Sunday, October 23, 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Perth Road (Glamis Road to West Park Road) – closed for one week for gas main renewal.

43-47 Windsor Street – closed on Tuesday 25 October for BT pole replacement (see Public Notice below) :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of BT telegraph pole replacement works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Windsor Street (between numbers 43 and 47), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Tuesday 25 October 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.  Access will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Perth Road / Roseangle / Magdalen Yard Road.

For further information contact 433082.

Photopolis : Blackness House

Blackness House (below) was a picturesque 17th century mansion, demolished before World War II. It is shown on Ordnance Survey maps of the periods in extensive grounds, and a bowling green to the south side, the North Lodge House being on Blackness Road.

In 1867, J. B. Brechin published a list of paintings by the old masters in the Blackness House Gallery, which included Giotto, Bruegel, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens and Titian.

In 1894, when Alexander Wilson took this photograph, Blackness House belonged to John E. Prain, listed in the Dundee Directory as a manufacturer. James Prain and Sons, spinners and manufacturers, owned Larchfield Works in Walton Street.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hope that Ryehill Police Station will not close following community campaign

Yesterday, the Chair of West End Community Council, Peter Menzies, and I met with senior Police Scotland representatives to hand in a petition from 300 West End residents to make the case to retain Ryehill Police Station at the Pennycook Lane/Perth Road junction.

We met with two senior police officers, Superintendent Andrew Todd and Chief Inspector Gary Ogilvie, and stressed that the community is strongly of the view that the Ryehill Police Office is a crucial resource in the West End and closing it would be highly detrimental.   

Peter and I made the point to Police Scotland that a possible way of ensuring that the police office can remain open is to consider additional uses for it through shared use with partner organisations.   That way, the station could continue as a police office but could also be used as a community base for other services, possibly local authority or third sector.

At the meeting, Police Scotland indicated it is prepared to look into the viability of this and while such a proposal can be fully investigated and a long-term solution is developed, it further committed to keeping the Police Office open whilst this proposal is being fully considered.

We are hopeful that a long-term solution can now be found to ensure the Ryehill Police Station is retained.

Photopolis : Ancrum Road Public School

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Photopolis : Mitchell Street School

Great old photo of the Mitchell Street School - now the Mitchell Street Centre :

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Photopolis : Perth Road at Invercauld Place

This photograph below shows part of Dundee's Perth Road, known as Invercauld Place, here leading eastwards towards the city centre.

No. 153 was Sarah Campbell, a fruiterer, and No. 151 John Farquharson & Sons, 'plumber, gasfitter, tinsmith & brassfounder'. George Christe, a grocer, had a shop at No. 149, and another fruiterer was at No. 145, John (later Mrs John) Peebles.

No. 143 was the grocer, David (later Mrs David) Sewart and, beyond Pennycook Lane, which led northwards to Hawkhill, was a butcher shop, which was probably what is listed in the Dundee Directory as John Birse, flesher, at No. 133.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Photopolis : Windsor Terrace

This latest photograph of this short series of West End historical photographs (below) is of Perth Road.   Although “Perth Road” is absolutely correct, residents of this section of the north side of Dundee's Perth Road preferred to have their mail addressed to Windsor Terrace.

Residents of the block in 1895 included David Dewar, the superintendent of police, James Walker, Professor of Chemistry and University College, George Haggart, a solicitor, and John B. Hay, a builder.

In 1905, three were still there: Haggart had been replaced by Henry William Rennie, a merchant. Mrs James Burdon [sic], a spirit merchant in 1895, has been replaced by Duncan Macnab Burden, a solicitor, at No. 2 by 1905.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Photopolis : Hawkhill, taken from West Port

This view of the Hawkhill in Dundee below was taken from the West Port, looking west.

Thomas Aitken's public house, The Globe, is listed in the Dundee Directory as Nos. 57 and 59 West Port, and is still so named today. Behind it is Johnston's Lane.

No. 1 Hawkhill is listed in the Dundee Directory as John Mathieson, broker, which may have been the West Port Loans Office. M. Boland & Co.'s clothiery was Nos. 20 and 24 Hawkhill.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Photopolis : Perth Road at St Peter Street

This Photopolis photograph (below) shows Perth Road at St Peter Street.    

It shows the north side of Perth Road running eastwards to the right towards the city centre, with St Peter Street leading north to the left.

Alexander Sutton, The West End Supply Stores, was at No. 121 Perth Street. Notice the peculiar barrow in St Peter Street. Sutton lived at No. 4 Gowrie Street. The confectioner at No. 199 was David Kermack. No. 117 was George Pickles' West End Hosiery.

Alexander Thompson Watt at No. 115 was a butcher, with other shops at No. 4 Wellgate, No. 30 Victoria Road, No. 112 Ann Street and No. 40 Overgate. 

The tailor / clothier at No. 113 was George Pullar, and the bootmaker at No. 111 was David Fairweather.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Photopolis : Perth Road at Springfield

This undated photograph below shows the north side of Perth Road, Dundee, looking west and left from the south end of Springfield.

The hairdressing and shampooing rooms at No. 37 belonged to John Fisher & Son, listed as 'hairdresser and perfumer' specialising in ornamental hair. He lived at No. 56 Magdalen Yard Road. No. 41 was William Moffatt, bookseller, stationer and tobacconist.

Nos. 43 Perth Road was Mrs J. M. Robertson's West End Livery Stables, listed in the Dundee Directory as Nos. 45 and 57 too. She lived at No. 1 Strawberrybank. The company stables were at No. 32.5 King Street. D. D. Robertson lived at No. 45 Perth Road.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Photopolis : Harris Academy in Park Place

Here's another fascinating West End photograph from Photopolis - the old Harris Academy in Park Place, that opened in 1885 but was replaced by the Perth Road building (and recently re-built) in the 1930s :

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Photopolis : Hunter Street

This photograph from Photopolis shows a Hunter Street of old, hugely different to today's Hunter Street 'link road' between Old Hawkhill and the Hawkhill by-pass :

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Adult Learning Opportunities in the West End

The latest Adult Learning newsletter for the city has just been published – covering the autumn - and you can download it here.

Here's details of the adult learning opportunities available in the West End area :

More from Photopolis : Perth Road

A superb photograph of Perth Road at Mid Wynd and Ryehill Church (now flats) from Photopolis :

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Photopolis : Perth Road

A fascinating photograph (below) looking west along Perth Road and with Roseangle to the south with what is now Dundee West Church prominent in the photo. 

The full Dundee City Council Photopolis collection is available here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Photopolis : Living and Working in Dundee 1900–1925

Photopolis is a major photographic resource in Dundee City Council's ownership that I have, with the permission of the Communities Division of the council, featured photographs from in the past.

It consists of a significant selection of quality photographs from various collections in the Central Library and the City Archives that can be accessed via the City Council's website, allowing easy access to large numbers of historical photographs.

By popular request, during this month, I'll again feature some of the superb West End photos on Photopolis. 

As a start, pictured below is Grosvenor Terrace - 307-313 Perth Road - and to quote Photopolis :

"The residents in 1889 included the principal of University College, William Peterson MA, LLD, William K. Bruce, a confectioner who worked for the famed Dundee firm, Keillor & Sons, and W. A. Brown, of whom nothing further is known.

No. 1 was the home of Alexander M. Grimond of the jute spinners J. & A. D. Grimond, of Bowbridge and Maxwelltown Works, with offices in King Street, and great uncles of the prominent Liberal politician, Jo Grimond."

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Getting things done : Osborne Place

Residents have raised with me a pothole in Osborne Place - see right :

I highlighted this with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership and have been advised that an Order has been placed to have this repaired.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Footbridges in the West End

Residents have raised with me the condition of the footbridges over the rail line at Magdalen Green (see right) and further west, south of Harris Academy.

I highlighted this with the City Council and the Team Leader, Bridges and Structures, advised :

"All bridges in Dundee are inspected on a two year cycle in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Management of Highway Structures.

The footbridge at Harris Academy was last inspected on 02 August 2016 following the first phase of planned maintenance works on the structure. These works ensured that the structure is safe to use through the replacement of deteriorated timber stair and deck elements. The second phase of maintenance works is repainting of metalwork and removal of graffiti from the piers. These were intended to be complete before the new term at Harris Academy commenced but are in abeyance pending granting of suitable overnight rail possessions from Network Rail. We have meetings this morning to escalate the painterwork project and close out for site start as soon as possible.

The footbridge at Magdalen Green was last inspected on 27 July 2016. The bridge is in a safe condition for users, however I do agree that its appearance is less than desirable. The nature of its construction mean that effective, long term treatment to the deck concrete and steelwork are not considered economically viable for this structure, particularly with pressures elsewhere on the Capital Budget. However, I can investigate the potential for cosmetic painting through the Criminal Justice Team (assuming Network Rail would permit this during daytime working) although this would deal only with the internal faces of the bridge steelwork and do little to protect against corrosion."

I then further asked about capital improvements to the bridges and the Head of Design & Property and City Engineer has since advised :

"There is currently an allowance of £550k in 2020/21 in the Capital Plan for bridgeworks and Magdalen Green footbridge is one of the higher priority bridge projects being considered against this funding. Depending on the scheme adopted, replacement costs are likely to higher than the £550k and other funding may need to found."

I am anxious to see capital improvements as soon as funding can be found but meantime have asked for paint work to be undertaken.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Discovery Film Festival 2016

Discovery Film Festival, Scotland's International Film Festival for Young Audiences takes place from Saturday 22nd October until Sunday 6th November.

It is now in its thirteenth year.    Based at Dundee Contemporary Arts, and touring to partner venues throughout Scotland, the festival screens films from all over the world which have been specially programmed for young audiences.

The festival includes three exciting weekends of films, creative activities, and gala events, as well as two weeks of screenings and events for schools.

Discovery Film Festival aims to develop new audiences for the best in international film, improve media literacy and offer young audiences an insight into the lives of children and young people in other cultures.   The festival has been running since 2004 when it was started as a partnership with Dundee Education Development Department, Scottish Screen and DCA.

You can find out more about the festival here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Pedestrian Crossing - Riverside Avenue

I have received complaints that at the pedestrian crossing on Riverside Avenue near Riverside Nature Park if a pedestrian presses button for green man, the wait is extraordinarily long.    

I have raised this with the City Council and the Head of Roads and Transportation has responded assuring me that this fault will be rectified.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Getting things done : Pinegrove

Residents recently brought to my attention the fact that the one-way sign at the Shepherd's Loan exit from Pinegrove is damaged (see right) and one of the safety bollards is broken (see below) :

I contacted the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership about the sign, which they are to replace.

I also contacted the site factors about the bollard and their Property Manager has updated me as follows :

"I will investigate and repair/replace as required."

Monday, October 03, 2016

Hawkhill Court, Mid Wynd - an update

Back in July, I advised that, following concerns from residents, I had contacted the site agents about the state of the area around the privately-owned empty industrial units at Hawkhill Court at the north end of Mid Wynd - see right :

I am pleased to advise that I have now been informed that :

"... the Administrators have instructed the site clearance to be completed and will advise you once this has been completed."

Sunday, October 02, 2016

West End Ward Surgeries during October

With Monday's public holiday taking place - and the following week, the October school holidays commencing, here are details of my surgeries during October :

Monday 3rd October - No surgeries at Harris Academy and Mitchell Street Centre - Public Holiday

Thursday 6th October - Surgery taking place at Blackness Primary School (staff room on ground floor) at 6.15pm

Monday 10th October onwards - No surgeries during school holidays but I can be contacted at any time at home on 459378 or via my e-surgery -

Monday 24th October - Surgeries recommence with the start of the new school term.   4.20pm - The Base, Mitchell Street Centre;  4.50pm - Harris Academy, reception area

VisitScotland - Dundee Visitor Information Centre

A constituent recently contacted me to say:

"Over the last six months I have personally guided three separate groups of visitors to the VisitScotland office in City Square.   Directions are sparse to say the least.   

Two groups had arrived by train and one by bus.   Driving past the train station I often see folks emerging with clearly no idea of which way to turn - never mind find their way the VisitScotland office."

I took this up with VisitScotland as its a very reasonable and pertinent point.    I have since received the following helpful response from VisitScotland :

"I was sorry to hear that some visitors were experiencing difficulty finding the Visitor Information Centre (VIC).

The issue of way marked signage is one that we are aware of and we have been in talks with the Local Authority to improve signage across the city. However, this matter has been complicated due to the on-going redevelopment works within the city. I have passed your email onto our Area Manager and they will see if there’s anything temporary we could do to sign post visitors to the VIC."

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Riverside Approach : road improvements

I recently, on behalf of residents, requested improvements to Riverside Approach's road surface, which is in a poor state.

A pothole I had reported has now been repaired but the more substantive news is that the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership has advised me that the road is included in the 2017/18 carriageway resurfacing programme, which is good news.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Temporary Traffic Order : Kirsty Semple Way

From the City Council :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water manhole repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Kirsty Semple Way (between the access road to A & E and the car park for the Mackenzie Building), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Sunday 2 October 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.   This section of road is only available to buses and taxis.

Alternative routes are available via Tom McDonald Avenue / Ninewells Avenue / Ninewells Drive.

For further information contact 433082.

Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Harris Academy Open Day

A further opportunity for local residents to view the new Harris Academy building :

Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Scottish Water Clatto East (Mains Renewal) – Lochee Road (Tullideph Road to Park Street) – closed southbound for 2 weeks.

Perth Road (Glamis Road to West Park Road) – closed for 5 weeks for gas main renewal.

Kirsty Semple Way (access road to A&E to car park entrance to Mackenzie building) – closed on Sunday 2 October for one day for crane lifting operations.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee

Our September Blether will be on Tuesday 27th September - at 7pm in Madigan's Food Emporium and Bookshop, Castle Street.

The theme this month is PULLING THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES.

Hope to see some of you there – all welcome!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

University of Dundee User Centre celebration

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Queen Mother Building in the University of Dundee to celebrate the work of the pioneering User Centre over the past decade and to unveil a plaque in memory of John Gibson, the first Chair and founding member of the centre, who passed away last year.

The User Centre has done much over the past ten years to bring the benefits of modern technology to the elderly and to adults with communication disabilities, and the celebration yesterday was also marked by the announcement that Brian Cox has accepted the role of the centre's first patron.

Here's a couple of photographs from yesterday's celebration :
University Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Pete Downes unveils the plaque in memory of John Gibson
Professor Annalu Waller, Chair of Human Communication Technologies, Jim Ashwood, Chair of the User Group and Professor Sir Pete Downes at the unveiling

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friends of Wighton update ...

From Sheena Wellington :

Saturday, 24th September, 11am (doors open 10.30am) at the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library

Cappuccino Concert with Caim - Heather Innes & Pauline Vallance  Tickets £5, (coffee/tea available for small donation)

Heather Innes (vocals, bodhran) and Pauline Vallance (vocals, clarsach, flute) first played together for an impromptu song on Ciaran Dorris’ live Christmas show on Celtic Music Radio December 2013. They enjoyed working together and decided to continue if the occasion arose. It has a number of times and as well as singing in the Caim trio for concerts and festivals in the last few years, Pauline and Heather have continued to give duo concerts in Scotland and are looking forward to a tour in Ontario, Canada in May 2017

Heather has sung at folk clubs, festivals and concerts in the UK, Germany, Denmark, USA, Canada, Thailand and Australia, solo and with various musicians for nearly 30 years and is a regular visitor to the recording studio with a number of solo albums and combination albums with other singers under her belt. 

“Heather has one of those voices…timeless and highly evocative…an uplifting and refreshing experience” John O’Regan, freelance journalist and broadcaster, Ireland.

Pauline has played flute for many years, in orchestras and in folk sessions. She was introduced to the clarsach in 2007 which then inspired her to start writing songs.

In 2009, she was a prizewinner at the Glasgow Songwright Festival and she has played a number of folk festivals and clubs in Scotland and northern England. She also plays regularly at writers' events, including the Unesco City of Music Day in Glasgow. Pauline loves the challenge of playing a variety of venues. Her Edinburgh Fringe concert “Travels with my clarsach” resulted in a gig at Glasgow Airport International Departures Lounge!

In 2011, Pauline recorded her first CD of her own songs and she has also recorded a CD of Scottish Lullabies (thanks to Enterprise Music Scotland), called 'Golden Slumbers'.

As well as performing solo and with Caim, Pauline plays, sings and records in duo Witches Brew.

"Lovely, charming, quirky songs that made me smile.  If Jonathan Richman was a Scotswoman who played a clarsach, this is how he'd sound"  Tom Clelland, Clydesdale Folk Club

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Getting things done - Shepherd's Loan

I have received residents' complaints about the poor conditioned and badly graffitied electricity sub station in Shepherd's Loan - see right:

I contacted Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks about this recently and was pleased to receive this update at the end of last week, with a commitment to replace the old cabinet and upgrade the infrastructure this week  -    (From SSE Customer Relationship Management) :

"I have been informed works are already scheduled to replace the cabinet and a new concrete foundation laid. This is scheduled to begin next week, weather permitting. 

The civil works will begin Monday i.e. the removal of the cabinet and the new foundation to be excavated, this will be followed on with the shutter & concrete works, again a couple of days for the concrete to cure, and then the cabinet will be dropped over the equipment after that, so looking to drop the cabinet Friday, weather and lorry permitting."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Well done Dundee and Angus College!

I regularly attend meetings of the Bonnie Dundee group, the group that encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.

We have been pleased to have input from a staff representative from Dundee and Angus College whose horticulture students kindly agreed to undertake a project to improve the site at the back of the Overgate Centre.

The project has gone well and the students have done a great job with a good floral display and new seating now provided – see below :

Monday, September 19, 2016

Saggar Street - "No Through Road" sign - an update

Some time ago, I highlighted residents' concerns that there was a lack of No Through Road signage at the bottom of Saggar Street and that I had raised this with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership.

In response, I was advised :

"A dead end "T" sign will be incorporated into new street name plates at the Saggar Street/City Road junction."

I am pleased to note that signs are now erected on both sides of the street at its junction with City Road - see right :

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Riverside Community Sports Club

Riverside Community Sports Club was formed in 2009 and is based in the West End at Riverside Football Pitches on Riverside Drive.   They are a quality mark Community Standard club run by volunteers which provides boys and girls with the opportunity to play football from age 5 upwards supported by suitably qualified coaches at all levels. 

This year promises to be another exciting year for the club with 5 boys teams playing 7 a-side (2005-2007);   4 boys team playing 11 a-side (2004-2001); and an adults amateur team playing in the Premiership Division of the Saturday Morning football league.

They also have a Soccer Centre operating on a Thursday evening at Riverside which is open to all boys and girls born between 2008-2010.    A large number of players represent the club while taking part in Fun Fours and Super Fives sessions at DISC on a Saturday morning.

Riverside Community Sports Club are actively working on developing the Girls section and welcome all girls of all abilities to join the club and play football.

They are also keen  to establish  if there is sufficient interest within the West End community to set up a ‘Walking Football team’ for those age 50+.

If you are interested in joining, volunteering or helping out in anyway with the club, please contact them via email at or call 07711 863934.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Scottish Water Clatto East (Mains Renewal) – Lochee Road (Tullideph Road to Park Street) – closed southbound for 3 weeks.  Rosefield Street and Peddie Street closed for one week.

Perth Road (Glamis Road to West Park Road) – closed for 6 weeks for gas main renewal.

Forthcoming Closures

Kirsty Semple Way (access road to A&E to car park entrance to Mackenzie building) – closed on Sunday 2 October for one day for crane lifting operations.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Getting things done - Seafield Road

Residents who use the Seafield Road car park have complained about seagulls' mess on their vehicles due to seagulls perching on the street lighting columns in the car park.

I contacted the City Council's Street Lighting Partnership Manager about this and she has now helpfully advised as follows :

"Our nightshift crew attended and fitted spikes to the lanterns in the car park ... Hopefully this will help with the situation."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Steps in Benvie Gardens

Residents have expressed concern to me about the quality of repair recently undertaken to the steps to houses in Benvie Gardens.

As you can see (right) the repair has broken down and the step in question is not secure.

I have contacted Home Scotland regarding this and have been promised that this will be attended to with a permanent repair to be promptly undertaken.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Russian School achieves first with GCSE successes

Over the years, I have taken a close interest in the work of Dundee's Russian School and I am delighted at the school's success in achieving the school's first certificates. 

The school's students of Russian as a foreign language were delighted with their GCSE results, with a 100% success rate including an A*. 

The school's Director Dr Andriy Sukhodub is also happy with his students' success. "

Andriy said, "These GCSEs are a first for our school, and we are all extremely proud of our students. Our main focus, as a Saturday school, has always been on delivering supplementary education in Russian for children in the local Russian-speaking community, but adult education is also very important to us.    Our students' success in obtaining their GCSE Russian validates all their hard work during the year and shows how our school can make a positive impact on students of all ages."

Student, Stephen Connor, added, "We only decided in February to formalise our learning by going for the GCSE so we are all happy to have passed.   We are all grateful to our teacher Miss Olga Kovaljova and to the school for providing such a friendly and helpful environment to study.    Russian is not an easy language to learn and so it is great to be able to learn it locally within a Russian speaking institution."

Dundee Russian School meets every Saturday from 11am to 3pm and provides classes for children of all ages.    The new school term starts this month, with exact date to be confirmed.    The school is looking forward to move into the new Harris Academy building. 

"Old Harris Academy was our first venue and we loved it.   The place is very special for us and we hope the new building will become our new home in a new academic year," added Dr Sukhodub. 

You can read more about the school here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stop the closure of Ryehill Police Office!

Earlier today, I was given confirmation by our local police Chief Inspector that Police Scotland intends to consult on the possible closure of the Ryehill Police Office at the Pennycook Lane/Perth Road junction. I made clear to the Chief Inspector that I am wholly against such a move - the Ryehill Police Office is a crucial resource in the West End and closing it would be highly detrimental. Later today, at the West End Community Council meeting, I reinforced this view and it is clear there is strong community support to stop any proposal to close this local police office. The proposal to consult on the closure is just another detrimental example of a centralised single police force. At the time the abolition of Tayside Police was proposed, I warned that the centralisation of police into a single force would lead in time to cuts in local police resources and those who supported the single police force should reflect on the error of centralisation. Our local police do an excellent job but a nationwide rationalisation of the police estate is a really bad move and I have no doubt the West End community will rally to the cause of saving the Ryehill Police Station.