Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

They completed Parkhead Public School without me

It’s depressing to revisit some projects – and find they have been successfully completed without me watching them closely.

I didn’t realise my ‘new’ routes had kept me away from any regular sighting of this part of Westmuir Street, and that the project to recover the derelict Parkhead Public School building, which I once thought might have been lost, had been completed, and was now occupied and working.

Last time I stopped and looked, it was like this.

Sorry, I know I TOOK pics a while ago, but the filing system has just failed miserably, and I can’t find them, that’s odd (and worrying) as I can usually find pics I know I have even if I have to find them by eye.

So there’s only an ‘After’ pic now, unless I find the lost pics later, and can shove them in as an edit.

I couldn’t get a decent pic.

The length of the building is too much to get in a straight shot, so it has to be caught from an end, but I couldn’t even do that on this occasion. A convention of ‘White Van Men’ had parked along the street here, so even to this pic I had to go stand almost in the middle of the road, otherwise the lower part of the pic would just have been a sea of van sides!

It’s a really nice job, and the building looks great now that it has been cleaned up, and the trees that had been growing in cracks and along the fence removed.

The upper structures, especially the bell tower (I assume that’s what it is, if it ever actually had a bell, or it may have been a disguised chimney) look even better.

More on it here.

A former school in Parkhead is being brought back into use as a community hub.

Parkhead Public School, on Westmuir Street, has been vacant since 1990 – but a year from now, it will be fully refurbished with a new extension.

The category B listed building – built in two phases in 1878 and 1887 – is being brought back into use through the Parkhead Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), in partnership with Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and Parkhead Housing Association.

It will cost £4.1 million altogether, and will be handed over to the housing association when complete, to be used as a local enterprise centre with flexible space for the east end community to use, and a range of office suites too.

Derelict Parkhead school will be given a £4.1 million makeover in east end regeneration bid

Lucky housing association, getting that handed to it.

(If that sounds like a slightly sour remark, it is!

I was involved with another, nearby, housing association when I had a building with structural problem, and could not sell it as nobody could get a mortgage, the lenders refused unless it was repaired first.

Far from being of any help, since it owned all the adjacent property, the housing association just ignored us, and expected us to give it the flat, for nothing, since we couldn’t sell it.)

This sort of restoration is NOT CHEAP, something I often point out to people who moan about derelict or unused buildings, and whine about them not being used, and how ‘Terrible’ the owners are.

Those same moaners can usually be seen running away if I suggest they actually do something, or dig into their own pockets to fund the return to use of such buildings.

I can’t understand why, since they SHOULD be glad to – they are, after all, usually pointing out what great assets and money-making opportunities those same buildings represent, and that they should be taken off the current owners, and out to use.

This one needed another £567 k.

Derelict Parkhead school gets £567k boost in bid to regenerate Glasgow’s east end

I always thought this old school was one of the better looking ones from the sandstone era.

Most of the others seem to look very ‘bulky’, but this one looks more elegant.

I wonder if it had a different architect, or if the others were either all by the same architect, and they used a standardised plan, with a few tweaks for each location?

I’m sure somebody knows more about this.

Parkhead Public School Redeveloped

Parkhead Public School Redeveloped



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

Buchanan Street Bus Station set to get better

While I once spent what felt like a major portion of my early life using the original Buchanan Street Bus Station, and was sad to see it go, not so much for the structure itself, but for the extensive changes that meant for the area as a whole, I’ve barely seen the ‘new’ bus station that replaced it.

A few visits when it opened, then I lost any need to use it at all, so only ever saw it during chance visits nearby.

That said, I have had to drop in a few times recently, when I spotted a statue there.

Buchanan Bus Station People

Buchanan Bus Station People

That was interesting, but as someone who once had architectural leanings, I’ve never been inspired by the interior, or concourse.

It just feels completely bland, with no feel for its purpose, or design elements that inspire the visitor, or guide them through their visit. It’s almost like a shed, a nice clean shed, but one with no real clues as to its purpose.

I think part of the problem is the way all the facilities are out of immediate sight, hidden away in recesses off the main concourse. Nothing is obvious. You have to actively go and look for any facility or services you want to use there, and the signage is pretty small.

THE main concourse at Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow is to be given a makeover as part of a £580,000 refurbishment contract.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has approved the project which includes de-cluttering the area to improve passenger flow and the look and feel of the bus station.

As well as removing artificial trees and re-locating seating within the concourse, left luggage and the security scanner will be moved elsewhere. New public toilets are also planned.

Bus staff and operator facilities will also be improved behind the scenes and there will be more space for retail facilities.

Enhancements in the next phase are set to include improvements to customer information and to the fabric of the building.

BUS Station Concourse Improvements Will Be Just The Ticket

Sounds about right, fingers crossed.

At least I’ve been there just before these changes, so I’ll be able to tell things are better afterwards.

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

Helenvale Sports Complex finally set to disappear

I’m surprise the area fronted by the sign declaring ‘Helenvale Sports Complex’ has not been used for something else already.

It’s a spot I pass regularly, and has always been very run down and derelict, the only pics I ever took are probably locked away on film. I was sure I had some digital ones taken more recently, but I think they have never been indexed, so I can’t find them quickly (but I did).

It’s finally set to be put to use.

PARKHEAD Housing Association has been given permission to demolish a former sports pavilion in the East End of Glasgow and build 24 flats.

Glasgow City Council planning officials have approved the development in Helenvale Street, next to historic Parkhead Library, whicj also includes an area of neighbouring vacant land.

The one and two-bedroom properties in two four-storey blocks would be for social rent.

FLATS Approved For Old East End Sports Pavilion Site

I had thought about wandering in through the burst fence to take better pics of the ground, but around the same time (this was a few years ago) it looked as if something was going to happen with the site, and there was a load of plant and machinery there, plus materials. The fence was made secure, and all the gates were secured too.

But, nothing seemed to happen for weeks, and everything eventually disappeared, but the perimeter was left secure, so I gave up the idea of ‘wandering’ in.

I noted it was once referred to as Glasgow Tramways Recreation Ground.

The sports ground consisted of an oval pitch/ track for football and athletic events alongside bowling greens and a tennis court. Only the bowling greens remain.

See Pavilion, Helenvale Street, Parkhead

There isn’t much online about the place now. I recall reading something about a fire there, but can’t find it now.

Helenvale Sports Complex Gate Stitch

Helenvale Sports Complex Gate Stitch

From the street, it wasn’t possible to picture any real detail.

This was the ground to the right of gate seen above.

Helenvale Sports Complex Ground

Helenvale Sports Complex Ground

No further detail could be captured as it was all at ground level, and obscured by the fencing.

By eye, it was possible to see there was rudimentary terracing for visitors to watch sports being played on the ground, rising toward the rear of the area, so those behind could see over the heads of those in front.

Dec 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

Interesting images of the early M8 in Glasgow (Updated)

Some nice pics of the M8 in Glasgow in the 1970s.

I would say footage, but so far all attempts to view that offering just return a ‘Try Later’ message.

Unseen footage shows Glasgow’s M8 motorway in 1970s

Strange as it may seem to anyone who might think I tend towards liking only the older stuff, I don’t have any problems or issues with the changes that the M8 brought to Glasgow, and am probably more disappointed that so much of the original plan for the motorway was dropped as work progressed, and the objectors became more active and vociferous.

I tend to think things could have been better, and we’d have less jams today had much of the earlier work been allowed to progress as planned, and instead of having to spend later years fixing what we were left with, the same effort could later have been expended improving a developing system, instead of applying ‘sticking plasters’ to an incomplete solution.

We’ll never know of course. The noisy folk got their way, and much was scrapped to shut them up.

Now, we are still seeing ‘sticking plaster’ being applied to the M8.

This time, it’s in the form of a great big ‘plaster’ to be stuck over the motorway…

A roof garden with a landscaped park area will be created over the M8 near Charing Cross.

Currently the motorway drops down at this point with Bath Street Bridge over the top.

But Glasgow City Council want to ‘cap’ the motorway and create a park area in the gap so that people can easily walk over the top of the motorway from North Street to Newton Street.

The plan is part of the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration framework which was presented to councillors on Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee today.

The overall aim of the framework is to link Glasgow City Centre with the West End and remove the barrier created by the M8.

Ambitious plan for roof garden over M8 to link city centre with west end

That said, I kind of like standing on the road over the motorway here, and watching the traffic speed through below me.

All good fun.

See more of this concept here…

Plans for M8 roof park to begin by summer

Note: “A council spokesman said the image was just indicative, and the planned location of the park was closer to the top of Bath Street in front of Tay House.

M8 Garden Image Keppie

M8 Garden Image Keppie

The story resurfaced again, in January 2019…

A pedestrianised cover could be installed over the M8 in Glasgow


Still can’t get the BBC video to run for some reason.

But one of out local sources has it.

Enjoy almost 10 minutes of archived footage on offer here…

(Sorry, you’ll have to click the link. WordPress is pretty fussy at embedding anything but the common stuff.)

Watch amazing unseen footage of Glasgow’s M8 motorway in the 1970s

Oops, my mistake.

So busy trying to fix the BBC problem (which was being caused by something else), I didn’t notice this film had been made available on YouTube.


Dec 15, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Locomotion captured

It’s ages since I’ve been in, or even near, Port Dundas Road.

Even though it sounds silly, although I can’t really think what it looked like in the past, I think the view there is becoming quite different as buildings change.

I remembered someone had mentioned a statue/sculpture there, in front of the former Railtrack building, now an office block which is currently being redeveloped and altered.

The work is called ‘Locomotion’, and I’d only ever seen it while passing, but is clearly inspired by the building’s purpose in the days when it was built.

I do recall the building too, and think it’s a pity that the trend for enclosing everything means the angle supports at the base of the structure, once open and in clear view, are now hidden behind glazing frames., and turned into (more) office space.

They did the same with the secondary school I attended, which had a multi-story block, with a completely open space beneath, supported on concrete pillars. The only feature used to be a glazed area in the centre, which enclosed the staircase that ran up through the centre of the tower.

When I went back for a look some years later, it too had been glazed and enclosed, to become more classrooms.

Then I went back for another look – and they’d demolished the lot and turned it into a car park for the adjacent train station!

The school?

It was moved and resited a few hundred metres away from the original site, so still exists, in name at least.

Locomotion Sculpture L

Locomotion Sculpture L


Locomotion Sculpture R

Locomotion Sculpture R

Dec 13, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on the River Clyde

After seeing the story about the restoration work set to be carried out on the West Boathouse on the River Clyde, after thinking it might have been derelict, I thought I should really take a chance and try for some pics before anything changed.

This place is long (or wide, depending on how your brain is wired), so there’s no way to get a shot without something expensive, or you have to stitch multiple shots together. I’ll let you guess what I do.

Yes, it was late, not dark, just dusk – I’m surprised this came out so well, even with the low contrast.

Click for bigger.

West Boathouse Stitch

West Boathouse Stitch

There’s no problem if you’re far away, so I reshot the night shot from the previous post.

West Boathouse From Bridge

West Boathouse From Bridge

Then wandered along for a view from the opposite bank. Again, no problem with the length of the building.

Note the shoring on the left.

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

West Boathouse From Opposite Bank

One end.

West Boathouse East End

West Boathouse East End

And the other – that shoring has been there for years. Another reason for thinking ‘derelict’.

I don’t know if the crazy angle of the boathouse in this pic is down to me, or if it really has subsided to that extent.

But, look at the fence, and the edge of the other building caught in this pic.

West Boathouse West End Shoring

West Boathouse West End Shoring

Not a bad catch, but for the dusk, lack of contrast, and little colour.

But it’s December.

Dec 2, 2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Boathouse on Glasgow Green is not as derelict as I thought

I have to confess that, until recently, I thought an old boathouse on Glasgow Green was maybe derelict.

I’ve never seen it in use, or even open, due to the usual times I was down that way, and it was only a few weeks ago that I saw it with a door lying open, and people moving around inside.

In fact, plans have just been approved for a new 99-year lease to the Clydesdale and Clyde Amateur Rowing Clubs for use the West Boathouse and surrounding land.

Under the terms of the agreement, the clubs will pay £750-a-year between them for the site following the completion of the £2.8m redevelopment.

That work will be carried out by the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT) who are set to install new changing facilities, lift access, multi-use spaces and a floating pontoon from next year.

The boathouse is a category B-listed building which sits in Glasgow Green and was built for the use of both rowing clubs in 1905.

As part of the work, the Trust will take over an area of Glasgow Green, which is not currently leased by the clubs, for a trailer park, rowing racks and an access route to pontoons.

The boathouse building will be redeveloped from a semi-detached unit into a fully shared space by 2020.

Both clubs have been paying £350-a-year since 1990 for use of the site but the new agreement will allow the council to transfer liability for maintenance and management of the building to the clubs.

Plans to revamp historic boathouse on Glasgow Green move one step closer

Pity I didn’t take a pic or two of some rowers I thought were mad to be out on the water a few days ago, when it was almost freezing – I like my playing to be fun.

I didn’t think I had any pics of the place, although I know I have some really old ones (on film) that show the place looking much as it does today, and in need of restoration, especially the area leading to the river. I think this was used for a shooting scene in ‘Taggart’.


I remembered I’d fired off some test shots on 05 November, while waiting for the fireworks on Glasgow Green to start.

The first one was just one of my habitual hand-held low light night shots, I can’t resist, even it was not the plan for that night. But, I still needed to have an idea of what area I could cover when I changed over to long exposures.

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

Glasgow Green West Boathouse Wide

After playing around a bit, and finding a way to support the camera (exposures were going up to around 8 seconds), I began to get half decent results.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse

And then there were interesting shots.

This one caught an early firework release, but the actual interest will be spotted in the bright lights.

Note now they have developed ‘drops’ which appear to run down from them, as the camera was moved too soon, at the end of the shot, before the shutter had closed.

One to remember for later use.

Interestingly, the lit windows of the building behind (Templeton’s), although appearing to be bright, were not bright enough to ‘drop’ or streak in the same way.

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Glasgow Green River Clyde West Boathouse and firework

Dec 1, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surprise opening of Calton Hill Collective

I spotted news of a development on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, around the site of the old observatory, not that long ago (back in August), and while mentioning it then, had no idea the work would be completed so soon.

I noted then that whenever I had visited Calton Hill, and the old observatory site, while there may have been a great view, it was really disappointing to see that this was really a dead place, with more interest for vandals than visitors.

It seems the work is done and the opening is set.

A new centre for contemporary art is to open at one of Edinburgh’s most iconic sites.

Collective – on Calton Hill – will include a new exhibition space and restaurant as well as the restored City Observatory.

The £4.5m development on the world heritage site is the result of a partnership between artists, businesses and local people.

The new art centre will open on Saturday.

Collective will include the restored City Observatory, designed by William Playfair in 1818, a new purpose-built exhibition space with panoramic viewing terrace, and a destination restaurant, The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage.

For the first time in its 200-year history the City Observatory site will be freely open to the public.

The City Observatory played a key role in the history of astronomy and timekeeping in Edinburgh.

The original telescope, installed in the observatory in 1831, will be on display.

Art centre to open on Calton Hill in Edinburgh

The only downside I can see is that I couldn’t get into the observatory building when I was a regular visitor to the area, now I can get in, but likely won’t be in Edinburgh again.

City Observatory Calton Hill

City Observatory Calton Hill

See also…

Observatory embarks on new mission after £4.5m makeover

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

Queenslie development might be an interesting watch

I/we used to have business premises in Queenslie Industrial Estate.

It was originally created an industrial estate in the 1950s, with housing following on its success. But it was already fading by the 1970s, and then much of the housing was demolished. I never really saw the place until about 20 years ago, and by then it was clearly being deserted by many occupants, and becoming a bit of a derelict. The older parts began to be demolished, and we later took a unit in new build towards the A8 Edinburgh Road. But it was still obvious that the older parts of the site were being deserted, and many larger companies were closing premises they had there, to reduce in size. I thought I had found a handy source of cheap car exhausts there, as Bosal had a place which sold to the public (about half the cost of a dealer system), but a few months after finding it and buying a system there – the ‘We Are Closing Soon’ sign went up. Yet, there were newer business that seemed to be booming up there too, so it was not all bad news, and it was also clear that the place was being tidied up and made more presentable.

I spotted the old estate mentioned in a new planning application for:

A MASTERPLAN for a major mixed-use development at Queenslie Industrial Estate on the east side of Glasgow has been approved.

It includes a small supermarket, car showroom/auction use, pub/restaurant, and drive-thru outlets, a petrol filling station, plus business, industrial, storage/distribution and trade counter units.

Glasgow City planners granted the application by Tilstone Glasgow Limited, part owners of the estate, which is being rebranded as Queenslie Park.

A statement submitted by property agent Savills on behalf of the applicant explained: “The proposed development in principle has its foundations in regenerating Queenslie Park, developing further employment uses and introducing other complementary uses such as food and drink and retail.

“The aim is to capitalise further on Queenslie as a successful industrial estate whilst modernising to include a mix of other uses.

“At present Queenslie Park is not visible from the M8 and does not have the strong, cohesive identity that it should and could have.

“By creating a more open aspect at the north western corner of the site, it will be possible to increase the visibility of the park, which is very important in terms of putting it on the map with potential occupiers and visitors.”

QUEENSLIE Development Can Include Supermarket, Car Showroom And Pub/Restaurant As Well As Industrial Units

The plan sounds good.

Especially the mention of increased visibility, which I saw as one of the failing of the site.

This is one I’ll be interested to watch over the years, and see if it succeeds in its intention of revitalising the fading area, or if it just turns out to be wishful thinking, and the dead dog is… dead.

By that I don’t mean it will fail, that’s unlikely, but I suspect the final result after a few years might just be that the place gets tarted up, looks better, then many of the new arrivals find their facilities are just not sustainable, and it just reverts back to being much as it was before (this redevelopment).

I don’t have any pics of Queenslie that I can use here. I used to use the deserted roads as the background for pics I can’t share. Sorry.

But, I did do a post about a snack bar in the adjacent Easter Queenslie Industrial Estate, which might give you an idea of how ‘robust’ such things have to be here, to survive the attention of locals.

The Bulletproof snack bar of Easter Queenslie

Snack bar

Snack bar

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

Sauchiehall Street changes finally start to take shape

I think this is the first time I’ve taken a look along Sauchiehall Street, and actually felt as if I can see some shape to the revised layout with its widened footpath, cycle lanes, and controlled traffic zones forming a major regeneration of the area.

Pardon the expression, but it really has (inevitably) just looked like one giant road works for months, with no impression of what was coming.

If you aren’t aware of why the whole of Sauchiehall Street appears to one big road work area (complicated by the fallout from the fire at the Mackintosh Building, which clearly added to the existing disruption), this article summarises what we are expecting to arrive: City council plan to transform Sauchiehall Street, Charing Cross and Garnethill moves forward

Sauchiehall Street Avenue Works

Sauchiehall Street Works

In some ways it’s been a shame to see special interest groups, who have been consulted and catered for, appearing to whine on endlessly about being ignored, especially when aspects of the work have not been conjured up out of thin air, but have been applied after consulting similar development already in place in other countries.

I’m NOT going to mention any group in particular, just mention that I get the impression that they ALL seem to think THEIR group should be given priority over the others, or even that they are being ignored.

Clearly silly, and not practical.

But it is a shame how few of them seem to have the word ‘compromise’ in their vocabulary.

It’s almost as if they believe that if they concede anything, that will be seen as excuse to walk all over them, or just ignore them.

I used to think the council was justifiably criticised in the past.

Nowadays, I look at the complaints, and the council’s response.

Now I think the council is the one mostly getting the raw deal at the hands of agenda led groups and activists, single issue campaigners whose attitude seems to be “Our way or no way!”


If it wasn’t obvious from my pic above (and the great big sacks already sitting in them), those numerous holes in the road were for tree planting.

That’s already underway.

IN Pictures — Root And Branch Change On Sauchiehall Street Gathers Pace With Tree Planting

Oct 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Looks like I was right about the McLellen Galleries building

Although it wasn’t my intended subject, quite by chance (while out to collect some pics of the Mackintosh Building remains), I spotted changes around the McLellan Galleries in Sauchiehall Street.

Combined with the serious road works going there at the moment, I thought I couldn’t even find the building the galleries were in, let alone the building! Then I discovered I was fine, but some genius had decided it would be a good idea to cut of and scrap the porch that once stood over the entrance to the galleries (and my memory wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it had become).

Looks like I was right, and in the time I’ve not been a regular visitor to the area, the McLennan Building fell into the category known as ‘Negelected’, despite being considered to be one of the city’s most attractive buildings, and having had a collection of busy shops at ground level.

Now, I read that there are plans to revive the neglected building.

A planning application has been submitted to Glasgow City Council seeking permission to create McLellan Works, a base for creative small/medium-sized businesses with a mix of local retail, food, and café operators. If approved, it is hoped that this creation could be open before the end of 2019.

New shops and restaurants lined up for Sauchiehall Street

McLellan Works Image:  Bywater Properties

McLellan Works Image: Bywater Properties

The development is being led by the building’s new owner, and Glasgow based architects, with talk of links to the Glasgow School of Art.

It would also integrate with the current work of a multi-million investment programme on Sauchiehall Street, part of the city’s ‘Avenues Project’, which is bringing wider pavements, a two-way cycle lane, and improved lighting and seating areas to the street.

What I was originally thinking I had ‘lost’, The McLellan Galleries, would lie within the new McLellan Works. The galleries were originally built in 1855 to house the art collection of Archibald McLellan, a local coach builder, councillor, and patron of the arts.

From 1869 to 1899 the galleries were home to the Glasgow School of Art until the Mackintosh Building was built.

Following the transfer of McLellan’s collection to Kelvingrove, the building was given shopfronts and a corner dome, and opened in 1904 as Trerons’ Magasin des Tuileries. New exhibition halls, galleries, and a grand staircase were added eight years later.

The building suffered fire damage in 1986 and the collapse of its corner dome in 1989.

McLellan Galleries Facade Minus Porch

McLellan Galleries Facade Minus Porch

Oct 10, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

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