Wednesday, 25 February 2009

LAST LOOK AT THE OLD WELLGATE

Better get yer hankies oot...
This photo taken from the Wellgate steps in the early 70's shows the street empty because most of the shops were being boarded up in readiness for imminent demolition. Shortly after, the whole Wellgate area was cordoned off to make way for the bulldozers and so to the street's final farewell.
For reference purposes, here's the complete list of shops & businesses that were in the street in 1970. Starting from the Cowgate corner and going up on the right towards the steps :-
J.LAWRIE costumiers - BOOTS chemist - JW WHYTE spirit merchant - A.MASSEY grocers - HUNTER household store - BRITISH RELAY tv's - WATT'S music - MENZIES & SONS outfitters - CALEDONIAN TAILORS - KEN'S BAZAAR - DUDLEY'S OF DUNDEE - BANKS fruiterer - MINIT HEEL BAR - FASHION BARGAIN CENTRE - S.C.W.S furnishing - BETTY WHITE fruiterer - JS YOUNG fish merchant - HENDERSON furniture - AG KIDD baker - HENDERSON furniture - and WEST RIDING WALLPAPER.
We reach the steps here and so back down the street we go with the shops on the right :-
SMITH billiard saloon - OLGA'S hairdresser - McRAE baby linen - CHRISTIE tobacconist - CALEDONIAN TAILORS - PIGGOT butcher - ALEX SMITH furniture - CHAS STEPHEN drugstore - DISCOUNT STORE - HOUSE OF HEARING - FORESTER ARMS BAR - AMUSEMENT ARCADE - MORGAN'S STORE - LYALL grocer - RADIO RENTALS tv's - GRAFTON SPORTSWEAR - MALONE shoe repair - NELSON CREAM ICE CO confectioner - WELLGATE SNACK BAR - GREENLEES bootmaker - THOW BROS stampcutters - and CLAUDE ALEXANDER tailors. Bringing us back down to Panmure Street corner.
In contrast to the empty street in the photo, below is a short film clip of how the Wellgate looked when in full hustle & bustle mode a few years earlier.

video

22 comments:

  1. BETTY WHITE fruiterer was also a fishmonger. Reason I remember is because my older sister worked in there when I was at primary school. I still remember waiting outside for her near hear lunch hour to get my pocket from her. First stop was the arcade down the opposite side if the Wellgate followed by either Brian Sheriff or the Toy Shop in Whitehall Crescent. Then up to the football if my team were playing at home that day.

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  2. I remember the music shop, although I would never have remembered the name. I bought Dark Side of the Moon there and one single, Jo Jo Gunne - Run Run Run. Also I have a vague memory of the amusement arcade, weren't there bumper cars (dodgems) upstairs? Maybe I'm confused. I also remember walking towards the steps on the left hand side right at the top we used to get these square looking Adidas football bags for school.

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  3. there were mini dodgems yes, and a dalek which spun aroung as you sat in it while it screeched "exterminate ! exterminate" :-)

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  4. I remember the Dalek and the mini dodgems.Its funny how a memory can remain hidden all these years ,then someone sparks it off again.

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  5. My father had a barbers in Charles St , off the old Wellgate . Too young to remember sadly .

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  6. I remember the arcade upstairs with the dalek and dodgems. Its the only part of the old wellgate I can remember. Whats really getting to me is how good Dundee actually looked back then, proper, a town with real history. Who took the heart and soul out of Dundee?

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  7. I vividly remember the Dalek...it was either blue and the place had red walls or the Dalek was red with blue walls.
    Actually, am a bit vague about the colours but do remember it was a steamy place. Ventilation probably wasn't a priority!

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  8. I was delighted to see more Wellgate photos - I left my memories of this street in a post on some earlier pictures, but was very pleased to be reminded of the name of the bar on the right on the way up (Whyte's....of course). I don't know why Wellgate seems to sum up Dundee in the late 60s/early 70s, but it does for me.

    Thanks again for a very entertaining site. Interesting to see how embarrassingly bad Southampton were in the Peter Lorimer clip. I'm now 59 but I reckon I could move more quickly than some of the Soton players did.

    David C.

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  9. I lived as a child in Morrisons Court just down from the Steps. My grandparents and parents lived in the same street which backed on to McGills. My most happiest memories are on Morrisons Court. I remember all the shops on the Wellgate but my favourite was Jones' tobacconist. I used to get a penny and run there to spend it or go to the arcade to have a go on the dalek or dodgems. My grandparents were forced to leave because of the new shopping centre and were moved to Menzieshill but I know they always missed the Wellgate and all their friends.

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    1. I lived in Morrisons Court too till 1962 when my family left for Edinburgh when I was 8 years old.

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    2. My uncles lived there, I loved going to visit them.

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  10. I drove Betty Whites lorry and used to deliver the fruit and fish to Betty Whites in the wellgate.
    What was your sisters name?

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    1. You will remember Forbes White then wearing his white coat and hat with a pencil in his ear then?

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  11. the street at the back of mcgills was baltic street.
    remeber whytes bar, the best pint i ever had, jeffries heavy i think it was called. a fight broke out in the street one night at closing time, claude alexanders windie got smashed and the fight stopped as everybody grabbed sarks, suits jackets etc.

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  12. I used to love the mini dodgems upstairs. They cost an old sixpence as I recall putting the coin into a little slot on the front of the dodgems to get them going.

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  13. The discount store mentioned on the old wellgate shops info page was KM.PRODUCTS,on the right hand side coming down from the steps. They also owned a 2nd shop in the wellgate called KEN'S BAZAAR on the left hand side coming down from the steps.
    I worked there in the 60's and early 70's.They were very busy shops and sold everything from toothpaste to furniture.

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  14. Many happy memories around the Auld Wellgate..I can remember there was steel rings still attached to some of the steps, I presume they were used for to tie the horses many years before. One funny thing sticks there, was my mum gave me money ( that was rare ) to go to the asian clothes shop to buy a school shirt.....I ended up buying one that would have fitted someone ten times my size...my mum was not impressed and I still had to wear it.

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  15. I lived at 39 The Wellgate with my mother and sister during the 40's My grandparents lived in Charles St. I played pinner in Piggots Pend. My cousin Winny Burns worked in Drydens at the top of the steps, my mother worked in the OK BAR if anyone remembers. Great and sad times.

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  16. I remember the wheel with a tyre on it you had to drive into and it spun rooned ..happy days

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  17. I remember at the bottom of hilltown somebody selling bags of whelks and duls similar to seaweed back in the 50s

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  18. Hi, does anyone know what Ken's Bazaar was?

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  19. I worked on Saturdays in wilsons restaurant near the foot of the old wellgate opposite whytes bar.i was still at school and got paid 15 shillings which seemed a lot at the time.i worked from 1965 till 1968 when I left school.seems like a different world now. the street was always bustling and all the alleyways that ran off the wellgate gave it a mysterious atmosphere especially at night.

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