What we now call the Pagoda Building was originally designed and built as a tennis pavilion in King George V Park in Bearsden and it is a child of the 1970’s. The original architect is unknown, but it is literally a four-square solid structure that has incredibly survived 25 years of dereliction after tennis fell out of favour or perhaps lack of insulation caused too many burst pipes. In any case we inherited a building inhabited by pigeons and with rain coming in through holes in the roof. The building is externally square and symmetrical with a square pyramidical roof into which the original maze like layout of bare brick walls for changing rooms, showers, w.c’s, and public toilets, did not fit comfortably.
We have stripped out all the unnecessary walls to only leave the symmetrical wall layout necessary to support the sturdy roof structure, and we have filled in original doorways with reclaimed bricks from the building while creating new, larger, internal openings to line up with the symmetrical external windows. We have also enlarged two central windows on to the park which were originally high-level slits. The new windows and the new internal openings line up with the main door plus adjacent full height windows on the other side creating a transformational internal daylight provision and safety inter-vision between workshops and social areas of the building.
The building now has an internal “H” layout of original brick walls with its central pier to support the central kingpost of the pyramid pagoda roof. This has created three equal zones across the building. The entrance zone is the fully accessible social area with kitchen, seats, and tables where all comers can have a cup of tea and socialise; the rear zone with windows on to the park is the main workshop with woodwork and metalwork facilities; the central zone is split into the two areas of the “H”, on one side are two accessible toilets & cloaks, while on the other side is a multipurpose area which currently mostly accommodates our model rail layout. The workshops can be secured from the entrance/social/meeting area and toilets to allow for use by other local organisations/groups if required.
We love the original building whose generous roof overhang allows us shelter from rain and the opportunity to work outside at most times. We have only kept two sides of the building in our compound leaving the other two sides free for public use to shelter under the eaves from the rain and perhaps watch football etc. in the dry (and we have had no problem with vandalism by the way).
Supporting StatementWe are very proud of our Men's Shed firstly because we rebuilt it doing most of the work ourselves.
We think that the original architect, whoever he was, would be very proud of what has become of his building.
Here is a quote from Scottish Men’s Shed Association:-
This Men's Shed is situated in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Truly inspirational what collectively this group have voluntarily accomplished in just over 6 months with the help of wonderful donations from their community to make it a completely modernised and equipped social place for men to gather. Drop in for a chat and a cuppa at The Pagoda, King George V Park, Borland Road, G61 2NE, - Facebook: Milngavie and Bearsden Men's Shed for up to date information.
We also provide an invaluable social welfare provision primarily for retired men who might find themselves isolated and lonely perhaps because they miss their work environment or for example because their partner has sadly passed away or perhaps because their partner is sadly succumbing to one of the age related degenerative diseases to which we are all prone.
All we do is talk over a cup of tea to anyone who comes in.
‘A’ is 87 and lived with his wife who suffers from dementia. He was main carer and was stressed and suffered sleep deprivation. He was allocated a carer for a two hour slot once a week to allow him to leave the house and have a break. He discovered the Milngavie and Bearsden Men’s Shed and dropped in and became a member. During his short visits he re-established former friendships and became revitalised - so much so that his family expressed that “the shed has saved his life.”
His wife was subsequently moved to a care home and ’A’ regularly visits her. This is a distressing time for him as his wife is usually distressed when his visit ends. While he enjoys the support of his family, he also has support of his friends in the “shed” especially when he is upset.
‘B’ is 86 and lives alone since the recent death of his wife. He was isolated at home and didn’t like the flat where he had moved at the request of his late wife. He found and joined the Milngavie and Bearsden Men’s Shed. At the shed he met ‘A’ who had been a golf partner many years earlier. ‘B’ enjoys good health and is very active in the “shed” and actively assists with community projects. He thoroughly enjoys his visits to the shed and regularly meets ‘A’ outside the shed and they assist each other when conducting personal business. He has become revitalised and decided to move home to a more suitable house. In spite of the stress moving home usually brings, he is really excited by the move and is confident that “shed” members will support him through the transition.