The Big Idea

Tucked down at the end of the Ardeer peninsula, the Big Idea Centre was an interactive museum – a Milennium Project, it had capital funding for construction but no ongoing support and was expected to make all it’s funding from visitors. That never happened – 120,000 visitors in the first year, 50,000 in the second were never going to keep the place running, and the much larger Glasgow Science Centre killed it off – it’s been closed since 2003.

Big Idea Centre (by Ben Cooper)

I first went for a look at the beginning of January – it’s not an easy place to get to, you have to skirt past several miles of live explosive factory. There’s a footbridge which connects the centre to the mainland which visitors would have used for much easier access, but it’s been left open to allow shipping through.

Inventor's Bridge (by Ben Cooper)

I used all my most l33t ninja skills, even crawling through the ventilation shafts running far under the building, but there was no way in – and the happy blinking red lights of the alarm system meant that that wasn’t going to be a good idea anyway. So I took some external shots and left.

Not such a Big Idea (by Ben Cooper)

I’m not sure why I went back yesterday – perhaps a vague thought that I had missed something. Skirting the explosives factory and walking up to the centre, I turned the corner to almost walk into a big black Landrover. Oh oh. Well, I was there anyhow – no harm in asking. Walked up to the office door and knocked – and a big husky appeared on the other side of the glass and started barking madly. Double uh oh. Then his owner appeared. I explained myself, and asked if there was any chance of taking a few pictures inside the main building, expecting the usual Health and Safety excuses. “No problem – I’ll just turn off the alarm and put some lights on for you”!

So, obviously, this is a with-permission visit, thanks to the very friendly person in charge. I didn’t have all that much time as he had to go off, but I think I covered the major areas…

Mechanism (by Ben Cooper)

Power (by Ben Cooper)

Waiting for the big show (by Ben Cooper)

Time capsule (by Ben Cooper)

Automatons (by Ben Cooper)

Floating wings (by Ben Cooper)

Cafe decoration (by Ben Cooper)

Shop (by Ben Cooper)

There’s a huge amount on the Nobel factory – loads and loads of old photographs, interactive exhibits, old items and tucked away in a storeroom a really cool model of a Nitroglycerine plant.

Alfred Nobel display (by Ben Cooper)

Theatre (by Ben Cooper)

Nobel theatre (by Ben Cooper)

Learning room 2 (by Ben Cooper)

Learning room (by Ben Cooper)

Speaking to an empty hall (by Ben Cooper)

Nitroglycerin model (by Ben Cooper)

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