Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Parkhead Cross commemorative stone – where it’s hidden

I mentioned a commemorative stone I tripped over at Parkhead Cross not so long ago.

It was quite busy at the time, and there were too many bodies staggering around to get a clear pic, so I couldn’t show the location, or maybe even prove it really is there.

Better luck recently, as the place was just about deserted the last time I wandered through.

It’s right on the cross, but you’d hardly know if you didn’t know it was there if you didn’t… know it was there.

Parkhead Cross commemorative stone

Parkhead Cross commemorative stone


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

The almost invisible commemorative stone on Parkhead Cross

I’ve come to be a bit of a parrot when it comes to getting folk to waken up and spot the sights of Glasgow which surround them.

Most often than not, I’ll be suggesting they “Look Up!”, since many features are to found decorating the upper parts of many buildings, but in this case I found the ‘Look Down’ can pay dividends too.

I don’t know how many times I have passed this stone and not seen it – it’s far from obvious.

It’s also easy to miss, since most folk will be concentrating on the traffic as they make their way across the four roads that meet on the fairly busy Parkhead Cross junction, which has a fifth road feeding in only a few metres away, and can bring an unexpected rush of traffic to bear down on the unwary.

Find this stone almost at the tip of the gusset formed by the junction of Tollcross Road and Westmuir Street on the cross.

Parkhead Cross Commemorative Stone

Parkhead Cross Commemorative Stone

The text is hard to read thanks to the grain of the granite, and can only be read clearly if close to the carving.

I tried to enhance the pic by altering the contrast etc, but nothing made much difference.

For reference, the wording is given below.

“There, ‘midst
the rattle, roar, an’ din
O’ countless hammers rivettin’,
Ye aiblins micht some knowledge fin’
Worth while to store,
An’ learn hoo such fame they win
The warld o’er.”

Bailie David Willox (1845-1927)

This stone was laid in 2016 to mark public realm improvements commissioned as part of the Parkhead Cross Townhead Heritage Initiative
Funded by Glasgow City Council Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | 1 Comment

Irony at the antique shop window

(Full disclosure: Sad to say, this is actually an old post that got lost in ‘Drafts’ years ago, but since I found it and it was almost complete, I’ve finished it since the content remains interesting. However, the shop mentioned is long gone these days, and has been upgraded and opened as something else.)

Irony: There are plenty of clever definitions of various flavours of irony to be found in dictionaries, so I’ll go with a plain language version that didn’t come from such a source, A simple way of putting it is that irony usually signals a difference between the appearance of things and reality.

It’s been some weeks since I visited Parkhead Cross, and even more since I walked along Westmuir Street to get there. Other needs generally see me going along Shettleston Road, or Tollcross Road, and missing this one. It’s kind of depressing, as quite a few of the shops have thrown up the shutters in recent times.

However, new ones do appear, and when I did get near the cross itself I noticed what appeared to be a ‘new’ antique shop. Some would just call it a junk, or second-hand, shop, but it doesn’t really fall into either of those categories either. The reason I say that is down to the eclectic selection of items that (visually at least) are genuine antiques and could be valuable to the right collector, and I could also see some items which would be classed as architectural salvage, and command a fairly hefty price tag.

Parkhead Shop

Parkhead Shop

(I’ve since been past again, but did not have time to stop and look closely, but spotted a pile of original B&W prints in card frames, which appeared to be 1950’s survey pics taken over Glasgow. By the time I get back there though, I expect they will be gone.)

One thing caught my eye, almost hidden in a wooden cabinet with glass doors – a ceramic Smudge.

Smudge, for non-Glaswegians, was the famous Glasgow cat that resided in the People’s Palace, and was immortalised by a short run of ceramic copies of her likeness, and once sold in the museum’s shop, later came to be known as ‘replicats’ by some. Sadly, I have no idea what they cost, which varied as they were produced in different sizes. I believe 50 were planned originally, but the number was increased to 500 due to their popularity.

Smudge Ceramic

Smudge Ceramic

(This image actually came from Pinterest, which I have no idea how to work. I don’t have details of the source, and Pinterest blocks access if you click on an image, unless you respond to their blackmail and register an account to gain further access – and I will NEVER register with such a site.)

All the Smudges were hand-finished, and I think the one I have looks better than the one above.


Where did the irony come from?

While I was standing at the window of this shop, trying to spy enough detail to work out if I was looking at collectibles or modern copies (not worth anything), I was repeatedly approached by a local elderly ‘character’, trying to ‘tap’ me for 2 p. While this made a nice change from the usual kids or neds that generally accost me here, and want me to go into the shop and buy alcohol or cigarettes for them, I still wasn’t contributing.

If I need 2 p, I can generally find such a coin in the street, and almost suggested he try the same – and that’s where the irony came in.

When I turned around from the window and walked away… the first thing I saw lying on the pavement was a tiny 5 p coin, just waiting to be rescued. So, if he’d taken my advice (which I’m sure he wouldn’t), he’d have been 3 p up on the deal he wanted. As it was, I got the whole 5 p!

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Parkhead’s Christmassy air sampler

These lights have been strung across Burgher Street at Parkhead Cross for years.

I’m sure they were trashed (forget why) a few years ago, were cleared away, then reappeared a while ago.

The thing standing in the middle of the (closed) street below these lights is a remote air sampling device, connected into a nationwide network of similar devices sampling air and measuring its quality are numerous key locations around the country, and used to carry out ongoing monitoring of pollution levels.

Seeing it under these lights always makes me smile when I pass.

There are some sets of proper Christmas lights a few metres away, strung across the main roads leading to the cross, but there seems to be something wrong with them, as they’ve not been on when I’ve been there recently, so no chance of grabbing a pic.

Christmas Air Sampler

January 4, 2014 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Parkhead Cross wins £1 million grant for historic improvement

Parkhead Cross has been granted funding of £1 million through Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, which has just awarded more than £10 million to 12 historic towns and areas throughout Scotland, towards the cost of improvements:

  • £1.6m Falkirk
  • £1.2m Kirkwall
  • £1m Cupar
  • £1m Parkhead Cross
  • £970,000 Inveraray
  • £750,000 Elgin
  • £750,000 Galston
  • £750,000 Selkirk
  • £645,000 Kirriemuir
  • £548,500 Gorebridge
  • £500,000 Banff
  • £500,000 Kilbirnie

The funds are designed to encourage local authorities to “invest in their historic environment, whilst helping to stimulate economic regeneration”. Allocated to local authorities by Historic Scotland, the grants are made available to provide financial assistance for regeneration and conservation initiatives.

There’s already been work carried out on some of the buildings which oversee the cross, and many of the tenement building are of a fine red sandstone with original detail in the carving, unlike the plain stone of building further away from the cross itself. It’s not so long which scaffolding that seemed to have become a permanent feature on Westmuir Street and Tollcross Road eventually disappeared, and we could see the building behind it once more.

Just across the road, another tenement with a fine feature topping the corner which overlooked the cross developed some sort of potentially hazardous defect, and a band of scaffolding was added around its perimeter, presumably to avoid it falling apart and dumping lumps of sandstone onto unwitting pedestrians passing below, which would probably not have been popular.

Hopefully, this addition – shown below – will be something that the grant will help to make disappear:

Parkhead scaffold

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish towns – and Parkhead Cross – secure significant restoration grants

I know I don’t claim to have the sharpest memory around, but I thought it had taken a turn for the worse after I had read about some grants awarded during the past week, as the story seemed to be changing as I read more about it from various different sources.

Fortunately, when I finally decided to sit down and make some notes, I found that more than one award had actually been reported, and some of the lucky towns concerned were due to benefit from more than one successful application, which is quite an achievement these days, largely thanks to their original applications having been made years ago.

It clearly pays to plan ahead.

Historic Scotland – Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme

First noted was a series of grants awarded under the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme run by Historic Scotland.

This will see six Scottish towns receive a share of some £3 million in funding to be used for building preservation, shop front repairs, and the maintenance of town centre landmarks:

Anstruther, Fife: £500,000
Ayr, South Ayrshire: £498,244
Dingwall, Highlands: £420,000
Irvine, North Ayrshire: £500,000
Portsoy, Aberdeenshire: £500,000
Rothesay, Argyll and Bute: £499,933

(Apart from Dingwall, I know them all – unfortunately, Dingwall gets bypassed as it’s just off the road to Ullapool.)

Since 2005, this scheme is reported to have benefited conservation areas with some £16 million, and the grants come with back-up and advice from Historic Scotland for the local authorities and building owners involved.

BBC News – Scottish towns awarded £3m for revamp work

Heritage Lottery Fund

The second is even larger (per project), and comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and amounts to £1.5 million for Rothesay, and £1.76 million of Parkhead Cross in the east end of Glasgow.

The award for Rothesay is easy to understand, as the town’s fans have watched it decay ever since the arrival of the package holiday during the 1970s, which sucked all the patrons away from the town (and all the Clyde resorts of course) and off to the guaranteed sun of places such as Spain, leaving the former bustling local resorts deserted, and starved of income.

Although there have been efforts to regenerate Rothesay, and there is no criticism of the owners of many buildings which are now decaying along the front, the cost of merely keeping aged buildings weathertight can be crippling, especially if they no longer generated income. They can swallow cash just to keep them safe. leaving none for development or restoration to make them more attractive. In recent years, the most decayed examples have had to be demolished and removed.

This dereliction and demolition has taken place in some prominent areas, leaving obvious and unattractive gap sites, raw gable ends and frontages in poor repair. The money will be used to restore the heart of the town – Guildford Square – which lies beside Rothesay’s medieval royal castle, and is one of the first features seen by visitors arriving on the ferry. Project will include the refurbishment of Duncan’s Hall on East Princes Street, buildings in Montague Street, and the former Guildford Court Hotel in Guildford Square itself.

In comparison with Rothesay, the award of £1.76 million to Parkhead Cross is something of a surprise. Often rolled in with adjacent areas such as Shettleston and Tollcross when the media wants to make references to “the most deprived areas of Scotland”, and show images of vandalism, decay, and bad behaviour, the area does not immediately jump to into one’s mind when grants from sources such as the Lottery Heritage Fund are mentioned – and I live in the same area!

However, I am also aware of the wonderful Edwardian building in the area, often neglected, and in recent years, beginning to sprout odd sculptures created in scaffolding, added in order to hold them together for a few more years.

The award will be used to fund the restoration of 20 shop fronts to improve the appearance of the area, and provide a series short-term lets for artists, traditional crafts people, and start-up businesses. This is an interesting development. Many years ago I was slightly involved in further education in the area, and even then people such as writer Liz Lochhead | (now the second Scots makar) were involved with evening classes being held in local schools.

While the ferry trip might preclude me keeping too close on eye on developments in Rothesay – but I think I will be able to follow them in the ‘Daily Pics’ here: Zak’s Photo Galleries of Bute – I will be able to take the odd walk down to Parkhead Cross, and see what is happening there every now and then, but the cross is just a bit too far away to do this on a daily basis.

BBC News – Rothesay in line for £1.5m revamp to boost tourism

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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