Monday 31 January 2011


69333 was the only taxi service number I knew from memory back in the 70's & 80's.
Even when in an alcoholic stupor, somehow I still managed to remember it, which saved a lot of blurry-eyed fumbling about with phone books in phone boxes!
The card is older than when I started calling up Tele-Taxis mind you, dating from around 1970, when I was still in primary school!


This is policewoman, Sarah Christie, on point duty at the junction of Nethergate & Union Street in the early 60's.
I can remember the police in the 60's directing the traffic at Arbroath Road/Princes Street crossroads and Seagate/Commercial Street junction, so I'm guessing these were occasions when the traffic lights weren't working. Or unless it was before traffic lights were introduced?!!
So just as Sarah brings the traffic to a halt, it's time for me too to put the brakes on the present car topic that's been running the past few days and prepare for a different kind of trip - a journey back in time to the terminus of Dundee's music scene!

Sunday 30 January 2011


Here's a vintage car rally that took place in Broughty Ferry sometime in the 70's.
Not sure if the cars were owned by locals or came from all over the UK, but they seemed to have pulled quite a sizeable crowd.

Saturday 29 January 2011


Just as a wee reminder, I stitched this slide-show together featuring many of the cars that were on the go in the 60's and early 70's.
Being schoolboy age at the time, much of my knowledge on cars from this era was gathered by trying to avoid them all when playing futba in the streets and down at Craigie lock-ups.
I can still name lots of them from memory - Minx, Consul, Herald, Corsair, Imp, Elf, Zephyr.... all of which crop up in the video below along with around 40 others, including the quirky bubble car!
See how many you can name (I don't have a list by the way)!
My neighbour a couple of doors along from me in Kemnay Gardens had a Zephyr and he used to speed into the culdee about 60mph then slam on the brakes to a scary sudden stop. It was like the batmobile zooming into the batcave (they used to speed the film up for that bit)!
When I was around 12 (1970ish) he once took me to a match at Muirton in his Zephyr and drove all the way at 100mph.
Dundee to Perth in 2 minutes!!

Friday 28 January 2011


Another line of period cars, this time along a segment of Lochee High Street in the early 70's.
My attempt to name some may not all be 100% accurate so feel free to correct me (without swearing!) goes...Morris 1100, Humber Sceptre, Austin Maxi, Morris Traveller, 3 Mini's and 2 Vauxhall Viva's..not too sure of the remainder but it's a typical everyday display from this time zone.
I can name the shops though because I have an early 70's directory by my side.
Left to right - Kosto (newsagent) complete with Pola Cola sign above the door - Gall & Co (drapers) - Miss D. Fenton (fish merchant) - D. Webster & Co (butcher) - J. Milne (confectioner) - W. Low (supermarket) - Idea For Living (household accessories) - C. W. Carr (shoe retailer) - Forbes Johnston (chemist) and Alex Munro (butcher) with the canopy.

Thursday 27 January 2011


In contrast to yesterdays empty road along Hawkhill, here's a couple of pictures from the 60's showing a traffic packed High Street and Murraygate.
This was the era of Anglia's, Hillman's, Sunbeam's, Wolseley's and such like, and I'm sure some of you will be able to identify a few retro classics in there.
That's a Zodiac parked outside DM Brown's doorway.
Even the bus is in on it with an advert for SMT, who were Vauxhall and Bedford dealers.
The top picture comes from the "Dundee And Round About" book I featured last year, dated 1964, and even back then they were discussing the pedestrian v traffic battle, with the forecast being a victory for pedestrians!
Underneath it is the Murraygate when it too saw plenty vehicle action.
You can make out a beer lorry delivering fresh barrels to The Old Bank Bar.
Both sides of the street are crammed with cars, and yet the sign at the foot of the lamppost says "No Parking"!!
Click on the images to have a closer look.
Photos by DC Thomson.

Wednesday 26 January 2011


Following on from yesterday's disappearing streets, here's another one that no longer exists - Blackheath Place. This was on Hawkhill between Annfield Road and Ure Street, pretty much opposite Mid Wynd.
The wire fence, bottom left, was a car park area.
In fact, everything in the picture has now gone. The same location doesn't look anything like this now.
A nice touch with the Players No 10 advert though. It's like someone being granted their final request to have a cigarette before being executed!
There's a possibility the photo was taken in the early 80's, but I've settled for late 70's. Bit of a guess.
And no traffic...unlike the items next!

Tuesday 25 January 2011


Last year I posted an image of William Lane looking up the steps to Victoria Road.
Well here's the opposite view, this time from the steps looking down towards King Street.
Everything in the picture has disappeared, with the exception of the building with the roof ladder across the other side of King Street.
The photo was taken by my brother around 1973ish.
The previous item on William Lane is in the November 2010 archive, if you want to have a dip and compare scenes.

Monday 24 January 2011


This concrete piece of 60's abstract public art also doubled as a climbing frame for kids to play on. Not sure if that was the original thinking behind it but it seems like an obvious additional use.
It was the work of Dundee artist, Iain Eadie.
The other thing about the 2 photos is you'd never guess they were taken on Christmas Eve!
There's no sign of any festive decoration at all.
The images were captured on 24th December 1985 by Neale Elder.

Sunday 23 January 2011


Time to close the wardrobe door on another delve into Dundee's past fashions.
So one final aspect of the fashion trade was the essential Dry Cleaners, and here's an advert from 1966 for Dudleys, who not only supplied a same day dry cleaning service but would do your alterations for you too.
There were quite a few Dudleys in town back then - as well as the 3 listed in the ad - Whitehall Crescent, Overgate & Reform Street, they also had premises in Roseangle, Castle Street, Wellgate, Princes Street and up the Cleppie.
I like the Mod girl in the ad with the square earring, but the square with her gives me the creeps!

Saturday 22 January 2011


I used to think that when Mr Beaujangles opened in the Wellgate in the late 70's, they vacated their shop in the Overgate. 
However, as the above ads prove, both stores were on the go at the same time. Not only that, but they had introduced a 3rd shop in Commercial Street by this time too.
Mr Beaujangles had a good run in the 70's, being the fashionable young stud in town, but by 1980 he got himself a lass and they became an item - "Beaujangles" - they done away with the word "Mr" in the title as a consequence of adding a female clothing range to their stores.
Wonder if it's Beau Derek in the ad?!
The 2 ads are dated 1980 & 81.
Going back to the 70's though when Mr B was still unattached, the shop also advertised on screen, and below is one such ad - featuring a caged go-go dancer!

Friday 21 January 2011

CAIRDS AD - 1971

Here's Cairds in Reform Street giving us their sales pitch, emphasising being "up-to-the-minute" with their fashions.
I don't recall them being particularly trendy, but on offer for the gals was a department called "Honey", which according to the ad was "packed with swinging fashions"!!
The guys had a place called "05ive". It looks like a misprint to me, but if that's what it was called then it sounds like a shop you'd go for hip-hop gear nowadays!
An international range of menswear is what they really had though.


I don't know anything about Millars, who were based at 115 Nethergate on the corner of South Tay Street in 1971.
I'd have been 13 in '71 and so didn't venture as far along as this when shopping in the city centre.
Judging by the ad, they seem to have been a typical gents tailors rather than a place for teenagers anyway.
Meanwhile, their shop in Gray Street in the Ferry also catered for the ladies.

Thursday 20 January 2011


This demonstration showing that "K" Suede Shoes were waterproof, took place in one of Patterson's shoe shops in April 1970.
You should be able to see the tray of water they're stomping about in!
The twa lassies are Barbara Lindlay and Mary Elliot.
Not sure which of the Patterson's shops it was as they had branches in Kirk Style, Lochee High Street, Brook Street in the Ferry, 2 in Albert Street and a wholesale place in Bank Street.
Take your pick!

Wednesday 19 January 2011

2 DRAFFENS ADS - 1971 & 1966

As you can see in the top item, by 1971 the store had technically become known as Draffens & Smiths, but everyone, as far as I know, still continued to refer to it as good old Draffens.
Although the store retained it's old traditional feel, it also tried to keep pace with what was happening in the world of fashion, and so on the first floor there was a department called "Best Of Both Worlds" which catered for the fashion-conscious female. Then on the 2nd floor they had a place called the "Style 71 Boutique", a shop for young trendy teenage girls.
Meanwhile, back in 1966, the date of the other ad, as well as supplying more general info about Draffens, they also feature a couple of dress designs as examples of what their fashion departments had on offer.
I forgot all about Guinea's until I saw their prices - the Hardy Amies cocktail dress on the left cost 24 Gns, and the blue lace chiffon gown was 23 Gns.
Click on the ads to read the large version.

Tuesday 18 January 2011


The top ad is dated 1973 and the one below it is from 1977.
Catchhand and 1973 went together well. Their shop in Kirk Style was doing a roaring trade with certain urban types who liked to be seen wearing Ben Sherman shirts, Sta-Prest trousers and Harrington jackets. A young teen street-wise crowd in fact.
I think they were struggling a bit with their slogan mind you!
If you were "With It", it meant you were trendy, up to date with the latest fashions - but the way they've worded it does seem rather clumsy.
Anyway, you get the gist of it.
1977 next and time to grab a bargain in the sales with their £3 reduction offer on Brutus and Jet jeans.

Monday 17 January 2011

MENZIES ADS - 60's / 70's

Menzies had a couple of shops in town in 1962, these being in Princes Street and the Wellgate.
One of their ads from that era, the top one, is for "Y-Fronts" - yours for 6/11 - approx 35p in today's money.
The "Y" of course is upside down, so you'd have to be doing a hand stand to read it as that!
Maybe they should have called them Mercedes-Fronts!
A shop in Kirk Style and one in the Nethergate had been added by the time the 1971 ad (centre) was published. These shops just mainly for general clothing.
Smart shirt - not so sure about the Toblerone hat!
A short while after 1971, they opened yet another city shop, this time in the Murraygate, and by March 1977 (the date of the final ad) they had a trendy boutique at that location called "Unit One". This place had a more youthful outlook, with bomber jackets, jeans and so on.

Sunday 16 January 2011


So then, who shopped in this wee kinky corner of town back in 1978?
It's the Slic Chic Boutique advertising their rather specialized stock - exotic underwear.
Here's me thinking the Albert Street area was more of a string vest type of neighbourhood too!

Saturday 15 January 2011


There were 2 of Lilian's boutiques in town in 1973 - the one in Panmure Street specializing in French perfume, and the other in Whitehall Crescent that stocked Mary Quant designs.
To give you a reminder of the kind of fashion that was on the go in 1973, below is a news item featuring the latest creations on show in Paris that year.
I'm not particularly impressed with what's on offer in the Paris collection mind you. Most of it looks a bit on the corny side to me.
Even the hot-pants don't look anything like the proper ones the girls on Top Of The Pops used to wear.
The Oxford Bags being about the only item on the footage I think that look ok.

Friday 14 January 2011


On a rainswept night in April 1964, Alex Smith's store in Commercial Street is illuminated and some of their Spring collection is on display.
Photo by DC Thomson.

Thursday 13 January 2011


An ad from 1988 for Citizen Kane in Bell Street.
I remember seeing this shop just shortly before leaving Dundee, so it must have been around the end of 1986 when they cropped up on the scene.
A couple of doors along fae Thamson's I recall.
I was on the dole at the time however, so I would have only been able to window shop!

Wednesday 12 January 2011


Here's a fashion shop you may have forgotten all about - The Stable boutique in Commercial Street.
The photo was taken in the mid 70's.
Top ad is dated 1973 - so this was the era when guys were wearing their long shirt collars on the outside of their jacket lapels - the chosen image of countless clubby bands!
The Stable was where, in 1975, I bought myself a smart blue velvet formal jacket, then proceeded to wear it along with ripped jeans!
The other ad dates from 1977, although judging by the attire in the image, they appear to have chosen an illustration from 1973 to accompany it.
Crazy maaan, crazy!!

Tuesday 11 January 2011


1st ad is from 1968 and is for Cairds in Reform Street.
I actually remember these school caps being worn by a couple of kids at Balerno Primary in the mid 60's, but thought they had disappeared by the late 60's. Here they are though, still on sale in '68.
The McGills ad is dated 1970.
The school gear they had on offer were uniforms and sportswear, so that would have included both of their department stores in Victoria Road.
Next up is the GL Wilson ad from 1965.
Their store was well known for being located on "the corner" - that was on the corner of Murraygate & Commercial Street.
They appear to have specialised in school underwear and sportswear. However, in the 60's there really wasn't that much of a difference. I recall when the chaps didn't have shorts to put on they just run around in their undies and vest. The girls always wore navy blue pants to gym and don't think they wore shorts at all in primary.
The last ad is also from 1965 and is for Menzies.
They had 3 shops on the go at the time - the Wellgate, Princes Street and Kirk Style.
The mention of sportswear reminded me that when at primary in the 60's, gym was referred to as PT (Physical Training), but when we went to secondary in 1970 it had become known as PE (Physical Education). I know not why!

Monday 10 January 2011


Every kid in the 60's knew when summer had arrived - when your parents told you it was time to put on your sandals. As you can see, they were as common as muck! I think I wore a pair the same style every summer up till I was about 10.
The photo was taken in June 1962 when I was 4. That's me (GG) on the right with my wee brother on the opposite side. The star of the picture though is the little cutie-pie in the middle, Susan, looking dead Scottish in her tartan troosers. She also had ginger hair, completing the - dolly from a tartan souvenir shop in the Royal Mile look!
We are sitting on the kerb in the culdee of Kemnay Gardens by the way.
Another amusing aspect is - see the togs I've got on, well if you forward-wind 20 years to the early 80's, I was wearing similar shirts fastened at the neck without a tie along with similar shabby breeks, when it was a post-punk kind of fad. Then I'd be sitting on the pavie outside the Tayside Bar 10 o'clock at night, lighting up a joint!!
A case of fashion going full-circle!
Changing the subject for a moment, an additional observation in the photo is that the 2 doors in shot are their original dark brown colour they'd have been when Craigie was first built. However, later on in the 60's, a team of council decorators came along to repaint the entire scheme. Some of the lucky ones had their doors painted pale blue, but we were one of the unfortunate ones who got theirs done in pink!
Anyway, got lots of Dundee related fashion items to pop up over the next few days. Some toppers in fact!

Sunday 9 January 2011


At the start of 1988, Street Life magazine published this review about some of the bands who played in Dundee during 1987.
Acts who performed at various venues around town featured the likes of, Hipsway, Doctor & The Medics, The Proclaimers, Mighty Lemon Drops, Beat Poets...........and plenty of others mentioned on their list of favourites.
The photos in the article are of local act Joe Public, the Hue & Cry gig at the Dance Factory and The Communards at the Caird Hall.
You'll need to click onto the review to read or download the large version.

Saturday 8 January 2011


Some of you may think that just before I tucked into my meal on Christmas day, I snapped this picture of it on my mobile, but no, this spread of Scottish cuisine dates back to 1984.
Tasty treats on offer include Keillers marmalade, butterscotch sweets, OVD rum, pies plus a few other delights in the mix.
This leads nicely into the fact that it's time once again for me to whet your appetite and serve up a feast of goodies on Retro, with lots of Dundee morsels placed tantalizingly before you to chew over! Some of the items on show may make you want a second helping and the odd one might induce bile, but at least there will be the usual variety brought over to you on the Retro platter.
Having said that, 2011 will be my final year dishing up the local fare. Fun that it is, I haven't actually got a bottomless pit of material to delve into, and having made a recent assessment, I reckon that the quantity I have remaining will run out this year. I definitely do have loads of stuff to keep going for many months and will likely go beyond summer before I reach the end of the line.
Retro Dundee will of course remain on the net, so all the items that are on will stay on for you to rewind over, as and when you fancy.
For now though, better get back into the time machine and set forth on another weird & wonderful journey into our past!!

Happy New YEEEEEEEEAAAaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....... (enter time warp portal for 1980's).