Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Finally got a pic of The Barn in Shettleston

The Barn Social Club Advert 1972

Sometime something simple and straightforward can elude you for years.

Like ‘The Barn’ in Shettleston Road, a former social club, and as I later learned, a cinema before that.

I always forget about this place as it is really little more than an anonymous brown door between a close and some shops, and while I have seen it open, that must have been years ago as it has lain behind a ‘For Sale’ sign for years. And I’ve never been in it.

I also had no idea what it was like behind, until I saw it described as “A small back-court cinema” and looked closer on Google Earth (903 Shettleston Road).

It’s nothing more than a single storey pitched-roof extension tacked on the back of the tenement building – yet it was a cinema more than a century ago: “Premier opened in 1912, and originally sat 432. It closed in 1948.

Via Premier, Shettleston

According to another source, it has also been a Catholic church, bingo hall, and dancing school.  Although the information is undated, it showed the advert to the right, and dated that publicity for the opening to 1972.

I’ve tried to grab a pic for some years, but have always been out of luck with either various vehicles blocking the view, or semi-comatose can/bottle-clutchers propping themselves up in the doorway. Then again, these days there’s also the equally irritating smoker, social outcasts banished outdoors with their stinking weed, and always skulking beneath any available shelter from the rain.

I must try to remember to wander around the back one day, to see if there is any view of the extension/building itself.

The Barn Social Club

The Barn Social Club

I don’t know if anyone actually uses any of the directories or listing services published online, but when I tried to find details of the sale of these premises (and failed) I found that all those sort of listings still show The Barn Social Club complete with telephone number, address, and other details as if it was still open and in business.

I find these listing useless, never look at them, and would wipe them all off the Internet as all they do is clog up the first page of most business searches with out-of-date ‘information’ that is often wrong anyway, and has probably never been checked since the day it was first copied and pasted into these worthless parasitic web sites.

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

Vaguely Soviet Shettleston mural

Not that noticeable as it is not located near the road, this mural on a wall behind a church always strikes me as being reminiscent of the old Soviet murals often seen Russian settlements.

That said, the characters and colours are too ‘soft’ and not as stylised or perhaps aggressive as they would be if they had actually been created in that era. The feeling would have to be a little more Art Deco too, so I’d say that despite the subject, this is just too modern in appearance.

Shettleston Wellshot Road mural

Shettleston Wellshot Road mural

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

It’s like demolition is following me nowadays

It’s beginning to feel as if I should be eyeballing everywhere I look at these days, and pick the ones that are not going to be there the next time I look.

The most recent surprise was an old Cash & Carry on ground between Shettleston Road and Old Shettleston Road. When it was open, I think it was The State Cash & Carry, notable to me years ago as my grandfather managed to convince them to sell him his pipe tobacco at cost. This came in uncut chunks that muggins was given the ‘privilege’ of cutting up and turning into something that could be crammed into his pipe. This was no mean feat as he liked the black stuff, and this was more like a lump of black gum or tar than tobacco leaves.

Anyway, the place was gone when passed recently, at night, and I only managed to pass again in daylight and grab a pic of the razed site. Watch this space for some houses/flats?

While there was only a scabby old brick wall to be seen, I’d at least liked to have had a ‘before’ pic.

Shettleston Rd Fennella St Demolition

Shettleston Rd Fennella St Demolition

We might be in for a small flurry of new builds here.

There used to be Halfords just along the road, and it vanished while I wasn’t looking too, which is to say I had no reason to go in for ages, then it closed, and after lying shuttered for some years, was also razed recently.

I can’t lay hands on a pic of the place when it was open, so this one of the dead and shuttered remains will have to do.

This was classed as ‘Slightly Irritating’ since they do have a decent range of cycling spares, something I find myself in occasional need of recently, but now have to make my way to Rutherglen for.

While there are some nearby shops dealing in cycle parts, 9 times out of 10 they don’t have what I want, or when I hear their price I need an ambulance to help recover from the shock. Cycling seems to be very expensive if you don’t shop around, or go online.

Halfords Closed

Halfords closed

Then, a few weeks ago my next wander down that way showed it to have been removed without a trace too.

Halfords Demolished

Halfords demolished

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Surprise funeral directors

This was something of a surprise, and a reminder that unexpected things can happen when you are not watching – in this case while my regular walking route happened to be in another direction for a while.

Building seen has been abandoned, or more accurately unoccupied, for years.

A long long time ago it was a car dealer’s, might even have been built for that use originally. That eventually closed, then it was a Job Centre for a while. I’m not sure if it was before or after that, but I think it was some sort of office for a while, but was fairly anonymous, so I have little recollection.

It looks as if the agents have decided to divide it up into smaller units, with the funeral directors having established their presence while I was absent, and another premises (no clues yet) being fitted out next door.

Given how long this place has lain empty, I hadn’t expected to ever see anything there again.

Shettleston funeral directors

Shettleston funeral directors

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 makes it to end of January 2017 in Shettleston

Since the chances of the lights being disconnected over the weekend, it looks as if the 2016 Christmas lights I spotted still lit in Shettleston have made it to the end of January 2017.

I passed them tonight and they were still on.

Guess I get to watch out for them if I’m there during February’s dark evenings too, and see if/when they go out.

Shettleston 2016 Christmas lights Jan 2017

Shettleston 2016 Christmas lights Jan 2017

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Shettleston Christmas in January

I had to go into Glasgow yesterday, and given it was 18 January 2017, I was fairly impressed by the near complete clearance of all the Christmas lights and decorations, recalling how large and complex some had been.

The only remains I could see were a few of the elevated decorations in George Square, and even these were removal ‘work in progress’, and understandable considering the other extensive work currently taking place there, to restore the square to its one greener appearance as the grassed areas are being reinstated to replace the more recent expanse of assorted tarmac which were laid in more recent times.

I was late back, so had the pleasure of walking through Shettleston…

And seeing that two of the three lighting installations were still shining brightly in the night:

Shettleston Christmas in January

Shettleston Christmas in January

A few years back I saw a house in Baillieston with a lit Christmas tree on show until April – although I don’t think it would have been deliberate, but never found out the reason behind.

Wonder if these will still be up and lit the next time I’m passing in the night?

January 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Street convenience

Sometimes you come across things that beg all sorts of imaginative explanations.

On the pavement in Shettleston – a complete toilet street and a brown glass medicine bottle (no label).

I don’t know about anyone else, but this immediately sparked off memories of one of Billy Connolly’s sketches, when he told of how he passed the age of 50 and was treated to a colon examination by his doctor.

As he said, this involved the consumption of a laxative to clean out the system and leave things ‘clear’ for the examination.

His description of the effect was ‘WHOOOOSH’ as what was once inside left, and shot down the toilet, to be followed by another build-up and another ‘WHOOOOSH’ as what was left joined it down there.

He’d hoped that was if over, ‘job’ done.

Nope – there was, it seems, still at least one more ‘WHOOOOSH’ to come…

And I imagine this pic could have been the result (at least it looks nice and clean):

Toilet seat and medicine bottle

Toilet seat and medicine bottle

Not sure if related (hope not), but this was lying in the adjacent gutter – no barefoot rambling in Shettleston!

Raw nail board

Raw nail board

Guess whoever was working here was never taught to hammer exposed nails flat before littering the streets with their debris.

January 10, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Christmas 2016 – Shettleston

While there may not be an obvious place for a Christmas tree, Shettleston does have a permanent installation of supports for a few Christmas lights in the main street, and not having too many means that there’s always a display on show.

And that’s probably not a bad sign for the east end of Glasgow – for a place that the media usually likes to use as an example of one of, if not the most, underprivileged and poorest areas of Scotland.

Even if the display doesn’t have the advantage of a tree, I like it.

Shettleston Christmas lights

Shettleston Christmas lights

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked V

Good job it wasn’t wet’n’windy or I’d have had my head down and been straight into this one, abandoned completely on the pavement. Even so, it was a close thing as I generally walk home on autopilot.

I say ‘abandoned’ deliberately because having consulted various responses from the police, some categorically state that parking on the pavement is an offence, while others refer to the act of driving over the footpath as being the offence. If they can’t agree, then I can’t do any better.

Unless I maybe take the time to dig up the relevant acts for myself… maybe one day.

What would be more interesting would be to think about those double yellow lines, which make parking at any time an offence.

While it would be easy to say that provided any part of the car was standing on the road (as opposed to the pavement) means the driver has committed an offence, does this still apply when no part of the vehicle is on the road itself, or even touching it.

Does the footpath or pavement count as part of the road?

Does the general application of road legislation for a distance of 15 feet to either side of a public road come into play in this sort of case, so the offence of parking on double yellow lines can not be circumvented by parking a fraction to one side of them?

Not sure which law applies the 15 foot extension, or if it has been modified in recent years, another thing I should check. But I know there have been changes, which now allow the police to act when dangerous driving is carried out on private land just off the road, or in places such as supermarket car parks, where ‘boy races’ think they can drift and do burnouts without worrying about road laws. Previously, the hooligan element was able to avoid the law simply by getting off the road, so the law was changed.

Shettleston Peugot parking

Almost, but not quite, fallen over one night

January 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Intriguing, but slow, geothermal heating proposals for Glasgow

No obvious follow-up stories after a couple of articles appeared in the media suggesting that old mine-workings below Glasgow could form the basis of geothermal heating systems for the city.

The diagram below is based on electricity generation, but it illustrates the concept. Ignore the turbine/generator, since the heated water would be sent to the properties, not utilised to drive the turbine

Due to the relatively low temperatures involved in the Glasgow proposals, rather than use the heat/water/fluid directly, as can be done in systems where the water or transport medium is at much higher pressure and temperature, the system proposed for Glasgow uses heat pumps to extract the energy from a loop that goes down into the workings and collects the heat, then transfers it to a second loop on the surface, which circulates around the properties to be heated by the transferred energy.

Geothermal binary plant

Geothermal binary plant

The idea is far from new, and used widely abroad, but it is relatively new to Scotland, with only a few existing schemes in place, and little experience.

This report sounds good, but is short on detail, noting only that the householder said their heating cost only “pennies”, and that the average heating bill was about £500 less than the Scottish average – but failed to give actual figures for heating under the system, or state the average it was referring to:

How Glasgow’s coal mines could heat the city once more

I’d guess this is why the news comes with a 3-year timescale just to carry out a feasibility study to research the concept, And it would seem we need the experience, as we may have schemes in place, but are finding problems with the installations.

While the underground water they raise for this system is only at around 12°C (up to 20°C according to one article), it seems that they are having problems with keeping both the electronics and water handling systems trouble-free – and that’s frankly a fairly ridiculous position to be in nowadays. Reliable electronics should be easy install, unless they are buying cheap junk, or using poor designs, and other countries have successful water handling systems in places, so they should not be “re-inventing the wheel”, but calling on the experience others.

Glasgow under-street heating plan unveiled

This news item came with some surprise information for me, as I learned the system the comments about reliability (also the subject of the video in the report) was one I had unknowingly been walking past for years, in Glenalmond Street, Shettleston. I just thought the homes were a relatively recent development that had gone up a few years ago, and had no idea it contained a geothermal heating system within.

This pdf provides details the project:

Untitled-5 – glenalmond.pdf

As can be seen, some interesting points came out in the summary of the Glenalmond project (I’ve ignored/omitted those not related directly to the water aspect):

7 A water recycling system complete with storage tank and an independent feed system was installed to recycle some of the waste mine water, by feeding toilet cisterns. However ferrous-oxide compounds become brown and sticky when exposed to the air, resulting in blocked valves and discolouration of toilet basins. The decision was made to discontinue the system.

8 Returning water to the mine also proved difficult, as it is not always possible to find a void mine space, and boreholes may be easily blocked by rock falls and silting.

Although it has some problems, they seem to be relatively minor, provided they are dealt with at the start, and not as an afterthought.

STV also reported on the story, with a video explanation, but as with first  article mention about, this second item also mentions great savings, but also fails to quote figures from the resident interviewed:

Glasgow project investigates heating from abandoned mine workings | Glasgow & West | News | STV


Ground heat is not only suitable for large-scale projects. Individual homes can benefit from a similar system which operates in a different way.

I used to spend hours in the university library, and unearthed a book by someone who had installed a ground-heating system, possibly as far back as the 1960s (I no longer have access to this book), from which he was able to heat his water and his home for about a third or less than it would have cost otherwise. I forget the exact figures, as this was some years ago, so they would be irrelevant today, given the horrendous price increases of recent years.

In this case, heat energy was drawn from the ground by pipes buried a metre or more underground. Water plus anti-freeze was circulated, and a heat-pump used to transfer the energy to storage, heat domestic hot water, or heat the house. The system described all those years ago managed more than 3 kW out for each 1 kW used to power it. Modern systems can now be purchased ‘off the shelf’, and do no better. In fact, having read some journals and studies, they do a considerably worse. While good systems manage a similar 3:1 ratio, it looks as if many have been installed by cowboys. The use of poor contractors has led to bad reports for many of these systems, and manufacturers withdrawing their hardware from some contractors. Unfortunate, as their get-rich-quick tactics reflect badly on the system.

As well as ground heat extraction, it is also possible to extract heat from the air. Although this appears simpler, it’s not as good, since air has less energy than ground to give up, and the condensation on the exchange matrices freezes and cuts off the air flow if care is not taken and protection circuits are included. Ground systems can freeze, but their design and capacity means this does not stop them working. Freezing can be minimised if the pipes are buried deeply (if possible). The account in the book I referred to noted that the pipework froze toward the end of each winter, but did not stop the heat exchanger working. The only effect was to reduce its efficiency, since the available heat energy was also falling.

I always wanted to build one of these systems, and while I might have the ground, have no access for a digger to tear it up to bury all the pipework, and doing it by hand is not really a good idea, well, not while having to do a full-time job. Now I have the time, but not the inclination – having recently had to dig up and replace about 10 metres of water main, the thought of having to dig at least 20 times more than that no longer appeals.


I can’t wait for the results of the Glasgow mine feasibility study, really I can’t. But three years is just too long for this basic step.

I will have forgotten all about this story by then (and suspect everyone else will too! )

On the other hand, heating costs might have become even more frightening by then, and everyone will be on the edge of their seats waiting for the study to be published.

August 7, 2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked II

Coincidentally, and almost to the day, after the original If it’s stopped, it’s parked.

This time, I was on the spot as the nice lady driver gave us a lesson in fitting a 4 metre car in a 3 metre space – as she hopped out to chat to someone nearby.

People ask me why I always back up, and leave only a metre or so behind my car if I park  at the end of one of these inset bays…

Now I have two pics to illustrate why.

It's stopped, it must be parked

It’s stopped, it’s empty, it’s parked

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

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