished, as a closer look reveals the hand on which the robin is perched lacks any of the detail seen in the rest of the work. Later sightings confirm this.

Also an evening shot, pushing the available light (cropped out of the shot, but the street lights were on, and I forgot about this pic as I hadn’t expected it to come out half as well as it did), the mural is really much brighter and more colourful than this view makes it appear.

If the image seems somehow familiar, then you’re right, bearing in mind Glasgow Cathedral is nearby.

This is said to be a modern day version of the story of St Mungo and Glasgow’s coat of arms:

The Bird — Mungo restored life to a robin, which had been tamed by St Serf, but had been killed by some of his classmates, jealous of Mungo as he was favoured by St Serf.

High Street Mural

High Street Mural

April 7, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , , | 1 Comment

Detroit kitten mural

A little weekend bonus, found while wandering around.

I’m not sure of the geography, but after searching some comments made near the original image, I’m reasonably sure this can be found somewhere near Detroit.

Kitten Mural  Detroit

Kitten Mural Detroit

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Long view of tiger mural II

I wasn’t going to bother with this pic, as it’s both a long distance of the Mark II tiger mural on the city centre section of the Clyde Walkway.

I really did prefer the original Fire Tiger, but I suppose this occupant of the same site is beginning to grow on me over time, and it does actually look a lot better than I thought it did, at least from the greater distance of the opposite bank.

Clyde Walkway Second Tiger Mural

Clyde Walkway Second Tiger Mural

February 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Street art surprise in George Street

I often suggest people wake-up to their surroundings, and pay just a little more attention to what happens around them.

Along with quite a few others, I advise others to ‘Look Up’, especially locals, and especially in Glasgow, where there’s a whole new world that I know many are completely oblivious to.

But sometimes all it takes is a look at places you’ve been seeing ‘forever’, as the fact that they haven’t changed for years doesn’t mean they won’t.

Case in point, this doorway in George Street, passed many times yet never interesting (although I do always look at the building it lives in), yet a quick glance changed that.

I wonder if it would have been different if seen earlier, if perhaps some politically motivated moron thought using it might make one of their similarly moronic posters more noticeable?

Glasgow Street Art

Glasgow Street Art

February 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Inventor mural in Switzerland features Tesla (and some others)

Chances of me ever seeing this are conservatively rated at slim to nil, so no secret this does NOT come form my pics, but I can’t let it pass.

Described as coming from Basel, Switzerland, it features Tesla, Edison, Einstein, Curie, and one other for whom I apologise – I do not recognises, and cannot make out the name in the source image.

If you know, PLEASE add in Comments below.

The first pic looks quite innocent, and not too controversial (there’s more detail, so click for bigger).

Wide Basel Swiss Tesla Mural

Wide Basel Swiss Tesla Mural

A second view was provided, and it’s possibly a tad more controversial (also clickable).

Close Basel Swiss Tesla Mural

Close Basel Swiss Tesla Mural

Some would question the placing of Edison and Tesla next to each other, given the War of the Currents, but this would be a mistake.

Tesla came to the US virtually penniless, yet a letter of introduction was enough to convince Edison to give him a job.

That the two were brilliant in their own independent way could not be seen, and the two parted company.

Edison is often portrayed as ‘The Bad Guy’, but he was not alone, with both he and Tesla having their powerful and wealthy backers fighting their case.

Both were sad – Tesla didn’t pay enough attention to the financial aspect of his work, and Edison lacked the ability to see past his own ideas.

That still oversimplifies things, and forget the backers, but just think where we might have been had the two been able to cooperate, rather than go their separate ways.


February 12, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

The spaceman hiding in Trongate

One day I’ll make the mistake of downloading one of those ‘Glasgow Mural Trail’ leaflets and ruining all the surprise.

But rather than make an expedition, or mission, of going out to find them all, I think I prefer to find our growing collection of city murals by chance, which I have the luxury of doing at my convenience, since I live here – unlike the busy tourists who have only a limited opportunity to ‘Go Find!’.

This was a completely chance find as I passed the Britannia Panopticon (the World’s oldest surviving music hall) in the Trongate one day, thinking (as usual) “I’ll have to visit this place and see inside one day”.

I grabbed a quick pic, just to make sure I didn’t forget where it was (more than likely with my memory).

Trongate New Wynd Spaceman Mural

Trongate New Wynd Spaceman Mural

The more I looked it, the more I became irritated by not being able to see it properly, restricted by the view down the narrow wynd or alley,

So, it was time for some stretchy squeezy image manipulating to come out of the box.

Given the restrictions and source material (the stuff far down the lane is not really in focus) I don’t think the final result is too bad.

I’m not sure if the scaling is close, but on the other hand, as I look at the distortion that a scene can suffer merely by using a different focal lens, it’s no longer something I lose sleep over.

New Wynd Stretch

New Wynd Stretch

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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