Friday, 26 July 2013

Colebrooke st tenements: more inconvenient Glasgow buildings come down

'How these curiosities would be quite forgot, did not such idle fellowes as I put them down.'

- John Aubrey

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the  joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and a  list of all posts see the  'Introduction' post  -

 Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is I have had to start watermarking the pics as I have come across one big website using a pic without permission - I suppose there must be others.

If you are a private individual and want to use any of the pics for non-commercial purposes please get in  touch and I will usually be happy to say 'Aye' for free - just give the Album a credit. If you want to use a pic for commercial purposes a small mutually agreed fee and a credit will suffice.

Today we are having a look over a few months at the tenements in Colebrooke St in the west end; bought by Glasgow Academy to be demolished in order that the school may build a science centre on the ground. The invaluable Hidden Glasgow forum has some interesting discussion on the condition of the tenements -


'Re: Are the tenements on Colebrooke St leaning backwards ?

by viceroy » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:55 am
It is not an illusion. There is serious subsidence in this particular area, caused apparently by ancient mineworkings going back to the late 18th / early 19th C. It has been a problem for years. The tenement on Great Western Road went first, followed about twenty years ago by the terraced houses at the lower end of Belmont Street (sad for me as I lived in one of them as a wee boy in the 1950's). Now it is obviously the turn of the closes in Colebrooke Steet.

For the sake of those who live in the replacement housing put up in Belmont Street and on GWR, I just hope that the ground was properly stabilised first.

End Quote

Indeed! For the 'Supporting Statement For Demolition of a non-listed building in a 
Conservation Area on behalf of The Glasgow Academy' see

For more destruction of incovenient buildings see
Buchanan St 3: Georgian Buildings Coming Down

Tradeston 3: a Walk among Inconvenient Buildings

Tenements to be demolished on right. They date from the 19th century. Glasgow Academy on left

Glasgow Academy Building. Not coming down

Looking down towards Great Western Rd

Looking up to Belmont St

Flashback to January: fox and pigeon footprints - not made at same time

There is a fair variety of wildlife round Colebroke St. Here a resident grey squirrel and wood pigeon share a double bowl of nuts 

Not without squabbles though

This pair also regulars

The squirrel had a bit of mange for a while

On the watch

Watch doubled

Pigeons conversing

The resident fox - been here since a cub. He is eating nuts put out for the pigeons

A quiet scratch in the car park

A very civil neighbour is the fox. Eats snails - a gardener's friend. I have a series of cheery pics of his interactions with the Burmese cat. He wants to be friends, the cat doesn't

This Burmese cat is not such a civil neighbour. Lives up Belmont St. Has been belled but is a skilled hunter - has predated at least two pigeons

The  squirrel loved this netting, would run up and down it happily

Dead young magpie with a gaping chest wound which fell from the tree- possibly inflicted by the Burmese cat, though there are hawks that attack magpies. Body was gone by the morning. The wee fox is an efficient scavenger

Squirrel doing his own herbivorous scavenging. He holds his own  against the cat, the fox and the magpies

The Angel at your back

Not pleased. Bad words


The red lamp

A Yorkshire pudding pulled from the bin by our resourceful squirrel

Hmm! Yorkshire puddings don't grow on trees

I heard a noise in the recycling bin and looked in and there - improbably - was a young magpie. How the hell it got in I don't know - maybe panicked by the noise of the demolition - the neighbouring houses shake when the rubble is loaded onto lorries. The Belmont St houses apparently sit on a concrete platform

He/she wouldn't leave after I opened the lid so I tipped the bin slightly and put my arm in, at which point the bird sqawked and flew off. God speed, little one

Nice detail on glass and stone

A messy pan

The demolishers - a firm called SafeDem - are taking down the connection between the tenements to come down on left,  and the newer building on right

War. Residents have complained to Glasgow Planning Dept about the speed and practice of the demolition 

Dust - a highly uncomfortable  and possible toxic dust - covers everything

One of the wee Colebrooke St trees

One of the wood pigeon pairs

As we observed earlier, dust  everywhere.  SaefDem have been asked what they will be doing to clean up - no response

Car covered in dust and debris. Not SafeDem's job to clean  it up, they say

Once a welcoming hearth

And another, with its mirror

Rain at last

Note temporary (very temporary) barrier into the back court. After SafeDem removed the iron security gate from here, they left the entrance wide open, and there was almost immediately a series of raids - in one night, we had bike theft and vandalism,  and even the wee fox was harassed by neds who tried to corner it. Local councillors have been supportive, most especially our Green Party councillor, Martha Wardrop, whose efforts ensured this temporary barrier was erected.  

The gate

The former car park exit, now both entrance and exit - and wide open  to all

Thank you for browsing, dear visitor. And finally, I must plug  my wee book Brief Encounters - the KIndle edn is now available on Amazon for 99p!!!

There is much Scottish interest in the book, including Macbeth's pilgrimage to meet the Pope, Flora MacDonald meeting Dr Johnson, Walter Scott meeting Burns  and much more. For glowing reviews of the print edition, see the end of this post.

My other wee blogs are

Reviews of Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know


'I love it - I'm giving this copy to a friend and buying another for myself' - Darren Adam, Presenter, Radio Forth, 17 November 2008

‘It’s a great wee book’ – Stephen Jardine, introducing Edwin Moore on Scottish Television’s Five-Thirty Show

'A fantastic book' - Scott Wilson , talk 107 Breakfast Show host 

'A great read' - Dougie Jackson, Drivetime host, Smooth Radio 105.2


'Despite its apparently humorous format, this is a serious and extensive dictionary on all things Scottish; from Jean Redpath to Lorne sausage, from Flodden to the Corries. Is particularly good on history and minutiae. There's a useful chapter on famous Scottish legal cases and another on literature. Excellent' - Royal Scottish Legion, Feb 2009

'This is the ultimate Scottish reference book' - Waterstones Christmas catalogue, 2008

'This is a fascinating look at the history of Scotland: its languages, politics and great achievements, from its origins in the ancient landmass of Laurentia 400 million years ago, to devolution and Billy Connolly. Edwin Moore has collected a thousand important facts about this beautiful country, covering Scottish history and culture, correcting misconceptions, and examining the mysteries of haggis and bagpipes with insight, warmth and impressive attention to detail' - The Good Book Guide, November 2008

'This is a recipe for revealing how horribly ill informed you are about your country. Although, if you are skillful, you can nod sagely as you read some new fact and mutter 'Ah, yes!' as if recalling the information from your excellent schooling. Where else will you find a real recipe for making haggis from scratch side by side with a potted biography of David Hume; a section of the Declaration of Arbroath and the curiously touching fact that Lulu was only 15 when she had a hit with 'Shout'? The whole thing is of course, silly - but oh so addictive.' - Matthew Perren, i-on Glasgow, December 2008

'. . . well crafted and witty' - Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 October 2008

‘While most of Edwin’s entries are entertaining and scholarly – he writes like a Scottish Bill Bryson – it is when he takes an interest in the backwaters of history, the details lost down the back of the sofa, that he is at his best’ – Jack McKeown, The Courier, 27 October 2008

'History, it is said, is written by the victors. Trivia, meanwhile, is written by the guys with the smeared spectacles and the breathable rainwear. The first discipline is linear and causal; to quote from Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, history is “just one f****** thing after another”. Things look different, though, when viewed through the prism of trivia. The past is reduced to one big coleslaw of fascinating facts that in their randomness tell a more mixed-up tale entirely.
The first approach leads to big, frowning books by the likes of Tom Devine and Michael Fry. The latter results in small, cheerful books such as Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin Moore’s valiant attempt to navigate the more trivial contours of enlightenment and clearances, crown and parliament, dirt and deity.
Moore proceeds from a sincere and controversial first principle: Scotland is really a rather pleasant and interesting place. . .As a work of popular scholarship, though, it’s in a different league to the Scottish novelty titles that get stocked next to the bookstore tills as potential impulse purchases, those little handbooks of parliamo Caledonia and regional braggadocio, such as Weegies vs Edinbuggers.' - Allan Brown The Sunday Times, 21 September 2008

'In his book, Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin celebrates all that sets us Scots as a race apart - our language, law, flora, food, and of course, our people. From our poets, architects and inventors, to our artists, entertainers and fighters. But he doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of our history. . .' - Robert Wight, Sunday Post, 14 September 2008

‘We think we know all about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Union of the Crowms. However, according to Edwin Moore, author of , Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, we’re still in the dark about many aspects of our history and culture. . . The Big Issue looks at 20 of the most astonishing examples of secret Scotland.’ – The Big Issue, 18-24 September 2008

'What's the connection between Homer Simpson and Larbert, and why are generations of lawyers grateful to a Paisley snail? Need to know more? Author Edwin Moore has gathered 1000 facts like these about Scotland in a quirky new book. Brian Swanson selects a few favourites. . .' - Scottish Daily Express, 13 September 2008

'The palm for Christmas-stocking books seems to have passed recently to popular science, with best selling titles every year such as Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? This year there has been a gallant attempt at a historical fight back. Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know(Atlantic Books, £12.99) asks (and answers) such post-turkey questions as ‘How many kings of Scotland died in their beds?’, ‘Who on earth decided that the Declaration of Arbroath was the cornerstone of modern democracy?’ or ‘Why is iron brew spelled Irn-Bru?’ Mark Mazower,History Today; The Best of History in 2008, December 2008

'A real treat for the serendipitous Scotophile' - Reginald Hill

FROM THE INTERWEB (on the new paperback edition)
Book of the Month, May 2010
'Whether it's Scottish lochs or Enlightenment philosophers, the facts of the devolution referendums or the mysteries of Irn-Bru, myths will be debunked and truths revealed in this light-hearted but rigorous overview of Scottish history and culture.'

Also available for download on Amazon's e-book store is my 100 Brief Encounters (only £3.06!)

Here are some reviews of the print edition (published by  Chambers in 2007) -

Edwin Moore's quirky collection of a hundred encounters between (mostly) important historical figures is a gem of a book. Where else could you get concise enlightening accounts of Henry VIII wrestling with Francis I, Geronimo surrendering to General Miles, Ernest Hemingway presenting Fidle Castro with a fishing trophy or (as seen on the books cover) a baby faced Bill Clinton shaking hands with John F Kennedy. A marvelous 'little window on human history. ' - Dominic Kennerk, Waterstone's Product Planning and Promotions Co-ordinator (From the Waterstone's 'We Recommend' list for 2008)

Witty, light and packed with information -- The Sunday Herald

In 1936, in the wake of winning a clutch of gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, the great athlete Jesse Owens was snubbed by an imperious leader, on racial grounds. Popular belief would have it that the leader was Hitler, who is said to have stormed off, furious to see a black man beating European athletes. In fact the man in question was President Roosevelt, who worried that paying attention to Owens' triumphs might be a vote loser. Although Owens and the German Chancellor never talked, Owens claimed that Hitler greeted him with an enthusiastic wave. Such near-misses, shakings of hands and ships-in-the-night meetings are the subject of Brief Encounters – Meetings between mostly remarkable people, a likeable new book by Edwin Moore (Chambers £7.99). Flicking through the index, you will find some expected encounters (Dante stares at Beatrice, Corday stabs Marat, The Beatles strum along to a Charlie Rich record round at Elvis's house), and the book's intriguing and memorable cover shows a baby-faced Bill Clinton manfully gripping the hand of JFK. But Moore has navigated past some of the more obvious collisions, collusions and confrontations of history (there is no Dr Livingstone, I presume) and much of the book's pleasure derives from lesser known incidents.

Inevitably, some of the accounts of earlier meetings are somewhat sketchy but Moore offers some piquant speculation, laced with humour (the book is tagged Reference / Humour, rather than History and this feels right, but the book, though wry and opinionated, never stoops to wackiness). I was intrigued to discover that, though Attila the Hun did die on his wedding night, it was not in drunken and lecherous debauchery, as his enemies maintained, but supposedly because he was generally a simple and clean-living man who had a few too many which brought on a particularly bad nosebleed.

Moore's book is full of such tales – it would be wrong of me to steal the tastiest morsels of his research and pepper this article with them, but look out for a subsidiary reason for the Gunpowder Plot (too many dour and powerful Scots in Parliament); a great meeting of great beards, as Castro wins the Hemingway prize for sea-fishing; Dali bringing a skeptical Freud round to the art of the surrealists; Buffalo Bill's wife claiming an aged Queen Victoria had propositioned him; Oscar Wilde getting a kiss from Walt Whitman, while Walter Scott was more taken with Burns's charismatic eyes. This is an enjoyable and vigorous rattle through some fascinating and believable yarns. My only quibble is that it's a little on the short side – let's have Volume 2 please Chambers! - Roddy Lumsden, www.Books from 


  1. Hi. I used to live in Colebrooke Place....In fact my family lived there from 1928 onwards. I lived in the ground floor flat for 18 years and loved the area, so I was sad to see it go. Thanks for sharing these photos.

    1. Hi, will do an addendum - the tree, home to so many small animals over the years, came down yesterday alas, the boundary wall has gone also. As well as Martha Wardrop mentioned above, councillors Ken Andrew and Pauline McKeever have been very supportive.