Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

So, the People’s Palace IS open

I did say I might divert for a look at the reopened People’s Palace – and I did.

Small point, I only saw the outside since I arrived at 5 pm on the dot, in time to see the staff closing the front door.

Well, I hadn’t planned on going inside anyway, just wanted to make sure it was open (since Easter is not quite here yet).

Nice to see it active again, and you might be able to see that door is no longer locked shut.

This pic is too wide to really see the detail of the signs, but these were plain white last week, just stating the museum was closed until Easter.

You can see it is now coloured (header and footer), and it now lists the opening hours.

I also wanted to try a shot from the near side of the fountain, as I hadn’t tried this before and had been wondering if the shot could be made without a ridiculously wide lens.

It can, easily, I’m happy to say.

I was so used to taking the shot from the hillside on the other side of the fountain, I never even thought to try it before.

Click for bigger.

People's Palace Reopened

People’s Palace Reopened

I’ll have to organise a wander in.

Of course, the Winter Garden at the rear of the building is still closed, and the new fencing and gates are securely shut and locked.

A little bit unfortunate, and a nuisance for cyclists, as the bike racks are located just at the side entrance to the glass house, so bike parking not available thanks to the fence and locked gates.

Guess visiting cyclist will just have use their imagination, and the surrounding cast iron fences and other fixtures.

Winter Garden access closed at Peoples Palace

Winter Garden access closed at Peoples Palace

If this is new too you, and you don’t know why, see the story beginning here.


07/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace looks set to reopen as planned during Easter 2019

Having done a lot of jumping up and down when closure of the People’s Palace (temporary, while works were carried out to provide emergency exits), and Winter Garden (effectively permanent until something in the order of £7 million can be raised for restoration) was first announced, the media and those looking for some free publicity by making a lot of noise about the closure, but not actually doing anything to help other than make stupid, time-wasting claims/comments, seemed to dry up and disappear.

It has now been announced that the People’s Palace will reopen during the Easter holidays, with some £350,000 of work being carried out to make it safe, and replace facilities that were previously located in the Winter Garden.

Following a £350,000 programme of works, the city’s social history museum will open independently of the Winter Gardens during the school holidays.

The Winter Gardens requires window replacement costing up to £7m.

The People’s Palace has seen several alterations during the works, including the addition of a new cafe and shop on its ground floor, access to public toilets and a new fire escape, which was previously located within the Winter Gardens.

School groups will be able to access a new purpose-built packed lunch area on the top floor of the museum, replacing the former space available within the glasshouse.

The museum reopens with a new photography exhibition, which captures daily life in the city in 1955.

Recent view of the Winter Gardens open while work was being carried out.

Peoples Palace Winter Garden

Peoples Palace Winter Garden

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: ‘The People’s Palace is just that; it’s the official residence of the stories, the images, and the memories of the people of our great city, entertaining and informing Glaswegians with displays of how we lived, worked and played in years gone by.

“There was an understandably strong reaction to the suggestions of the possible closure of the People’s Palace, a clear demonstrations of its affection amongst the Glasgow public. So I’m pleased that it is now scheduled to reopen and vindicates our pledge that we would undertake the work to allow it to remain open while a long term solution is found to the challenges of the Winter Gardens. The People’s Palace collection belongs to Glaswegians and we’re glad they will continue to enjoy access to it.”
‘End of its life cycle’

The Winter Gardens will remain closed indefinitely.

The structure is in need of repairs.

The sealant used to secure thousands of windows in the glasshouse has reached the end of its life cycle and requires wholesale replacement.

Glasgow’s People’s Palace prepares to reopen after works

Winter Gardens’ future unclear as People’s Palace reopens

People’s Palace set to reopen after £350k repair works

I took a run past at the weekend, and the place was tight shut, with no new notices attached.

But the Doulton Fountain, in front, was back on and in full flow.

People's Palace and Doulton Fountain

People’s Palace and Doulton Fountain

Obviously not a current pic, as the lights are on!

01/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Work goes on at the People’s Palace and Winter Garden

Despite the tall tales of media whoring MSP Paul Sweeney about plants being killed, work is progressing at the People’s Palace and Winter Garden on Glasgow Green.

Although I couldn’t really take decent pics from so far away, I can assure anyone who was taken in by the trendy little vote hunter that there is plenty of greenery apparently alive and well inside the glasshouse (and as I noted, many of the plants were removed well before the closure anyway).

What disappoints me is that there doesn’t seem to have been a petition to get him dumped. Voters should remember stuff like that.

I don’t even pay attention, yet it looks to me as if his name pops up every time there is some free publicity to be had for someone jumping up and down wanting to be a ‘champion’.

The People’s Palace still appears to be on course to re-open at Easter.

Peoples Palace Winter Garden

Peoples Palace Winter Garden

13/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Time to make events pay their way, NOT the hosts – especially when our Winter Gardens are rotting

I wonder if people are generally aware that lucky events like the Commonwealth Games (dumped on Glasgow in 2014), The Olympic Games (probably never coming to Glasgow, thank goodness), and now the first ever World Cycling Championships (set for August 2023, don’t have to PAY for the privilege of disrupting the cities they take place, or all the work needed to allow them to take place.

Glassgow was ‘taken’ for something like £300+ million by the Commonwealth Games, and is now being asked for £15 million in advance of the cycling event.

As usual, the promoters are blackmailing the hosts with promised of wonderful returns and benefits which they will lose out on if they don’t throw money at the organisers, and bring the event Glasgow.

GLASGOW councillors are being urged to approve £15million towards the city hosting most of the events in the first ever World Cycling Championships, taking place in August 2023.

The world governing body for cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), revealed last year a plan to combine around a dozen existing individual cycling world championships into one major event every four years.

Following an approach by Glasgow and EventScotland, the UCI has given an exclusive opportunity to Glasgow/Scotland to present its case to host the first championships. The final submission, including funding commitments from the major partners, has to be made by February 2019.

A report to city councillors stated: “This will be the biggest cycling event in the world with over 100 countries represented and over 200 World Champions being crowned during the course of the Championships. The huge media interest will guarantee worldwide broadcast coverage delivering massive international profile for both Glasgow and Scotland.

CHANCE For Glasgow To Get On Its Bike For Historic Hosting Of World’s Biggest Cycling Championships

I’m not even going to waste more of my time digging into this.

You can read more of the fantasy in the linked article. It’s pretty much a self-explaining fiasco.

What I will say is that it’s a scandal that I would NOT mock dopey MP Paul Sweeney if he questioned it with the same vigour he did after hearing ‘tale telling’ about the plants in the People’s Palace Winter Garden.

But, I doubt we’ll hear as much as a squeak.

That this famous and long established Winter Garden should be languishing in closure for the lack of £7.5 million while there is a farcical demand for £15 million to be poured into a transient event that lasts for a few days is little short of shameful.

And gets even worse when we reflect on the dead shell that was Tollcross Winter Garden, closed after some 2011 storm damage, and could not be spared a penny when the millions were being squandered on the Commonwealth Games, and in particular the swimming pool in the sports centre only a few metres from that glasshouse.

As they say…

Somebody need to GET A GRIP!

Tollcross Winter Garden – ignored while millions were spent on an adjacent Commonwealth Games venue…

Tollcross Winter Gardens Derelict

Tollcross Winter Gardens Derelict

People’s Palace Winter Garden – closed while £7.5 million is searched for, but £15 million is being demanded for a cycling event…

Closed Winter Garden North

Closed Winter Garden North

18/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

For those suffering People’s Palace Winter Garden withdrawal symptoms

While the People’s Palace is only close until April to allow modifications to be carried out to entry/exit facilities, there’s no escaping the extended closure the Winter Garden will endure until anything up to £7.5 million is ‘magicked’ to allow extensive maintenance work to be carried out the 100+ year old ironwork and glazing.

I took a casual walk around the beds shortly before many of the plants were removed and sent to other glasshouses.

Strangely, unlike some moronic attention-seeking MPs, I anticipated that Glasgow City Council might do something.

Quite why I should be smarter than an MP I don’t really know.

Then again, I don’t get any free publicity, or noticed by media by making a fuss one way or the other.

These pics are not really in any special order, not have they been processed to get the best out of them – they’re just a photographic memo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see the later appearance of the beds when I caught them being cleared shortly before the closure day.

11/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace Winter Garden closure clue

Just a quick update, away from the stupid politics some people seem to think is helpful.

As soon as the Winter Garden was closed, the windows were treated to a coat of the white stuff used on greenhouse or glasshouse windows, presumably to deter sightseers – even though access is now limited by security fencing.

Closed Winter Garden West

Closed Winter Garden West


Closed Winter Garden South

Closed Winter Garden South


Closed Winter Garden North

Closed Winter Garden North

07/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Is MP Paul Sweeney just making stuff up as his Winter Garden claim dies?

It’s said that one of the ways to detect lies is to see if the story you are being told keeps changing, since anyone telling the truth doesn’t have to keep changing their story as it pulled apart, so they have to make it up as they go along.

I spotted some apparent rubbish being spouted by some MP called Paul Sweeney yesterday, and published some of my own pics taken recently in the Winter Garden at the People’s Palace.

Today, after the leader of Glasgow City Council issued a statement debunking his claims, he decided to…

Change his story (his original claim was that the heating had been turned OFF).

Labour MP Paul Sweeney raised concern for the gardens’ exotic plants after claims the heating had been turned off and all active maintenance halted.

He said the move would be considered “an appalling act of civic vandalism”.

But Susan Aitken, the SNP leader of Glasgow City Council, rubbished the suggestion and accused the MP for Glasgow North East of “making things up”.

She tweeted: “The heating will stay on, the most important species have been moved to other glasshouses & the remainder will be maintained as required.”

Mr Sweeney responded: “Not according to a senior official in the parks department who I spoke to today.

“The heating has been turned down to a ‘minimal level’ and they said they won’t be maintaining remaining plants as none are regarded as of ‘horticultural value’, but that is beside the point isn’t it.”

Row after MP claims plants at Glasgow Winter Gardens will die due to closure

Give it up man –  you’ve been caught out.

Nobody votes for a liar.

This isn’t the ‘Old Days’, when all you had to do was kick Glasgow Council and nobody checked what was being said.

So long as it was bad or negative, everybody just believed it whether it was true or not.

SOME of us have moved on.

Winter Garden Plant Removal

Winter Garden Plant Removal

04/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow City Council’s rebuttal of MP Paul Sweeney’s fantasies

I’m beginning to think my recent suggestion that Glasgow City Council is just an easy target for anyone wanting to get themselves noticed by making some daft claim about it, misrepresenting its actions, or just plain making stuff up, is closer to reality than I thought.

I make no secret of listening to such people years ago, shaking my head, and going ‘Tut-tut’ as I read their brave outbursts against the council of the day – but I’d also have to say that I never checked any of their revelations as they never referred to anything that mattered to me, or that I cared about.

These days, there seems to more appearing that I do have at least a slight knowledge of awareness of, and the signs are not good – for those telling tales about Glasgow City Council.

Recent irritations came from cycling activists, then there was more nonsense from pollution campaigners. Both notably attacking the council, rather than supporting policies it is actually implementing, and saying it is doing nothing, or not enough (in their view).

Now, a MP has decided to get a free ride and some publicity to make his name with claims that Glasgow City Council is destroying the plants in the People’s Palace Winter Gardens, which have just been forced to close on safety grounds.

Accusations by a Glasgow MP that all heating and maintenance of the People’s Palace Winter Gardens has ended have provoked outrage in city residents.

Paul Sweeney, MP for Glasgow North East, hit out at Glasgow City Council in a tweet, where he claimed that all tropical plants in the winter gardens would die after the heating was turned off.

The tweet read: “Shocked to learn that all heating and active maintenance of the People’s Palace Winter Gardens has been ended by Glasgow City Council this week.

“That means all the tropical plants contained inside will now die off. This is an appalling act of civic vandalism and must be stopped.”


Instead, he chose to profit from the claim first, and got this response while spreading his name.

Hundreds of Glasgow residents replied to Mr Sweeney’s tweet to express their anger over the alleged decision.

By running with the allegation, he gets a free publicity, and wins fans.

Once thrown, mud sticks, and few of those who responded to his tweet will care about what followed as they join the ranks who ‘Shoot first and (don’t bother to) ask questions’ later.

However, Glasgow City Council has denied the claims, saying that the heating has not been turned off and many of the plants have already been moved to other gardens across the city.

A spokeswoman said: “This is not true and we have not turned the heating off in the Winter Gardens and have no intentions of doing this.

“We want to reassure any concerned citizens that we have already moved the plants of significant horticultural value, as previously agreed, to our other glasshouses across the city and we will continue to maintain any remaining plants.”

Frankly, I’m not really even interested in what he said/claimed afterwards.

All quotes from…

Glasgow City Council hits back at MP’s claim of ‘appalling act of civic vandalism’ at People’s Palace

He, and others like him, should be forced to declare details in public, identify sources, and provide evidence, since they are MPs and should be fully accountable. Not just open their mouths and let their bellies rumble!

I knew this was nonsense, as I had visited the Winter Garden just before it closed, as seen in previous posts, and also took pics inside.

These show how many of the beds had already been cleared of plants even BEFORE the building was closed to public access.

Had I known they would come in useful to counter the scurrilous publicity-seeking allegations made by Paul Sweeney, I’d have taken a lot more, but they were just taken as part of a collection for a later post about the days before the Winter Garden was closed.

Winter Garden Plant Removal

Winter Garden Plant Removal


Winter Garden Plant Removal

Winter Garden Plant Removal


Winter Garden Plant Removal

Winter Garden Plant Removal


Winter Garden Plant Removal

Winter Garden Plant Removal

I don’t usually support calls for people to lose their jobs, but I can think of at least one who’s demonstrated enough lack of trust to suffer that, and maybe at least one other – IF what that one said was to be believed.

03/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Au revoir, People’s Palace and Winter Gardens

Although I collected some specific pic sets recently (they haven’t made it into the Blog), intended to help my withdrawal systems in the coming weeks, with the People’s Palace closed for modification for about 12 weeks, and the Winter Gardens closed until someone prints off something in the order of £7.5 million to deal with its ‘old age’, I couldn’t resist ‘Just One More’ as a slight disruption to my travel plans for the day landed me on Glasgow Green late in the day.

This pic is significant – being taken on 31 December 2018 means that the People’s Palace was on its last day for visitors prior to closure for building mods to add a fire escape route, since the Winter Gardens doors are no longer an option.

However, the Winter Gardens closed one day earlier, and is the reason for the aforementioned mods since the People’s Palace only has one entrance/exit at the front. Should a fire break out AT that door, anyone inside the building would be trapped. There are, of course, windows, but these are 1898 windows, so not so easy to get yourself through quickly, and doesn’t cater for everybody.

The glasshouse is completely dark, but you can see some lights in the museum building.

Quite apart from just wanting to get back in, it’s going to be fascinating to see what the planners came up with for the new emergency exit, or fire escape.

Steps and ramps were added to all three access points when the building improvements were carried out about 30 years ago, but two of those (plus a non-ramped door) belong to the Winter Gardens, leaving only the front door of the museum building.

Don’t miss the little tease of Templeton’s carpet factory behind.

Click for bigger.

People's Palace Open Winter Gardens Closed

People’s Palace Open Winter Gardens Closed

This wasn’t real!

I’d say just a false alarm, but when I asked at the time, they weren’t sure if it was, or had been a malicious call.

You can see the one front entrance and the rails of the ramp and steps.

Peoples Palace fire alert

Peoples Palace fire alert

Bonus pic

Coincidentally, I came across this early illustration of the Templeton Carpet Factory just the day before, in Kelvingrove.

So I get to use it.

Templeton Carpet Factory Illustration

Templeton Carpet Factory Illustration

31/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The ageing Winter Gardens of Glasgow’s People’s Palace

To be fair, this post could probably be made about ANY of the winter gardens or glasshouses we have in Scotland today, as they all date from the same era, and are made of the same materials, and are subject to the same lovely weather we enjoy here.

There may be differences in the composition of the cast iron made at individual foundries that made their metalwork, but I missed out on chemistry, so I don’t know if some types/compositions are more resistant to corrosion than others, in a similar way to steel and stainless steel.

However, I am familiar with way our seasonal variations can destroy building materials.

During warm and wet periods, surfaces and surface finishes can expand and crack, allowing moisture to penetrate. Once inside, the moisture does not just ‘go away’, and can become trapped.

Our winters can bring repeated periods of freezing and thawing, when water’s wonderful property of EXPANDING when it freezes (most stuff contracts when it gets colder) means that anything it trapped inside will blow out, or burst, leading to larger gaps and cracks where MORE water can seep in, causing yet more damage when the freeze/thaw process repeats again and again, year after year.

If you think this is trivial…

How much force is ice capable of exerting? In 1784 and 1785, a Major Edward Williams took advantage of weather in Quebec and repeatedly tried (and failed) to find a method of containing ice. At first he tried to seal water inside artillery shells, but cast iron plugs were launched  475 feet at 20 feet per second when the pressure become too great. Williams tried anchoring the plugs in place using hooks, so the shells just split.

In another experiment, an attempt was made to fill cannons made of one inch thick cast iron with water. They just split when frozen. Academics in Florence later tried to fill a ball made of one inch thick brass with water. That also cracked when it was frozen. They later worked out that the force of around 27,720 pounds was needed to do this.

Some of our buildings don’t have a chance against that, depending on what they were made of.

I took some pics of the exterior, where I could see weathering, bearing in mind we are looking at a structure which is over 100 years old.

I haven’t seen any follow-up from a statement made following the publicity given to the structural problems here, where it was announced that ALL glasshouses across Scotland would be inspected.

The statement made sense, as I noted earlier, they’re all of a similar age, and subject to our lovely weather.

Maybe the others are scared after seeing the potential bill for the People’s Palace Winter Gardens remediation – and are going to keep quiet about their findings, until they also hit the point at which closure on grounds of safety/liability is their only option.

Winter Gardens Original Doors

Winter Gardens Original Doors

Not sure if these doors are absolutely original, from the day the place was built, but these west end doors are older than the side doors. Those were replaced some years ago (might have been the 1990 work), when modern powered doors and ramps were installed to provide disabled access to the building.

Winter Gardens Roof Exterior

Winter Gardens Roof Exterior

Fairly standard, and you can see how the curved glass panes have clips supporting one another.

This view caught my eye for the odd skid mark in the middle.

Winter Gardens Exterior Weathering

Winter Gardens Exterior Weathering


Winter Gardens Exterior Weathering

Winter Gardens Exterior Weathering

While the Glasgow Green situation is the one closest to me…

I’m more than aware of other glasshouses that have closed and never opened again, or been able to muster enough support from the local population to be ‘saved’.

Some are ‘saved’, only to fall into ruin when the money runs out a few years later.

(Name drops for Springburn, Tollcross, and Belle Isle for example – look them up if you don’t know them.)


Despite the hue and cry from a few, Glasgow City Council has acted correctly and responsibly.

Am I the only one who is now just a little bit concerned about some of those that are apparently fine?

Are they really?

Or is it a case of ‘If we don’t look, nobody can say we knew there was anything wrong‘?

20/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Why let facts get in the way of a good People’s Palace scare?

Ever since news of problems with the Winter Gardens attached to the People’s Palace broke, and a certain local news site jumped with the story that the BOTH the Winter Gardens AND the People’s Palace would close indefinitely, it has continued to write stories using ‘Weasel Words’ to suggest the People’s Palace will join the Winter Gardens indefinite closure pending structural repairs (which need around £7 million), while noting in ‘small print’ that the People’s Palace closure will only be temporary, to allow the fire escapes to be altered. This change is needed since the present fire escapes depend on access through the Winter Gardens, so if that closes, then the People’s Palace would be obliged to close too.

However, although the ‘knee-jerk’ double closure story was headlined, and led to a silly petition being raised, when the final story was released by Glasgow City Council, the reality was that while BOTH would close at the end of 2018, the People’s Palace would only close until Easter, to allow modification to the fire escape, to allow the museum to remain open to visitors while access to the Winter Gardens was restricted.

I wonder if the writer is even aware of what they are doing?

It’s easy to do, and not fully realise the bias is there, simply through the choice of words, and positioning of material.

But I’m not supposed to be neutral.

Those in the public eye should be.

Worst – headline – ever.

Glasgow says goodbye to People’s Palace as fence marks closure for repairs

We’re NOT saying goodbye to the People’s Palace.

And, it’s NOT closing for repairs either.

It’s being closed temporarily for modification to the fire escapes, and some other access features. So, to steal someone else’s clever word play, ‘This is only au revoir, not goodbye’.

And it’s the Winter Gardens that are being closed, and not for repairs, as the £7 million has not been found yet.

Inaccuracy and bias in the media.

NEVER a good thing.

One might be tempted to suggest partaking of a little ‘Glasgow City Council Bashing’.

But nobody does that today.

Do they?

Do people even deserve to get into the Winter Gardens?

Maybe they shouldn’t bother fixing the place, and just leave it closed.

Shocking suggestion!

But I have a reason for making it.

A while ago, I posted after seeing signs added to the plants asking visitors not to remove fruit (lemons).

Peoples Palace Lemons

Peoples Palace Lemons

I recently did a pre-closure shoot in the Winter Gardens, and there was a NEW plea dotted around the displays…

Click for bigger if you can’t read it.

Winter Garden Rock Sign

Winter Garden Rock Sign

Still, at least the sign is just asking them to keep off the rocks, rather than not to steal them, and use them as ‘half bricks’ to beat their mates about the head with, after the Buckfast kicks in.

20/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

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