Thursday 21 Febrary 2013
They rolled out the red carpet tonight at the re-newed Olympia building in Bridgeton to launch Scotland’s first ever Mediatheque.
More than 2500 films and tv shows can now be viewed FREE in a comfortable booth in Bridgeton Library one of the popular facilities within the iconic building.
Among the amazing scenes on film are Jamaica Street in 1901, Ardrossan Sports Gala’s boxing event in the 1920s and Sean Connery telling the story of the revival of Glasgow’s Fairfield shipbuilders in the 1960s. Other treasures are Crystal Spirit showing how writer George Orwell lived on Jura in 1946-48 suffering from tuberculosis and writing ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’.
Said Simon McCallum, Curator of Mediatheques for the British Film Institute (BFI) : ‘This is all about our heritage. There are films here that have, perhaps, been shown only once on tv – like the rare footage of Crystal Spirit.’
Karen Cunningham, Head of Libraries and Cultural Venues for Glasgow Life welcomed the many guests to the launch. She said: ‘It is important to hold events like the launch of Mediatheque in libraries. Libraries are even more relevant today with literature and events – and now film in Bridgeton – interlinked.’
Local resident Grace Donald, who was one of a group of local people actively consulted from the time it was decided to renovate the B listed Olympia building, said: ‘Clyde Gateway has done us proud. What they’ve done for Bridgeton with this and other developments couldn’t be better.’
Clyde Gateway recognised the historic significance and the local importance of the former theatre and cinema dating from 1911. They chose Page\Park Architects to redesign it. Four new floors have been added at the side and are available for commercial renting. The facade and dome have been retained and refurbished. The ground floor is now busy as the local public library and learning centre with a cafe and now the Mediatheque. A boxing authority is expected to take occupation of offices on the first floor in March.
Concierge and security officer Jimmy Pope said it was remarkable the effect the new building had on people. ‘They are positive and proud. It brings back memories of many years ago. And they act like they were 18 all over again and coming into the back seat of the cinema.’
There is even a queue to get into the library: ‘It’s as if we’ve never had a library before!’ said one resident. ‘But the old library was almost just round the corner.’
In an amusing speech, film buff Bailie Liz Cameron said she was: ‘very very proud that the BFI had created Scotland’s first Mediatheque in Bridgeton Library. As Chair of the current Film Festival in Glasgow she added: ‘I love film and want everyone to love and enjoy it. The Mediatheque is a way to give something to the community and create a Hub.’
She forecast that people would be flocking to the Olympia building from all over Glasgow and beyond to see films and tv programmes.
Chris Travers, Director of Marketing, Communications and Audiences for BFI described the Bridgeton Library Mediatheque as: ‘The doorway into the riches of film archives. A kind of Tardis for the family. It is exciting that our screen heritage can be unlocked.’ He said more would come as film archives were digitalised.
Councillor George Redmond, speaking as a Board member of Clyde Gateway, said: ‘In Bridgeton, dreams can come true.’ He instanced several local people who’d gone on to act in leading roles in various films, having been inspired by the films they’d seen at the former cinema at the Olympia. And he led a toast that the Mediatheque would do the same for another generation.
Photographs by Ian Watson
A state-of-the-art library and learning centre opened this week in the £10 million refurbished Olympia building at Bridgeton Cross.
As well as an extensive range of books, newspapers and magazines, the library has 32 PCs, online learning, a community room and a children’s area. It will offer computer courses and reader development programmes. There are also enhanced business resources and a rich collection of local and family history archives. The ground floor library is the first part of the Olympia Building to open to the public. A new boxing gym will be occupied by Amateur Boxing Scotland early next year and office space on the top floor is also available.
First opened in 1911 as a variety theatre, the landmark building later became a popular cinema. In its declining years it was a bingo hall before closing in the 1990s.
Bowing to public pressure, Clyde Gateway bought the red standstone, turretted, premises in 2009. Refurbishment started in 2011 and was completed in October 2012. One of the highlights of the refurbishment was in February this year when the restored original dome was lifted back into place.
Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life said: “Libraries are at the very heart of our communities. New life has been breathed into the Olympia and this library will play a vital role in the life of Bridgeton for generations to come.”
Councillor George Redmond, the Vice-Chair of Clyde Gateway said: “The opening of the library is the latest chapter in what is becoming a thrilling story of the regeneration of the Bridgeton and Dalmarnock communities. There is an incredible transformation across the whole area. This fantastic new library really does have the best of everything and I have no doubt it is going to be very popular with residents of all ages.”
Grace Donald, an 87-year-old lifelong resident of Bridgeton said: “The Olympia has always been very special to me. I spent many a happy night at the cinema with my husband and my children. I was really upset when it closed its doors. That was a very low point in Bridgeton’s history. I never dreamed that I’d ever get back inside the building so it’s a big thrill to see what Clyde Gateway and Glasgow Life have done. I’ve lived here all my life and I know that Bridgeton Cross has never looked better.”
By Colin Mackie
Community spirit was in full strength at the recent fund-raising day at Oatlands Community Resource Centre (OCRC) where local people and visitors alike, enjoyed free entertainment and a variety of stalls. Many thanks to those individuals and businesses who donated prizes to the raffle, including AA Auto Electrics (Fordneuk Street Bridgeton), Cox`s the Butchers (Main Street, Bridgeton), JK Entertainment (Savoy Street, Bridgeton) and others.
The OCRC has been known as the Blue Hut till recently. Now, thanks to the hard work and passion of the new committee and volunteers, the Centre has found a different direction and focus.
The future is, indeed, “onwards and upwards”. A makeover is planned which will include repainting the outside. Residents of all ages will be able to contribute to a mural design that will depict an Oatlands Timeline up to the present day.
Lisa Gillen, from the OCRC ,commented: “I feel that the people are starting to trust again and they are seeing small changes. Hopefully, soon, they will see bigger ones. It won’t work without genuine community involvement and input. That is vital for this wee community to flourish.’
She added: ‘We all want the same things – the things we were promised all those years ago – a shop and a park. The community has been 17 years without a shop. So once again Oatlands is taking a stand.”
Around 35 home owners and tenants invaded Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) headquarters in Trongate on Wednesday 30 March, to complain about shoddy work on their properties.
Said leader of the Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants Association, Sean Clerkin: ‘We are demanding an independent survey of the overcladding and re-roofing work which has been done in the city. We are sending a strong message to all the political parties during this election run-up, that there is a time bomb of ill-health and deteroriating properties because of the sub-standard work carried out.’
Vice Chair of the campaign, Anne Booth said: ‘We elect people to look after us. They are not doing this. When there is a problem they don’t help.’
A spokesman for GHA admitted the organisation was taken by surprise by the sit-in. He commented: ‘To date, we have overclad more than 36,000 homes across the city, making them warmer, drier and more energy-efficient. There have been issues with the work done on only a very small number of these houses. An independent survey carried out by the Building Research Establishment concluded that dampness found in a very small number of homes was caused by heating and ventilation issues and NOT as a result of the overcladding work.’
But the home owners who have been joined by tenants experiencing similar problems said: ‘We have proof of major sub-standard work with little or no proper quality assurance by GHA Ltd. The result is dampness has occurred and cracks have been appearing in properties in Bridgeton, Cardonald, Pollok, Springburn, Helenvale, Summerston, Parkhead, Sandyhills, Maryhill and Parkhouse, among others we have documented. Glasgow is sitting on a potential housing and health time-bomb.’
They claim that an independent specialist technical survey should be carried out to identify the full extent of defective work and remedy the faults ‘before disaster strikes.’
‘It is not being melo-dramatic to say the sub-standard work will increase the spread of bronchitis and asthma,’ said Sean Clerkin. ‘The fabric of buildings will also be damaged. We can foresee many of the properties having to be demolished in a few years’ time.’
A former tenant chair of GHA, Sam Harper, who received an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List for his services to social housing, told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘I am seriously considering sending the honour back because of this and other issues.’
The home owners, who are obliged to have GHA factor their properties, said they had 39 households making defects and dampness complaints in Pollok area alone. They claim that 16 tower blocks have had to be reclad for a second time because of faulty workmanship. ‘That is a large number out of 100 tower blocks in Glasgow,’ said their spokesman. ‘We have identified four areas where this is being done – Parkhead, Helenvale, Townhead and Sandyhills.’
There are 60,000 tenants and 26,000 factored home owners in Glasgow under the jurisdiction of GHA. The authority is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act so preventing indepth research.
Before the Scottish Parliament was dissolved for the election on 5 May, Alex Neil, then Minister for Housing and Communities, met with the Glasgow Home Owners’ Campaign’s elected representatives. But the outcome was a letter saying, essentially, the issue was one for GHA to deal with and not the Housing Minister. ‘This was very disappointing,’ said Anne Booth. ‘Someone needs to take responsibility for the shoddy work and the problems that people are now experiencing.’
Lord Provost, Bob Winter, travelled on transport from the past to preview a vintage vehicle exhibition open to the public on Sunday 10 October in Bridgeton.
He was picked up from the City Chambers by a yellow Leyland Titan PD3, a double decker bus that zigzaged council routes in Glasgow in the 1960s. This took him to Bridgeton Bus Garage in Fordneuk Street G40, where Glasgow’s Vintage Vehicle Trust (GVVT) stores buses, fire engines, trucks and even the frame of an old tram. All are vintage models and no longer in production.
Some vehicles are owned by the Trust, others are the prize possessions of individual members of the 300 strong interest group. Among other things, members restore these vintage vehicles to their original, pristine condition.
A tour of the depot gave the Lord Provost an idea of what will be seen during the one-day exhibition and also the work done to preserve these monuments to both Glasgow and Scotland’s transport history.
Entranced by the display, he said: ‘This certainly brings back happy childhood memories. The Open Day is a great way for the public to view the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust’s collection. It is simply superb! And the exhibition offers a great day out for all the family.’
Douglas Forbes from GVVT said: ‘ Too often the contribution charities like ours makes to communities goes unnoticed. So we decided four years ago to open the doors and let the public see the steps we are taking to conserve the transport which has affected all of us at some point.’
The exhibition will line up many vehicles from Glasgow Corporation Transport and buses from the 1930s to the 1960s from other British companies no longer operating. It will reveal the quality of local engineering with bus bodywork by Albion of Scotstoun on display.
The GVVT also co-ordinated Back on the Road, a project that takes on volunteers who suffer from addiction problems. These volunteers help restore the old vehicles. Iain MacGregor, Trust Chair, said: ‘Vital to the role we play in our local community is the contribution made to the rehabilitation of addicts back into the world of work. There are examples on show of the high quality of work done by these volunteers.’
As well as the exhibition, the public will get the rare chance to take a ride in the Leyland Titan PD3, which will travel from the garage, stopping at George Square en route to the Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour. The Leyland, by the way, is the Ferrari of buses!
The GVVT Exhibition will open its doors at 10am on Sunday 9 October at Bridgeton Bus Garage, Fordneuk Street, Glasgow, G40 3AH.
By Colin Mackie
Though held on Friday 13 August, the Bridgeton Gala Day was a huge success. Lady Luck played her part with plenty of sunshine to go around.
The local community turned out in strength to enjoy the many stalls and free activities on offer and various local services were on hand to share in the experience.
Scottish Thai Boxing Champion Amy Purdie gave a fantastic demonstration of her boxing skills along with other members of the Phoenix Thai Boxing Club.
The day’s proceedings were brought to a close by the traditional Balloon Race, with a prize going to the person whose balloon is reported as reaching the farthest away point on the map.
By Colin Mackie
Sacred Heart Primary School in Bridgeton formally opened their new Literacy Centre set up with a £10,000 ‘Awards for All’ grant from the National Lottery.
Local Councillor George Redmond took great pride in cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the centre and presenting the much-needed cheque. As it was near World Book Day, pupils were dressed in costumes depicting their favourite book characters.
Mrs Liz Gonzalez, Head Teacher, commented: ‘For teachers it’s an educational triumph when a child learns how to read. And for parents, it’s a great feeling of satisfaction when their child reads to them. That’s how a community changes and our children become good citizens and helpful people in the community.’
She added: ‘ We connect with the world through literature and literacy. Through this literacy centre we want to have effective partnership working which will make a difference to the quality of support for our learners. We want our links with the community to enrich our children’s learning and improve their achievements.’
One of the first of many spin-offs from the Literacy Centre is a project involving a selection of pupils and their families, working together with the teachers to create a guide book for visitors to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.
Grant funding totalling £2,195,300 is being given out by the National Lottery’s small grants scheme, Awards for All, to 312 organisations across Scotland. They range from community groups and schools, to charities,sports clubs, arts projects and heritage schemes.
Bridgeton Burns Club is preparing for its 140th year in 2010, reinvigorated by the Homecoming celebrations of 2009.
The many events of the past year, which marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, have fuelled the interest of a younger generation of Scots in the work of the Ayrshire-born Ploughman Poet who died in 1796.
Bridgeton Burns Club, one of the world’s most senior societies dedicated to the work of The Bard, continued its long tradition of community involvement with the announcement of the winners of its annual schools competition.
The event, which takes place on the first Friday of every December, was staged at St Mungo’s Academy in Crownpoint Road and hosted more than 500 young people.
A huge endeavour, the competition is run on a voluntary basis by the directors and past presidents of the club, assisted by independent adjudicators who are responsible for judging the participants.
Several of the competition winners will be invited to perform their pieces at the annual dinner on 25 January, in the Glasgow Marriot Hotel, before 700 members and guests.
The club’s annual concert and prize-giving will take place at Shettleston Halls on Wellshot Road in February.
Reflecting on the Year of Homecoming, Bridgeton Burns Club President John R Steele said: ‘There were a vast number of events put on by various organisations including Burns clubs.
‘Of course, the Robert Burns World Federation had its conference in September in Edinburgh, and that was nice to see that back in Scotland. So, yes, the profile of Robert Burns has been raised.
‘We at the Bridgeton Burns Club have arranged for a new memorial to be erected at Bridgeton Cross,’ John added. ‘It’s part of the redevelopment of the Cross area and the refurbishment of the Umbrella. So, there a memorial going in there, which we have co-sponsored with Clyde Gateway.’
The design of the memorial is still in planning but the work will be carried out by stonemasonry students from Metropolitan College. It is hoped the memorial will be erected in the spring.
The cost of the schools competition and concert now exceeds £18,500 per annum and Bridgeton Burns Club welcome any donation to assist with its work in promoting the life and work of Robert Burns among the school children of the schools of the East End of Glasgow.
Bridgeton Cross Burns Memorial
The future home of Bridgeton Burns Club’s memorial to the Bard at Bridgeton Cross has been undergoing a £1m facelift.
The redevelopment of the Cross and its famed Umbrella started in November and is scheduled to finish in June.
The A-listed octagonal Umbrella and its distinctive clock, which were built in 1875 by George Smith & Co, have been landmarks, a meeting place and shelter from the rain for generations of Eastenders.
The redevelopment project is being managed by Clyde Gateway and includes new street furniture, bus shelters, tree planting, new lighting and improved CCTV.
The area’s looks will also be enhanced by the addition of Caithness stone and granite paving to parts of London Road, James Street and Landressy Street.
The LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW recently asked for people’s memories of the Olympia building in Bridgeton. One of the first epistles to arrive was from ‘Old Chris, Partick’ as he signs himself.
He says: ‘In my parents’ youth, the Olympia was a thriving music hall. The top acts from all over the UK were on stage there. A Glasgow mill girl called Edie Haley was a firm favourite. Much later, she lived in semi-retirement in the flat above the present day Scotia Bar in Stockwell Street.
‘I also enjoyed her theatre appearances in the Metropole which was next door.
‘As a schoolboy in the 1930s, I was in the Olympia. It had not been modernised. Boxes, procenium Arch and the ‘gods’ still remained.
‘The Brigton Umbrella was not always in Glasgow,’ continues Old Chris. ‘It used to be in the Burgh of Calton before becoming a part of the much expanded city.’
He comments that in the old live theatre days of the Olympia, the fruit barrow on the pavement outside was ‘an absolute necessity.’ The apples and oranges were always a bargain and dates were a penny a bag.
DO YOU HAVE MEMORIES OF THE OLYMPIA BUILDING? Send them to email@example.com or write to OLYMPIA, Local News, Yam Publications Ltd, 73 Robertson Street, Glasgow G2 8QD
The recent Learn to Sign week campaign by the British Deaf Association (BDA) once again helped highlight the importance of Deaf Awareness and BSL throughout the UK.
As part of my contribution to the campaign, I decided to take my ‘conver-sign-tion’ talents to pupils of some primary schools in my area.
First on the list were the teachers and pupils at Sacred Heart in Bridgeton, where we all joined together and started off by giving our fingers a ‘wiggling warm-up’.
Then it was off to fingerspell all 26 letters of the alphabet. This great area of the language can help children’s fine motor skills and another handy tip being that your vowels are all on your left hand.
Next port of call was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, as I went along to see the children at Blackfriars Primary, where I was a pupil – way back in 1971.
Fingers at the ready once again, and this time we took a BSL trip around the globe while practising signs for different countries.
Finally, it was just a short trip along the road to St Francis Primary School, and a BSL workout with three different classes who were all eager to soak up the various signs for emotions like, happy, sad, jumping for joy and more. Full marks to all the pupils who got involved, and also many thanks to the teachers who allowed me to come along.
It is just a pity that there is not a regular place for BSL in school curriculums, as presently children are taught Spanish, Italian and French.
promote BSL and maybe bridge the gap between those who can and cannot hear.
For anyone who is interested in learning BSL, visit the website at www.glasgowbsl.co.uk and if any other schools would like a fingerspelling
workout, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, the Sign-now.com team have a new dedicated website called www.sign-videotalk.com, where you can see all the information from inviting friends to checking the support page.
In order to invite friends, you need to click the relevant box on www.sign-videotalk.com or go to the top right of the videotalk page and enter your username and password again for security reasons. It is like a telephone book but with a personal security key. So why not invite friends and start chatting!!
If you know a friend that is already a member of Videotalk, just type their username on the top bar and if your friend is not a member, just send them an invitation using their email address on the bottom bar.
Just remember, if you bought a new mobile, you would need to get your
friend’s mobile number to start chatting it’s the same with Videotalk.
But if you encounter any problems please do not hesitate to contact the team
But most importantly, enjoy Videotalk.
Sign-now.com was co-founded in 2006 by deaf entrepreneurs Andrew Thomson and
Dean Humphreys, who had the desire to remove the barriers that the deaf
community experience when accessing information and services.
In 2008, Sign-now.com welcomed the addition of Caroline Thomson to make the
most of the combined talents.
Caroline, who also manages Online Advocacy Services, is an independent advocacy for the deaf in Scotland and also current technological prowess in web based technology. It was also in that year Andrew Thomson won the 2008 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year.