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The Alexander Thomson Society

January 5th, 2018 No comments

The Strathbungo Society agreed last year to affiliated to the Alexander Thomson Society  and, for those who are interested, there is lots of information in their New Year message about what they do.  “The renowned architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson designed 1-10 (Moray Place), and lived at No 1. He did not design any further buildings in Moray Place or the Squares, however, although the Titwood Place and Salisbury Quadrant tenements in Nithsdale Road and Nithsdale Drive were probably built to his design.”  (http://bygone.bungoblog.com)

Happy New Year from The Alexander Thomson Society!

Happy New Year from The Alexander Thomson Society!

Thanks to all who participated in our 2017 events or organised ones of their own. It was unquestionably a special year for the Society.
We had talks from Fiona Sinclair, Professor Dean Hawkes, Gary Paul, Gary Nisbet, Sally White, Mark Baines, Scott Abercrombie and Paul Stallan, to which we had over 850 tickets booked and over 50% sold out. Beyond this, we also delivered a number of talks and guided tours to other Societies across Scotland, and participated in events such as Doors Open Days and the Southside Fringe.

 

Our annual programme of Guided Walks led by Roger Guthrie was expanded this year and proved as successful as always. We owe thanks to SPAB Scotland who partnered with us for a trip to Rothesay, and Friends of the Glasgow Necropolis who ran Thomson specific tours throughout the year. We are also immensely grateful to the owners of Thomson’s residential buildings who opened up their homes over the course of two weekends for the fully booked ‘Get Into Thomson’ tours. Holmwood House and the National Trust for Scotland contributed a plethora of events to our calendar for the year, and continued to deliver the faithful restoration of Thomson’s masterpiece of villa design. Whilst Glasgow City Free Church who worship in Thomson’s St Vincent Street Church held a special memorial service to mark the anniversary of Thomson’s birth.

 

We organised two exhibitions this year, the first a celebration of the entries to our Double Villa Competition in the Lighthouse. The Double Villa competition had over 100 entrants sign up, with registrants from every continent except Antartica. The second was our ‘Lines of Thought’ exhibition, a significant display of original Thomson drawings alongside surveys and interpretations of his works by others. During its seven-week run it was visited by over 11,000 people.

 

Exhibitions of Thomson’s work were also held elsewhere, including Historic Environment Scotland’s exhibition at the Engine Shed and one at Balfron Library organised by the brilliant Balfron Heritage Group. We also held an online exhibition of sorts, with our ongoing ‘Takes on Thomson’ project which drew a vast array of creative reimaginings of Thomson’s work. Featured in this were pieces by Marion Gardyne who exhibited her Thomson inspired artworks at a variety of venues over the year, whilst a contribution is currently in progress by Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw who led Thomson-inspired stencil workshops with Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

 

Thomson was featured on TV and in print throughout the year, but the most significant of these was the fantastic new documentary commissioned by the BBC, clips from which can be seen here.

 

We are hugely indebted to the support of the BBC, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Free Church, National Trust for Scotland, the Glasgow School of Art, GIA, The Mitchell Library, Southside Fringe, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, Glasgow City Heritage Trust, The Lighthouse amongst many many others for their support and in-kind contributions over the course of the last year. But most of all we have the thank our membership for their ongoing commitment to raising the profile of ‘Glasgow’s Master Builder’.

 

Sadly the year ended with the loss of the greatest champion of Greek Thomson’s legacy, Dr Gavin Stamp. Gavin was our founding chairman and a Thomson fanatic. During his tenure with the Society he oversaw the publication of three books on Thomson’s work, the largest retrospective exhibition of his work ever held, and played a major part in campaigns to save his buildings. His passion and enthusiasm converted many to his belief that Thomson was one of Glasgow’s greatest architects, whilst the righteous anger he brought to the lectern and his writings emphasised the need for action to protect his threatened buildings. Gavin put it mildly when he said that upon arriving in Glasgow he noticed that “Thomson was a great architect who needed some help”. Thomson received that and more from Gavin, who, amongst his many accomplishments, was instrumental in organising the purchase of Holmwood House by the National Trust for Scotland, and its protection for future generations. He leaves behind a noble and vital legacy that focused in part on the preservation of the legacies of others. We are immensely grateful that as a Society we were able to benefit from his sharp wit, his brilliant intellect and his tireless commitment for so many years.

 

Looking towards 2018 we hope to build on the renewed momentum of the Society by focussing on delivering new publications, an exhibition of entries to our Takes on Thomson project, and carrying out new research. We hope to improve our website by adding a catalogue of Thomson’s buildings and designs, his lectures, and archive drawings. Whilst we will also continue our ongoing casework, our annual lecture series, and guided walks.

 

To those who are not yet members, please consider joining the Society for only £20 per year (£1.67 per month). Member benefits include copies of our journal, free access to our lectures and early access to tickets for special events. Information on how to join can be found here.

 

Thank you again to all who participated in our 2017 events, and we hope to see you all again in 2018!

Strathbungo Society response to Glasgow City Fire and Rescue Plan

December 1st, 2017 No comments

New Fire and Rescue Plans are being adopted across Scotland and a consultation on Glasgow’s is open until the 10th December (see here for all documents and online response form).   As a member of the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership the Society was consulted and considered the plan at our last meeting.  The response we submitted is pasted below and raises points about the provision of fire stations, access to the back lanes, the implications of the Grenfell fire disaster and fire safety in conservation areas.

The committee is keen to engage in more consultations in future and would welcome any feedback people may have.

Strathbungo Society response to Local Fire and Rescue Plan for the City of Glasgow 

The Strathbungo Society is delighted to have been asked to respond to this plan and more particularly that the Fire and Rescue Service is consulting local communities about the role of the Fire and Rescue Service.

We believe there are many positive proposals to the plan and are particularly pleased to see that the Fire and Rescue Service is keen to join up what it does with other services and make the most of the resources it has.  Two excellent examples of this are the proposals for how the Fire and Rescue Service could assist with responses to cardiac arrest in the city and how, when making fire safety checks, staff could also help people, particularly older people, identify other hazards in the home.  This is sound joined up thinking.

We have four major concerns about the plan.

  1. The Plan says nothing about the provision of fire stations in Glasgow. We are concerned that the success the fire brigade has had in reducing the impact of fires (eg domestic fire safety) and therefore reduction in demand could lead to demands or proposals to reduce the number of fire stations in the name of efficiency.   We accept efficiencies should be considered but from a community perspective, knowing that the fire and rescue service is there – even if never called upon – not just for fires but for major emergencies is one of the foundations for community safety and we do not think that should be reduced in any way.  Far better the fire service extends the way it uses its resources (as in proposals above to extend its role) than to cut them.
  2. The Fire and Rescue service should review how it best services effective access to Strathbungo’s / Glasgow’s narrow streets and lanes. A recent bin fire in the lanes behind Moray Place / Regent Park Square was inaccessible to the fire engine that attended.  More than one car was parked and blocking the entry to the lane from Nithsdale Road.  Luckily the fire was not too far down the lane, so the fire officers were able to run a hose to the blaze and extinguish it.  The incident could have been a far worse.  However, it illustrates two problems; one the public safety issue of vehicles blocking entrances to lanes which could be addressed by council traffic and parking control.  Traffic wardens are rarely seen in the area so making sure the area is on their radar would be a first step. (a matter for the Police?); Secondly the possibility for the Fire Service to consider the use of smaller fire engines / vehicles to allow it to effectively attend via narrow roads and tenement back lanes, of which there are many right across Glasgow and Scotland’s major cities and towns.  This issue is similar to that faced by the City Council’s cleansing services who now provide smaller vehicles to undertake the service rather than much larger vehicles.

 

  1. We are surprised that there is absolutely no mention of the Grenfell Fire and the implications this has for fire safety in the city, particularly when we know there has been extensive survey of buildings which it is reasonable to expect the fire service to take a view on. The commitment in the plan to “Working in partnership to ensure the appropriate provision of fire safety standards are incorporated in new premises under construction or premises undergoing material changes” does NOT go far enough. Some buildings need to be improved whether other material changes are happening or not.   We would like to see the fire service actively developing and arguing for further fire safety measures in a range of buildings across the city and part of this should be the retrofitting of sprinkler systems into tower blocks and public buildings that so far lack them. In addition, this could also usefully include a new policy of paid-for fire safety checks of Airbnb properties, particularly where these are in effect operating as short-term lets and other non-statutory forms of multiple occupation.
  2. How the Fire and Rescue service best promotes fire safety in tenement, terraced and Conservation Areas. We believe the Fire and Rescue Service has an important role to play in finding solutions to how modern fire safety measures can be made compatible with conservation objectives and in traditional tenement and terrace properties.  For example, the requirement for fire doors in some properties has resulted in the removal of fine old wooden doors.   We cannot see why doors cannot be created which meet both fire safety requirements and reflect the character of the original architecture.   Similarly, Victorian houses / flats are poorly insulated by modern standards, and there are risks that in addressing this private and third sector operators may be using unsafe materials / methods (as in Grenfell fire) or else the materials and the way they are used destroy the character of the house.  Therefore, we would like the fire service to consider its role in relation to wider objectives such as ensuring the fire safety of tenements and terraced houses in conservation areas – such as Strathbungo and Pollokshields – and its role in reducing fuel poverty.

Other comments we would make are:

  1. We agree with the analysis that much deliberate fire setting is of rubbish and fly tipping. A contributory factor to this has been the failure of Council refuse services to clear bulk items timeously (or at fixed times) with the result that items can lie on the streets or back lanes for prolonged period, in fact weeks.  A proportion of these are then set alight.   We would request therefore that the fire service adds its voice to local communities in making the case for improved refuse and especially bulk uplift collection.
  2. We also recognise that risks of fire within houses is likely to increase due to the forecast increase in numbers of people with dementia and the numbers of people with dementia living at home and these risks may further increase due to the escalation in mental health problems within society. This causes great concern for relatives and neighbours and we believe the fire service has a key role in developing effective preventive measures and besides sitting on Community Planning Partnerships needs to be at the table for Health and Social Care Partnerships.
  3. We understand the Fire and Rescue service shares our concern about misuse of fireworks. They have highlighted the practical difficulties of a ban on retail sales but seek their agreement in principle to support a community-wide initiative to explore a solution based on legislation and a programme of social interaction to address the causes

 

We welcome the commitment of the Fire and Rescue service to our local area partnerships in Glasgow and believe the issues we have highlighted here provide many good reasons why the Fire and Rescue Service should spend time interfacing with other services and local communities.

Trustees’ Report and Independent Examiner’s Report for 2017

November 21st, 2017 No comments

The Strathbungo Society is a registered charity and has to produce annual reports and financial statements that meet the requirements of the Office of Scottish Charity Regulator.  The Report from Trustees for the year from 1st May 2016 to 30th April 2017 and the Independent Examiner’s Report on the financial statements were approved at the AGM held on 24th October 2017. They can be read or downloaded by clicking the links.

Pollokshields Heritage winter lectures

November 13th, 2017 No comments

PH

The Nithsdale Rd cul de sac – the fourth AGM discussion group

November 1st, 2017 No comments

Sorry folks, failed to get report of the fourth discussion group at AGM out for last week (see Heather’s post 27th).  This group discussed how we might progress the ideas that came out of the Pollokshields charrette or community planning event, subsequent walkabouts for the Nithsdale Rd area (which includes the phone box) and the stall we ran at Bungo in the Back Lanes.  Since then very little has happened but recently we were informed by the Pollokshields Trust  that it has been approved funding in principle to help the local community develop proposals further – good news.

While it was acknowledged that numerous good ideas for improving the area had been collected, the unanimous view was we should develop proposals to redesign the Nithsdale Rd deadend as a whole, with a view to greening it and changing the road layout.   It was felt there was huge potential to improve the street from how it is at present to the benefit of the people who live there, local businesses and the wider local community.    The big idea here was there should be a line of trees down the centre (could be in planters) with parking on either side of this central line around which cars could circulate.  Coupled with this the pavement areas could be improved (eg removal of rubbish bins).

There was support for setting up a steering group to take this forward, with their first task being to consult and involve local residents and businesses in making the street a better place – with support hopefully from the Pollokshields Trust.  While this could include some smaller projects  – some “quick wins” (the phonebox?) would encourage people to get involved – central to this should developing proposals for street redesign.

And two new ideas were suggested, a city tree (see here) to reduce the pollution from Pollokshaws Rd and subterranean rubbish bins as happens in many parts of Europe.

If you are interested in getting involved contact treasurer@strathbungo.co.uk

Constituency boundary review

October 17th, 2017 No comments
Excerpt from Boundaries Commission Review announcement today.  The original proposal was for the SW/SE constituency boundary to go along the railway track and then to swing into into Newlands.  It would have cut Pollokshields Ward into two.  The new boundary is along Pollokshaws Rd and respects existing boundaries.   We will discuss at next Strathbungo Society Committee meeting but the changes appear to have addressed our concerns.
“The Boundary Commission for Scotland published its Revised Proposals for UK Parliament constituencies today, Tuesday 17 October 2017, for an eight-week final public consultation period.  The Review covers all of Scotland except Orkney and Shetland constituency and Na h-Eileanan an lar constituency which are fixed by legislation.
 
The final consultation period allows further comments to be made to the Commission concerning any of its Revised Proposals for constituencies.
 
Comments on the Revised Proposals can be made on our interactive consultation portal, www.bcs2018.org.uk, where you can view the boundaries and name of the constituencies proposed and compare them with the existing constituency boundaries and other boundaries. Comments can also be made by email to bcs@scottishboundaries.gov.uk, or in writing to the address on this letter.  All comments should be submitted no later than 11 December 2017 which is the end of the statutory consultation period, after which the Commission will finalise its recommendations and submit these to the Secretary of State for Scotland in September 2018.
Further information regarding the review is available on our website:
www.bcomm-scotland.independent.gov.uk.”

 

Doors open day – Pollokshields Heritage organised walks 16th/17th September

September 8th, 2017 No comments

Pollokshields Heritage will again be offering three walking tours and two bus tours as their contribution to this year’s Doors Open Days Festival, as follows:-

 

On Saturday 16th September

Pollokshields Heritage Trail One: the Villas

Starting at 11am from Maxwell  Park Station

Walk duration is two hours

 

Saturday 16th September

Pollokshields Heritage Trail Two: the Tenements

Starting at 2pm from Maxwell Park Station

Walk duration is two hours

 

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September

Pollokshields Bus Tour

(Registration from 1.45pm at Maxwell Park Station)

Tours start at 2pm from Maxwell Park Station

Tour duration is two hours

 

Sunday 17th September

Dumbreck & Hazelwood Heritage Walk

Starting at 11.30am from the café at House for An Art Lover

Duration of walk is 60-70 minutes

 

All the above appear in this year’s Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival brochure on pages 37 and 39, at paragraph numbers 9, 33, 34 and 35.

www.glasgowdoorsopendaysfestival.com

Bungo feeder ride to Pedal on Parliament Sunday 23rd April

April 18th, 2017 No comments

Pedal on parliament

This is first time Pedal on Parliament has had a Glasgow event.   Pedal on Parliament is campaigning for improved infrastructure for cycling,  see here for the manifesto

Some cyclists from Strathbungo have arranged to join other cyclists from Waverley Park at 11.45 at Shields Rd/Nithsdale Rd junction and then meet main feeder ride from Pollok Park to join event at Glasgow Green.  On the way we want to take photos and highlight the non-existent links between Strathbungo and the South West cycle path.   Children are welcome – we have allowed lots of time to get to Glasgow Green – and we can walk across junctions before joining the South West cycle path.     We will make arrangements on the day – depending on who turns up and what time they want to leave George Square – for cycling back (though train also possible).  Any questions please contact me Nickkempe1@gmail.com

Planning Application Lebowski’s

March 10th, 2016 1 comment

(posted on behalf of Fiona Mackinnon and some other local residents)

Another year, another planning application for Sammy Dow…or Lebowski’s as it is planned for the future.

People living close by may have got a Neighbour Notification of the plans a month ago but this process was suspended as the wrong plans were uploaded to the Planning website meaning residents were unable to judge the proposals.

The Planning Department has re-issued the notification and the new date for final comments on the full planning permission is Friday 18 March 2016. For the Listed Building Consent plan the date was Wednesday 9 March 2016 (sorry this has been posted after the deadline).

The main proposal is to create a commercial kitchen at the rear of the extension. This means having to have a very low level kitchen venting system which has the potential to be very noisy and to create unpleasant odours from cooking burgers for neighbours. Some residents will know of the problems with the vent from The Bungo installed a few years ago. The Bungo vent is a high level one, so cooking smells are discharged above the roofline (though there is I believe still a problem with noise); these will vent into the back court gardens and near ground level!

There are also issues of overlooking and noise leakage with their desire to replaced solid glass brick light wells with new windows that will overlook homes in Nithsdale Road and Moray Place.

Please take a look at the plans online at the Glasgow City Council website – there are two applications but only one is still open  https://publicaccess.glasgow.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O1KJSBEX0L800

Attached is an objection written by local residents which should offer inspiration if you want to object. You can cut and paste from it or re-write as you like. Make sure that if you want to object, you put the word ‘object’ near the start of your response   69NithsdaleRdObjection2016

The Strathbungo Society will consider this at the meeting on Tuesday

Make your Mark and the Nithsdale area

February 26th, 2016 1 comment

In 2013 Domenico Del Priore’s (ex-owner / developer of Cookie and architect) proposed some ideas for the Nithsdale Road cul de sac which are pertinent to the Make your Mark community planning consultation.      Its not all rhubarb, have a look!   Nithsdale Road – Domenico Del Priore 2013