Monday 31 October 2016

Peddie Street - Scottish Water works

Last week, following complaints from residents that the Scottish Water works (and excavations) were running over their planned finish date, I received an assurance from the company that the road would be returned to normal by close of play last Friday.

However, this did not happen as the photo (right) taken at the weekend highlights.

I contacted Scottish Water over the weekend and their Community Manager has responded :

"Sorry to hear this as we were informed this would be completed and removed on Friday.  

I will pick up with the project team and establish why this has not happened."

I am anxious this is resolved ASAP given the disruption to residents, including loss of parking.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Friends of Balgay Autumn Meeting & AGM

The presentation at the Friends' AGM yesterday
I was delighted to attend the Friends of Balgay Autumn Meeting & AGM yesterday afternoon at the Mills Observatory.

Liz Houghton from the Scottish Wildlife Trust gave a fascinating talk about urban wildlife, complete with a superb photographic presentation.

Its always a good sign when the turnout requires extra chairs to be found for all the attendees!    

I wish the Friends of Balgay committee every success in the forthcoming year.

Saturday 29 October 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



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

*This unfortunately represents the work by Scotland Gas Networks being completed late – it should have finished around now.      

I contacted Scotland Gas Networks to express concern given the continued disruption to residents, bus services, etc.

Their Team Manager advised me yesterday :  “I’m afraid you’re correct about the work running behind at present.  This is because of a number of problems we hit in the West Park Road junction which meant we had to divert labour from other parts of the job to ensure we had the junction re-opened for the start of the school term.

The plan now is to re-open the road to 2 way traffic by Monday 7th November.  In line with our original programme, we will still have service connection works to complete after the road is open and we will need to use temporary traffic lights at times for these.”

I have asked that if the work gets completed during the week, the road is opened before 7th November, although it appears unlikely this will now be much before next weekend at the earliest.

Friday 28 October 2016

Conclusion to Photopolis series : Hawkhill

The photograph below, concluding this series of the Photopolis photographic resource, shows the north side of the Hawkhill 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.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Photopolis : Session Street

The original caption is misleading, as the photograph shows Dundee's Scouringburn, whose layout was incorporated into the new Hawkhill section of the city's inner ring road system in the 1970s, here seen leading westwards, Session Street to the right.

Mrs J. McManus, the general dealer, is first listed at No. 13 Scouringburn in the Dundee Directory for 1888-89. The 1893-94 edition has John Finnigan as the owner of the public house at No. 15, the Celtic Bar.

James P. Casey is described there as 'dealer in furniture, left-off clothing, antiquarian and general bookseller, and licensed broker'. Their advertisement says Mr and Mrs Casey will pay good prices in cash for any part of anyone's 'superfluous wardrobe'.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Friends of Balgay - Autumn Meeting & AGM

The Friends of Balgay Autumn Meeting & AGM takes place this coming Saturday - 29th October - at 2pm at the Mills Observatory.

Liz Houghton from the Scottish Wildlife Trust will give a talk about urban wildlife.

All welcome! 

Photopolis : Nethergate

This photograph of the north side of Dundee's Nethergate at the junction with Tay Street Lane (below) dates from after 1891, after which point numbers in that section were altered after extensive building works. The image may date from shortly afterwards.

As there are no names on any of the shops, it is difficult to date the picture with any greater accuracy. The low building at the right hand side (and east) housed the galleries of J. Gonnella & Co., a family of Italian sculptors, several of them consuls.

The corner establishment was the wine and spirits business belonging to Peter Fenwick. Before 1891, he was listed at No. 97. Afterwards, it was No.103, although not long afterwards, No. 105a (a confectionery owned by A. C. Davidson) was added.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee

From Blether Tay-Gither :

Tonight – Tuesday 25th October - from 7pm at the Frigate Unicorn, Victoria Dock - DARE TO DREAM - International Storytelling Festival on Tour.           
Treat yourself to a special storytelling night where guest Storytellers Ruben Corbett from Mexico and Wayqui Cesar Villegas Astete from Peru will transport you to the colourful world of Latin America.   Bi-lingual support will be provided by storyteller Laura Escuela. 
Tickets for this event are on sale at £5 from or by phoning 01334 474836.

Photopolis : Tay Square

Tay Square is the present-day location of The Rep theatre. It stands to the west of South Tay Street, which runs north from Nethergate to the junction with Overgate to the east and West Port to the west.

It is impossible to date this photograph below by Alexander Wilson as not only are there no visible names, but there was very little change of ownership over a considerable time span anyway. No 9. (the house behind the central tree!) was home to James H. Laing. 

No. 10 belonged to David Ogilvy, tailor, and No. 11 is listed in the Dundee Directory as Peter Steven FRCSE, a surgeon. The photographer set up in front of Tay Square United Free Church (ministered to by Rev. Robert Lang), looking north.

Monday 24 October 2016

West End Ward Surgeries

With the schools back today - Monday 24th October - after the autumn holiday, my West End Ward Surgeries recommence :

4.20pm - The Base, Mitchell Street Centre;  

4.50pm - Harris Academy, reception area.

Photopolis : Logie House

The manor house of Logie (below) was apparently in existence prior to 1660, but from 1722-78 extensive alterations were carried out.   The building was demolished in 1908.    

Cleghorn Street was named after William Cleghorn, manufacturer, who long occupied Logie House as tenant, and afterwards became proprietor of the estate of Logie. 

Following the removal of Logie House, tenements were erected on the most of the lands.

Sunday 23 October 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 22 October 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

Friday 21 October 2016

Thursday 20 October 2016

Photopolis : Mitchell Street School

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

Wednesday 19 October 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 18 October 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 17 October 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 16 October 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 15 October 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 14 October 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 13 October 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 12 October 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 11 October 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 10 October 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."

Sunday 9 October 2016

Saturday 8 October 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 7 October 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 6 October 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 5 October 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 4 October 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 3 October 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 2 October 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 1 October 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.