Friday, 8 July 2011

South Street to Thornwood: an 'X'-Listed' walk in which we encounter the Secret State

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 see the  'Introduction' post  -

An alphabetical list of all posts so far can be found at the end of this post

Today is 27 June and we have just dropped off a van at Arnold Clark's on South St. Our intention  is to link up a section   of our Glasgow ramblings by going up to the top of South St and round to Dumbarton Rd - but things are not going to work out for us.

Nice modern building beside Arnold Clark's

Large South St buildings - we are going to heading up past the BAE systems buildings

South St is beside the Clyde - an old industrial street

looking back at Arnie's - fine service as ever

South St is quite evocative of Terry Gilliam's dystopian fantasy Brazil - and not just in terms of architecture,  as we shall shortly discover

It's a long street this

One of the street's older buildings

We are directly opposite the BAE building of which I have taken a few pics - now we are going to climb these  stairs to a car park. . .

. . .where we find these enchanting dining al fresco benches - perhaps laid out as a cunning trap for tuxedoed Bond villains, foreign agents and industrial spies, for at this moment a voice calls from the street 'Sir! Sir!' What follows is a literal mauvais quart d'heure during which I am 'invited' into BAE reception and 'invited' to delete the pics I have taken.

It's all very polite in the 'polite'  mode of that soldier in an Iraq war movie who says to Arabs:

'Sir! Sir! Could you stand over there with the other ragheads sir!'  I got - as an opening gambit -  'Sir! I'm going to have to confiscate your camera sir!'

I am told by security that the BAE building is a building that has been 'x-listed' by the  Ministry of Defence and that taking photographs of it is strictly forbidden.

This is all news to me. I am  under the impression that there is no law against taking photographs of buildings on a public street. In December 2009 the  Met Commissioner John Yates said quite explicitly that  there were 'no laws to stop people photographing buildings'.
But this is not the place to argue. I delete the pics of the building front and leave.

When I get home I google and in a minute find the building I am not allowed to photograph - at  Wikimedia commons,

NB - as you can see in the background of the above photograph the building has two flags out since the wikimedia pic was taken  - the BAE company flag and the Union Jack. I think Big Eck should be told there is no St Andrew's flag!

The security issue is of course a complete nonsense. Wikimedia Commons has detailed pics (more detailed than I would have taken) of the building and other parts of the BAE site. Also, we live in an age of deep and extensive  satellite surveillance,  and if any foreign power or business competitor wants more detailed pics of the building and its inhabitants there are drones the size of hummingbirds - of dragonflies - that can do the job.

The intention of this blog is to be A Weegie's Google Street View of Glasgow - cycles and rambles through a city changing constantly. Google Earth  has us all mapped out - indeed the spooks  have us all mapped out to the extent that they don't have enough staff to analyse it all. Collecting and analysing  photos of something as specific as BAE plant (and staff) is a dawdle.

There is no danger to BAE or the UK of any kind from an old codger like me taking pics of Glasgow buildings.  Taking me off the street and deleting my pics is part of the 'secret state' mentality in which the enemy is not any of the real enemies -  who cannot be stopped - but we,  the British people. Wikimedia points out that some of the BAE plant looks 'dilapidated' - an accurate perception. BAE's competitors and any interested enemies  of the British state will know this already of course - but BAE doesn't  want us to know it.

So are there 'x-listed' buildings in Britain's city streets and are we - the people - forbidden to photograph them and be ordered to delete any we have taken? As their actions are asserted by BAE to be on the orders of the Ministry of Defence,  we shall ask the Secretary of State for Defence - Liam Fox MP - and copy in my MP Ann McKechin - and I am sure Alex Salmond will also be interested.

UPDATE 5 September 2011
All has been gracefully resolved; see

Now at the top of South St and turning into Burnham Rd (let's not look back down South St - at this moment the safest option is to keep walking)

Here we link up with Welcome to Glasgow 2: the Yoker Rd
which runs from Scotstoun through Yoker to the City Boundary, taking in the Renfrew Ferry and such delightful sights as the pub where our recent City Leader used to buy his cocaine. Another aspect of Glasgow less written about  than it ought to be.

Looking back down Burnham Rd

We are in Dumbarton Rd and will do a flanker on South St for a while. . .
. . .by cutting down Ardsloy Place (nice terraced houses). . .

. . . across Earl St another long street which runs parallel to South St. . .
. . .and we head up past those bins. . .

. . .to find a path which is unmarked on at least one Glasgow A-Z

We are heading this way, eastwards (townwards)

Something about Derry?

I have an idea for BAE: drop the secret squirrel stuff and host a street party for Scotstoun kids. (Consultants are paid vast sums for ideas like this and I'm giving it free.)

Approaching a bridge

Looking down on Balmoral St. Scotstoun's new community centre on the right there - opened a few days ago, June 2011. 

We're going to come off the path here and go down Balmoral St to South St

A narrow wee path at bottom

Good luck to the Centre: See
I wonder if  BAE and other South St employers are providing some aid: a fractional budgetary outlay could reap big social benefits. But big capitalist companies are often not rational never mind compassionate. Gok Wan was here last year during the construction - see

Looking back

Back onto South St

Looking back where we have been

. .  .we are heading townwards

Looks like a transformer standing on top of that high rise

South St goes on a bit from  here heading into Partick but not much in the way  of buildings

Whiteinch Indoor Bowling Club. Last year I was along here and took some pics on a bright sunny day - must dig them out

Now heading back up the way we came

Something demolished - I probably have a pic from last year

We're going to head down Harland St towards Dumbarton Rd

Earl St again looking west. . .

. . .and looking east

Dumbarton Rd looking west

We're heading townwards

Nice looking bike shop

Uh oh - there is some sort of confrontation going on down there involving a cop van

We'll take a body swerve and head down Methil St to that bridge. . .

. . .and leave the Wild Things behind

We're heading right here walking up to that doocot

The sun has come out!

But not for long

Up the steps we go

Scotstoun Boys

A doocot - a place for keeping pigeons (doos)  a dovecot in England. See which says 'Doocots were built well into the 18th century in increasingly decorative forms, then the need for them died out though some continued to be incorporated into farm buildings as ornamental features. However the 20th century saw a revival of doocot construction by pigeon fanciers, and dramatic towers clad in black or green painted corrugated iron can still be found on wasteland near housing estates in Glasgow and Edinburgh.'

There has traditionally been  a great deal of rivalry between urban doocot owners  with dark tales of owners using pigeons  to seduce other pigeons into moving in. Maybe the Ministry of Defence could publish a protocol of accepted behavior - a sort of doos and don'ts.

Cyclist approaching

Back down the way we came up

Henrietta St

I worked as an agency postie along this route back in 2004.  Neighbouring tenement closes along Dumbarton Rd vary dramatically. One close I went into had a huge dog turd on the landing - another had a brothel on the top floor. If you want to know your city, ask a postman.

The police wagon has gone so on we go

Scotstoun St

This is Victoria Park Bowling Club - and not a 2000-year-old Victoria Park

We'll take a wee detour here. .
. . .to see Great Western Auctions, home of Bargain Hunt star Anita Manning
UPDATE 29  September 2011
 I stuck some items in the auction for sale in late August as I kept almost breaking them - not exciting stuff, only fetched coppers. Two members of the staff we spoke to were lovely, but if you plan to stick stuff in yourself, be warned, you may be intercepted by a Basil Fawlty like wee porter who actually walked away from us while I was speaking to him, and has no obvious social or indeed customer skills. If you want to be sure of a family-friendly reception, go to McTear's

Looking back

Shaftesbury Cottages

Shaftesbury  Medical Practice
From the website -
'The practice aims to provide high quality effective health care to all patients in an innovative and progressive environment, through the ongoing development and commitment of all members of the primary health care team.'

An evocative  name for a chippy

Whiteinch Health Practice
The Whiteinch Practice has a rather more blunt approach to patients than the Shaftesbury:
'Remember: You are responsible for your own health and the health of your children. We will give you our professional help and advice. Please act upon it.
We ask that you treat the doctors and practice staff with courtesy and respect.'

Well, quite.

The inscription says 'Saint Paul's Parish Halls built 1908'

The church itself

We take a quick cut up Squire street here. . .

. . .to see this church

Back in Dumbarton Rd - costly properties going up

Whiteinch Cross

Path into Clyde Tunnel

Oh let's go in - can't be as bad as it looks

I've noted elsewhere in this blog that parts of Glasgow seem to belong more to the dark faery  world of Gaiman and Susannah Clarke than they do to more mainstream fictions. .  .

. . .there may be messages here we are not meant to read. . .

People talk of the 'Glasgow Effect', the level of despair in Glasgow that remains when compared with similar cities such as Liverpool. . .

. . .Glswegians are always seen by outsiders as a cheery (if pished) bunch of people but we're not all that merry really.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Yeats - 'The Stolen Child'

I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

A nice cheery mural. For the Whiteinch area see
and for the Centre see
This is also a very useful site for the area -

What's going on in this mural? It could be (a) a 'community art' project done by arty people still in thrall to The Word (that 80s TV show of benighted memory)  who see art as about getting down wid da yoof; (b) a work by  locals. Or maybe (c) a BAE recruiting poster - 'Sir! Sir! Ya dobber!'

For some theorising on this and some good pics  see

Note man in shorts who seemed to appear from  nowhere and was gone as quickly

Community art: one lump or two?

Vote Yes!

I think I can make out 'Scotch Pies'

Contact your local church for details

A popular and well-reviewed restaurant (nice modern art deco styling) -

Clyde Tunnel Control

Notice the hovering spaceship on left. . .

. . .a lamp of course

Something appealling about this entrance - it's a child's lego entrance

Ah - South St comes into view on right

We have to cross at the end of this path. . .

. . .not a pedestrian-friendly part of the city

An optomistic fly post for something in August some year

Now at Thornwood and west Partick

Partick is the next Big Thing - we will post the rest of this walk at some later point. . .

. . .when you will see more of these cute wee dogs

Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is

For previous posts see

Bad Posters
Bellahouston Park
Bellahouston Park 2 : After the Pope is Over
Big Teddy Needs a Home
Botanic Gardens
Bridgeton Cross
Buchanan St 
Buchanan St 2: a Meditation on Donald Dewar
Burrell Collection
Cessnock / Kinning Park
Churches (Working/ Non-Working), Temples Mosques etc
Citizens Theatre
City Centre
Climate Change Demo
Clydebank 1
Clyde River Festival
December 2010: Dusk, Dark and Dawn
Edwin Morgan
Evolving Odeon
Festivals and Fetes
Forth and Clyde Canal 1
Forth and Clyde Canal 2
Gartnavel Hospital: a Winter Walk, February 2011
George Square
Glasgow Cross and Argyle St
Glasgow Green: the 2010 Scottish Junior Run
Glasgow North-West By-election 2009
Glasgow Piping Festival
Glasgow's Sikhs
Gorbals 2
Gorbals 3: Saltmarket to Tradeston
Govan Underground to Ibrox Underground: 40th anniversary of the Ibrox Stadium Disaster
Grow Glasgow
Hampden Park: Dundee United v Ross County Cup Final 15 May 2010
Hidden Gardens: Glasgow Harvest at Tramway
Hillhead / West End
Hunterian Museum
 Kelvinbridge: Adventures in Art - West End Festival 2011
 Kelvinbridge: Adventures in Art Part 2
Kelvinbridge Railway Station: the 'Re-opening'
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Kelvingrove Park
Kelvingrove Park: Sledging
Kelvingrove Park: the Fountain Vandalised
King's Theatre to Glasgow Cathedral: a November Walk
Lobey Dosser day
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Mela 2008
Mela 2010
Paddy's Market: the Last Day
Queen's Cross and Firhill
Red Road Flats
Red Road Flats 2
Red Road Flats 3
Ruchill Park
Save Otago Lane 16 October 2010
St Enoch Centre
Schipka Pass down, and a walk through Barrowland
 Sighthill Stone Circle
Sighthill Summer Solstice 2010
Sighthill Towers Before the Fall
Sighthill Towers After the Fall
Single Parent: Trials of an Extra part 2
Swingergate Day 2: Tommy and Gail Sheridan on Trial
Swingergate Day 11: 'How's He No' Gettin' Drapped Aff?'
Swingergate Day 28: A Large Pinch of Salt
Swingergate Day 37: Andy Coulson doesn't slip up
Swingergate Day 45: Waiting for the Verdict
Swingergate Day 46: the Last Day
Swingergate: Sentenced
Taggart: Trials of an Extra part 1
Tommy Burns Tribute
Alexander Greek Thomson
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 2: the Egyptian Halls Part 1: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 3: the Egyptian Halls Part 2: the Interior
Townhead to Duke St St to George S
Welcome to Glasgow: the Dalmarnock Rd
Welcome to Glasgow 2: the Yoker Rd
Welcome to Glasgow 3: Charing Cross station to Dalmarnock station
Welcome to Glasgow 4: Rutherglen to Gallowgate, Part 1
Welcome to Glasgow 4: Rutherglen to Gallowgate, Part 2
We're Not being paid Enough For This: Trials of an Extra Part 2
West End Festival 2010

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 (see In Memoriam talk 107)

'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.'


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. As mentioned above, see

      for the satisfactory conclusion to the BAE security issue