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.
The £10m refurbished Olympia at Bridgeton Cross will host its first formal event on Thursday 15 November when Clyde Gateway’s annual public meeting (APM) will be held.
Local residents, in particular, are invited to arrive early – at 6pm – to see an exhibition of Clyde Gateway’s activities including the re-building of the Olympia and have a tour of the building which will open officially soon. The APM starts at 7pm when Neil MacDonald and Ian Manson, Chair and Chief Executive, respectively, of Clyde Gateway will give details of the year and take questions from the audience.
Jim Clark, the Senior Manager for Communications at Clyde Gateway said: “The APM takes on even more significance this year as it is the first opportunity for most people to see inside the new Olympia.’ He emphasised that the invitation was open to everyone, not just local residents or workers. ‘Clyde Gateway people are happy to talk about our efforts to provide employment opportunities and our partnerships with local community groups,” he said.
The ground floor library and cafe are being fitted out and it is anticipated the library will open early in December. Upstairs, the headquarters of Amateur Boxing Scotland are scheduled to move in early next year.
The Olympia is well-connected to the public transport network. It is directly across the road from Bridgeton Station while First Bus Services 18, 43, 46, 64 and 263 go to Bridgeton Cross.
In true Maryhill style, the official opening of the £9.6 million revamped Maryhill Burgh Halls, attracted protesters.
A crowd of local schoolboys, complete with bikes and skateboards, marched into the invitation only evening on Thursday 26 April. And the VIPs arriving had to walk past an array of banners held by determined grannies demanding justice for Kinship Carers.
They, and the official guests, were serenaded in proper Scottish style, by professional piper Chris Waite at the door. He was one of the Jim Jam Ceilidh Band musicians who entertained, later, inside.
The boys told this website reporter earnestly:’We should be allowed in,’ said Rhys McNally (14). ‘It’s discrimination that we are not.’ His pal Mitchell McGowan Ross (13) added: ‘We’re normal people. We deserve the right to go in. The place should be open to the whole public.’ They were politely, but firmly, shown the door by courteous door stewards and trundled back outside.
Choosing to remain outside with their placards and banners were the Kinship Carers. All local women who look after children – usually their own grandchildren – when the parents cannot; they had lobbied earlier in the day outside Glasgow City Chambers. ‘If we fostered a stranger’s child we’d get £300 a week to look after them. Because the children are family, we get £50 a week and none of the important psychological help,’ explained Liz Lynch. In a campaign co-ordinated across Scotland, Kinship Carers met candidates of all parties to demand they sign up for the Kinship Carers’ national manifesto.
It asks for pledges from incoming councillors to:- end the postcode lottery across Scotland for Kinship Care support to ensure that every child had a fair and equal chance.
To:- create a one-stop shop approach to the necessary financial, health, psychological, educational and social work support. ‘Getting any one of these can be a huge struggle for Kinship Carers,’ said supporter Miriam Rose of the Poverty Truth Commission.
To:- recognise the hard job Kinship Carers do and how well they do it and to support them with respite and legal advice among other issues.
Would be councillors were also called on to work with the Kinship Carers when making policy so that funds are used wisely to benefit the children.
On arrival, Lord Provost Bob Winter stood and chatted with them while he put on his chain of office and was happy to pose with them. ‘I saw them earlier today at the City Chambers and support them,’ he said.
The date of 26 April was chosen for the re-opening of the Maryhill Burgh Halls because it was on that date 134 years ago they were originally opened. Already major events have been held in the beautifully re-furbished suites of rooms which include a business centre, a nursery, a cafe a recording studio and exhibition and halls space. Performing the opening this time, was Culture Secretary MSP Fiona Hyslop.
Pride of place in the Halls are original stained glass windows which – uniquely – depict workers in Maryhill in those far off days. They show men working with wood and metal and women working with dyes. Descendants of glass artists Joseph Miller and of the Provost of Maryhill in 1878, were also present at the 2012 opening.
The beauties of the windows and the well-thought-out interior will be available for the public to enjoy on Saturday 28 April from 10am till 4pm. There will be free tours of the buildings, talks, entertainment and samples of what activities will be available, regularly, in the Maryhill Burgh Halls. The boys will be back! And the Kinship Carers might even bring their children too.
Tea for Thought
Date: Wednesday 14 March 2012
Venue: The Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT
Join Curator Yupin Chung for a talk ‘A Cup of Spring Tea’ to explore Burrell’s delicate collection of tea ware, followed by a unique event ‘Chinese Tea Tasting and Poetry Reading’ at the Café. You will have a chance to try Mini Dragon Empire Biscuits specially baked by our chef.
Curator’s Talk | 12.30 pm, FREE, drop in
Tea Tasting | 2.00 – 3.00 pm, FREE, but as places are limited please book in advance by phoning 0141 287 2550
The Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow in association with Glasgow Life and Glasgow Museums.
Wednesday 29 February 2012
Like the icing on the cake – the refurbished dome of the B-listed Olympia at Bridgeton Cross, was placed on top of the landmark building today.
The £10 million make-over of the 101 year old site across from Bridgeton Railway Station – is driven by Clyde Gateway, in close collaboration with local residents.
The wooden cupola measures 10 feet high by 15 feet in circumference and weighs 5 tonnes. It was removed in June of last year for restoration. Much of the original timber has been preserved and some new materials added. A 60ft crane operated by local contractors CCG, lifted the familiar dome into position.
Said local Councillor George Redmond: ‘This is a historic moment for both the East End community and Glasgow as well as being another major landmark of the Clyde Gateway regeneration.’ He added: ‘The feedback from local residents since we started work on the Olympia has been overwhelming. We already knew that this building means a lot to them. However, the interest people have shown throughout the project has exceeded all expectations and helped create a real buzz and added to the sense of pride in the area.’
Bridgeton resident Jimmy McLellan sits on a local community steering group which advises Clyde Gateway. He said: ‘It’s been amazing to see the speed at which the works have progressed. For someone who has lived in the area for so long, the fact that the original dome is being restored and much of the original timber is still a part of it, means a lot. It helps ensure the history of the building is preserved. Now we are all looking forward to work being completed and local people being able to use the new facilities which we believe will be the best of their kind in Glasgow.’
The premises are expected to open this autumn – ahead of schedule. They will comprise a public library and cafe; a high performance centre and the headquarters for the National Governing Body for Amateur Boxing as well as commercial office space to be let.
Built as a theatre in 1911, the building was a cinema for 50 years. It lay derelict for almost two decades and was severely damaged by fire in 2004. Clyde Gateway purchased it and developed its refurbishment in consultation with local residents and business people.
This is part of a 20 year plan by Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company to bring investment into the area and re-vitalise the East End. Part of that plan involves the legacy outcomes from Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. And since boxing is one of the core sports in the Commonwealth Games, and has a rich tradition in Glasgow’s East End, it was appropriate that Amateur Boxing Scotland took an option to relocate their headquarters to the Olympia when it was ready.
A tidal wave of joy swept through Govanhill on Saturday 4 February when film star Peter Mullen formally opened the first phase of the Calder Street baths. Several hundred people turned out to celebrate the occasion which was the justification of an 11 year running battle by the local community to reclaim the shuttered building.
‘United we will swim,’ is their motto. And that dream took the determined residents from the day the listed building was abruptly closed by Glasgow City Council and long term protesters evicted with such force that the angry community rioted in protest to Peter Mullen accepting a golden key from an Edwardian styled swimmer to unlock the front door.
It now leads into the original entrance hallway with various spaces functioning as offices and small meeting rooms. Progressively, the building will be brought into use with the three pools all included in the plan. Many new features are in the offing – including a cafe, an indoor garden and flexible space to use as a cinema or entertainment area.
Long term supporter Piper Craig McFarlane, in his Ancient Hunting McFarlane tartan, was delighted to play for the important opening.
Local resident Michael Rodger got into the swim of things in the tailor made, striped, swim suit. While the crowd assembled, Voicebeat choir entertained with many songs old and new including some of the campaign’s old rallying verses. As ‘Freedom is coming’ wafted around the tiled foyer and ‘This pool is my pool…. it belongs to you and me’ echoed through the new offices, mild concern spread among the organisers as one of the main guests – Glasgow City Councillor Archie Graham, overseer of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, failed to materalise in time.
More songs filled the gap till a harassed and apologetic Councillor arrived having been delayed.
Then everyone went outside to take pictures of Peter Mullen, the Edwardian Swimmer and the other VIPs such as local MSP Nicola Sturgeon who is on the Board of the Govanhill Baths Trust.
Peter Mullan gave a witty speech recollecting his boyhood spent in the pool. ‘If you stayed in too long over your time, the attendant put your towel in the water. So you had to borrow a bit of your pal’s towel to get dry.’
He taught his daughter to swim at the Govanhill Baths. ‘I couldn’t believe it when they were closed. It is amazing you’ve got to this point with phase 1A complete and I congratulate everyone concerned.’
Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said she’d supported the reopening of the Baths ‘even before I was elected.’ She went on: ‘It is my task to say Thank you to the Campaign and a huge thank you to Fatima Uygun and Andrew Johnson who refused to let the pool die. Their tenacity has delivered this amazing opening today.’
While Councillor Archie Graham said he was delighted to be at the event, he said he’d checked there was no water in the pools yet – ‘I was afraid I might be thrown it!’ he joked.
He recollected his boyhood days of walking from Gorbals to the Calder Street Baths – ‘which seemed miles and miles away.’ He emphasised that the Council was about to launch a ‘community assets transfer’ scheme. ‘We cannot provide all the services we once did, because of the massive budget cuts we have to cope with,’ he said. ‘But something like this pool could be transferred to the community and that stands, four-square, with what you have been doing in making this into a Community Health and Wellbeing Centre.’
Ill health prevented Joe McFadyen, superintendent for 20 years at the Baths, from attending the opening.
Said Andrew Johnson who chairs the Community Trust which now runs the place: ‘This is a fantastic and emotional day. We are celebrating 11 years of a long, long journey to get here. But the journey’s only just begun,’ he warned. ‘The second part of the journey is all about funding.’
The next event will be a film premiere on Saturday 25 February in one of the pools which was used as a ‘set’ while the film was being made.