Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Don’t look at me if this sculpture goes missing

I haven’t been contradicted after suggesting Glasgow tended towards Art Nouveau and Paisley (which I haven’t really seen properly) towards Art Deco.

While I’m biased towards Glasgow, I’d probably have to admit to leaning towards Art Deco, purely on the basis of its more geometric and industrial basis.

I noted the presence of a Deco griffin in Glasgow.

While wandering around Paisley recently, I spotted a sculpture largely ignored (as far as I can see) in favour of the bronze statues decorating the 1924/5 Russell Institute.

Russell Institute Winged Sculpture

Russell Institute Winged Sculpture


27/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

So, THAT’s Coats Observatory (the outside, at least)

I don’t really know why (apart from the obvious distance), but I’ve seldom made the trip to Paisley, despite the presence of interesting places to see/visit there.

Decades ago I did end up there a few times, once to look for a camera shop (now gone of course), and a few more time to visit Dunn’s Models, also gone after making the move to Glasgow city centre.

I never got around to even finding, let alone visiting any of the features, such as Coats Observatory.

I’ve almost rectified that, having found the place recently, purely by chance, while visiting Paisley (to buy some computer goodies).

However, with my usual spectacular timing and the intervention of ‘Spooky Coincidence’, the place looked closed, abandoned, and almost derelict – not what I’d expected.

Seems my timing was such that I’d arrived at the wrong time…

Coats Observatory along with Paisley Museum and Paisley Central Library is currently closed to the public while the buildings undergo a 4 year long £42m transformation. During that period there will be no public tours or visits. We will re-open in late 2022 following the redevelopment.

So, I have to wait for a further three years before there’s any chance of looking inside or visiting.

Oh well, at least I know where to go now.

It’s easy to see how/why it became an attraction (as opposed to an observatory), given the proximity of houses with chimneys filling the surrounding air with smoke, and how the expanding town would have filled the sky with light.

It’s a while since anyone cleaned and polished the plaque, or even blew the cobwebs off.

Coats Observatory Plaque

Coats Observatory Plaque

These views show the problems the observatory came to suffer, despite being on a hilltop, with houses and chimneys around it.

Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory

The entrance is reasonably impressive, with an appropriately themed carving in the tympanum.

Coats Observatory Tympanum

Coats Observatory Tympanum

it got me thinking…

The telescope is obvious, as is the wise owl standing on books.

But a chicken?

A little research, and it seems I should be referring to the chicken as a cock (sorry, I was actually trying to avoid that).

And that, it seems, stands for ‘Courage and perseverance; hero; able in politics’

While Thomas Coats (1809–1883) was a Scottish thread manufacturer who, with his brother made the Ferguslie Thread Works substantial, I suspect that latter did not tarnish the family name 😉

So – now all I have to do is keep breathing until late 2022, as Coats Observatory becomes yet ANOTHER museum class venue that I’ve lost access to for around four years.

And I thought I was done with this waiting crap as I shuffled around waiting for the Burrell Collection to reopen its doors in 2020.

I don’t really want to sound morbid, but I’ve recently begun to wonder just how many people drop dead waiting to make that ‘One Last Visit’ during these extended closures?


Just a few days later, and various media sources carried news of the £42 million museum revamp underway in Paisley.

But no mention for the observatory, which is part of the plan, and as noted about, closed for related work at the moment.

First images of £42m Paisley Museum revamp revealed

22/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Turn in this Paisley coward if you can

One of the sad realities is that the sort of person who thinks it’s ‘clever’ to arrange things so that some unsuspecting victim will kill or injure an animal is unlikely to be found or punished.

While a few have been caught by CCTV, or shamed and traced via social media, many more will never be identified, let alone caught.

This tortie is far too much like the little lady I rescued and gave a home to for the last years of her life, which means I’d have little sympathy for whoever dumped her, hidden in a box left under a communal bin.

That person only had one intent, and had the cat not been found, it would have died as a direct result of their actions.

Via Cat found dumped in box under rubbish in communal bin

Dumped Tortie Via Scottish SPCA Pic

Dumped Tortie Via Scottish SPCA Pic

09/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Monte Carlo Historique Rally to start from Paisley Abbey on January 23, 2014

Monte Carlo 2014

The 17th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique will begin on Thursday, January 23, 2014 with administrative checks and scrutineering in the different cities of departure: Barcelona, Glasgow, Monte Carlo, Oslo, Stockholm and Reims.

Automobile Club de Monaco

Event preview: Monte Carlo Rally launch – The Scotsman

Departures from Glasgow will leave during the evening of the 23rd, from Paisley Abbey, commencing at 6 pm.

This ceremony had originally been scheduled for Riverside (Glasgow’s transport museum), but this idea was dropped given the limited access to the river side site, and the sheer volume of traffic in and around the city during the early evening.

Up to 100 classic cars dating back to the 1920s will complete a range of routes in Scotland and then travel as far as Dover, but only about a dozen will attempt the 1,670-mile adventure to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel and over the snow-covered French Alps.

Seems this is the 50th anniversary of the first Hillman Imp being produced at nearby Linwood, and also marks 50 years since the first Imp tool part in the rally.

Apparently the 2014 start from Paisley is a one-time arrangement, and may have arisen after some problems with finalising arrangements in Glasgow.

This one I won’t make it to, but here’s a pic from 2013, when the rally departed from in front of the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green:

Monte Carlo Porsche 911

Monte Carlo Porsche 911

20/01/2014 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment


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