Dundee in old picture postcards volume 1

Dundee in old picture postcards volume 1

:   Norman Watson
:   Dundee
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6404-7
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Dundee in old picture postcards volume 1'

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Dundee estabhshed itself by enterprise and energy. It built its harbours and docks and harnessed to its purposes the waters of the River Iay, just seven miles from the sea. It ploneered trading routes to the Baltic and established the greatest whaling fleet in the Empire. lts heroic manufacturing output made Dundee the second city in Scotland and the world's centre of jute production. The triumph of jute - or King Jute as the Dundee Advertiser declared in 1872 - impacted on the tewn's population, which rose dramatically from 26,000 in 1800 to 160,000 in 1901. By 1872 over seventymills employed 40,000 people, almost 30,000 ofthem women and girls. During the FirstWorld War, Dundee's staple industry supplied 150 million sandbags in a single fortnight in a response to a desperate appeal from London.

The jute boom coincided with the Golden Age of the picture postcard. From its Perth Road works the firm of [ames Valentine and Sans became one of Britains largest postcard producers. The company was started in Dundee by Iohn Valentine in 1825, but it was the founder's great-grandson Harben Valentine, who joined in 1886, who took advantage of the ending of the Government monopoly on postcards in 1894, and the granting of permission in 1897 to write or print on their reverse side. Millions were produced in Dundee. Although Valentine 's ceased

postcard production in 1970, another postcard pioneer. j.B, White of Dundee, continues to this day in the form ofWhiteholme Ltd.

The doubling of the price of sending a postcard from '/ -d to 1 d in 1918, and the extension of the telephone, contributed to the demise of the postcard in inter-war years, but not before it had reflected on Dundee's grim industrial age, with scenes of tenements reminiscent of Dickens' semi-mythical Coketown. Similarly, Dundee's greatest industry went into decline, but not before Broughty Ferry, three miles east of Dundee, where many of the jute barons had built fantastic mansions, was absorbed into the city. In 1806 the Dundee Advertiser stated that Broughty Ferry was attracting large numbers of visitors due to its excellent beach and seaside location. It was described as the 'Brighton of the North' - though no-one having visited both could have possibly thought them similar. But at one point, 100 trams at day passed backwards and forwards to Dundee from its new suburb.

Meanwhile, with inter-war unemployment at 30% in Dundee as a whole and 50% in the jute industry, Dundee's energies bent towards a new industrial era as generations ofprovenly dextrous inhabitants rose to the challenge of the electronic age,

supporting the arrival of firms such as Timex and NCR. But the city's wealth had come from jute, and the magnates' legacy was patronage and benevolence, as witnessed by postcards of gifts such as Baxter Park, Caird Hall and the Albert Institute.

Meanwhile, major new housing developments, such as Logie, Craigiebank and Clepington, to be followed by the sprawling estates on the city's periphery, were transforming the physical character of the city, and Dundee cleared away much that was squalid. It has also survived the trauma of a fallen rail bridge, built another and opened a road crossing to Fife. More recently it has turned to tourism and amassed considerable international standing for its maritime history. Importantly, it is now a twouniversity city with a medical school of world repute.

And today, ninety years after the Golden Age of the picture postcards, once-familiar mills, ships, buildings and streets have taken on new appearances and exciting functions. Similarly, attics around the city have given up hidden hoards of Edwardian postcards, chronicling the life and times of Dundee.This is their legacy in pictures.

1 This fine High Street scene shows Dundee's first Sunday tram car on 10th September 1905, on its journey towards Ninewells, obviously brim fuH for the run westwards along the High Streel. In order to prevent disturbances during church services, Dundee's first Sunday tram did not run between 11 a.m. and just after noon.

2 Now we see the Sunday tram in the Nethergate, travelling eastwards ta the High Street. When electric trams were introduced in 1905, many people claimed they were blinded by the lighting inside after the dim, funereal glow of the horse-drawn era. Trams were withdrawn from Dundee in 1956.

/ .,



3 Thisvalentine's study of Clepington Road at the turn of the century provides a tranquil scene hardly likely to be repeated in today's rush hour. Note the elegant gas lamps and the sophisticated Venetian blinds in the window above Fairmuir Post Office.



4 This photograph shows a Bleriot monoplane in the Stannergate around 1 91 O. Dundee's own pioneering aviator was Pres ton Watson. Watson was said by witnesses to have made a powered f1ight above Errol 'in the summer of 1903.'This led to many years of debate over whether the young Dundonian actually preceded the Wright Brothers into the air.

Preston Watson died in 1 91 5 while on service with the Royal Flying Corps.

5 D. M. Brown had a romantic growth from a single-windowed shop at 80 High Street to the magnificent arcade shown here, Why an arcade? There is a story that D. M. Brown, having acquired a Commercial Street frontage in addition to his premises in the High Street, wanted to join the two by 'turning the corner'. He was frustrated, however, by the chemist in the corner site who dernanded an exorbitant price for his stance. Brown's answer was to make a continuous row of display windows under cover running behind the corner.


6 The Alexandra drinking fountain was formerly one of the city's most popular meeting places. It was presented by Lord Provo st William Longair to commemorate two Royal visits to Duridee in 1907 and 1908 - happily for us, bath recorded during the Golden Age of the picture postcard. More recently, the fountain looked a lost soul as the area in front of the old Caledonian station (seen in the background) was transformed

into the Discovery Quay approach area.

Alexandra Fountatn an S. Uoton Street. Duridee

7 There was astrong rivalry between the Barony of Hilltown and the Burgh of Dundee in ancient times. At one point trade between the two was banned. The purchase of the Barony by the Burgh in 1699 was a major factor in settling old scores. But the Hilltown preserved bath its identity and its colourful culture. The Hilltewn's most famous landmark today (apart from the supermarket!) is the tap-a' -the-hill clock, seen here in the background. It was presented by Dundee's Lord Provost in

1 900, presumably as a peace offering.

8 Dundee Trades Hall was built in 1 77 6 and enlarged in 1851 . lts original rusticared gronnd floor is illustrated in Lamb's Dundee. It was built as the meeting place of the Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee. When it was dernolished in 1 878, as a consequence of changes initiared by the 1871 Improvement Act, a unique painted plaster frieze, showing a traditional parade performed by the Cordiner Trade (shoemakers), was rescued and given to Dundee Museum.

Old Trades }fall, jfigh Streèf, --Uund.ee ~-.

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