Thursday 30 June 2011


The top photo shows us how the council reached the decision to grant planning permission for the Wellgate Centre - as you can see, it was based on their observation that the building was "sympathetic to its surroundings", a phrase town planners like to spout!
So it's the mid 70's and the construction work is in full flow - just like the contractors champagne!
Photos by DC Thomson.

Wednesday 29 June 2011


Here's a couple of Dundee pubs in the process of being wiped off the map.
The top one is the Empire Bar & The Copper Bell Lounge which was on the corner of Rosebank Street / Constitution Street.
Underneath it is Bradley's Bar & the Talk Of The Town Lounge located on the corner of Ann Street / Ellen Street.
Both pub positions are listed in my 1970 Directory, but in my 1974 Directory the 2 addresses don't exist, so this demolition occurred sometime in-between these two dates.
Photos from Gordon C.

Tuesday 28 June 2011


The retro decades in particular were pretty active when it came to demolishing Dundee's old buildings, so much so that sometimes we thought the Councils motto was "What goes up, must come down"...(well, apart from their salaries!).
There was also a fair bit of new construction going on too, so over the next few days I'm going to put up a mix of images showing some structures going up, and some tumbling down.
Kicking off with this one here which is Bell Street Central Fire Station being knocked down in the late 60's.
The photo was taken from Courthouse Square looking over into the firemen's living quarters above the main station, with the entire corner area bulldozed.
Below the snap of the rubble is a photo of the fire crew who worked at Bell Street Station in the 60's.
It was sent in by Mark Ritchie whose father is the chap top left in the picture.

Bell Street was such an apt place-name to have a fire station too don't you think?!

Demolition photo is from Gordon C.

Monday 27 June 2011


I've heard of all-in wrestling before but here's an example of all out wrestling!
Not got any info on this photo at all but a couple of guesses has me thinking it may be Baxter Park in the early 70's. Baxter's used to put on events like this during the summer weeks, and I've gone for the 72/73 period based on a boy in the crowd wearing what could be the Dundee FC "penguin" strip (near the bottom left corner standing to the right of the girl with the patterned coat). Also, the car in the background could be an early 70's Vauxhall Viva.
I'm not 100% certain on any of these statements, but that's the best I could come up with using what possible clues there are available in the picture.
The other obvious alternative is Camperdown Park.
If you fancy a stab at it, drop it in the comments.

Sunday 26 June 2011


The top photo was taken in the early/mid 80's and has a bunch of youngsters trying out their golfing skills somewhere in Dundee. I'm not too sure which course it is they are on, Camperdown pitch & putt possibly. Anyway, if anyone can say for certain where the scene is taking place, or even recognise someone, feel free to pass on your knowledge.
The one below it I can definitely nail because that sporty looking chap is me! Yes that's yours truly in 1969 aged 11 playing on our championship course in our back garden. We turned the entire length of our lawn into a mini golf course, a 6 holer stretching from the side of the house, through the washing green and all the way down to the plot at the bottom lawn. It was mostly used for putting. One of the holes was located in front of a greenie pole which was like a giant flag pole and that allowed you to get great rebound shots!
For pitch & putt, some of the hazards were - the ball rolling under the shed, getting snagged in the hedge, rolling down the rockery onto the pathy slabs (out of bounds) or ending up in the plot amongst the rhubarb.
For real golf swing work-outs with a driver, being surrounded by housing, we had to use a plastic practise ball for obvious reasons. However, the inevitable happened one day when our mate had a go and gave one a full wallop, but he made the mistake of ignoring the guidelines and used a real golf ball - then it was CRASH..tinkle, tinkle - straight through the kitchen window!
Needless to say, golf was banned on our course for a short while afterwards.
That said, I didn't take up the sport at all - I've never set foot on any golf course!
The other image next to me is a toy my wee brother got for xmas, early 70's - Arnold Palmer's Pro Shot Golf. This was a great invention that had a miniature golfer on the end of a club handle, which, when you pulled a trigger mechanism, made the player swing and hit the ball. It came with various items such as sand traps, putting green, score cards and a set of clubs. Great fun.
By the way, the image of me and the toy box are not to scale..!!

Saturday 25 June 2011


Ten years on from the previous item, a golfing strip called "MacDivot" was running in the Tele, with this one dating from January 1972.
It was neither a tutorial or a funny cartoon but kinda sat somewhere in the middle as a golfing fantasy involving golfers going about their sporting day, competitively, but light-heartedly.
Then again, you get a hint at that from the title!

Click image to enlarge.


Dundee's newspapers made sure you would know what to do with your golf clubs by running golfing articles on a regular basis.
The one above called "Sam Snead's Golf School" adopted the form of a tutorial, giving lessons on how to improve your swing, foot positioning and so on.
This particular episode goes back to April 1962 and appeared in the Saturday Sporting Post.
As a bonus, there was a wee cartoon that accompanied the item called "Goofy Gowf", a golf themed gag adding a touch of comic relief after class.

Click onto the item to read the enlarged version.

Friday 24 June 2011


The amber ad from 1971 shows Dundee as the centre of the Scottish golf universe with 3 local courses on offer while reminding everyone that there are plenty more to be found in the surrounding area.
The 3 Dundee courses referred to in the ad are Caird Park, Camperdown & Downfield, and under it are their prices for the same year.

Thursday 23 June 2011


This is a picture of RT Walker taken in the early 60's.
He was something of a local prodigy back then, because when Bobby was only 14 years old he became holder of the Downfield Course record by finishing a round in 63, taking a whopping 6 strokes off the previous record, and by the time he was 21 (around the period of the photo) he had held numerous Scottish titles and records.


Both the photo and the map are from the early 60's period and show the section of Downfield Golf Course that was given over for the Ardler multis to be built on.

Wednesday 22 June 2011


I haven't mentioned much about Dundee's golf scene on Retro, so because I have some bits & pieces, not much, I'm gonna post them up over the next few days.
Starting with this ad from 1971 for David Low who were presenting themselves as golf specialists at the time. Although they stocked other sports items in their shop in Commercial Street, they did devote an entire floor to golfing equipment, a photo of which you can see in the December 2008 Archive.
David Low also used to have a shop in the Seagate on the corner of Gellatly Street but that one closed down in the early 70's allowing them to concentrate their efforts on this branch here.

Tuesday 21 June 2011


John Menzies moved away from their own well known position on the Murraygate/Commercial Street corner and took over Woolies prime spot further along the Murraygate in 1983, as above.
This shot of the activity outside it's main entrance, along with a few other nearby shops, was taken on 6th February 1987.
I do remember the guy in the picture across from John Menzies though, busking away on the accordion in his scruffy flannels and the wee money pouch attached to his squeeze-box.
As usual, if you want to have a closer look, just click onto the image to enlarge.

Photo by Neale Elder.

Monday 20 June 2011


I can remember Woolies in the 60's when they still had the original old wooden counters, but around the beginning of the 70's the store was modernised and got itself some new open plan style rack shelving.
The ad here is from 1973 and mentions how "up to date" it is as part of the sales pitch.
One of the relics from the old store they kept going, however, was the huge weighing machine tucked away in the corner beside the photo booth. A big red & silver thing it was, a penny a go.
Another memory from the 70's I always associate with Woolies were the budget priced "Top Of The Pops" albums with glamour girls on the LP covers. 12 chart hits for 60p or something. For that price though you didn't get the original artists, oh no, these were 2nd rate rogues imitating our favourite pop groups. The work of session musicians in fact, and they were mince!
Oh yes, and get this, I was once thrown out of Woolies when aged around 12/13. I was in the Murraygate store just having a look around, probably been there for 15/20 minutes, when this frumpy middle aged wifie (the floor-walker) came over to me and escorted me to the door.
Was I stealing? No.
Causing a scene with a shop assistant? Nope. 
My crime, she told me on the way out, was "being in the shop too long". What the...??!!!
The photo was taken one winter's day in 1982.
Then the Murraygate store closed in 1983 and John Menzies took over the premises.

Sunday 19 June 2011


A photo of Rockpile Record's location in West Port taken in 1982. It's the shop with the blue & white posters on the window board.
To go with it, 3 adverts for Rockpile Records published in local fanzines, also in 1982.
A neat wee shop, selling a mixture of new and second-hand records.
Very aromatic too I remember!
I never actually bought any records from there mind you, my visits were only when I was off-loading parts of my collection from time to time.
And, it was also the only shop in town who dared to sell bootlegs!

Saturday 18 June 2011


In 1960, there was a riot in the Caird Hall during a Gene Vincent / Eddie Cochran gig that lead to rock 'n' roll concerts being banned for a couple of years.
That gig has now become quite well documented as a consequence.
This gig here, however, seems to have been completely forgotten about.
It took place on 24th January 1964, again at the Caird Hall, this time the headline act was an all female group, The Ronettes, from USA.
With the Vincent / Cochran gig, you could understand that there would be rockers & teds in the crowd, which may explain the aggro.
A crowd fighting on stage when a girl group is performing?
That is a bit embarrassing!
The Ronettes still managed to sparkle through the riot, so well done them for ignoring the numbskulls.

Friday 17 June 2011


These guys here messing about with a steamroller, were a beat group who got together at Dundee University in 1966.
Long Felt Want was the band name and the line-up consisted of -
George Robertson (lead guitar)
Nick Cronin (vocals)
Mick Gate-Eastley (rhythm guitar)
Drew Jones (bass)
Rob Syers (drums)
It didn't take long for them to get gigs as they supported The Kinks at The Palais in April 1966, then a couple of days later they were on home turf playing at a University charity ball.

Thanks to Martin Dudley

Thursday 16 June 2011


Here's a shot of Carbet Castle in Camphill Road, Broughty Ferry, being demolished in July 1984.
They actually had to go easy on the demolition when it was discovered the interior ceiling was still intact and considered to be a bit of a treasure, painted by French artist, Charles Frechou. The ceiling was carefully removed and put into storage.
The castle itself used to be owned by the Grimond family who ran the Bowbridge Jute Works.
Photo by Neale Elder.

Tuesday 14 June 2011


Here's a wee reminder from the mid 70's of the Broughty Ferry go-kart track and crazy-golf course.
Click on image to enlarge.

Monday 13 June 2011


Taking advantage of the nice weather one summer evening back in the 70's, my brother nipped along to the Ferry to try out his new Nikon camera and wandered into this scene going on, some locals indulging in a bit of water-skiing. Also enjoying the fun were a few passers-by who stopped off to watch some of the action.
Broughty Ferry hasn't changed that much really, but you can tell it's the 70's by the cars, Carolina Port Power Station puffing away in the background and the funsters messing about on the river without wearing any safety gear!
Click onto the images if you want to view the large versions.

Sunday 12 June 2011


Things are literally starting to heat up now with this demo against the Poll Tax that took place in the City Square in 1989.
Here we have a bunch of activists doing what they said they were gonna do, and that was to burn their Poll Tax books.
"Don't Pay - Don't Collect - We Will Win" was the slogan, with one of the biggest banners in the crowd belonging to the Ardler/St Mary posse.
Our photographer with the mob - The Bear.


If militant activist combat wasn't your thing, then an alternative way to express your outrage at the introduction of the Poll Tax was to follow the advice of local camp rockers, The Beaver Sisters, and that was - to "Eat Your Poll Tax Form!".
This ad is from June 1988.


This was the moment in the late 80's when the Caird Hall was used to announce the setting up of the Tayside Anti Poll Tax Federation.
On stage, L to R - Unknown lass, Philip Stott, Alan Manley, unknown chap, Tommy Sheridan.
The group went on to organise protests and use urban guerrilla type tactics throughout the campaign.
Photo by The Bear.

Saturday 11 June 2011


These pictures around Whitfield were taken in March 1986 and should bring back a few memories.
Since then, the Skarne blocks at Aberlady, Haddington and Tranent have all been demolished, as have the multis, and the Dunbar Crescent area is now Dunbar Park.
The good old days or bad old days?
A mate of mine who lived in Whitfield in the 70's was telling me he has a hazy memory of when the all-weather pitch had an inauguration match between DFC v United to officially mark the switching on of the floodlights, which was the first of it's kind back then.
Anyone recall this?
Photos by Neale Elder.

Friday 10 June 2011


A moody dusky evening shot looking over the rooftops at the base of the Law.
This was taken around the early/mid 70's, and snapped just at the moment of lighting-up time.
You can see the top section of Kinpurnie Place in the foreground, in the middle distance is St John's school and in the background are the Ardler multis.
The Law Hill area was like a 2nd playground to me when I was a wee schoolboy because my grandparents lived in Byron Street, so when the adults wanted to have a blether, me and my brothers would nip out to play for a while, with the Law being like an extension to their backies!
I also remember mucking about at the Kinpurnie swings because they had a Witches Hat there, something we didn't have at home at the Craigie swings, so that would be the first thing I'd make a beeline for!
If you want to see if you can spot anything else, click onto it to enlarge.

Thursday 9 June 2011


Got a rare, recently discovered colour photo from the 1960's of Lochee West Station at the junction of Elmwood Road and South Road.
Still lots of open land around the area back then, and even some quaint farm cottages across the road. In fact, you wouldn't think there would be much call for a rail stop at this point. Quite a change from how it is nowadays.
A reminder that there are a couple of other items on Lochee West Station in the March 2011 Retro Archives, including map and film footage.
Thanks to Gordon C.

Wednesday 8 June 2011


I remember this old shelter from my schoolboy days in the 60s & 70s because my aunt and uncle lived just down the road from it. However, I can't recall now if it was sitting empty back then or if there was a newspaper seller using it. All I do know is that it definitely wasn't being used for what it was designed for - a tram waiting room.
It was on the Lochee Road across from Polepark Road near St Mary Place.
This picture of it was taken in June 1989, nearing the end of it's life.
It has since been removed and replaced with a bit of landscaping, but whether it ended up as scrap, or put into into a transport museum, I've no idea!
Photo by Neale Elder.

Tuesday 7 June 2011


"Oh great, a windee seat"... now we get to look down from Littlewoods cafe and see what's going on outside.
Well when the top photo was taken around the mid 80's, there was a group of punkettes gathered at one of the benches. You can't make out their faces but you can see their hairstyles. A couple of the lassies have the peroxide look (one a Mohican) and another has a full head of green hair that resembles Hilary a bit, not sure if it is her though.
The other photo outside Littlewoods taken on the same day has a different flock of females on display - these ones dressed smart, but casual.
Bird spotting courtesy of The Bear.