Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Slug & Lettuce, not original after all

My almost daily bus trips take me past an interesting sign, one which I thought was maybe even a little clever and original – until I looked closer.

I’ve passed the ‘Slug & Lettuce’ signs many times without knowing what it really was (a guess was almost right), but it turned out to be nothing more than another non-retail ‘chain’, something I’m coming to hate with a passion.

While I’ve never had a problem with the business of large retail chains and similar, where size brings advantages, the idea of standardised and formulaic restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, and similar outlets, where their presence can wipe out smaller and more individual ventures just seems offensive.

So, when I happened to be passing on foot, I took a pic – and walked on.

They don’t seem to do terribly well in online reviews – but since I don’t trust or value those, and just look at them for the odd laugh, that probably doesn’t mean much. Some love it. Some hate it.

Unless you believe everything you read online.

Slug and Lettuce

Slug and Lettuce

17/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Pub-crawling cat emigrates from Campbeltown, and continues in Helelnsburgh

I wouldn’t normally mention anything from a source that aggressively ties to block me from viewing it because I’m using an adblocker (or tries to force me to disable or even uninstall it), so while I’ll return the favour by not identifying the source of the tale, I will tell about the cat (which I should point out only eat there, doesn’t drink).

The cat was being cared for by a lady in Campbeltown, who sadly died, so the cat lost its home.

A couple who had been friends with the lady tool the cat in, and brought it to their home in Helensburgh, thinking/hoping it would settle in with the incumbents.

However, the cat had been used to wandering around Campbeltown, and visiting the pubs.

It wasn’t long before it decided it wasn’t going to change its habits, and it left its new home.

However, far from being lost, it was spotted on a pub’s security camera, they opened the door, the cat came in – and made itself at home!

Long story short – a deal was done, and the move from the couple’s home to the pub became official.

Sorry for the generic tuxedo cat pic (obviously I can’t go with the original) – but Brook is tuxedo lady.

Tuxedo Cat

Tuxedo Cat

15/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Joanna Dee’s nightclub

Another one I’d class as forgotten and unnoticed over the years.

I woke up one day, and realised it was time to grab a pic of this place after passing it for years without realising it.

I think the reason I never got around to taking a pic was down to expecting it to disappear before I got back to it. I’m sure I saw the place open, as a pub, but I have no idea what it might have been called during that phase of its existence.

I probably didn’t even notice when it slipped into being an abandoned derelict, since I would pass in the day, and a nightclub opens at… night!

I just began to notice it was decaying one day, and a number of scummy businesses were using as a placeholder for their scabby adverts.

Maybe it’s not abandoned and derelict – I wouldn’t know!

I dug around and discovered it was variously named ‘The Jigging’ (or Jiggin’), and The Netherfield Bar (Nerry or Nelly in various forum discussions).

In discussion, it seems to have been described as one step up from ‘scary‘, which would appear to be ‘mental‘.

Seems it was the scene of murder, and accidents, as noted here…

The Jiggin. (Netherfield), 1071 Duke Street, Glasgow. G31.

I know why old pubs used to manage to survive, standing isolated on their ground while tenements and shops around them were razed, but this, one of the few relics I would describe as a genuine eyesore with nothing to redeem it, one’s survival is a mystery, especially given the reported failure of pubs these days, as many choose to drink at home, rather than socially. It’s hardly sitting in the middle of a thriving community, and the proximity of a college (Glasgow Kelvin College) is unlikely to see it reopen soon.

I’ve got my pic, they can take it away now.

Maybe I’ll get a pic of the cleared site one day, or, being Glasgow, the burnt out shell. I’m surprised the latter has not appeared sooner.

Joanna Dee's Nightclub

Joanna Dee’s Nightclub

02/07/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Bob Ross’s ‘Happy Little Accidents’ happen in photos too

I won’t spoil the fun, but let you go look up Bob Ross and Happy Little Accidents yourself, if you’re not familiar with them.

I’m trying to get over my insistence on not having people in my pics, or even taking them deliberately, as in street photography or candid work. To this end I’ve been looking over some existing material I’ve caught, and reviewed it with respect to ‘people content’, and it’s interesting. In some cases, there are pics I’d like to have taken, but probably wouldn’t, had I spotted the people in them.

It’s strange, and silly in most cases, but catching eye contact in the viewfinder suddenly make you feel as if you are staring someone in the eye, while in reality you are probably so far away (20 to 30 metres or more) they’d really only see someone with a camera, if they even noticed that.

This one was a bit closer than that, just across the road, and I only found it when I checked the pic later, to see if it could benefit from processing the night shot.

I hadn’t even seen the folk at the bus stop, being too busy trying to frame the pub and centre the sign – but when I looked closer… I think they both noticed me!

Happy Parkhead Accident

Happy Parkhead Accident

The faces are great – and I wonder if the man was gesturing towards me?

This is all I saw, and was trying to frame neatly.

Parkhead Prince Charlie Pub

Parkhead Prince Charlie Pub

There’s a lot more detail in this than there appears, for example a tiled roof along the top.

But I’m trying to achieve more realistic night views than some people like to present.

Ever see pics like this with bright or dark gradients around contrasting areas? That happens when you start to pull out shadow detail or suppress highlight by applying the editing tools more than necessary. I didn’t notice this so much before, but having become aware of it, I tend to avoid if I see it start to appear. While it’s nice to be ‘clever’ and extract lost detail, it’s not always necessary or desirable. In this case, I got a better view by ensuring the dark areas were actually dark, and not artificially brightened.

01/02/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

(Probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub no longer at risk of demolition

There was a bit of panic raised back in February when plans for the development of new student accommodation on High Street looked likely to lead the loss of (probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub.

I only say (probably) to avoid arguments with those who may believe otherwise, not because I have a problem with the claim.

It’s always difficult to make a non-emotional decision about such things, since I know from past experience it’s easy to complain about such losses based on feelings from the heart, rather than the head. While it can be easy to call foul on such things, this can ignore the age and state of an old building, especially if can’t justify the spend of ridiculous amounts of money to save it.

One need look no further than the unfortunate event of the fire at the Glasgow School of Art a few years back – I doubt many will be considering not restoring the losses purely on consideration of cost.

That said, an old, unlisted building like a pub could be in trouble – IF it wasn’t popular.

However, it seems that it will have to be largely replace in order to survive:

“However we will take the interior out carefully and create a snug which will give the locals a perfect replica of the bar as a refreshed version that will allow it to continue with its long running license.

Our amended plans aim to retain as much of the character and charm of the existing pub but to put it on a footing that’s appropriate for today to safeguard its future, hopefully for the next century.”

One of Scotland’s oldest pubs saved from demolition

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

13/09/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Baillieston closing for business?

Unless there’s something unusual or interesting I don’t usually bother about the steady coming and going of business or shops on the ‘Main Street’.

These tend to balance out, with a few empty shops, the occasional new arrival, and the occasional closure maintaining a steady balance.

But last night was a bit different as I took my regular wander through Baillieston, with two obvious losses (three now that I think of it), and the realisation that there may be a fourth I had not noticed.

The first obvious one was the bookies, really, a betting shop closing?

I’m more used to being surprised at seeing them being granted permission to open in Shettleston in recent times, there are so many, and within sight of one another too.

That makes this closure in Baillieston all the more of a surprise, unless they’re moving or refurbing. But that seem unlikely as I recall the place being gutted and upgraded not so long ago, when all the old computer gear was dumped in the road. And it didn’t even seem to close for that. There’s a note stuck to the window near the door, but it’s just security details.

Betting Shop Closed

Betting Shop Closed

Next one I came across was this former ladies clothes shop.

Oddly enough, as I’ve been passing this in recent weeks I’ve actually been thinking how remarkable it was that it was still there after so many years, and how the window displays were always fresh and clean. Many long-established little shops let their window displays slip, get untidy, out-of-date, and even dusty, dirty, and faded as they are neglected, but not this one.

Looks like my thoughts were similar to Murray Walker’s ‘Kiss of Death’ or “Commentator’s Curse” which often applied when he suggested someone was about to win an F1 race – which would almost immediately cause their car to fail in some dramatic way.

Terrible lighting and compact camera made for a terrible pic – the sign is still there, above the door, but the colour combination just comes out as a smear with its little sensor. I also thought there was a hole in the roof before I tweaked the image, but I believe is/was actually a chimney, centre front.

Chambers Fashions Closed

Chambers Fashions Closed

The other two that came mind were the pub at the bus stop. The Circle Bar if I recall correctly, appeared to close then was open on odd days, then closed completely and became a shop.

Caught in this Google view from 2016 being converted into a shop full of bongs:

Pub to Shop

Pub to Shop

The other one is, or was, the  grossly over-priced designer brand label ice-cream shop. (Sorry, nothing against the shop, just the concept of a brand names and labels that have silly money premium prices attached.)

This moved from a smaller shop in the busier middle of the Main Street to this once derelict former TV shop a while ago.

The place has been closed for a while now, and the shutters are up. I had wondered if they were maybe just on holiday, but there’s no sign or note obvious.

A pity, as it always seemed to have a steady stream of customers, I thought it was ‘safe’ – perhaps not sustainable. Despite the name, it is a Scottish brand, based not that far away, and while I see they offer help to start a business, I don’t see any mention of the ‘F’ word (franchise – can be expensive).

Maybe business is really good, and they’re having a looooooooooooooong holiday.

Again, Google has to rescue me as I’ve never pointed a camera this way:

Ice Cream Parlour

Ice Cream Parlour

I’m there all the time, so any changes or updates will be added below.


As par a later post, the Ice Cream Parlour has moved back into the busy body of the main street, away from this quieter spot, and is installed in a shop that sells trendy stuff.

The betting shop is indeed gone, as estate agent’s signs were bolted on to the front a few days later. No real surprise, more that it lasted so long, as two others sit beside one another in the busier part of the main street, and are next to a pub.

Thinking back (I’m not a betting shop person) I have memories of a fourth one that opened across the road from those two, but was hardly there long enough for me to remember it quickly.

24/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Inn Between – it’s on Westburn Road

With anonymous franchise clones and trendy ‘kewl’ names being the order of the day, it’s nice to come across a more traditional or conventional pub name.

While ‘The Westburn’ (yes, there really is one, or more) might not rate a second glance, ‘The Inn Between’ at the east end of Westburn Road is just a little bit more imaginative, and rates a second glance.

The Inn Between

The Inn Between

05/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

(Probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub at risk of demolition

I’m always a little wary of making definitive statements, so only say that what is probably Glasgow’s oldest pub may be at risk of demolition, to make way for a new development of students flats after an application was made for a 12-storey block to be erected at the junction of High Street, Duke Street, and George Street, containing 326 cluster flats and 100 self‐contained studio flats.

Sloans and The Scotia Bar also claim to be Glasgow’s oldest pub, but it is thought the Old College Bar has traded under the same name since its licence was granted in 1812 – the longest of the three venues. The pub’s name refers to the University of Glasgow, which was based around the High Street from its foundation in 1451 until it moved to its current site at Gilmorehill in 1870.

See the sign above the door:

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

Of the others:

I’ve read Glasgow Tourist Board opts for the Scotia Bar in Stockwell Street, built in 1792, but no note of how long it has traded under, and I’ve read Sloans claim that it was established in 1797, beginning as a coffee house in Morrisons Court named after Glasgow Baillie John Morrison.

The building has no protection through listing, and it seems the various developers could be said to be engaging in ‘dirty tricks’ in order to clear the site for their proposals:

In 2013, plans were revealed by owner Colin Beattie to tear down the public house as part of redevelopment plans.

Later that year, the bar was forced to close for six months over mounting energy bills but it reopened in 2014.

More proposals to replace the pub surfaced in 2015 after the buildings were labelled “dangerous”, which contradicted claims from two years earlier.

Glasgow’s oldest pub could be demolished for student flats

And, I saw in the Evening Times:

Last year, adjoining buildings in George Street were deemed to be in a dangerous condition and were demolished.

However, Glasgow City Council refuted any suggestion the building housing the bar and its immediate neighbours was in any way dangerous.

A council spokesman said: “The Old College Bar building is structurally sound, it’s not a dangerous building.

“The building that was demolished adjacent to this site was a former tenement.

“It was demolished as a dangerous building.”

The application will be considered at a future meeting of the Planning Committee.

The building to the left is listed, being a former bank c.1895, then a shop or similar, and now appears to be small exhibition venue, according to sign in the doorway. Above, flats/accommodation.

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

This badly rendered graphic (credited to ADF Architect by STV News) gives an indication of the proposed new building on the site.

Somebody should tell them that verticals CONVERGE as a building rises towards the sky, theirs appear to DIVERGE!

New proposals: View from Duke Street. ADF Architects

New proposals: View from Duke Street. ADF Architects via STV News

On a more serious note, it may be worth considering yet another article which appeared recently, and questioned the growing number of student flats in the city:

Growing number of student flats raises eyebrows in Glasgow

Notably, the article raises the same point about Edinburgh as well, and seems more like an irrational rant against new builds rather than a reasoned consideration of the subject.

It would have been of some value had it raised issues regarding clearances and locations for these flats, which are needed in some form unless students are to sleep on the streets if education centres are expanding.

For example, while the High Street proposal seeks demolition of possibly historic buildings to make way for the development of student flats, there are empty gap sites lying unused only a few metres away.

05/02/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment


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