Monday, September 30, 2013

Dundee City of Culture Bid Send Off #wedundee

It was great to attend the Dundee City of Culture Bid Send Off event at the City Square this lunchtime.

In the 12 years I have been a member of the City Council, I have never seen such excellent cross-party support and co-operation on a project as we have seen with the City of Culture bid.    The city as a whole is united behind the bid team and we all believe that the City has much to offer in its bid to become UK City of Culture 2017.

My LibDem colleague Alison McInnes MSP also said today, “Dundee has a strong and impressive bid for UK City of Culture 2017.   The city has a great story to tell in terms of its arts and cultural offering that makes it a very strong contender to be UK City of Culture 2017  and I wish Dundee every success.”

Here's a couple of photographs and a short video of today's Bid Send Off event:

Road safety - Sinderins junction

A constituent recently expressed concern about the operation of the Sinderins junction, stating:

"I have become increasingly conscious of a potential danger at the foot of Blackness Avenue. There seems to be a great increase in traffic flow at this junction.

Traffic going east from Perth Road into Hawkhill can take so long that the lights change to red forcing traffic turning from Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue  to do so on the red light.

Is there a need for a green arrow to allow the Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue traffic safe passage?"     

I raised the matter with the Head of Transportation at Dundee City Council who has responded as follows:

"I have had my staff in Urban Traffic Control (UTC) to have a look at the Sinderins junction and the signal settings relating to the right turn from Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue.  

The traffic signals allows a significant amount of time for vehicles to make the right turn movement up Blackness Avenue after the main road signal turn red.   Once vehicles have passed the stopline they are allowed to turn right on a red light as the intergreen periods are set up to allow them to do so safely and clear the junction. It is possible to install a right turn indicative arrow however this will require a re-analysis of the junction performance and it could be detrimental to overall junction capacity.  

In the last three and a bit years there has been two slight injury accidents at this location,  one involved a pedestrian who was under the influence of alcohol the other one was a rear end shunt and did not involve vehicles turning right up Blackness Avenue.

As far as increased traffic levels I would assume that this may be related to roadworks in the Central Waterfront area displacing traffic onto other routes such as the Perth Road.  I will arrange UTC staff to monitor this junction to see whether this is a prevalent problem during the peak periods as this is when the problem is most likely to occur."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

West End Heritage Walk

A number of constituents have recently asked me about the new West End Heritage Walk publication and the City Council's Outdoor Access Officer has updated me as follows:

The West End Heritage Walk was produced by the Rotary Club of Dundee, written by Professor Charles McKean of the University of Dundee and designed and illustrated by Blue Square Design.

It has been distributed to libraries across the city and to the University of Dundee. The Rotary Club are distributing it to the establishments that have supported with some funding such as Nosey Parkers/Queens Hotel, Speedwell Bar and the Deep Sea Restaurant.

It is not available as a pdf, but the content is available on the website that the Rotary Club has set up.
West End Heritage Walk

Friday, September 27, 2013

West End Christmas Fortnight meeting

This afternoon, I chaired the latest meeting of the West End Christmas Fortnight committee at Blackness Library.

At the July meeting, we agreed some of the 2013 events and today we put more of the programme in place, with a further planning meeting now arranged for early October.

West End Christmas Fortnight will run from 23rd November to 7th December and will have many events not to miss!

Dundee Food Train visit

Yesterday, I had a very productive meeting with Grant Simmons, Manager of the Dundee Food Train, that provides an excellent shopping service for older people across the city.

Dundee Food Train is going from strength to strength, with record numbers of customers and volunteers.

If you are aged over 65 and would like to know more about the service, or if you would like to be a volunteer, please contact the Food Train office:

Forthcoming event at Dundee Rep


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday activities

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of attending the 10th Birthday celebrations at Dundee's Maggie's Centre (see photo right).

It was a hugely well-attended event, marking an important milestone for Maggie's, which provides vital emotional, practical and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.

Maggie's Dundee was designed by Frank Gehry and was opened in September 2003 by Sir Bob Geldoff.

Later yesterday, I called by the Great War Dundee's Open Day at the Wellgate Library.   It was good to speak to many of the participants - a whole host of organisations from the Black Watch Museum to the Friends of Dundee City Archives.   You can find out more about the Great Ward Dundee Commemorative Project here.  The photo (right) shows part of the Black Watch Museum's display.

Also yesterday, I participated in the City Council's Scrutiny Committee, at which I asked questions about the speed of response to complaints to the council and an internal audit report.

Call for review of council's HMO policies

I have called on the City Council to consider a tightening up of planning and licensing limits for Houses in Multiple Occupation to curtail any further growth in the number HMOs in residential areas of Dundee.    

There are growing concerns from residents in parts of the West End Ward about the proliferation of HMOs and I have cited the granting of an HMO licence in an award-winning residential block in the West End as an example of a poor licensing decision, which highlights the need to consider operating a lower HMO limit outwith immediate higher education campus areas.

The current planning policy adopted by the City Council is :

“POLICY HMO2: AVOIDING EXCESSIVE CONCENTRATION OF HMOS  :   Within the Central Dundee Housing Investment Focus Area as identified in the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005, planning applications for HMOs that would result in the proportion of licensed HMOs in any Census Output Area exceeding 12.5% of the total residential stock will not be supported unless there are clear material considerations which would justify permission being granted. Purpose built HMO accommodation will be excluded from this assessment. This policy will not apply to the area within the city centre as defined in the Local Plan.”

A similar 12.5% limit applies for HMO licence applications and the number of new HMO licence approvals in residential areas has to be reduced.   There is clear public support for a lower number of Houses in Multiple Occupancy in residential areas.    

There needs to be a review of the current policies for both licensing and planning purposes and the City Council does have to listen to public concern on this important issue.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Water supply restored to DD2 area

I have been advised by Scottish water’s Regional Community Manager that households in DD2 affected by water loss today have now had their supplies restored.   Scottish Water advised:

“I can confirm that supplies have been restored. Storage tanks in higher parts of the zone may take a little more time to replenish, but repairs have been carried out and supplies restored.”

I am grateful to Scottish Water for its prompt response to this matter.

Skill Share Dundee Volunteer Open Evening

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending Skill Share Dundee's well-attended Volunteer Open Evening.   

Skill Share Dundee is a community-led project helping to inspire, empower and connect members of the student and residential community by sharing practical skills and crafts.   The project aims to bring generations together, maintain skills and crafts that might otherwise be lost and reduce waste through reuse and repair.

It was great to see many of the projects that are underway and the enthusiasm of the Skill Share Dundee team.   

If you are interested in finding out more, you can contact the team on 07450 252039, e-mail is skillsharedundee@gmail.com or visit the workshop at Unit 9, South Dudhope Mill, Dundee, DD1 5AN.
Garden tools created from recycled items
Part of the weaving and sewing facilities at Skill Share Dundee

High Mill Open Gallery Project


Also yesterday, I had a very useful meeting with Mark Munsie, Director of the Dundee Heritage Trust, regarding the High Mill Open Gallery Project.   Having visited the High Mill last year and seen the deteriorated state of the mill (apart from the renovated Verdant Works), it was great to be updated on the success thus far of the Trust's fundraising to have the High Mill fully restored and opened as a tourist attraction to complement the existing excellent Verdant Works museum.

The High Mill will be given a complete refurbishment which, while retaining all of its historic features will also see it turned into a gallery space.   Original machinery from the mill will be renovated and become features in the space, while other mill machinery owned by Dundee Heritage Trust will be brought back into public view.   In addition, a large steam engine, which is owned by Dundee City Council and is currently in pieces, will be reconditioned as one of the major exhibits in the gallery.

The project will cost over £2.2 million and the Heritage Lottery Fund has allocated £1.48 million to the project.  With Historic Scotland having allocated £500,000 towards emergency repairs, and other funding, the project's funding is almost fully in place.

This is a highly exciting project that should see the High Mill Open gallery open to the public in 2015.

Jericho House support group meeting

Jericho House
At lunchtime yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.

We had a good discussion about forthcoming activities by the folk at Jericho House which will include their participation in the Community Fayre as part of this year's West End Christmas Fortnight and also carol singing in Perth Road during the West End Christmas Fortnight activities.

Modern Masters in Print: Drawing with New Tools

Details of the forthcoming lecture 'Modern Masters in Print: Drawing with New Tools' is below.

Tickets are free but it is advisable to book via:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

City Council meetings

Last night, following my two Monday ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and the West Park Centre, I took part in Dundee City Council committees at which :

* At Education Committee, in a discussion on the condition of the school estate across the city, I asked questions about the need for continuing improvement to the fabric and physical condition of the older school estate - specifically the Victorian-built primary schools like Ancrum Road Primary and Blackness Primary.   Earlier this year at the council's budget meeting, I attempted to have further capital monies devoted to further improvements at these schools, but this was unfortunately voted down by the SNP administration who instead want to see the funding used to build new council offices for the Environment Department. 

* At Policy and Resources Committee, I queried performance indicators on the condition of Dundee's road network.

* At City Development Committee, I also spoke on items about winter maintenance and a tender relative to works on offices in City Square.

Visit to City Church Dundee

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking with the folk at City Church Dundee at the Friary in Tullideph Road and to drop in at their weekly "Community Bridge" which takes place every Monday between 11am and 1pm.   

The Community Bridge seeks to build community, promote social integration and provide support to individuals and families in need. The Bridge was launched in August 2012 and is based in The Friary's Community Halls.   Not only does this excellent initiative provide help and support in a friendly and relaxing environment, all attending get a light lunch and tea/coffee free of charge.   

It is one of a number of excellent initiatives at the church - other initiatives include the Little Stars Group for pre-school children, the Hub youth drop-in and a Knit and Natter group every Monday evening.

It is great to see these excellent community initiatives taking place, with City Church Dundee making such a positive impact on community life in the area.

Great War Dundee Commemorative Project

Great War Dundee will host a public Open Day at the Steps Theatre tomorrow - Wednesday, 25th September from 2pm.   Many of the partnership organisations involved with the project will be available for consultation.    Admission is free.

Great War Dundee, a city-wide partnership of organisations believed to be the first community co-operative in Britain to plan for the start of next year’s commemoration.

At the partnership’s launch last month, the programme planned by Great War was highlighted.  This includes:

a major public event in City Square on August 4, 2014 – 100 years on from the moment the war started
a Great War exhibition at the McManus Galleries
various significant events at The Black Watch Museum, Perth
a Battle of Loos commemorative concert
a compilation of the first full record of Dundee’s fallen
a prestigious lecture series, attracting renowned military history experts to the city, to be held at Dundee University
a new book about the history of the 4th Black Watch, ‘Dundee’s Own’, to be launched at a Great War Dundee Open Day event next month.
new undergraduate modules at Dundee University, and an evening class run through the University’s continuing education department on Films of the First World War
various commemorative exhibitions at museums across Tayside and Fife
community drama performances 
a number of Great War-related monthly lunchtime talks at Dundee City Archives
a new ‘one-stop shop’ web portal on all First World War information held in Dundee, which will allow the public to add their own stories. 
a book of war poetry by Joseph Lee and an exhibition on Lee by Dundee University’s archive and museum services
a tour of ‘forgotten’ sites, including airfields, hospitals, munitions factories and military camps to learn more about the significance of the war’s impact on the local area.

Great War Dundee is a superb commemorative project that will be supported by the whole city.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Commitment given to improve Harris Academy transport situation

I have today welcomed a commitment by Dundee City Council to investigate several concerns about the bus operation for pupils living in the West End of the city who travel to the Harris Academy decant site at Lawton Road.

I have, over the current term, raised a number of concerns raised by West End parents about the operation of the 11S and 12S school buses and I am very keen that the operation of these services is reviewed over the October holidays to ensure that next term the issues have been fully addressed.   
Amongst the issues raised by West End parents :

a) There are concerns that one of the buses – the 12S – gets filled to capacity and that the capacity issue could be better managed.    Because the 12S fills to capacity, further along the route there have been instances of pupils having the stand on the stairs, which parents rightly view as unacceptable.  Parents have asked where it is the case that the first 12S is nearing capacity by the time it reaches Sinderins, it should then go direct to Lawton Road via Hawkhill, leaving the duplicate 12S immediately behind to pick up on Perth Road - or have one 12S run only from further down the route slightly earlier.

b) There is absolutely no doubt that the second 12S is required and must continue after the October holidays.     The council has said it would initially run the duplicate until the holidays but usage shows it is definitely needed long term.

c) Parents feel that the current timing both morning and afternoon is too close to the start and end of the timetable.   In the mornings, given that the buses arrive literally a few minutes before registration starts, there is a rush of pupils into the school and it only takes the bus to be a few minutes late for pupils to miss the start of registration.   Starting the services from their point of commencement a little earlier would resolve this.

d) Similarly at the end of the school day, the buses leave the school immediately after the bell sounds.   Pupils going to collect home economics items for example (as the school expects pupils to do who have cooking or baking to take home) then going out to get the bus, find the buses departed.   Therefore some pupils are skipping collecting items they have produced and paid for.    Again, a slight re-timing of departure would alleviate this.

e) There are instances of pupils with a priority pass and a paper slip for the afternoon bus not getting on a bus home.    This has to be fully resolved before the darker late afternoons start.

The City Council’s Head of Transportation has responded positively to my request for a review to improve the Harris Academy bus operations, as follows:

“Thank you for this useful feedback and I agree relatively simple amendments that we will consider.

A review of operations is being undertaken of the Harris decant transport arrangements.”

I am pleased that there has been a positive response from the City Council to my request for improvements to the school transport operations to Harris Academy for West End pupils.    It is important that these are addressed in advance of the darker winter days ahead.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New University of Dundee Exhibition

... a new exhibition in the Tower Foyer Gallery from this coming Saturday, featuring new and old work by renowned painter and Duncan of Jordanstone College graduate Marge Loudon Moody. This will be Marge's first show in Great Britain in 30 years - she has lived in the USA since 1983, and is currently a Professor in the department of Fine Arts at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina. She graduated with a Diploma and Post-Diploma in Drawing and Painting from Duncan of Jordanstone in 1972.

The exhibition features stunning abstract paintings created during in her time in the USA, alongside one of her student works from the Duncan of Jordanstone College Collection. 

Marge explains: “My work is inspired by the spirit of place and emanates from my experience of different places and from my imagination. I work in series because one idea suggests many possible responses. Line, shape, colour and space are intuitively manipulated until they find their exact place in the piece as I achieve a harmonious expression of the essential nature of the subject.”

The exhibition will be on display in the Tower Foyer Gallery, University of Dundee until 16 November. Admission is free. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Progress towards the West End Timebank

I have previously mentioned that, following the success of the timebank in the north east of the city, a West End timebank is being launched.   Yesterday, I took part in the second planning meeting, which was most productive.

Timebanking is a means of exchange used to organise people and organisations around a purpose, where time is the principal currency.  For every hour participants ‘deposit’ in a timebank, perhaps by giving practical help and support to others, they are able to ‘withdraw’ equivalent support in time when they themselves are in need. In each case the participant decides what they can offer. 

It is a great, community-based, concept and there is great enthusiasm towards getting the West End timebank off the ground.

You can read more about timebanking at www.timebanking.org and if you would like more information about timebanking in the West End, please contact:

GillBain@number10.org          or              BarryThomson@number10.org

Campaigning for #bettertogether @UK_Together

This morning, I took part in Better Together campaigning in the Coldside and Maryfield Wards, along with LibDem colleagues and others in the cross-party Better Together campaign.

The photo below shows me with my colleagues Iliyan Stefanov and David Stansfield in Old Glamis Road earlier today:

Skill Share Dundee volunteering event


Friday, September 20, 2013

Temporary Traffic Order : Osborne Place

From Dundee City Council:

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984  :   SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water renewal works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Osborne Place (from Shepherds Loan to Magdalen Yard Road), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 30 September 2013 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Magdalen Yard Road/Shepherds Loan.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome for pedestrian safety improvement on Riverside Drive

Road markings for new crossing are already in place
As reported in yesterday's "Courier", I have welcomed the provision of a new pedestrian crossing on Riverside Drive that will allow for safer passage for pedestrians crossing the road at the Riverside Drive playing fields.

I have campaigned for safer crossing for pedestrians on Riverside Drive for a long time so it is great to see this new toucan pedestrian crossing being provided that will be sited across the road near to the Riverside Pavilion to the north and the Bridgeview Station Restaurant to the south.

The lower speed limit that was introduced some months ago has made the provision of further pedestrian crossings on Riverside Drive and Riverside Avenue now possible and it is fitting that the first site for new provision will be at the playing fields site as it has a steady flow of pedestrians who can have a real challenge trying to cross this very busy section of road.    

As the Secretary of the West End Community and Sports Hub, I have no doubt that this crossing will be of great benefit to all sports participants who use the playing fields and also to the public generally.

The City Council’s Head of Transportation has advised me :

“The preparatory civil engineering works have been ongoing for past two weeks and are now substantially complete.  Traffic signal equipment installation will be undertaken over the next few days, followed by final testing and commissioning.  All being well the Toucan crossing should be operational late this week or early next week.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Harris Academy Parent Council

Last night I attended a very productive meeting of Harris Academy Parent Council at the school's new Lawton Road base, the school's home during the rebuild programme at Perth Road.

It was reported that pupils and staff have settled in well at Lawton Road and there was a very useful update on this and other matters from the two new school captains.

We had an extensive discussion about the on-going school transport issues and also relative to school crossing patrollers (SCPs).    I continue to raise with the City Council issues regarding the bus arrangements and was in correspondence this week with the City Council's Education Department about the need for more SCPs at Lawton Road, including at lunchtimes.

The Parent Council has a very active Facebook page and the Parent Council Chair has a Twitter account, which, alongwith the school's website, provides very useful information and updates for parents and pupils of the school.

History of the West End : 12

This last photograph of this short series of West End historical photographs 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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Discovery Walk proposal - an update

Last month, I mentioned the excellent proposal by local resident Kelly Marr for "Discovery Walk" in the new Waterfront area, for a series of manhole covers that depict some of the great Dundonians who have made a real contribution to the city in the field of discovery.    The concept is based around the Sydney Writers' Walk - an example of a cover from Sydney is shown (right).

Yesterday, a group of us met with Kelly at the University of Dundee to move the idea forward.   Apart from university and City Council representatives, other organisations were represented including Dundee Contemporary Arts and the Abertay Historical Society.     We are now aiming to form a steering committee and are keen to involve local people in deciding who should be honoured in Discovery Walk.

If any resident is interested in this really worthwhile project, please contact me at discoverywalk@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

History of the West End : 11

This photograph 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.

Security increase following Harris Academy former building fire

Increased security at Harris Academy
Following my call for increased security at the Perth Road Harris Academy site after the fire in the soon-to-be demolished building on Sunday evening, I have welcomed an assurance I received late yesterday from the City Council about the matter.

A Council representative advised me :

‘Robertson Construction have confirmed that they are increasing security commencing at 16:30 today running through the night until site opening hours each morning.   Weekend security starts at 16:00 hrs on a Friday and runs through the weekend until the start of work on Monday mornings.’

I am pleased that the contractor has increased security so that there is round the clock security when the construction staff are not present.   I am grateful for the prompt and positive response to my request given the recent fire incident and an attempted theft of copper.

Back from holiday ...

Janet and I are just back from a great week away in the Caribbean - we are pictured (right) in the lovely island of St Thomas - we also visited St Maarten and Nassau in the Bahamas.

I'd like to thank member services staff at the City Council for dealing with urgent constituent enquiries whilst I was away - in their usual highly efficient and pleasant way - and to my LibDem colleagues who ensured my weekly ward surgeries ran as normal.

Now back to hundreds of e-mails!     Holidays seem like history very soon after you return!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Concern following fire at Harris Academy Perth Road site

I have today been in touch with City Council officials about security on the Harris Academy Perth Road site following a fire at the school site which is currently subject to demolition in preparation for the building of the new Harris Academy.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service today advised me:

“The fire started in a classroom on the first floor and spread to the room above through an open duct. Due the FRS actions and the concrete and brick construction the fire was contained to those rooms. We are of the opinion that the fire was started deliberately, probably by youths. There were still wooden fixtures and fittings within the classrooms, which allowed the fire to develop.

Given that the building is in the process of being demolished the only access for fire appliances was to the rear, this required us to ask for additional resources to provide water from the hydrant at the front of the building.”

I have contacted the City Council's Chief Executive and the officer in charge of the school building programme about security on the site.   This fire follows on from a recent attempt at the theft of copper from the site and I have sought assurances that the site is being properly secured.   

I have also been in touch with the police regarding this unfortunate incident.

I was interviewed by both Radio Tay and Wave 102 News about the matter this morning.   You can listen to the Wave 102 interview by clicking 'play' below:

History of the West End : 10

St John's Church, Perth Road :   This impressive church, with its imposing spire, is situated on the corner of Roseangle and Perth Road. It was opened on the 14th February, 1884. The architect was James Hutton.

This church replaced an earlier church in Small's Wynd which had been the first Free Church built in Dundee, in 1843. It was purchased by the founders of University College, Dundee and has since been demolished.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

History of the West End : 9

This photograph shows the junction known locally as Sinderins, where Dundee's Perth Road and Hawkhill join at the foot of Blackness Avenue.

James Maclaren, 'a Soane medallist, and the best educated architect of Dundee's Victorian age' (David M. Walker: Dundee architects and architecture 1770-1914'), designed the uncompleted terrace Nos. 1-5 Blackness Avenue in 1868.

Maclaren's other work in Dundee included the famed Cox's Stack (mill chimney) which still features above a leisure park in Lochee), the Savings Bank in Euclid Street and the Congregational Church in Broughty Ferry. He died of a heart attack in June 1893.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

History of the West End : 8

The north side of Perth Road, Dundee, is seen in this Alexander Wilson photograph, which a mill chimney near the Hawkhill visible in the distance.

Thomas Malone 'the up-to-date boot repairer' was at No. 101 Perth Road, with other shops at No. 6 Hilltown, No. 63 Hawkhill, No. 84 Albert Street, No. 158 Strathmartine Road and No. 19 Benvie Road. He lived at No. 20 Forebank Road.

John Paton's fish store was No. 99 Perth Road. To the east of West Wynd was Miss Helen Banks' shop, listed in the Dundee Directory as 'tobacconist and confectioner'. She lived at Gate Lodge, Invergowrie, a village to the west of Dundee.

Friday, September 13, 2013

History of the West End : 7

This photograph shows a section of Dundee's Perth Road's north side, looking to the west, with a no longer extant road at the righthand side.

The taller block is Hermonhill (numbered 21-27 Perth Road), the smaller one Hermonhill Terrace (1-6, disregarding continuous numbering of Perth Road). George H. Gibb, the town postmaster, lived at No. 21, Hermonhill House.

In 1895, the residents of the terrace included Mrs J. McCheyne (widow of the Rev. J. M. McCheyne, a [prominent Dundonian preacher), George A. Harris, an architect, and the undertaker William Scarlett, who had offices in Ann Street and Logie Street.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

History of the West End : 6

This shows the north side of Dundee's Perth Road, leading eastwards into town towards the right.

At the extreme right of the image is Mrs Robertson's Coach Hiring Establishment, at Nos. 43-45 Perth Road. The painters and decorators at No. 47 were Thomas Brown & Son. Mrs C. Foote, a draper, is listed at No. 49, and baker William Coupar at No. 51.

To the left and west of Miller's Wynd was the grocer and wine merchant James Aitken, an agent of Kawazwattee teas. He lived at No. 55 Perth Road. The business lasted well into the 20th century as a wine shop and delicatessen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

History of the West End : 5

Perth Road, Dundee, is such a long street that sections of it have acquired individual names, such as Windsor Terrace, an elegant Edwardian block to the west of Sinderins, and, as here, Invercauld Place, on the north side.

Alexander Fraser, the bootmaker, was at No. 145 Perth Road, with Mrs Mary Bell, 'fruits and confectionery' (she appears in the Dundee Directory as a confectioner) at No. 149. Mrs Adam Bell was another fruiterer with her shop at No. 153.

John Farquharson, 'plumber, gasfitter, tinsmith & brassfounder', had works at Nos. 33-35 Barrack Street; No. 151 Perth Road was a shop. An advertisement in the Dundee Directory says that the firm made candleabra, etc., as well as more practical fittings.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

History of the West End : 4

This photograph shows the point where Perth Road meets Hawkhill, known locally as The Sinderins. Slightly to the east and left of the image, Blackness Avenue leads northwards towards Balgay Park.

The block of three-storey buildings is known as Manor Place. None of the businesses is easily identified. The West End Drapery Warehouse may have been Jessie Croll and John Pringle, listed as Nos. 217 and 219 Perth Road for over ten years.

Jessie Croll lived at No. 330 Hawkhill, and John Pringle at No. 3 St Johnswood Terrace. No information has been found about the confectionery actually at Sinderins. Outside that shop, a nanny is seen pushing an early 'wicker basket' child's pram.

Monday, September 09, 2013

History of the West End : 3

This photograph shows the north side of the Hawkhill in Dundee at the junction with Bellfield Lane at the left (in the west).

Alexander Wilson's Dining Rooms and Coffeehouse were at No. 167. One of the advertisements on the gable end are for the Dundee Select Choir's performance of Handel's oratorio "Samson" at the Kinnaird Hall.

The Dundee Directory lists the other shops as Mrs G. Harper, tobacconist, Mrs A. Boyack, draper, The Annandale Dairy Company, Isabella Miller, fruiterer, and Miss F. Sheriff, confectioner. Then comes Lowden's Alley.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

History of the West End : 2

This shows Dundee's Perth Road, leading to the west, with the north side to the right hand side.

The church of Ryehill Church (designed by George Shaw Aitken in 1878) is in the distant left (west) and the foot of Springfield (a set of villas now largely in the ownership of Dundee University) at the right. No. 37 Perth Road was John Fisher.

Mrs W. Kinmond, the tobacconist, was at No. 41, with Robertson's West End Livery Stables at Nos. 43 and 45. The Dundee Directory lists Mrs J. M. Robertson as 'coach proprietor and hotelkeeper', with stables at No. 32.5 King Street.

Alexander Wilson, who took this photograph, was a supervisor in a Dundee jute mill for over 20 years. He bequeathed much of his collection and £50, to cover the costs involved, to the Free Library Committee of Dundee in 1923.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

History of the West End - a new series - 1

Photopolis is a major photographic resource in Dundee City Council's ownership that I have, with the permission of the Leisure & Communities Department, featured photographs from in the past.   I'm now featuring some more West End historic photographs over the next few days:
This undated photograph 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, September 06, 2013

Discovery Film Festival: Scotland's International Film Festival for Young Audiences

This year's Discovery Film Festival takes place from 19th October until 3rd November and is now in its tenth 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 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 partnership with Dundee Education Development Department, Scottish Screen and DCA.

The festival works with partner venues in Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire, Falkirk, Fife, and the Highlands and Islands to bring a selection of films from the Discovery programme to new audiences across Scotland.

Discovery Film Festival is a DCA project and is organised by Festival Producer and Cinema Youth Development Officer, Mike Tait. A team of Young Ambassadors (aged 15-18) work with the Festival Producer to programme films and advise on the overall design of the festival. A team of teachers and education consultants advise on the education programme and create Curriculum for Excellence relevant resources for classes visiting the festival.

Discovery would like to thank Dundee City Council Education Development Department and Fishers Tours for their ongoing support. We are also grateful to DCA's partners and supporters: Creative Scotland, Dundee City Council Leisure and Communities Department, The University of Dundee, Scottish Enterprise and Europa Cinemas.

If you would like to support Discovery or get involved, email discovery@dca.org.uk.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Rotary Club of Dundee – Oktoberfest 2013

Now in its third year the Rotary Club of Dundee is gearing up to present another great mix of live music, real ales and authentic food from Germany from 26th to 28th September.

The Club are also delighted that Belhaven Brewery are once again supporting the event as one of their main sponsors along with Dundee based Barnetts Volkswagen who serve the Tayside & Fife area.  

The music line-up for the third Dundee Rotary Beer and Music Festival at the iconic RRS Discovery quayside in late September has been announced. And again, there is a wealth of live music from local and not-so-local bands.  The first two festivals, organised as fund raisers for local and national charities, have highlighted the immense musical talent that Dundee music fans have enjoyed for years – and this year, the line-up introduces an excellent mixture of new bands and old favourites.

Playing over three nights, starting on Thursday 26 September, the bands will provide a wide range of music, from original to covers, from blues to jazz and just plain downright rock and roll. Something there for everyone – what’s not to like!

As always there will be a great range of beers on offer to cater for all tastes and perhaps tempt a few to try something new?

No festival would be complete without some great food and you can’t get much better than real German (Westfalishe) Bratwurst and Currywurst together with Frikadelen and barbecued marinated steaks, fresh from a traditional German butcher we know.

Tim Heilbronn, President of the Rotary Club of Dundee, said, “Our previous two events raised over £16,000 for local charities, including Brae Riding and the Ninewells Cancer Campaign, as well as providing a platform for some very talented local bands.  We are delighted to be holding the event again; the feedback from last year confirmed that Discovery Quay provides a fantastic, atmospheric venue, and we are hugely grateful to Mark Munsie, Operations Director at Discovery Point and all our sponsors for their support.”

This is a well-managed event and everyone has a great time. The age group really does range from 18 to 80 and as they all keep coming back year on year we are proud to say that the Dundee Rotary Oktoberfest is now an established part of the Dundee entertainment scene. All the proceeds from this event are channelled through our Rotary Charity with every penny used to support equally well managed local causes.  

You can follow Oktoberfest on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Advice services in Dundee

The Dundee Financial Inclusion Strategy Group has recently published an excellent directory of advice services across the city that assist with debt, money and benefit issues.

You can download the guide here.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

On Wave 102 News - Demand Responsive Transport

I am on Wave 102 News this morning on the demand responsive transport issue - click 'play' below to listen: