Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Red Road Flats 4: Doors Open Day

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  -


Today is Sunday, 18 September, 2011. and as it is Doors Open Day - see http://www.doorsopendays.org.uk - we are going to have a look at the Community Flat on  the 23rd floor of 10 Red Road Court.

When built in the early 60s, the two 32-storey blocks  became the highest social housing blocks in  Europe. Read more about the soon-to-be-demolished flats here (don't miss the Pathe news item on their opening) -


For the previous Red Road posts see

Red Road Flats
Red Road Flats 2
Red Road Flats 3

Here we are in Springburn Rd about to turn right for Balornock and the flats

In Petershill Rd

For the hellish poster that used to be here see


A lid with no bin

A big smile while planning your journey from Petershill Rd
Barnhill Station; top of flats  just visible

'A surprising amount to explore'; the other Scotland

Not falling down yet, just a victim of perspective

A milk carton just came out of block on right - doubt if it was aimed at me

The Community Flat is here, in the 23rd floor

Going in

Play area down below

Artwork by an Iranian asylum seeker

'The Search for Home', Flora Alexander

I think it's a lovely piece

See www.multi-story.org

'Multi-story is a collaborative arts programme based in the Red Road housing estate, North Glasgow, Scotland. Set up in 2004, Multi-story collaborators include artists, local residents and community organisations.'

For the fine novel by Alison Irvine - The Road is Red -  in the middle there, see

Back on ground floor

Incongruous looking roller out here

The Spirit of Ecstasy comes to Costcutter

Wonder  if roller came out of that garage - nah

Note Celtic  strip in window. Later on today Celtic will lose 4-2 to Rangers

Empty playground (but see further down)

Now emerged into Red Road. . .

. . .taking a look at the Alive and Kicking Project building. See http://springburn.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/group-is-alive-and-kicking-to-scoop-queens-award.html

Now back at flats

This is the Red Road play area we saw from the flat above

Something absurdly touching abut this isolated 'boing' thingy; as if Zebedee has become detached somehow

`The sun has come out so we have popped up to the flat to take some more pics

The road we came in - Petershill Rd meets Red Road

Copy of the original plan


The Incident Book

The book  Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius  has a section on the Red Road flats and was reviewed by  Andrew O'Hagan  in the Independent -

'The book's authors, Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius, claim that there was no widespread repudiation of the high flats in Glasgow in the Seventies; what they mean is that the Corporation continued to build them in the face of glaring problems. In Red Road, gangs such as the 'Young Mental Swed-Heads' set fire to stairwells, sprayed front doors and went joyriding on top of the lift, shouting abuse and terrorising old people. They threw everything they could get their hands on out the windows, including tailors' dummies, which caused the women standing below at the bus stop practically to faint in horror. A 12-year-old girl, Frances Murray, fell to her death down a gaping Red Road lift- shaft, and the surrounding shops and pubs were closing or fortifying themselves in the face of serial robberies.'

Social commentators often make glib assertions about the impact of Thatcherism but the onset of social collapse in Glasgow predated the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher.

Blurry pic; the past is often blurry of course

We'll pop up and take a look at the Recreation Centre

There is a (presumably) electrical noise coming from the building. You can hear the strange whining sound here (not just my voice) if this video link works -


Behind are the waters and the wild - and a fairy mound perhaps

Half bottle of something

The Recreation Ground

Jumpers for goalposts

A family in the playground. For many refugee families, these flats have been a haven

Going to head up Red Road

Tron St Mary's Church of Scotland

Hong Kong House

Up there is Broomfield Rd, but we are cutting down Petershill Drive to the back of the flats

Looking back down Red Road

Other sightseers - students I think

We've scarmbled up  a level to the shops now

Heading down Red Road for cycle home

looking down Petershill Rd

Looking back

Families heading back to the flats

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

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


www.Booksfromscotland.com (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. UPDATE 6 OCTOBER 2011

    For a comparison of life among the poor in Kenya and in the Red Road flats see this piece by the Kenyan journalist Kamore Maina in the 6/10 Scotsman


    As so often, the openness of the British police is especially noted.

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