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Scottish Epilepsy Centre commences construction

February 9 2012

Scottish Epilepsy Centre commences construction
Dawn Construction have started on a £6.4m epilepsy centre in Govan for the charity Quarriers – who are vacating their existing Quarriers Village home near Bridge of Weir.

Situated close to the Institute of Neurology at the Southern General Hospital the residential centre, designed by Anderson Bell Christie, will offer assessment, diagnosis and treatment services for those with the condition.

Paul Moore, chief executive of Quarriers, said:  “Our existing centre is coming to the end of its working life. The new Scottish Epilepsy Centre in Govan will be a centre of excellence and enable the charity to be at the forefront of assessment and diagnosis of epilepsy in the UK and further afield.

The centre is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013.

A red sandstone Victorian school designed by Bruce and Hay, just outside the central Govan conservation area, was controversially pulled down to make way for the scheme – despite opposition from within the local Linthouse community.
Local residents had provided GCC with a range of alternate brownfield sites for the development
Local residents had provided GCC with a range of alternate brownfield sites for the development


Neil C
#1 Posted by Neil C on 9 Feb 2012 at 11:55 AM
Brilliant - pull down an attractive traditional building and erect something that looks like it was designed on a Friday afternoon instead. Nice work, everyone.
kevin toner
#2 Posted by kevin toner on 11 Feb 2012 at 14:52 PM
I'm going for the record length!

The proposed centre - on the earmarked school site – is not quite in the last place you’d expect!

It does acknowledge the largely unknown walking (potential cycling) route to the SGH, which is not so obvious for others walking/cycling from town.

What is at stake in the redevelopment is the very strong urban block character of the Linthouse tenement grid!

This particular tenement block is at the heart of this extremely significant residential gridiron. It is surrounded by four residential ‘Drives’, one of which remains a kind of Homezone attempt of the late 1980s viz. Hutton Dr., none of which bear shops. Is this really the place for something national?

Is it also the place for a centre that is gravely not urban enough to preserve the character and appearance of the Govan Conservation Area’s best example or second such example of a block bound by tenements, school, church, presbytery, etc. all at once i.e. in a snapshot showing the slightly later transition into the Edwardian period. I already know the answer to this, but it’s a trick question as the block is not yet part of the Govan CA, although it certainly ought to be.

The CA boundary madly passes the site without wrapping round it! Why? This madness has resulted in the school being lost and threatens the most significant gridiron in the Govan vicinity, i.e. notwithstanding the damage caused by marginalised CDA(?) the post-war tenements at Holmfauldhead Drive - recently worsened by out of character redevelopment; the Clyde Tunnel south approach; inter-war sprawl on the fringe; and a large war damaged gap-site.

There’s enough significance yet in the gridiron as a reminder of the strong urban quality that survives despite this ominous fragility. There was no reason to cause more damage by vexing what’s left.

The CA boundary must be re-appraised immediately unless developer teams can miraculously think through their schemes (?) and work, not clash, with the urban realm.

As the above CA anomaly might remain for some time, the developer team has to ask why incorporate such a non-urban proposal into a rich urban grain; and why a “national centre” should reside deep within a purely residential quarter.

Are trained architects and planners defaulting on their education or simply not influencing or steering development?

The client’s argument that the site is close to the Neurological block at the SGH is both strong and weak. Yes, the site is not as far as Land’s End, but neither is it immediately close either.

In the site’s favour there’s a walking shortcut to the Southern General Hospital’s Neurology Dept, which is half of the 1.5km driving distance i.e. courtesy of an ‘out-of-the-way’ underpass underneath the Clyde Tunnel approaching road, although this won’t be obvious on most maps – type for directions into Google maps “St Kenneth Dr to Langlands Dr” and you’ll see that the underpasses are not recognised.

The shortcut should ultimately be signposted within the great and highly enlightening Elder Park 1885, which Tom McInally once cited as a small “Central Park” [completed earlier in 1873] to inform non locals of the route.

The 1980s bike corridor that replaced Langlands Road at the other end of the park would do well to extend through here should the grid ever lose its significance, which is a very real possibility without the CA protection.

Due to a slight crank in the grid, at the site, the hospital clock tower begins to inform the way-finder, at this point, a very rare visual privilege from this far out apparently, with plenty greenness on the way due to the house gardens; the occasional public green space; and of course the site’s own mature trees!

I’m not convinced though that simply seeing the clock tower in the distance is the best justification in the world for the client’s choice of site – especially if users are going to drive the long way round anyway. At least there’s a choice!

The redevelopment of the primary school – already demolished except for the remnant wall/fence/gates – can play a part in contributing to the urban quality if thought through. This can’t be achieved overnight (or over an afternoon!) at the drawing board.

An imminent car park [best to be masked during the life of the centre] will certainly vex the strong urban quality that yet remains.

There are yet more reasons why the site isn’t right despite the loss of the school having taken place already (as noted below along with a suggestion/solution)! [I’m going to comment on the lost school separately!]

Here goes!

There is a long fringe of healthcare land-use that has historically grown from alongside the Elder Park’s south edge up to the SGH that would better serve as a campus zone for the centre.

These facilities are nearby and located on a main road rather than deep in a [heavily urban] residential zone.

Better still if a site could be accommodated within or around the newly developing hospital grounds of the SGH itself. These sites suit object buildings with car parking – the grid simply doesn’t!

The dominance of healthcare land on this edge has gone from strength to strength even after JJ Burnet’s Elder Cottage Hospital of ca.1903/4 was converted into a care home in 1987. Below is a list of the potential bedfellows on this fringe.

Firstly, the client’s architects Anderson Bell Christie have redeveloped here previously by producing the first object building on this fringe albeit not a medical building although nestled between a health centre and clinic. This was the church/centre that replaced a town hall in a £1 deal with the council. [The former Vogue cinema elevation once faced this diagonally opposite.]

This gives ABC an opportunity to revisit the context they’ve helped to create already. But there’s an even greater opportunity here for the project team: i.e. give Quarriers this site and relocate the church/centre to the school site – after all, an identical programme has flourished at the other end of the school block ever since James Miller’s church scheme was brilliantly enhanced after the wars. This will allow ABC to present something urban enough on the site and would conversely allow them to re-redevelop or convert the existing Victory Church Centre into the National Epilepsy Centre, where the latter ought to be. This would provide an extra route of two to the SGH – definitely a boon because of the traffic clogging that can sometimes occur in any one or more roads, especially given the proximity of Ibrox Stadium...

You can’t take a horse to water though!

Now here’s that 1km long list of easy client bedfellows:

The 1920s Elderpark Clinic (as extended in 2009) ; then the adjacent 1960s CLASP built Health centre complex that links to the Clinic (built on the site of the original Govan High School, which relocated after fire in 1962); then JJ Burnet’s Elder Cottage Hospital; and then an 1927 Arts and Crafts style Nursing Home [which, I think might have been Norman Dick’s first architectural work in his own right prior to or during the dissolution with Burnet, despite this being the style of Burnet’s home at the time.] An actual infirmary surfaced further up on this very same fringe nearer to the SGH by way of Keppie & Henderson’s David Elder Infirmary of 1927 (redeveloped for housing in the 1990s to thereby extending an adjacent low density SSHA 1960s scheme). An associative semidetached cottage and remnant of the very picturesque landscape survive as a reminder of the large infirmary site. A 1960s special school; and the Pirie Park (now Govan High playing grounds and the replacement Elder Park PS – come family learning centre); plus the SSHA scheme and a small tenement block were all that separated this long stretch of healthcare land-use. All these like-minded clients can’t be wrong in their choice of location. It’s very surprising that the client (progressive in such fields for over a century) isn’t already on this fringe in some shape or form!

The large school walling fencing and gates, which were retained, on the site might offer a certain reprieve for the time being. Something extraordinary is now needed to fill the site’s shoes.

Q.B) Are there any points of view on why the boundary has merely snaked around the first line of tenement blocks facing the park? I’m guessing that this has occurred because the study area was mistakenly not projected far enough;

Here is the link to the CAA:

If the horse/s can’t be taken to the water, then only a dog’s breakfast will ensue to vex the integrity of the location’s impressive urbanity!
kevin toner
#3 Posted by kevin toner on 13 Feb 2012 at 14:33 PM
No escape after all...!

Elder Park Primary School (1898-2011), designed capacity 1400 pupils!

I think this school might have had a near miss nearly five decades ago. Does it really matter, now that it’s gone? Possibly yes, to find out more about how planning and the urban context have been shaped; and of course to celebrate and remind ourselves how long robustly built buildings can actually last and function..

The school’s fate was insanely sealed in the end a few months ago by not having Conservation Area and/or Listed Building status.

A perchance survival in the 1960s can possibly be explained.

In the absence of evidence there are several signs (reading between the lines) that point towards the school’s earlier reprieve, although some individuals with inherent knowledge might be able to confirm whether or not any of it bears any substance.

Firstly, one must question how and why the Clyde Tunnel expressway A739 (south section towards the M8) was dramatically swept 25 degrees westward (towards Cardonald) instead of being run straight i.e. into a more perpendicular alignment with the M8 in anticipation of a once envisaged middle ring-road.

The 25deg [1km] crank off of alignment is not immediately noticeable at 1:50,000, but if the ring-road vision was ever to be rekindled while using this opted stretch then the sharp crash-bound S curve would have to be radically improved (especially the straight that’s slightly faceted with the first of the southbound curves) to ease steering.

I’m presuming this was an amendment to avail of the next best traffic option (advantage argued in footnote below!).

Elder Park PS could have been lost had this connection ran presumably to plan, i.e. straight. You can still see on Google-Satellite the original Elder Park PS nicking the side of this axis! The expressway would have had to marginally bend in order to entirely clear the school. A lot more signifies the possible firing line as unfolds below.

Too much of Kennedar Drive was claimed in the presumable CPO of the Holmfauldhead Drive Clearance scheme. The Clachan Drive block had also been perhaps truncated too soon as a further sign.

The Clearance of Holmfauldhead Drive did make sense, i.e. to start the street afresh with new Corp housing – as had followed – planned around the constraint of the S bend, but this shouldn’t have claimed Kennedar Drive so disastrously, therefore again indicating the possible original intention of the clearance scheme: unless perhaps there’d been immense pressure to allocate council tenancies.

The total clearance extents would have been certainly justifiable if a straighter expressway was originally envisaged by the road planners – though the Greater Glasgow Transportation Plan to which this section belongs wasn’t official until 1967 (therefore leaving time for revisions as not all was going to plan as described shortly). The clearance extents remain authentically visible and best seen from Google Earth etc.]

[When I came across the plans of this Corp housing scheme during my cataloguing of the Dean of Guild archives I was taken aback by the date of their execution - the chosen appearance had tracked back by two decades. It wasn’t even a renewed application from the war period as it would have been stamped as such. Perhaps this choice of a more urban model of tenement was compensation for reducing the significance of the Linthouse grid. I call it ‘enhancing the character’ [not the appearance] by heart not by CA Plan! Ten years later though on the opposite side of the Elder Park a very similar grid - with Fairfield School at its heart – was razed, despite the area now being designated to protect remaining tenements. Why be even later at Linthouse (?) Note that the above redeeming war time tenements, were also replaced, in the end, with out-of-character redevelopment recently. How scrambled can a dog’s breakfast get! The council should be casting the boundary further than the park to prevent similar but gradual erosion westward. Surely the intention of the CA is not to protect just the appearance of the park – remembering that its Govan’s “Central Park” and rightly flanked by [Edwardian period] grids of equal calibre and character on both sides.]

There are good photos of the remaining Linthouse tenement blocks here:

Now back to the firing line of the express-way and why it might have veered off so abruptly.

Did the vision of a middle ring-road lose too much steam too soon, whether through politics or through typical development sagas during the planning stage (?) There was certainly one critical saga that might help explain the cranked route.

One must first ultimately know or investigate when the expressway design was actually signed off and built.

The possible saga I refer to was when a major planning incentive was eventually nullified through the curiously sudden redevelopment of a number of the carefully untouched farms that appeared to have been possibly earmarked as part of the near distant 1965 Highway Plan vision:-

The early 1960s SSHA Langlands Road development for instance had done well to draw a line at Mallaig Road and not proceed east of it, thereby leaving around 40 Acres of untouched farms in the firing line.

Equally significant, the scheme’s twin Mountgarrie Road tower blocks in particular were awkwardly skewed off the primary axes of both Mallaig Rd and the perpendicular A8 (which the expressway was to oversail) putting the towers parallel and adjacent to the imposing firing line of a smoothly run middle ring-road all in line with the 1965 Highway Plan illustrations.

What would save the mere Elder Park PS now, with 40 acres of land awaiting an imminent expressway, that’s northbound connection, had thought nothing of barging through such Victorian Heritage as the east end of Victoria Park rather than veering passed it?

Answer: the relocation of the [originally 1.5 Acre] Govan High School!

How could it possibly fit a space 25 times bigger (?)

Govan High School relocated from 1962 to 1969 after fire (as mentioned in my original post) to a location well off the main road and into an almost exact alignment between 2 of its 5 or so served primary schools, Elder Park being one; Drumoyne PS being the other. Drumoyne PS would also have been lost!

Govan HS managed to cast its talons across the entire expanse by positioning the main block at the towers; and by taking entire control of the Pirie Park for mainly playing grounds, with a sports pavilion at its extremity. This large open area straddled the centreline of the Clyde Tunnel axis exactly equidistantly. This accidental move by GHS had effectively sealed any possible route through the vicinity in the nick of time.

And so the motorway and high-rise formula was narrowly missed!

Here’s a 1971 photo showing [at the extreme far right side] one of the towers, where the top of the open expanse is closed by Drumoyne PS:

The notion of a smooth middle ring-road remains very visible on the “Greater Glasgow Transportation Plan 1967” to which the Clyde Tunnel was aptly tangential too. There’s a lot that can be gleaned online, but arguably not enough to arrive at conclusions. A very convenient overlay .KMZ file of the Plan can be downloaded for Google Earth, where you can turn stretches on and off; and another URL will give you the actual contract details for the main as built sections.

[The periodicals will have probably have missed reporting on such happenings, except perhaps those of the MICE Transactions and/or Proceedings. Not being a roads engineer, there’ll be undoubtedly more pointers as to how the city’s motorways have taken shape.]

The veering off of the south-expressway might have dampened the impetus to execute many of the other planned stretches such as Mosspark Boulevard, etc. It’s not immediately obvious looking at the finalised plan as the revision history is not given for each stretch, although some of it is yet being implemented.

Footnote: I say the “next best traffic option” as many advantages have been won: Cardonald has capitalised; the realignment of the SGH entrance off Govan Rd is better serviced despite the original wooded front being lost in order to squeeze the expressway through as per the following image:

[Not entirely off the subject of the UR article, i.e. in respect of the hospital, Note: the superb original Asylum Block at the front, which I’ve been trying to get Historic Scotland to list, to no avail so far! The council are however keen to consider the ensemble as a possible Conservation Area... The second tranche of SGH plans are not due until 2015, but as rumoured, the Asylum block, currently housing Psychology and a baby unit will be razed. HS’s argument for not listing it is that it’s “inferior” to the main block; and that its southerly vista has been partially compromised by the 1970s Neurological block that is to be kept; and thirdly that there may not be original interiors, particularly board rooms etc. However, there actually are such interiors [and evenmore] as I’ve been told recently by an insider... Another saga for another day! The assertion that the Asylum block is architecturally inferior to its bigger brother alongside is an oversight I find extremely weak, offending and endangering. The client will take advantage of the oversights if they are not promptly corrected, going on what’s been lost to date. ]

A final word/paragraph on the tunnel that should also be borne in mind:-

It was originally conceived to keep the navigation free as a preference to an overly high bridge rather than be part of a ring-road per se. It was formed prior to the Glasgow Highway Plan (1965) in 1957/64 and was accessible from Linthouse via the Govan Road (formerly Renfrew Rd) at that time. It was destined naturally to be driven through the available gap between the colossal Stephens and Fairfields shipyards.

Now some final words on the lost primary school:

There was formerly a high spine block housing the original dining and gym facilities, dividing the playground into half - as can be seen on most maps. This was demolished shortly after the new expressway and replacement tenement blocks were formed. There was of course the ubiquitous early/mid 1970s linking toilet block additions to follow naturally; and the new dining hall was incorporated into surplus classroom space. I don’t know the actual design date of these moves as yet, but I trust they had nothing to do with the school being in the aforementioned firing line!

My cataloguing of the Dean of Guild drawings at archives also tells me that Elder Park was one of the very few schools not to require additional classroom blocks throughout its history.

What a loss! And price to pay for being marginally shy of the Conservation Area boundary.

The sophisticated and amazing Victorian moveable classroom partitions as well as hoards of other Victorian fixtures and fittings have hopefully been salvaged for any preserved schools of a similar calibre, if any exist!

The replacement 2011 school [come community facility] merges the vacant Drumoyne and Greenfield schools, and sits at the north of ‘the Pirie’ to fortunately help Govan HS avail of the surplus playing grounds.

To speak a million words, if I’ve not done that already, here is a very apt Aerial view capturing much of what has been said in my two posts:

Have I beaten the length record yet?
kevin toner
#4 Posted by kevin toner on 14 Feb 2012 at 17:41 PM
Last Addendum, for now I’m sure!

This is regarding my previous last post, in respect of the “1960s near-miss” while staying very assumptive! As it appears to be worth gleaning over a little while longer!

I have something to add on the actualised [A739 Expressway] south approach road to the Clyde Tunnel, which appears to have been started not long after completion of the tunnel according to two 1966 online aerial views. These also highlight the completion of the demolitions in advance of the roadwork. There are hoards of aerial views at the Library that can pinpoint the execution dates of the entire stretch. The above view however is enough for me to continue towards an open conclusion.

Firstly, I assumed that the Corporation housing at Kennedar Dr and perhaps all of Holmfauldhead Dr were built in the early 1960s. They were in fact built ca.1939 as a few more online sources indicate.

A local online recollection speaks of a certain degree of demolished Corp housing to make way for the tunnel approach. Merely one of the war time tenements appears to have been demolished for the S-bend, i.e. the north block that was seemingly adjacent to the 1919 substation, which can be seen on the 1939 German aerial (copy) upon close inspection. You can actually see all of the Corp housing sites if you peer close enough. The recollection also cites the existence of a Maxwell Park (the Maxy of course!). This was not fully claimed by the 1939 Corp housing according to the 1966 aerial views and thereby [accidentally] therefore leaving a perfect distance that would suit the curved channelling of the A739, a mere fluke I’m hesitant to say, curiously enough.

[Hadn’t it been for the 1970s HA movement, there might’ve henceforth been even more forced tenement replacements than those that continued well into the war and post-war period. Here’s also a recent photo survey of that [Mannerist] 1919 sub-station worth a look:]

So why did I see early 1960s drawings for Corp housing if they’d already been built. The Kennedar Drive section was definitely completed by ca.1939 according to the German aerial view. Perhaps the batch was for uncertain demolition extents due to the ongoing road planning at the time, hence being left unmarked and confusing – maybe not though. I’ll have to recheck them!

The “Survey report of the city of Glasgow development plan 1st quinquennial review, 1960” had effectively green-lighted the delayed 1945 inner-ring road. I will have to look at this to see if the A739 proposals were considered too. After all, this report was the first sign of roads and CDA planners coming together on such matters, especially in respect of ring-road Vs CDA.

I’ve already mentioned the Highway Plan 1965 and how the subsequent Greater Glasgow Transportation Plan 1967 came to plan further ring-roads. However, without a parallel Development Plan such as the 1960 one to support it, it’s hard to imagine anything radical, i.e. such as the vetting of another ring road.

The concept for additional ring roads first surfaces in the Clyde Valley Regional Plan 1946. This cited the Whiteinch to Linthouse [Clyde Tunnel] link as an entirely independent concept from that of the originally envisaged middle ring road – that’s tunnel had instead been conceived to pass between Breahead and Renfrew. The 1967 Transportation Plan had taken the ring roads concept further, but instead favoured to make the Clyde Tunnel tangential to the planned middle ring-road, despite the impending or eventual kink off axis.

Therefore looking at the tunnel as an almost independent animal given that the Transportation Plan hadn’t arrived until 1967, it’s easy to see how the A8 Shieldhall roundabout/SGH link en-route to Cardonald might have in fact been the actual initial desire line prior to the 1967 Transportation Plan taking shape, i.e. by availing of an existing road and keeping off developable land where possible. The S-bend would corroborate this. It appears that merely two inter-war 4-in-a-blocks were claimed in the rebounding of the S [replaced with 2 up to date Corp cottage-semis!]. But then again this could simply stress the Planning Dept’s reluctance to embrace any further [ring-road] radicalism.

In the run up to the 1967 Plan there might’ve certainly been impetus not to kink the envisaged ring road so much. The latter being a desire line that could not be won in the end perhaps as per my previous post. The incredibly sparing path that was executed definitely indicates a surefooted departure from the 1965 Highway Plan aspects of the evolving 1967 Transportation Plan period, leaving much of the notional middle ring-road in limbo.

The answer as to whether or not the kinked route would have eventually become a second choice might simply reside in the comparing/dating of two developments: i.e. how quickly had the Corp (Education) acquired the remaining farms in Drumoyne – following the fire at GHS – relative to the design history of the anticipated expressway.

Perhaps there were Planning Dept decisions involved in deciding who (between the Highways and Education powers) should finally get to pursue and develop the vacant zone.

To conclude, perhaps the possibility of the school’s earlier threat wasn’t as near a miss as I was first implying.

I can revisit these Corp housing drawings; some periodicals coverage of the A739; etc. to be a little more certain of the timeline of events. However, I probably could ask a planning tutor to save myself the trouble.

Any planners out there with thoughts - please feel free to divulge!
sultan of brooneye
#5 Posted by sultan of brooneye on 14 Feb 2012 at 22:56 PM
Kev. Stop. Writing. No one cares. Or perhaps try your hand on Twitter.
#6 Posted by JB on 15 Feb 2012 at 09:41 AM
Not true. Kevin's posts are always well considered and worth reading. Ironically and frankly yours are not.
#7 Posted by Greggs on 15 Feb 2012 at 11:15 AM
Hands off the sultan, he maybe a tw#t but he is our tw#t
kevin toner
#8 Posted by kevin toner on 16 Feb 2012 at 09:37 AM
Look how close a 1968 section of M8 got to this school (also 1898), listed Grade-A in 1970. Phew, indeed closely shaven!

Courtesy of the brilliant photographic survey on this link, you can also see how it’s formed part of a community before and after the Motorway construction.

However, do look at the Glasgow.kmz file (Google Earth overlay) to see how the Monklands stretch actually touches the corner; and how the inner ring road sweeps around the corner too within 20m, which was all built practically as planned.

Someone else can do this one!

Are there any more schools that have narrowly survived, but not in vain?

ps thanks for the comments, I think more ought to care! Especially as what we consider to be bad and good seems to be itself on a bigger ‘bad to good’ sliding rule, erring towards the bad as time passes...
sultan of brooneye
#9 Posted by sultan of brooneye on 16 Feb 2012 at 10:28 AM
Part of the challenge is to be succinct. If you can't articulate your point in less than 1,000,000 words you'll struggle.....

Furthermore - you can thank me for making your interest in the topic public; not a one of you passed comment in support of Kev until I offered my concise opinion.
kevin toner
#10 Posted by kevin toner on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:12 AM
Theory becomes more definite, i.e. the fire at the original Govan HS possibly making a difference in the course or fate of Linthouse’s partial redevelopment! Though apologies for the discourse!

Firstly, a small anecdote! E. Howard’s ‘Rurisville’ schematic garden city diagram from [incidentally] 1898 has a “Farm for epileptics” zoned with “asylums...” as an outer ward, which is interesting given the SGH Neurological block’s proximity to the former Asylum block, analogically speaking. There’s possibly a more detailed schematic too!

The Rurisville diagram is on the BBC News narrated slideshow of RIBA’s latest exhibition: A Place to call Home... (at 2:18-2:30); or can be seen in K. Frampton’s “Modern Architecture”.

Back to my roads theory! Although I do change my slant slightly having seen the following documents! Basically, I’ve been enjoyably thrown back and forward on piecing it together. Discourse follows below, but can be skipped for the [near] conclusion at the end. What began as purely impulsion has ended in compulsion!

[My impulse started a while ago – having previously stayed in area – prior to referencing a map during the course of the thread to satisfy my hunch.]

I’ve now seen the 1960 Glasgow quinquennial survey report and the preceding Bruce Reports. I’ve also seen the 1965 Highway Plan; the 1964-7 Greater Glasgow Transportation Study, except V3 of vols1-5; and R.Hoden & J Cullen’s “Recent developments in Highway Planning in Glasgow” 1968 (ICE Proceedings). The follow up ICE discussion of 1969 for the latter highlights my previous concerns in respect of the uncertainty of a motorway plan’s evolution, here:

Firstly, I would have put paid to my theory had I looked at the 1960 survey report in isolation!

The location [Fairfield Ward] was not subject to CDA. However, two strategic education maps (current & projected) stressed that both Elder Park PS and Drumoyne PS are to stay. Furthermore, a theoretical secondary School [namely Drumoyne SS] was already earmarked for directly behind its primary school ergo onto a centreline boasting three schools. The projected location for this secondary school was shunted slightly into the position where Govan HS now sits, i.e. next to the planned SSHA tower MKIII blocks (drawn in 1960, the neighbouring lower density SSHA blocks also to the west of Mallaig Rd were drawn in 1957). The slight ‘shunt over’ was projected two years prior to the ‘62 GHS fire, but interestingly it was made in conjunction with another projection that the [very close] Fairfield and Govan high schools much nearer Elder Park would no longer be required on the retention list. The Clyde Tunnel South approach road was also planned to run along Moss Rd, as at present, presumably to accord with the allocation of land for educational use in Drumoyne.

So why not put the theory to bed now, having been at least 2 years out? Because of what the other material signifies...

Further to P. Abercrombie’s Clyde Valley Regional Plan 1946, an Ed. from 1949 shows two developments on a map, which I’d seen via 1960s material!

Firstly, on this there’s an acceptance that the Clyde Tunnel should serve the middle ring road in lieu of having two tunnel s in close proximity – perhaps in recognition of the sheer undertaking of a tunnel and/or the Clyde Nav. Trust’s plans for further KGV dock basins near to the originally anticipated route - although Abercrombie already acknowledged the possibility of such basins in the ’46 Ed.

Secondly, the map demonstrates the first sign of offsetting the south stretch – i.e. along Moss Rd – practically as implemented around two decades later, availing of the aforementioned desire line to connect Cardonald i.e. despite the ‘geometric’ impetus of the earlier city-wide plan by R. Bruce in 1945.

[the Bruce Report had also pursued middle/outer arterial routes, albeit Abercrombie’s routes were full ring-roads in lieu of adjuncts to Gt Western Rd! Curiously however, from the man who was going to redevelop the City Centre, the Bruce Report nominally eased [approx by no more than 5deg] the south stretch at the tunnel in order to miss the school and the Edwardian period tenements on Kennedar Dr, hence proposing to largely raze the adjacent 1939 Corp Tenements instead, possibly in mitigation of accumulative o/o tenement blocks acquisitions whether or not there was a conscience for shielding the school..., i.e. a conscience that certainly manifested itself in time for the 1960 development plan survey report.]

The offset south stretch to the tunnel on Abercrombie’s 1949 Plan eventually took precedence certainly by 1960 in the development plan survey, not without evidence of a compromise between the Bruce and Abercrombie versions during the evolution of the stretch; and a reluctance to fully retreat from Bruce’s version of the south stretch as follows below.

The 1960 revision and final approval to adopt the sudden bending at the mouth of the tunnel by the Corp reads “On the south side of the river the approach to the tunnel has been amended to follow Moss Dr. instead of Langlands Rd and a line on the east side of Holmfauldhead Dr.” The notion of secondary ring-roads also appears to have dwindled [in abeyance] at this point as there was no trace of them on the 1960 maps despite the approval of the city centre inner ring-road.

The plans reveal a trace of the once preferred Holmfauldhead Dr aligned approach, which appears to have remained as a minor route, which wouldn’t have been without its troubles due to the depth of the chasm. The road layouts on this are still fairly notional though at 1:5000 and upwards. The 1939 Corp housing at Holmfauldhead Rd was really secured I argue following Corp planning constraints en-route to the 1965 Highway Plan as below.

[To confirm the theory on the GHS fire being pivitol, I hopelessly attempted yesterday to source the early and mysterious 1960s Dean of Guild batch for this scheme, which [again] I remember seeing during cataloguing work around 2 years ago. I recorded the batch being wrongly addressed and recall it not being marked for demolition as you would expect them to be – they looked like copies or redraws of the 1938 submission, perhaps waiting to be red-lined with demolition extents, which quite possibly were in limbo during the early 1960s. Demolitions appear to have been started to suit the actualised road layout in ca.1964 curiously enough on the year that the new Govan High School Dean of Guild batch of drawings were submitted – so not being able to re-source the Corp housing batch has been a real damper. There are literally thousands of entries for that period, which would demand much re-trawling before finding the rogue – a veritable needle in a haystack!]

Henceforth, from 1960, the highways discipline began to prepare the 1965 Highway Plan and the 1967 GGTS, which begin to recover the notion of secondary ring roads with spokes. The roads team were enfranchised into the Corp, which starts to explain the compromises reached i.e. between the opposing forces of roads and town planning.

What is significant is that the finished ’65 Plan doesn’t have a decided south approach road drawn in spite of having a fully planned north approach road and junction drawn. What is decided in the Plan is the south approach road’s eventual junction with the 1976 Renfrew Motorway [M8/J25] at Cardonald. This might therefore signify that the road [A739 south] was a hot potato - cooling down - over the early 1960s. Initially from 1960/2 there may have been renewed impetus to run straight and thereby swoosh past the 1960 MKIII towers i.e. until the GHS fire in 1962. Afterwards of this up to 1964 there may have been a debate on whether to accept in full the [eventual] layout anticipated by Abercrombie (1949) or to rework it for greater ‘geometry’.

Such matters are cited without examples unfortunately in the above ICE Proceedings discussion of 1969. Well worth a read.

In fact I pinpointed a possible example in my last post. This example is more significant than initially thought... Courtesy of the 1960 survey report, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Martyrs’ Public School was to be kept on the retention list despite being part of a planned CDA zone and also in spite of not being listed until 1970. However, the 1965 Highway Plan revealed that the hard shoulder/embankment to the outermost lane of the motorway was practically half over the School. Furthermore, on the page with the famous artists impression of the Townhead junction it is merely the neighbouring church that’s kept and not the school.

According to the “100 years of Govan High School” publication, James Kernohan, a former pupil was Chief Architect of Educational Buildings during and after the 1960 development plan (from 1958 to 1965) before going on to become the last City Architect (‘72/74) prior to becoming Director of Architecture & Related Services at GDC in 1975. His influence may have been instrumental in helping to steer the 1960 development plan forward so that the schools on the retention list, or schools to be retained as part of a CDA, would not be affected by the developing Highway Plan!

As fellow alumnus of the school, I’m also proud that he was involved in the Education Dept during these particularly progressive years...

The factors that would seem to be against Linthouse were presumably that: 1) there wouldn’t have been the same community activist forces that later saved High Street; 2) the Elder Park vicinity already had two high schools established relatively close and ergo a surplus; 3) like Martyrs PS, the actual Elder Park PS would’ve been able to be eased around, but at the expense of losing the projected secondary school plot near to the MKIII towers and possibly Drumoyne PS.; 5) Linthouse was ironically perhaps disadvantaged by not being an official CDA like Townhead. Again, fortunately there were well considered city wide education maps and retention lists on the 1960 development plan to supplement the CDA strategies.

Perhaps that’s a great deal more to justify my theory. The 1960s Corp housing demolition extents batch of [Dean of Guild] drawings might have given additional evidence.

Popular source material on the A739 approach roads that I haven’t read yet would be page 484 of Billy McCoubrey’s “The Motorway Achievement Vol 3 Building the Network” 2008. The roads contractors are cited in J. Cullen’s “Glasgow Motorways, A History” 2006, but little else on the very elusive expressway. Perhaps some civil engineering journals might shed a light more light. A good thing to see of course would be, once again, the actual revision history of the design drawings if they exist.

The road appears to have been completed by 1972 according to the Mitchell Library’s main collection of aerial photos. The 2 semi/d Corp cottage units [replacing the 2 four-in-a-block units in order to fit the radii] were applied for in 1968. Again, the tenements were demolished by 1966 well after confirmation of the planned relocation of GHS within the very short space of time after the fire.

To wrap up on this very hot topic:

The Scottish Civic Trust is teaming up with Glasgow City Heritage Trust to organise a panel discussion [city talk] shortly. This will be on the subject of whether or not community pressure can make a difference to town planning decisions. I’m sure this will be posted on the events page very shortly. The biggest successes so far presumably would be the unexecuted inner ring-road stretch at High Street and later the Gt Western Rd expressway ‘spoke’.

Don’t all book at once!
kevin toner
#11 Posted by kevin toner on 22 Feb 2012 at 19:19 PM

Just something to pepper the forthcoming civic debate!

One other factor in respect of motorway development, which might have applied to even the 1960s is the political opposition to motorways nationally since the 1930s. The recent decision to complete the final middle stretch of the M8 is perhaps a throwback. There’s perhaps no need for more motorways as long as ports don’t become transhipment ports. That’s also probably the only means of affording such a motorway boom... Calling all economists!

I thought I’d add a national parameter since the civic movement is tending to become more nationally focussed and interactive as endorsed by an increasingly collaborative government. Or is it all talk and no action...

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