They call themselves ‘graffiti artists’ and worship at the holy altar of the ‘Banksy’.
I just call them vandals and would happily see them all locked up, or on work details cleaning their muck from our wall and street furniture.
Before anybody makes assumptions and thinks I’m a miserable sod, I have NO problem with any murals or similar that are approved and wanted in a community. Glasgow has grown a fantastic collection in recent years, and now has leaflets to guide visitors around it mural trails, and I see similar in other towns and cities.
But I have no time for those who run around thinking any piece of clean wall or similar is ‘theirs’, or that every door or piece of street furniture was provided for them to ‘tag’. They’re simply causing malicious criminal damage to other people’s property, probably with stolen/shoplifted spray paint, and costing those people money to clean up their mess.
Those behind this sort of moronic ‘campaign’ are at best double-dumb.
The one group who will NEVER see their handiwork? Their supposed target.
But it will be seen by folk who live near it, and will be ticked off and want it cleaned off, and it will be seen by the council worker who will care not one jot about it, other than to say ‘Thanks’ for keeping them in a – unless someone takes the view that there’s no money for this as it costs too much to keep cleaning this dirt away, and fires them.
I’m not sure where I picked this one up – I was wandering around Easterhouse that day.
One of the things that does a pretty good job of upsetting me is Revisionism, especially if fuelled by misguided Political Correctness.
Changing, eliminating, or just destroying historic artefacts that represent events in history is no different from the book-burning and icon destruction of the Nazis – but somehow when people claim they have a ‘good and pure reason’ for doing the same thing, it suddenly seems to gain an air of respectability.
It may not be one of the ‘best’ television series of all time, but I did grow up with The Dukes of Hazzard and there are quite few icons that were born in that show, one being the 1969 Dodge Charger that was the General Lee, or just The General.
Some golfer nobody ever heard of bought the car a few years ago, and until now, was quite happy to own it complete with Confederate Flag painted on the roof, as it should be since that is the way the car appeared for many years, as it starred in the TV series.
All of a sudden, this ‘Bubba’ character has decided to destroy the General Lee and paint out the flag.
Because he woke up with a conscience one morning, in tears about what the flag represented, and decided to do something about it?
He woke up in a cold sweat one morning, when he realised that the sponsors who fund his lifestyle for doing nothing more than knocking a little ball around a big garden might stop giving him money for doing nothing, in case he associated them with this supposed problem.
The actor who played Cooter in the series probably says as much I would:
I never knew nor cared who Bubba Watson was before, but now I sincerely hope he reaps the just reward for his vandalism, and his career take the nosedive he deserves for interfering with history.
Even Nazi memorabilia gets better and fairer treatment.
If the car offends him so much, all he had to do was donate it to a museum, or sell it to a museum for a dollar.
While I’m not so thick as to be unaware of the obvious answer to this puzzle, I’ve never been around a site where the obvious answer was… obvious.
Wandering around Glasgow, or any other location where redevelopment is underway, there’s often graffiti (better termed as vandalism) evident on walls that there is nowhere that the vandal could have been standing. This leads to the hope that the they might have been hung over the edge of the roof, and their mates might have dropped them. But I doubt my fanciful imagination would have been rewarded, even if I had been there at the right time.
Still, I have seen some on places like bridge parapets, which don’t have – and never had – any sort of support or standing space below them just voids, so those might be more interesting to see as they are being sprayed.
The reality is boring, and while I can’t claim to hold the evidence myself, I’ve been lucky enough to come across some (archival) material that confirms the obvious.
All they have to do is break into a building, or a demolition site, and get onto the roof or the remains of a wall, and they can spray their childish tags all day (or night) long.
Although I didn’t see it, I know this was done while the building on the corner of Queen Street and Ingram Street was being demolished.
I’ll probably never catch one as it happens, simply because I’m not in the right places any more.
Wonder if any of them have managed to kill themselves playing this game?
Got something of a surprise when I ended up passing a house that I had not realised the state of. Arriving from a different direction, I glanced down a track that passes alongside, and found a completely different view from ‘usual’. Despite passing many times, I never realised the condition of the part I couldn’t see.
The house was up for sale a while ago (as in a year ago), then the notice disappeared and a new fence appeared. I didn’t think anything more of it.
However, it looks as if the changes came after it failed to sell.
While the top seems to look pretty much OK over the top of the fence when passing, I was fairly shocked to see that it had been trashed and apparently vandalised below the visible area.
Tiles have been ripped of a significant area of the roof, meaning water will be leaking inside and causing damage. Looking at the windows and doors, these have been boarded up and sealed, so nobody’s getting in – legitimately.
I didn’t wander around the back, it’s probably worse as it’s out of sight. But, with my luck, I’d end being accosted by the neighbours as a vandal, rather than an interested visitor. And, I had already just been subject to a torrent of abuse from some yobs/louts hanging out of the top windows of the flats across from The Mailcoach, apparently just for walking below them. At least they didn’t throw anything at me – other than words.
St Peter’s Seminary was commissioned by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1958 and completed in 1966. The A-listed remains lie in the woods behind the village of Cardross, in the area of the golf club.
The design was the product of two young architects, Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan, employed by Glasgow based firm of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia.
St Peter’s closed in 1980, having served as a teaching college for the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, in the time taken to build and commission the facility, teaching methods and beliefs were to change within the Church, and the building was effectively obsolete and doomed before completion. It was also to suffer as a result of the Scottish climate, and the accommodation was said to be impossible to heat or keep warm, probably a casualty of the 1970s oil crisis. The building was also criticised for damp and fungus in some areas, but the architects counter this claim, believing the gutters were not cleaned or regularly maintained by the owners (looking for an excuse to offload it).
In use for only 14 years, it was a sanctuary where trainee priests could live, study and worship secure from the outside world, but completed at a time when Vatican II decreed that priests should be schooled in the community. Built to serve more than 100 trainees, it seldom held more than 50, and ended its days as the home of a drug rehabilitation project.
Over the years, a number of proposals for development of the abandoned site have come to nothing.
At the same time, the remains of the seminary building have been ravaged by exposure to weather from the outside, and the attention of vandals from the inside, who have shown no respect to the former purpose of the structure. Needless to say, the isolate location also proved attractive to drug addicts and drinkers. Attempts to fence of the site remained largely ineffective, and the cost of security would have been prohibitive, so any attempts to close the area were easily overcome.
Development news 2013
With this background, it was surprising to see a news article that development of the site is (probably) underway, although it was also noted that if this venture fails, it’s probably the last such attempt that will ever take place.
IT IS full steam ahead for plans to transform a historical site near Cardross in a multi-million pound project.
This is despite the withdrawal of original plans to develop Kilmahew Estate in Cardross being withdrawn by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, which owns the site.
Over the past few years, the NVA – nacionale vitae activa – has been carrying out surveys and work to breathe new life into the 144-acre site, which boasts a range of old buildings, a walled garden and St Peter’s Seminary.
It has an ongoing 20-year masterplan to develop the site, and by 2016/17 hopes are for new community facilities and performance and exhibition space are on target.
Angus Farquhar, creative director for the NVA, said they are the estate’s ‘last chance’ to restore it.
He added: “We think we are the right people to come up with the solution, it’s been a long time coming. The plans we are putting forward are the last chance for the site.”
The Archdiocese of Glasgow’s plans were withdrawn earlier this month as time had elapsed on the applications and are separate to the NVA’s project. Planning permission was granted in June for the restoration and transformation of the site.
The Archdiocese of Glasgow told the Advertiser last week it has no plans to resubmit the applications which were submitted more than 10 years ago, reflecting a previous proposal to develop the site, which never came to fruition.
The article goes on to explain that security has been stepped up around the area, and reading further into NVA’s project reveals that the building has now decayed to the stage where hazardous asbestos my be liberated from the structure, and that their staff won’t enter without protection, and removal of the hazard is essential before any progress can be made.
The actual project: The Invisible College
If you are not familiar with St Peter’s, have a look at St Peters – a set on Flickr which shows the condition of the old seminary in 2013.
This includes a picture of the stone altar, which the vandals not only manage to damage extensively over the years, but manage to break into two parts some years ago.
I’ve cropped a view of the altar from one of the pics in the flickr set, just to show violence with which it must have been attacked in order to break off the missing parts, and the end, which is lying to the right in the pic.
I happened to come around the back of the repaired doocot gate instead of the front, and discovered that there was something of a surprise – or perhaps a shock – waiting for anyone that might try crashing into again, should they happen to hit the repaired gatepost (the one on the left, as seen from the road).
I clearly had not been paying attention the first time I passed the repaired item and grabbed a passing pic, as I failed to notice what was supporting the gatepost that had been broken – I thought it was just a wooden post that had been used a support to hold the pieces together while the concrete base set.
I should have taken a closer look…
When I came to this from behind the gate, it became obvious that driving into the repaired gatepost would not be a very good idea – what I had taken to be a simple wooden support was actually a substantial piece of steel girder or H-beam, and it was only its weathered and rusty surface that had stopped me from noticing this when viewing the small section visible above the gatepost.
If I’d been asked, I’d probably have offered an opinion to the effect that the broken gate that once barred access to the car park next to the Daldowie Doocot (Dovecote) would stay broken for some time, probably days running into weeks.
I’d have been wrong – and I was pleasantly surprised when I strolled past it on Saturday (less than 4 days after the incident), to see that it was back in place, and looking almost as good as new. At least all the bit had still been there to put the gates back together, and all it really needed was new wooden post set in concrete:
Since we had the advantage of some daylight this time around, I thought I’d catch a view of the doocot, just for completeness:
After years of being preached at, and then years of preaching at others, advice to “Always carry a camera” paid off today.
When I went out for a wander to Uddingston this afternoon, my route took me past the Daldowie Doocot (Dovecote) off Hamilton Road at around 15:30, and I think I’m pretty safe in saying that the gate to the small car park at the side was still present and intact. I can’t see me walking past them if they looked more interesting, and not stopping to take a pic.
The car park used to be open for visitors, but it was chained up and padlocked years ago, and I have never seen it open since. No surprise really, as the car park itself is secluded and hidden from public view and passing traffic, so I suspect it was pressed into service by a certain section of society for purposes other than intended. The same fate befell a similar parking area set aside near our work premises, leading it to be re-purposed as skip parking area, to avoid a constant stream of cars queuing to use it, seemingly all with steamed-up windows. Wonder why?
Heading home, and passing the same entrance at 18:00, I couldn’t help but notice it just didn’t look ‘right’.
In fact, some one had driven into it, broken one of the substantial wooden posts that supported it, and more or less trashed the gate itself.
Looking at the tyre tracks in the ground showed the vehicle concerned had not driven over the broken gate, or into the little car park, but had merely flattened the gate, then driven away.
Oh well, I’ll just have to keep and eye on it, and take a look now and then, and see if it is repaired/replaced, or if the bits are just tidied away.
The Daldowie Doocot
The doocot was built in 1745, to serve the Bogle estate, after wealthy merchant George Bogle built his mansion on the land.
By 1999, repeated vandalism to the 20-foot wide and 40-foot tall A listed structure (and the habits of pigeons that were still using it) put it in danger of being lost, so landfill site operators Patersons of Greenoakhills moved it about a kilometre from its secluded location on their ground to the new site off Hamilton Road, near Mount Vernon, at a cost of some £500,000, to create a tourist attraction.
Would you believe television personality Jackie Bird opened it officially on October 27, 2000?
We noted that the Fraserburgh Lighthouse Museum has suffered thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to a number of its large gallery windows a few weeks ago, as some brave vandals used the cover of darkness on January 28 to hide their attack on a number of the feature windows.
It looks as if the same fearless night warriors have been in action again, as it has now been reported that the windows of the engine room on the site were damaged during the night of Tuesday, 19 February 2013.
Inspector Alan Brown of Grampian Police, said: “I am disappointed that certain individuals have taken it upon themselves to damage what is an important part of our community which draws visitors from across the wider area. The large windows are a special attraction, allowing views across the coastal scenery and I would ask anyone who would have any information, however apparently irrelevant, to contact us and assist us in identifying those responsible.
“In the meantime, I’d like to reassure the local community that everything possible is being done by ourselves to identify those responsible.”
Anyone with any information can contact police on 0845 600 5 700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses at Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh, has become another casualty of the attention of mindless vandals, and suffered in excess of £1,000 worth of damage to three of the windows that allowed visitors to look out across the sea while they were visiting the cafe. Other windows at the museum were also damaged.
The damage was done between 5 pm on Monday Evening, and 7 am on Tuesday morning, when it re-opened:
Grampian Police is appealing for information regarding the damage.
PC Richard Cooper, from the Fraserburgh local policing team, said: ”The museum attracts many people to Fraserburgh and is a great asset to the local community.
“Many people go there to use the cafe and look at the views across the sea and the local wildlife, but unfortunately due to this mindless act the windows are now boarded up.
“I would urge the community to get behind our investigation and contact us with any information which may assist us in tracing those responsible.”
Anyone with any information can contact police on 0845 600 5 700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The pic below shows the area of the broken windows, where the museum building features a glass corner where the cafe is located, and visitors could look out to sea as they enjoyed a break in their visit.
It’s a shame we can’t resurrect some of the fine test for innocence we had in days of witchcraft, and vandals could elect for such things as “Trial by Water” )instead of trial by jury), where they could be loaded with chains and thrown into the sea off Kinnaird Head… if they float, they’re guilty, and can be eviscerated or perhaps subject to exsanguination – if they sink, well, they’re innocent. I suppose they could create some special events, and maybe tie them to the various buoys and markers kept around the museum grounds, and these could be thrown into the sea for a few hours, to test if they were still watertight… and still floated.
Vandalism in the city is one thing, where you have too many people bunched up together, and other social problems, but I’m always depressed whenever I read about, or find evidence of such activities in small and remote communities where people should be getting on together better, and such things should not arise. But in truth, you can find such things all the way to the remotest corners in the far north of Scotland, where you might think you could escape from the sort of scum that thinks such activities are “fun”.
The museum is actually a great place to visit, and I’ve gone up there on a quite a few occasions. There really is a wealth of detail to be dug out of the exhibits and displays, and the guided tours and talks are very well worth joining and taking the time to follow.
Well worth a detour if you are in the area, just make sure you allow enough time to browse and see all the have.
Perhaps not particularly Secret or Hidden, it’s probably still fair to say that the Duke of Hamilton’s Mausoleum doesn’t fall into the ‘Widely-known’ category. Over the (recent) years, the building has suffered both from neglect, and the deliberate attention of vandals, and then there’s always the smackheads lurking, breaking through the gates into the vaults beneath to carry on their filthy habits. Guarded by two impressively large stone lions, typically, one of the big cats is fast asleep,while the other does all the ‘work’.
Most of the damage was made good some years ago, the area was cleaned up, public opening and tours were established, and the exterior floodlit. Being a regular traveller to London, the floodlit mausoleum building became a welcome marker, signalling the end of the 450 mile dash home – provided one arrived before the lights were turned off for the night! The tours are marked by the guide making his way to the door and slamming it shut (with a just a little too much enthusiasm) – the combination of the high domed roof, circular stone wall, and hard stone floor, all with no sound absorbing qualities, are said to give it the longest echo of any building in Europe.
After another round of restoration, the building has been re-roofed and more stonework repaired. Better still, the council has agreed a 99-year lease on the building, which will hopefully ensure that maintenance work on the building will continue into the future. Historic Scotland has also agreed to give a grant of almost £90,000 for work on buildings within the estate.
Picture by Kevin Rae.