Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The old clay pipe factory in Bain Street

Another post inspired by the proposals to brighten the area up.

Falling into the category of “I never noticed that” is the building (or perhaps pair of buildings) seen below.

With my head usually buried in what little remains of the Barras, I didn’t really notice the buildings which made up the venue.

Too late, as quite a lot has been cleared in recent years, and I suspect plans to upgrade and revive the area and its venue will see anything that the planners see as ‘unattractive’ to New (young/trendy) Money will be swept away in a wave of… ‘improvements’.

I already missed any chance to catch the once thriving building that used to stand beside Pearson’s in Moncur Street, which we should have said was ‘heaving’ with people on a good weekend, packed like sardines, and almost impossible to move in.

But I did wake up soon enough to spot this pair of almost identical twin buildings in Bain Street.

They, together with another behind, were once a clay pipe factory.

In its day (the date stone on the left shows 1877), this building looked even better, with a central joining section (demolished) which had an entrance topped by a single upper storey, Not quite a portico., but still more impressive than a simple entrance or door on its own. Now, there’s little more than a glorified shed in its place.

Bain Street Clay Pipe Factory

Bain Street Clay Pipe Factory

While I was able to stand far enough back to take a reasonably undistorted pic of the two building together, this is often not the case, with a distance of no more than a city street being available. This means one is forced to take pic from the side, along the façade, instead of head-on.

The wealthy, or professional, can afford fancy lenses to cope with this proximity, but that’s two clubs I don’t have membership of.

But, I do have some clever (free, of course) software that will stitch together a series of pics taken from a fixed spot.

Since I had the option, I stepped forward and took a couple of closer shots, to see the difference.

While the image above is lightly processed, I have not done anything to the stitched version below (other than crop off the untidy ragged edges).

While it does allow pics to be taken in otherwise impossible circumstances, or wide panoramas, it does cause distortion.

While this can always be corrected (if you spend the time, and money on software), I’ve found that the form of distortion seen here is not well catered for in any of the free software I’ve collected, and while I do have one photo-editing package that allows freehand correction meshes to be constructed and applied, it’s not really practical as it takes a lot of effort (so only worth doing if being paid!)

The stitch isn’t TOO bad, and if it was all that could be caught would also be  fairly easy to improve with only a few perspective corrections applied, but I had the luxury of not having to stand close in. That would have meant a LOT more distortion.

Architectural photography can be tough if you want buildings that look square!

Clay Pipe Factory Stitch

Clay Pipe Factory Stitch


I got lucky later, and knowing that the third building in Moncur Street was part of the set meant I could catch some shots and add them here.

Knowing the history makes it easier to spot the similarity with the Bain Street pair, and tie them together.

Clay Pipe Factory Third Building

Clay Pipe Factory Third Building

Unlike the first pair, where there was plenty of room to stand back and get a wide shot of both together, Moncur Street brings back the problem of narrow streets and the need for ridiculous lenses to capture the whole building at once.

But, the magic of image stitching came to the rescue again, and while I can’t do a linear stitch, this one came out well, with the wide-angle radial distortion looking just fine. I seem to be getting the overlap judged better too, reducing it to the extent that the joins are being nicely hidden.

More irritating is the fact that I’ve never seen the street clear of cars, so can’t avoid them appearing (and no, I can’t afford Photoshop – at least not until it’s sold for free, I know it has a ‘removal’ option). Higher would have helped, but I left my ladders at home.

Clay Pipe Factory Third Building Stitch

Clay Pipe Factory Third Building Stitch

Since I took these various pics I’ve found out that the building has become ‘The Pipe Factory’, is a space for art which is dedicated to the production and dissemination of artists work and ideas. It runs a public visual arts and learning programme that includes exhibitions, workshops, residencies, events and publications, provide affordable spaces for artists to work and opportunities to experiment and exhibit in a supportive community environment.

The Pipe Factory


March 3, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Newer murals at The Barras

Came across these by chance a while ago, although I had seen them in one of those ‘Mural Trail’ reviews, but had not looked at their location so didn’t realise where they were.

I’ve gone back at various times to try to find them without any vehicles obscuring parts, but have never found them clear, so have given up trying.

The only time I do find them clear – someone erects a security fence around the piece of ground to stop it being used for parking, so that’s no help towards a clear view pic.

I managed to get the pirate almost clear, so was able to distort the skewed perspective to change it into a flat clear shot, which looks  a lot better (the one car can still be seen in the bottom left corner).

Ross Street Pirate Mural

Ross Street Pirate Mural

No such luck with the other one though, so just had to take what I could get.

Ross Street King Of The Barras Mural

Ross Street King Of The Barras Mural

The missing part.

King Of The Barras

King Of The Barras

There’s more, although not part of any ‘mural trail’ it seems the nearby shops think the rear view of their building is worth a little arty effort too.

Ross Street View Of Argyle Street Shops

Ross Street View Of Argyle Street Shops

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Barrowland’s barra man doesn’t light up (confirmed)

While it’s no great surprise, it’s still a little sad to confirm that Barrowland’s ‘Barra Man’ doesn’t light up.

Spotted in daylight some weeks ago, I’d been waiting for a return trip in the dark to confirm that the derelict nature of this sign on the side of the Barrowland ballroom was indeed ‘dead’.

A pity, since a closer look at the structure shows it once had enough lights (now lost) to have made an animated display, with the character appearing to be walking and pushing his barra.

But, while the structure remains hanging on the wall, much of wiring and light fitting have fallen away.

Maybe someone will start an online campaign to have him restored now!

As spotted:

Barrowland Barra Sign

Barrowland Barra Sign

As seen recently in the dark – the outline can just be seen to the top right of the white border over the entrance canopy:

Barrowland Lights

Barrowland Lights

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Seldom seen Challenger

Not seen every day, but a shortcut through the streets of the Barras, and you can tell which street from the pics, was rewarded with the sight of this 2012 Black Dodge Challenger, looking suitably mean and moody in the fast failing evening light.

I love the way the manufacturers brought these cars into the 21st century, and made the work not only on the strip, but on the road, by designing European chassis to make them go around corners, as well as in fast straight lines.

Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger

It may be ‘old news’ now (from back in April), but this car has become a real ‘Demon’.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: 840 horses, does 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, and hits the quarter-mile in 9.65 at more than 140 mph.

A little tamer, this example is no less desirable (to me at least).

Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger

As someone interested only in the engineering and development, I’m glad to be around to see fossil-fuelled cars take on electric vehicles on the strip, with each able to take honours (using production cars, I might add).

It’s sad to read about bullies (polite description) from BOTH camps who want to settle matters ‘Behind the workshop’ when their car loses, or accuse the other of cheating in some way.

Life’s too short not to just say “Nice” when you trip over one of these, or a ‘Ludicrous mode’ Model S, or the new Tesla Roadster, not yet tested of course, but a little faster even than the Demon above, with the promise of 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 4.2, and the quarter-mile expected to arrive in 8.8 seconds, plus a top speed of more than 250 mph.

Looking at those numbers, it’s hard to believe some sad motoring hacks once told us the end of fossil fuels was going to be the end of car fun.

Thankfully, they were fools, and even 10-20 years ago electric/battery vehicle customisers were using the old tech of the day to replace petrol engines in various classic muscle and sports cars with electric conversion that left their donor cars in their dust, and black lines on the road.

Crude? Yes. Effective? YES!

Thankfully, modern batteries and some really clever control circuits have made it all much more civilised.

Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger

I love them all – from a Model S whispering its way down the strip to beat most challengers (sorry, not meant as a pun).

To an Aventador that sounds as if it’s doing 150 mph while it’s just trickling along at walking pace in traffic.


Nice coincidence.

A few days after I made this post, I came across a picture gallery showing the Evolution of the Dodge Challenger (1970-2018) completer with some interesting tech details from under the Demon.

I’m afraid the good people at WordPress haven’t worked out a way to embed an imgur gallery (yet?), so you will just have to click on the link below and view it at source (almost 50 pics):


November 29, 2017 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Woman Mural at The Barras – lucky I had an older view

Looking through some forgotten pics I never got around to using, I noticed a mural that probably went largely unnoticed when it was new, and is even less likely to be noticed today.

Frankly, I took this pic to record Pearsons and Bill’s Tool Store, just in case ‘they’ decided to knock it down, and catching the still visible mural was just a happy accident.

Painted on a gable end visible from Moncur Street, the gable was brought into view when one of the best old buildings that made a day at the Barras fun was demolished a few years ago. In its day, this old multi-storey building was packed with stallholders, and even more packed with punters looking for a bargain. Sometimes it was hard going just to get up and down the stairs, or even reach the stalls to see what was on offer.

Today, the site has been occupied by flats which appear to made out of shipping containers, stacked so the now block this view of the mural.

As far as I know, it’s still visible from Stevenson Street (parallel to Moncur Street) and the lane joining the two.

Barras Woman Mural

Barras Woman Mural

September 21, 2017 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment

Go-ahead for £1.5 million Barras area refurbishment

Barras Sign

Following quickly on from the news that an area of Sauchiehall Street is to be refreshed, it seems the area of The Barras is to enjoy a similar spot of ‘Spit and Polish’.

While it’s better than the fate which befell Paddy’s Market, I can’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for this announcement.

Don’t take that the wrong way, the area is in serious need of refurbishment. While much tidying has taken place around it, the core which was once the centre of The Barras has been left behind, and leaves much to be desired.

However, if we leave to one side the market area below and behind the Barrowland Ballroom (and that is sadly much deserted when I have taken a walk there in recent months) then the remaining area of The Barras is a virtual desert, with most of the buildings having been demolished in relatively recent years, leaving only a few of the more substantial structures still standing.

As I have noted in posts made a year ago, it can be alarming to arrive there in the afternoon, say 2 or 3 pm, and find the remaining stallholders in the street clearing up and getting ready to go home, while the few indoor pitches (who now label themselves as ‘Antique Dealers’) are pretty much deserted too.

And one of the oldest original “McIver’s Markets” (the founders were McIver, Margaret to be specific) buildings is really sad now (the one with the bikes on sale outdoors at one corner). While one corner still has some decent books and memorabilia on sale (from some real old original marker ‘characters’ too), the rest of the area is just dead and derelict stalls with broken junk piled up on them, gathering dust. The last few times I dropped in, even that ‘interesting’ corner seemed to have been abandoned, and was covered over with dust sheets.

Maybe I just go on quiet days, or at the wrong time of day.

Frankly, a visit to The Barras these days, for me at least, is actually a visit to Bill’s Tools Store (for any bargains on offer) and a check on Pearson’s, to make sure that’s still there too.

Work on a £1.5 million renovation of Glasgow’s Barras market is set to begin next month after the plans were approved by city councillors.

The plans, which form part of the Glasgow City Region Deal, will see the development of underused space aimed at attracting new businesses and creating a “key gateway” to the East End.

• READ MORE: What does the future hold for Glasgow’s Barras markets?

A report that went before the Glasgow City Region City Deal cabinet said: “The revitalisation of this area is both critical in overcoming barriers to wider development of the whole Collegelands Calton Barras (CCB) area.”

It added: “The overall CCB project will deliver sustainable economic growth in Glasgow and the city region. This will enable the regeneration of sites which are not suitable for development in their current state, including attracting investment that supports high value industries.”

Having been given the green light, the project is targeted for completion by March next year.

Via: Glasgow’s Barras market to get £1.5m revamp

I can only hope they have at least partial success in some sort of revival.

Or maybe we should just be honest, and say The Barras is gone, and has been for years.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A quality mural near The Barras

While this is an unfair comparison – and it’s not actually meant to be taken as a comparison since this is NOT a shutter mural – it is still a fair example of what can be produced.

I came across this one quite a while ago, but used the pic in another forum so had forgotten to mention it here.

If you were at Bill’s Tool Store at the Barras, you could turn around and look behind you. If it hasn’t been removed or replaced then you’ll see it.

It really is rather good, and worth at least a glance for real.

Bain St St Luke's Mural

Bain St St Luke’s Mural

I’m afraid I don’t know the significance of the winged bull (oops, sorry ox), but I do think it’s safe to say the mural has some connection with Tennant’s – I see at least 4 references to that particular Glasgow brew.

Note: See comments below for more info 🙂

April 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 2 Comments

Barras copyrite

Anyone familiar with the history of The Barras in recent years/decades will be familiar with the number of raids and remarkable finds (and even assaults captured on news/documentary clips) as both police, trading standards, and reporters have visited some stalls as they investigated forged designer label items and copyrighted material, with even Microsoft Windows reportedly being available at The Barras BEFORE Microsoft had released one version.

But this catch is more fun than those, with one stallholder claiming that photography of their stall could/would result in a charge being made.

I’m not sure what they think the value of an empty market stall is in a pic (perhaps it is a piece of ‘modern’ art), but I got mine for free!

And, since I took it from a public place (the street), with the item in plain sight, I’m perfectly free to do so – which would not be the case if I had been INSIDE the building, on private ground. Never seen this stall with anything on it.

But I’d still be curious, and like to be in court to see the case being heard as regards copyrite (or even copyright) of anything on this stall, and the justification of why the stallholder was due any copyright monies. Such monies are usually property of the creator of any work/pic, not a seller.

I’m not even going to venture into the real legal implications – it’s fraught enough when we have to deal with serious claims.

Just enjoy the pic and the note.

Barras copyrite

Barras copyrite

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Gallowgate gunfire – at least it was yesterday

I ended up at The Barras on both Saturday and Sunday this week, but the Sunday visit came with a surprise.

I arrived from the London Road side, and had worked my way towards the Gallowgate, as I had been heading for a particular stall to pick up a little bargain.

When I finally emerged on the Gallowgate, I found it was closed off and barricaded, with ‘Police – Accident’ signs on the road.

I didn’t think too much of this, but nobody seemed to have a clue, and I’m not the type that goes up to crows of police (and there were a lot of them, much more than seen in the pics), so at that point I decided to take some pics, then slide away as quietly as possible.

I’d expected to see something in the news, but there was nothing, and it was only an online search that revealed there had been a report of the sound of gunfire just before 10 pm on the Saturday night.

Well, I’ve hinted before, there are too may spots I can look at and say ‘Shots heard here’ and this just adds to the list.

Would you believe there was a Wedding Fair being held at The Barras, hence the pretty Mercs – Muggins walked into the building where it was being held, and beat a hasty retreat as people with flowers and loads of white lace tried to pounce!

Gallowgate Police 1

Gallowgate Police 3

Gallowgate Police 2

November 22, 2015 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment


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