Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

New Tollcross Road flats

I’ve been waiting for this new build to get to the stage where it becomes recognisable and worth a pic.

The site originally had what I refer to as ‘grey’ tenements running from Tollcross Road into Dunira Street, as opposed to Glasgow’s original style of sandstone tenement.

While the earlier sandstone tenements (c. 1900) were not without their build quality problems (apparently a number were built of ‘toffee’ once some builders of the day decided to cash in the boom – but you can’t tell which from outside thanks the sandstone cladding), those I refer to as ‘grey’ (simply because they are that colour, and I haven’t come across a generic name type for them) seem to suffer many problems, and date from the 1930s, when many were built, even forming entire housing schemes in some places.

Many of those estates, and those ‘grey’ tenements, seem to have lasted for only a few decades, before vanishing completely, and you have to look at old maps to find them. I’ve seen description of these homes from some residents, who claim they were simply never even wind, let alone water, tight from the day they were built.

This was Dunira Street back in 2014 while being demolished – I’m guessing the outer wall is built of concrete blocks, with some textured to look like stone.

Dunira Street Demolition

Dunira Street Demolition

In 2015 it looked like this.

Dunira Street Cleared

Dunira Street Cleared

And by 2018 the replacement finally took shape and became recognisable.

Tollcross Road New Build Flats With Balcony

Tollcross Road New Build Flats With Balcony

No, that’s not a new Lidl (it’s still just off the right).

I love the way the developer has stuck with t he tradition of making the top floor a more ‘exclusive’ penthouse type (so it costs more), but have to wonder about the view from the generously sized balcony/balcony area, and how nice it will be up there, as Glasgow’s diesel double (and single)-decker chug past.

Be nicer when the hybrid and electric buses arrive. Then they’ll only have to worry about the artics swarming to and from McVitie’s biscuit factory just along the road. Actually, being serious for a moment, the latest lorries in this class are stunningly quiet, even under load, and unlike diesel cars, I haven’t seen a cloud of black smoke pouring out of (a new one) one for years.

But I can remember trying to get to sleep in my grandparents tenement flat in London Road, and can STILL hear the sound of the traffic to this day.












May 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Still busy in Baillieston

There only a few day left before Lidl comes back to Baillieston – while this shop isn’t essential (for me) I’m surprised at how handy it was even though I have three others to choose from. It will be handy to have back.

With 6 days to go there’s little to see, although all the external signs of work have gone, the fencing, plant and machinery, scaffolding, material etc, and the shop is almost ready, if apparently empty.

Along the road, Baillieston Credit Union’s new home in the old Chamber’s clothes shop is nearing completion, and has ‘revealed’ itself.

Almost hidden behind the building is more work, as the former garden/yard is converted into access, with the now obligatory disabled access provisions being finalised.

I had to move from the usual spot to take the pic, and make sure the lamppost didn’t spoil the nice new sign.

BCU Progress

BCU Progress

Just for fun, I thought I’d play with the perspective of this shot, to pretend it was taken from in front…



It doesn’t look as weird as I thought it would.

A little further along, the nice weather brought out the outdoor seating promised at… whatever this place is.

This reminds me of cartoons that used to appear in motoring magazines, poking fun at the British tourist.

The view would be of a family apparently enjoying a nice cup of tea (from vacuum flasks) or a family picnic spread out on the grass, with a caption along the lines of “Lovely place for a picnic”…

But the wider view would show them in a lay-by or grassy verge at the side of the M1 🙂

This looks like a similarly romantic spot (the patch of greenery looks good, but is actually weeds taking over a patch of earth that used to have shrubbery, and small bushes, until it was all cut down) just along from a set of traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing on Baillieston Road, heading to/from the M8 and M73/74 junctions, on a bus route too.

Baillieston Road Tables And Chairs Seating Area 1

Baillieston Road Tables And Chairs Seating Area 1

The plans showed a second seating area in the space to the side street on the right.

Still yo come? We’ll see.


May 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Busy Baillieston

Thanks to the less than spring-like wintry weather of recent weeks, and some other problems, Baillieston has been out-of-bounds recently, so I’ve not been able to watch the changes there in detail.

But they’ve been going on, even without me watching.

The old Airdrie Savings Bank building on the main road polished up quite well, and the overflowing coffers filled from the sale of overpriced coffee in paper cups, it seems to have been the first past the finishing line.

I wonder what the small shops think of this ‘chain shop’ being parachuted in think?

I’m still needing to be convinced that (what I think are) the economics of this operation can be viable in this location. Soaves had to give up the bigger shop it took just across the road (I see that now has a sign showing it has been taken by someone, so we’ll have to see what appears there) and move back to sharing space in a smaller shop along the road – one which this place could maybe kill.

Airdrie Savings Bank Building Redevelopment

Airdrie Savings Bank Building Redevelopment

I’ll never be inside (this incarnation at least) so here’s the “Nose pressed against the glass” view of the interior.



Along the road, the Baillieston Credit Unit takeover of the old Chamber’s shop is still ambling along.

The scaffolding is gone, the former little barber’s shop has been reconstructed, and the ground behind is now being worked on.

Chambers Redevelopment

Chambers Redevelopment

Still further along the road, and with just under a month to go, Lidl’s refurbishment is presumably all going according to plan, and it will reopen on the 17 May.

It will be interesting to see what takes so long to change inside what is effectively a big shed with open floor space for self-service shelves and rack for the customers, and a few checkouts, plus stores area out of sight.

It doesn’t (or should I say didn’t) really look all the different from the most recent stores built nearby – or, frankly, from Aldi, which also brought a new store in, nearby-ish.

Maybe the real change lies under the skin, and the redevelopment is more to do with the fabric of the building, and the equipment etc instilled, replacing old, tired equipment with more efficient and newer hardware.

Lidl Refurbishment

Lidl Refurbishment

April 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Surprises never end – as Ye Olde Telephone Exchange proves

Perhaps not ‘long abandoned’, but definitely abandoned, the old telephone exchange building (latterly used by Royal Mail) in Cubie Street, was a nice building to look at if passing.

But it’s a bit in the back streets of Calton, so you really have to go for a deliberate look, and aren’t likely to pass it by chance – and the street it’s in is now a dead-end.

I went for a pic some time ago, but at the time found it was just too wide to catch all at once, so I never got around to using the pics.

But, I did take enough to be able to (later) stitch them together as a radial image (that I can do for free – linear stitching costs, so is out for me). That said, I hadn’t worked out how to straighten the image reasonably… so more delay.

I’ve now delayed so long…

That a chance find while browsing revealed that the building has been saved from potential loss as it is now the office of a firm of architects.


My pic from when the building was sealed.

It doesn’t look much different today, apart from a new glass door and door entry system.

Rightly described as a ‘striking’ red and white building, it is C listed, and now has a few more years of life to come.

1910 Telephone Exchange Cubie Street

1910 Telephone Exchange Cubie Street

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Intriguing regeneration proposal for Glasgow city centre east

After this morning’s post about a little known peace mosaic I happened to come across in Cathedral Square, I spotted a news article which announced a public consultation regarding the same area – it actually covers the area from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis, then down the High Street towards Saltmarket, Glasgow Green, and the People’s Palace.

That area is relatively quiet and undeveloped, and a walk anywhere through the area described is actually quite nice and peaceful.

The route along the High Street from the Infirmary down to the Green has become particularly quiet as all the large shops have closed over the years, and most of the small shops joined them not long after. It is the edge of the city centre, and convenience stores probably fill most of the occupied shops, with a number of more specialist types occupying a few more, but quite a few remain empty.

This initiative may have been triggered by the fact that I’ve observed more have closed and not been taken over by others in recent years and months.

I have a recollection that Saltmarket was ‘modernised’ some years ago, when all the traditional shops were closed (many were empty as old businesses had shut) and brought up to date. But I also recall this didn’t bring any new occupants. Even a baker’s shop (and surely a baker should be able to survive) I used to visit regularly didn’t return – surely not a good sign.

I hope this can be achieved, with the right mix.

The area is becoming atrophied, and while it has gained residential improvement, and been tidied to appear more presentable, it lacks any reasons for most people to venture there, hence the slow death of businesses and shops.

It would be nice to see more sustained activity there, as it can feel very lonely and isolated just walking the streets in that area once darkness falls.

I kid you not, once darkness falls, even just in the evening, it’s possible to walk from Glasgow Cross to Parkhead Cross and sometimes not see another soul.

Five year plan

Glasgow City Council confirmed a working group had been set up to develop a five-year action plan, with the aims of supporting the heritage strategy for the area and promoting it as a visitor destination.

Angus Millar, depute city convener for inclusive economic growth, said: “The High Street and Saltmarket area is one with a rich heritage and enormous potential, but there is a widespread feeling that the area has not been given the attention or recognition it deserves as the historic heart of Glasgow.

“With the right investment and approach, it can be restored to its traditional role as an important centre for Glasgow and the High Street action plan identifies a range of key priorities and opportunities to revitalise and champion the area.”

Other aspirations include calls for more bespoke businesses and unique traders as well as increasing footfall in the area.

The consultation begins on 26 March and will conclude on 6 May.

Mr Millar added: “We would like everyone with a stake or interest in the High Street and Saltmarket’s future to take part in this consultation, put forward their thoughts and ideas, and help us deliver a future worthy of its history.”

Via New campaign to regenerate Glasgow’s ‘historic heart’

Public consultation announcement



Key aims of the Action Plan – which has been informed by previous engagements with people and organisations with a stake in High Street and Saltmarket in the recent past – include:

  • Supporting the heritage strategy for the area, promoting the local built environment as a visitor destination and building on the area’s medieval history and range of internationally recognised historical assets
  • Celebrating and promoting the unique local offer
  • Enhancing the look and feel of the area
  • Improving physical connections to and throughout the area
  • Maximising growth opportunities for local and emerging SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises)
  • Increasing footfall to the area

Other aspirations from previous public engagement included calls for more bespoke businesses and unique traders; increasing footfall along the length of the High Street / Saltmarket corridor by creating circulation between Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Green; and investment in public realm and traffic issues.

For the full announcement see:

Council to open public consultation on the future of High Street

For the actual consultation, use the council’s Consultation Hub:

Consultation Hub

March 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

The window destroyed by the Costa vandals

Sad to say, but I’ve come to understand the sentiments expressed by some who consider some building may be better preserved when left derelict, than they may be if taken over without the protection of listing, and enjoy the attentions of heartless architectural morons, such as Costa franchises.

While I don’t have any issues with the repurposing of a building, which means it may be stripped of most, or all, of the fixtures and fitting needed for its original business, I can’t extend the same understanding to the destruction of original features.

While it may have taken a moment’s thought and a little care to retain the original period window fitted to Baillieston’s Airdrie Savings Banks during its refit as one of those franchised vendors of grossly overpriced hot water knocked stupid and sold in paper cup, they simply trashed the lot, and replaced it with something – ‘better’.

The much ‘branded’ smaller ice-cream parlour that tried moving into larger premises directly across from this venture didn’t last long, presumably driven back into the better placed shop it shares in the heart of the main street, I’m guessing by lack of passing trade.

This place is huge, and has to fund not only its own operating costs but those of the franchisor.

I can see those numbers being made in their more usual city centre venues, where plenty of office staff are too busy to work out the shocking cost of a daily paper cup of coffee over a year, but I wonder where they think the numbers are going to come from to do the same in Baillieston?

Airdrie Savings Bank Original Feature Window

Airdrie Savings Bank Original Feature Window

That window was tough to photograph while preserving the unique zig-zag styling.

Good job I took the time to stop and grab a set of pics when the place was first put up for offer.

March 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Work on Jim Clark Museum set to start in summer

It’s nice to see a project gently amble from stage to stage towards completion. Or may take years/decades, but slowly accumulate the funds they need as and when they can, and make best use of them to move towards the final goal

I’m not going to name anything specific (the stories are online, and quite recent), but it’s much nicer than some I follow, which have either taken years to get anywhere, despite consuming millions in grants and awards over that time, or whine loudly in public if they are not awarded the grants and funding they believe they should have received, but didn’t.

While there always was a small collection marking the career of racing driver Jim Clark, it was nice to see news of its expansion a few years ago.

Since then, things have moved on, and the project, which I’d class as neither too big nor too small, is set to become reality this summer.

Work on a new ÂŁ1.6m museum in the Scottish Borders to celebrate the life of double Formula One world champion Jim Clark will start in the summer.

It will follow events to mark the 50th anniversary of his death to be held in April this year.

The new museum will provide expanded exhibition space showcasing memorabilia, trophies and cars.

The current facility will shut on 31 May with the new one expected to open in late spring next year.

Via Jim Clark museum work to start in summer

Jim Clark Museum

Jim Clark Museum

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Where did Tyre City come from?

Yet another surprise, as I made one of my random route changes.

This used to be Kwik-Fit. It’s been Kwik-Fit for years. It’s been a regular waypoint on my wanderings.

It used to look like this.




It looks like this.

TyreCity Surprise

Tyre City Surprise

Well – THAT was a surprise.

I haven’t been here for a while, so I’m not sure when this happened, but a look online appears to put their first message around 02 February 2018, which would be about right, as I decided it was getting too nippy to play at walking for walking’s sake (thanks to the Beast from the East).

I tried their tyre finder, but after identifying the tyre, it didn’t give prices, just their phone number – oh well.

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

Busy Baillieston

I hadn’t planned on taking a look at Baillieston last night, but when the weather held up I decided that I needed the walk.

They’ve been busy with the work on the old Airdrie Saving Bank, and have sadly scrapped the novel original front window with its featured zig-zag glazing, now replaced with conventional flat glazed plain windows. Well, I think those originals were only single glazed – dating from the days when heating costs were trivial.

Airdrie Saving Bank Front

Airdrie Saving Bank Front

The side has changed as well, with the hole left behind when the cash dispenser was pulled being extended and now also appearing to be an ordinary flat glazed window. This will provide a view onto the outdoor seating area shown on the plans.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but the pic seem to show one of the (granite?) cladding panels to the right of the door has been lost, or removed.

Airdrie Saving Bank Side

Airdrie Saving Bank Side

Meanwhile at Chamber’s

The new Baillieston Credit Union (BCU) building works moved on significantly, with the former little barber’s shop which I noted had received a concrete base (on the area cleared when it was razed) now having walls and a roof added.

Chambers Barber Rebuild

Chambers Barber Rebuild

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Baillieston’s old Airdrie Savings Bank conversion underway

An unplanned jaunt through Baillieston provided a number of updates.

Biggest surprise was a big banner on its Lidl, warning everyone it closes in a few days, for a MONTH! Apparently it’s getting a major makeover to make, yes, you guessed it… BETTER!

Next was Chamber’s old shop, where I last noted the demise of the little side building that used to be home to a little barber’s shop. A concrete base has been laid on, so they’re going to be using the space released by this little bit of demolition,

But the most interesting development was at the old Airdrie Savings Bank building, where work was underway even though it was well past normal stopping time (I hope UNITE or the RMT is not involved, or the nation could be on strike soon).

Although the windows are still too high to see in over, you can see in past the edges of some very badly fitting plywood panels jammed in place of the original opaque glazing at the bottom of the main window, but there’s nothing to see.

I did notice the hole where the cash machine once lived had been worked on, but there was just some wooden shuttering over it, to close the hole.

I’ll look again next time I pass.

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

Airdrie Savings Bank Works

March 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Old Airdrie Savings Bank redevelopment sneaks into Baillieston

While I’ve been busy looking at things like the redevelopment of the old Chamber’s clothes shop, it looks as if someone has taken advantage of my attention being diverted to start work on the old Airdrie Savings Bank (ASB) building, which was put up for offer a few years back, after the bank closed.

I was always amused by this one, as I knew the manager of another ASB in a nearby town, and he lived in one of the streets behind this one.

I never asked (no, I don’t know why, I just never got around to it) why he lived a few yards from a branch of the ASB, which he could have fallen out of bed and into his work in a few minutes, yet had to travel miles daily, to the branch he managed.

I don’t know if it was a choice, or if there might have been a security issue, and it was bank policy for the manager to reside some distance from the branch he managed. I guess it could make it easy for unscrupulous types to attack the manager or his family if they were close to the bank if they decided to target it. Having the physical barrier of distance adds time, and makes it harder to apply pressure. I think an episode of The Sweeney used such such as scenario as the background to a bank job.

Back in Baillieston, I’d stopped watching the old empty bank building as various notices that said things might be happening over the past few years failed to materialise any changes. It closed back in 2015 as ASB ceased to exist as well.

But as I passed recently, and glanced over, I saw that some items had been cleared away, the sign offering the premises had gone, and there was a mobile scaffolding platform visible inside, behind the main window.

Guess I’ll have to remember to keep an eye on this one as well as Chamber’s.

The lit window is unrelated, and belongs to the telephone exchange behind.

The notices I saw previously related to application to turn the place into a restaurant, and it seems this application has now been approved.

Planning – Planning Application Documents:

16/01475/DC | Use of vacant bank (Class 2) as restaurant (Class 3) and installation of external flue. | 2 Glasgow Road Baillieston Glasgow G69 6JX

There’s more than 50 seats inside, with external seating showing more than 20 outside.

Given that another restaurant opened nearby a few years back, it will be interesting to see if there is enough trade to support this sizeable venture.

I’ll definitely be watching with interest.

Airdrie Savings Bank

Airdrie Savings Bank

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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