Bridgeton pays respect to local heroes

November 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The parade marches to the spot where the names of the VC holders are embedded in the ground.

Even the traffic seemed quieter as a crowd marked a respectful silence at Bridgeton Cross today.

Around 200 people gathered to watch colours being marched to the Cross where memorials to three local Victoria Cross recipients are embedded in the pavement.

A brief service of remembrance was led by Rev Howard Hudson of St Francis in the East and Monsignor Paul Conroy of Sacred Heart Church.  Then poppy wreaths were laid by representatives of The Royal Highland Fusiliers Veterans’ Association, the Highland Light Infantry Veterans’ Association, the Glasgow Highlanders, the Cameronians and local councillors. Bugler John Kewley signalled the Last Post and Reveille the crowd sang a hymn before proceedings were brought to a close by William Penrice with a vote of thanks.

He, along with local residents Henry Fordyce and Jim Thomson campaigned to have a permanent memorial created to pay tribute to the three VCs. ‘The first time we did this was in 2010 and it has grown since then,’ said William Penrice whose daughter Jade also assists the group. ‘We now have schoolchildren from Sacred Heart and Dalmarnock Primary Schools, attending. That’s a good thing for they are learning about the wars the men we are remembering, fought and died in.’

Wreaths were laid to remember the fallen.

While it is a far cry from the time when 1000 men of the 1/7th (Blythswood) Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry marched off from their Battalion Headquarters in nearby Main Street – 400 of them to their death in Gallipoli, France and Flanders in World War One – it is still an emotional moment for those today who remember and pay their respects to all those lost in that conflict and others since then.

Clyde Gateway, which supported the original campaign for permanent memorials for the VC holders, was represented by its Chief Executive Ian Manson and Senior Manager Jim Clark.

Veterans of conflicts today are being looked after by the Shettleston Old Parish Church Veterans’ Club which meets on a Wednesday from 10am till 2pm in the church building at 85 Killin Street, G32 9AH. ‘This Coming Home Centre provides a relaxed and warm place to meet friends, find advice on employment, housing and health matters and have some soup and sandwiches,’ said Tommy Addison, one of the organisers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE Victoria Cross holders see ‘Lest we Forget’ November 11, 2010




Films for free in Bridgeton Library

February 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Thursday 21 Febrary 2013

The red carpet was rolled out by Alex Robertson and James McCreight both actors who brought laughter and a light touch to the evening.

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.’

The community steering group (from left) Lesley Ward, Marjorie McGregor, Grace Donald, John McGregor, Mary Alice McLellan, Owen Stewart, Jimmy Mc Lellan.

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.’

Toasting Bridgeton's Mediatheque: Chris Travers, BFI; Karen Cunningham, Head of Glasgow Libraries; Simon McCallum, Curator, Mediatheques: Bailie Liz Cameron, Chair Glasgow Film Board; Councillor George Redmond, Board member Clyde Gateway.

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.

Simon McCallum at one of the Mediatheque booths in Bridgeton Library.






Thumbs up for new Bridgeton Library

December 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The exterior of the renewed Olympia building.

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.

Part of the library interior.

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 with 87-year-old local resident, Grace Donald and Councillor Archie Graham look at a book of old Glasgow photographs from the Library's collection.

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.”

Story time with some children from London Road Nursery School.





Clyde Gateway host first event at Olympia in Bridgeton

November 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 


The refurbished Olympia building at Bridgeton Cross

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.



A community group visit to the Olympia during Doors Open Day. But you won't need a hard hat on Thursday 15 November!

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.

East End opens up with new roadway running clear

April 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

A vintage bus opened the new roadway on Thursday 26 April 2012. pic by Ian Watson

The £25 million Clyde Gateway (the East End Regeneration Route) opened to traffic on Thursday 26 April 2012. It is a key piece of infrastructure associated with Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the expectation is it will bring jobs and economic advantage to the East End of Glasgow – Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular – by improving accessibility.

The four-lane, 2.6km carriageway links the Oatlands and the M74 junction at Polmadie in the south to the Forge Retail Park in the north. Designed by Gronmij and built through a joint venture between Farrans and I&H Brown, it will give easy access to Celtic Park, where the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will be held, the Commonwealth Arena, Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Athletes’ Village.

This will be a critical route to transport some of the 18,000 athletes and support staff and hundreds of thousands of spectators expected during the Games. Afterwards, the roadway will be a legacy for the benefit of the local community.

Traffic congestion on existing local roads should also ease, especially during peak times. Recent traffic modelling studies have shown that there will be a reduction in traffic across the major east/west arteries crossing road around London Road and Gallowgate and in association with the new M74 link, this will free up road space to allow for additional walking, cycling and bus routes to be put in place.

Phase 1 of the road opened in April 2007 as part of the development of new housing in the Oatlands area and was officially re-named- New Rutherglen Road. Phase 1A followed in April 2010, running from the Polmadie junction of the M74 and Shawfield Stadium. This stretch totals 1.5km.

The Chris Hoy velodrome is in the background. pic by Ian Watson

Phase 2 is the longest section, crossing the Clyde at Rutherglen Bridge and passing Dalmarnock Railway Station, the Commonwealth Arena and Celtic Park before joining the Parkhead by-pass at the Forge Retail Park

Brian Devlin, Executive Director for Land and Environmental Services said: ‘The Clyde Gateway creates a new, direct link between the completed M74 and the heart of Glasgow’s East End. This will offer fantastic new opportunities for people and business either currently living or based in this part of Glasgow or looking to move there. This is part of the wider regeneration of the city.

Neil MacDonald, Chairman of Clyde Gateway Urban Regeneration Company said: ‘The M74 has already shown that new roads play a very important part in businesses choosing where to make crucial investment decisions and there is no doubt that Shawfield and Dalmarnock in particular will benefit from this new piece of infrastructure. Our on-going efforts to attract developers to the East End have been helped immensely by this road opening and I’d like to thank Glasgow City Council for again demonstrating their commitment to the long-term regeneration of the Clyde Gateway area.’

Children on bikes got an early trial run on the new Clyde Gateway road system.

Prior to the formal opening when traffic started flowing, children from four primary schools in the east end were given the chance to try out the newest section of the road.

More than 100 Primary 6 and 7 pupils from St Michael’s, St Anne’s, Dalmarnock and Quarrybrae primary schools cycled around an obstacle course set up on part of the new tarmac running from new Oatlands over Rutherglen Bridge, through Dalmarnock to Gallowgate.

The children experienced, first hand, the road’s new cycling facilities including dedicated cycle lanes and extended footpaths that are provided along the full length of the route.

They also got the chance to brush up on their safety skills with Glasgow City Council road safety officers and Strathclyde Police cyclists and motorcyclists.  Dr Bike offered advice on maintaining bikes and gave practical demonstrations to ensure they were fit for the road.

As well as providing better facilities for cyclists, the new road, funded entirely by the Council, will improve public transport links and accessibility around the East End.

With phase one opened as part of the Oatlands new neighbourhood development last year, phase two of the 2.4km stretch runs over Rutherglen Bridge, continues via Dunn Street, Poplin Street, Dalmarnock Road, Mordaunt Street, London Road and Camlachie to join the existing road network at the Parkhead by-pass, Forge Retail Park.


The facts of building a new motorway are all here. pic by Ian Watson

TheClydeGateway (Phase 2) Facts

1.   More than 35,000tonnes of asphalt used to lay roads, footpaths and cycle ways.

2.  800m of 2.74m diameter tunnel used to alleviate storm water flooding.

3.  More than 250 trees planted and 40,000 sq m of landscaping to the road corridor.

4.  10km of new drainage pipes installed for new roads.

5.  250 new traffic signal heads installed over seven junctions.

6.  330 new lighting columns.

7.  Construction period 2 years (April 2010 to April 2012)




Olympia has its dome back again

March 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The breath-taking moments when the dome was put back in place.

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.

The team position it exactly. PIC by Colin Mackie