Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Moderators: John, Sharon, Fossil, Lucky Poet, crusty_bint, Jazza, dazza

Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:51 pm

I have often wondered why we have the two stone types although when I was a lad, the 'blonde' ones were typically black due to the smoke deposit from coal fires!
I understand from a recent (2009) British Geological Survey for Glasgow that the Blonde stone came from up to 75 quarries in the area prior to the 'red' stone being shipped in from Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire when the railways made this possible. This harder iron based stone was much favoured for public buildings and schools as it stood up well to the air pollution including acid rain which we have been subject to for centuries.
A check of OS sheets from the turn of the 19C shows that the 'blonde' stone was still very much in use then, typically for lower rental flats with outside toilets , single-ends and room and kitchens. These buildings were particularly vulnerable to chemical attack on their outsides and, unfortunately, sand blasting and other methods used in the 70s seem to make the stone deteriorate further.
Coming back to the numerous quarries in and around the city where this stone was extracted,, these must have been filled in (probably by rubbish) and developed over. Maybe a possible source of artifacts from these earlier periods?
John
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby moonbeam » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:31 pm

Bishopbriggs and Braidbar Quarries at Giffnock supplied a lot of stone.
moonbeam
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 449
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:32 am

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby Vinny the Mackem » Fri May 01, 2015 10:37 am

I had always understood that the blonde sandstone was used in earlier built tenements/buildings and the red sandstone started coming in late 19th century/early 20th. I can only assume it was down to cost.
User avatar
Vinny the Mackem
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:11 pm
Location: Glasgow

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:33 pm

Hi Vinny,
yes there was a cost element in that the red stone was more expensive but generally of better quality and more durable but still justified hauling it in by rail from further abroad.
The site 'http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/8052/1/Materials_Characterization_as_published.pdf describes this in much more detail. I do not know which of the many 'blonde' quarries were better than others, but from my limited knowledge of the red ones in Dennistoun I recall one building with many rooms in such a tenement which had bell cables for a servant!

So apart from 'Wally closes' there seems to have been a distinct hierarchy between the types of buildings and the stones used.

The 'Blonde' ones that I referred to were just west of Alexandra Park built about 1900 and demolished in the 50s .

My old primary school 'Alexandra parade was of the red stone and still standing.

John
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby old jock » Thu May 07, 2015 8:46 am

Lots of Blonde sandstone still standing too.

Not doubting what you say about Red Vs Blonde material wise but I live in a blonde sandstone building built around 1860s-70s, so far, so good. Seen lots of Red ones also pulled down, I think a lot of the time its more to do with development needs or the like rather than the quality of these buildings. All of them were massively over engineered, I think its criminal when they pull them down to put up shit with a design life of 30 years, and look awful after 5.

Crosses fingers
User avatar
old jock
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Mon May 11, 2015 9:10 am

old jock wrote:Lots of Blonde sandstone still standing too.

Not doubting what you say about Red Vs Blonde material wise but I live in a blonde sandstone building built around 1860s-70s, so far, so good. Seen lots of Red ones also pulled down, I think a lot of the time its more to do with development needs or the like rather than the quality of these buildings. All of them were massively over engineered, I think its criminal when they pull them down to put up shit with a design life of 30 years, and look awful after 5.

Crosses fingers


Hi Old Jock,
I have only limited knowledge of these old buildings but I can confirm that the ones I described with single-ends, room and kitchens with shared toilets on the half landings and at a density of 400 persons per acre, were not what one would expect to be put forward for continued use.

People I know were decanted to houses in places such as Easterhouse with, at then, modern facilities which are still standing. Multi- storied flats were not so successful but were an attempt to provide for people to stay in the inner city.

The social impact of this was quite brutal but, faced with population growth of about 6% at that time, the process of rehousing and provision for growth left the authorities with little choice.

Did the buildings you refer to have adequate facilities, or was it possible to refurbish to provide these later?

John
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby old jock » Tue May 12, 2015 8:44 am

I hear you John, I'm not saying for a moment that every last one should have been saved far from it.

To think of specifics, well what about where I live when the Uni were expanding and they pulled down houses identical in design to mine and tenement property in the area , which were anything but cramped if you've been into these flats.

Dumbarton Rd got a lot pulled down in the Yoker area not so long ago as I recall, again big spacious tenements, Clydebank too.

Taking it to the apex you have the St Enoch hotel, pulled down because it could not meet fire regulations, or the Charing cross hotel/Post Office too, both for the M8. I'm only scratching the surface the east end was virtually destroyed for the M8 and I remember from being a kid being inside somebody's flat in Parliamentary Rd, nice big properties, its convenient to say the East end was all slums it was not far from it.

The Botanic garage would all have but disappeared if it had not been for a pressure group and that's in the last couple of years.

I'm cynical, but when there is money to be made NOW, long term thinking and planning go out the window, take the money and run, possibly greasing a few palms along the way. Once these buildings are gone, they are gone, nobody will build anything of anywhere near comparable quality now.

I just think the city would have been a better place if at least some of these brave new world schemes had not gone ahead.

I guess we shall have to agree to disagree
User avatar
old jock
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Wed May 13, 2015 3:35 pm

Hi Jock,
it is just different aspects of the same subject - so 'dina fash'.
I worked in the old St Enoch Hotel, or rather the civil engineering offices of BR at that time. It smelled of fart ,( that is sulphuretted hydrogen for the younger ones!) due to the smoke from the locos and our drawings were covered in soot if we did not cover them overnight. Heating was by coke burning stove in the centre of the office but we did have toilets!

What people put up with in the 50th would not be acceptable today- same goes from some of the old houses.

I would be interested to hear of the accommodation and services of some other of these old tenements- I am sure they were not as primitive as the ones that i referred to.

Best regards,
John - (another old jock)
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Wed May 13, 2015 3:35 pm

Hi Jock,
it is just different aspects of the same subject - so 'dina fash'.
I worked in the old St Enoch Hotel, or rather the civil engineering offices of BR at that time. It smelled of fart ,( that is sulphuretted hydrogen for the younger ones!) due to the smoke from the locos and our drawings were covered in soot if we did not cover them overnight. Heating was by coke burning stove in the centre of the office but we did have toilets!

What people put up with in the 50th would not be acceptable today- same goes from some of the old houses.

I would be interested to hear of the accommodation and services of some other of these old tenements- I am sure they were not as primitive as the ones that i referred to.

Best regards,
John - (another old jock)
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby old jock » Thu May 14, 2015 8:35 am

John

I'm not saying a lot of then wouldn't need gutting and completely refurbished, most would, there would also be issues with sealing them properly to meet decent insulation standards to come up to a decent standard of energy efficiency too. Lot of challenges.

What irks me is the fact that these buildings are really solid and look great now air quality in the city has been improved. To generalize look at Edinburgh and how sympathetically they have treated architectural heritage. If Glasgow wasn't so up itself with the knock it down and start again syndrome, iconic buildings for today and all that rubbish, it would have probably been one if not the top place to come and see Victorian buildings.

Instead we have Hadid's shed, and a lot of similarly clad icons, which will not stand the test of time. An example here of what can be done is the Central Hotel, a case that shows it can be made to work if their is a will to do it.

I know cities need to grow and change to suit needs, but I just think Glasgow planners were spectacularly bad at it. It was almost as if heritage was a dirty word. Sometimes when up on the higher points of the city and looking down over it, I get a distinct feeling of Soviet block architecture, most of the brutalist stuff having been put up in the 60s, with the high rises. Yet looking at say Crathay Court, designed by a Glasgow planner, it shows how at least Lo-High rise can look great and sit quite happily among its older Victorian surrounds.

Just old and grumpy, I guess. I wonder if I would have done any better if I had any say in it at the time. Looking back and criticism is easy. But at least now lets stop and preserve what we have? I don't see too much of that going on even now.

John
User avatar
old jock
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:24 pm

Re: Glasgow tenements red stone ot blonde/

Postby jock78 » Tue May 26, 2015 6:28 pm

sandstone and basalt.docx
(432.65 KiB) Downloaded 137 times
Hi John and all,
all of the buildings of of old Glasgow around the High street and Castle Street must have been built using the blond stone as there was none other conveniently available at that time. Buildings such as the College, The Tron gate, Tollbooth, Bishop's Castle,Blackadder's Hospital and in particular, the cathedral in its various stages of rebuilding.
The quarries where the stone came from I would think are lost in time but these must have been as local as possible to the structures. The site of Queen street Station is one which is however, well known but can I suggest that this old sandstone face identified on Wishart Street below The Necropolis as attached could be what remains of the quarry used in building at least the earlier cathedral building and, possibly the Castle?

John
jock78
Second Stripe
Second Stripe
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:59 pm


Return to Hidden Glasgow Projects

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests