St Andrews in old picture postcards

St Andrews in old picture postcards

:   Eric Simpson
:   Fife
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6668-3
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'St Andrews in old picture postcards'

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49 This postcard conveys the essence of a true holiday occasion. Dancing in the Church Square was once part and parcel of this great annual saturnalia. Annie, who in August 1906 sent this card to a male friend in Leslie, wrote, uninhibited by her lack of punctuation: 'This is the band at the Market we had a grand day we were wishing you were here I had a few dances here but Auntie Jean would not go.' If she received a fairing (a Market gift) from a young man, Annie does not mention it. The Town Band precariously perched provided the musie. But fashions

changed and street dancing at the back 0 the kirk died out, although unsuccessful attempts were made in the 1930s to revive the tradition.


HRlET De nc inq III Cl}urch Square.

50 There were 145 fishermen living in St Andrews and 57 boats in 1881, which is the approximate date of this Valentine photograph. With all these Dundee-registered Fifie-pattern fishing boats it looks a busy enough port. The small cargo vessel tied up at the quay is the Blue Billy, home port Newcastle. Her cargo may have been coal or perhaps the cut timber ar herring barrels stacked on the quay. The siting of the gas works (right) sa close to the cathedral was a souree of complaint until its closure in 1962. Part ofthe farmer Share Mill (centre, next to the Mill Port) sur-

vives, renovated and conserved in the mid-1960s. The building in the corner of the cemetery, with a cross-shaped opening on the gable, is now a public toilet.

5 1 N ow thirty years or sa later we see part of the same harbour area from a slightly different angle. But the Gas Warks lum is now visible plus, right, the tenements and starehauses

of the Shorehead, The whitewashed buildings at each end were inns, the Auld Hoose being on the left. The sailing vessels shown here found it difflcult to compete with the

new Iarger steam-powered fishing boats and the harbour, 'a paar affair' inhibited development. The St Andrews fishermen gradually either moved to other ports or changed

occupations. Quite a few became caddies or greenkeepers for the local golf courses. By 192 9 there were only about thirty active fishermen left in the town.

52 The Shorehead and the area round the Ladyhead at the east end of North Street comprised the traditional heart of the St Andrews fishing com-

munity. Near here onee stood the Fish Cross, where the fishermen of former days had to expose their fish for sale before sending them out of town.

In 1891, the date ofthe original photograph, this was still a close-krrit and distinctive community with its own ways and customs. Of ten photo-

graphed, the fishing quarter and its inhabitants were on the tourist itinerary from Victorian days onward.

North Street, St. Andrews

53 As we see, the womenfolk, in traditional garb, baited the lines. It was a messy task and best done out of doors. The litter and the smell meant that it was not too popular with the

other townsfolk. The shellfish used for bait was brought from the Mussels Scalps on the Eden. Belonging to the town and regulated by the Council, the Scalps were a signifi-

cant asset. The lewer-level houses on the north side of the street were dernolished to make way for the Younger Hall. As, over the years new council houses were built, the surviving

fisherfolk were dispersed and absorbed into the community at large. Notice the nearby gas lamppost.

54 This corner of the pier has always been a favourite spot for photographers. On the left we see part of the Royal George tenement with on the right the Bell RockTavern (now Bell

Rock House). A horsedrawn lorry stands outside. There is a significant structure missing in this 1931 Valentine postcard. The postcard has been doctored, a not uncom-

man trick with this publisher. The Gas Works' chimney has been airbrushed out, presumably to present a more aesthetically-pleasing view The Gas Works was not actually

demolished till 1964. The Royal George buildings, lang condemned, also disappeared around this time.

SS It is the same publisher and virtually the same view as in the previous postcard, but it is 23 years later and is a more genuine image. This time the big

lum has been left in the picture. The lamp standard is still there but instead of a horse-drawn vehicle we have two recent-model cars, a [owett ]avelin on the

left and an Austin A3 0 on the right. The bairns as always are mostly fishing or helping out on the beats. The wee laddie in the 'Oor Wullie' -sryle dungarees

looks as if he has stepped out from the pages of the Sunday Post.

56 This 194-8 Valentine postcard shows two of the rowing beats that were available for hire at that time. A few of the loeal fishermen had diversified into hiring out eanoes and

rowing boats and offering motor-baat trips round the bay. Board of Trade regulations ensured that applieants for baat stanee eoncessions had to have their boats inspeeted as to their

suitability. Since in 194-8, aecording to Town Couneil minutes, only W Chisolrn's boats passed the initial examination, it is likely that the pair illustrated here were his property. For

many years members of the Cargill family were also hiring out boats, not only at the harbour but also at the Bruee Embankment.

57 lust as some fishermen adapted to the new tourist economy, so shopkeepers also recognized that they had to cater not just for their regular customers, but also for summer visitors who of ten had special needs and requirements. With no Tourist Information Office, shops, like McDougall's Grocery Warehouse, filled the gap by providing, as we see from this advertisement in a mid-1930s guidebook, lists of furnished houses, apartments etc. Such lists gave detailed information as to ownership, number of rooms, bathrooms (if any), and period of availability.

Clients from a distance were required to send for a list enclosing a starnped, addressed envelope.





Purveyor of High Clas Groceries and Provi ions

Perscna, Attention




Phone o. 60 Extension.

Visitors Note.-0ur St Mary's Streel branch IS also a Sub-POSt Office. and converriem for houses in the EAST BA Y district of St Andrews


58 As with other holiday resorts, restaurants and tearooms abounded. In 192 6 the Victoria Café was one of several that could boast of a tea garden. In

the opinion of the sender of this card, the Victoria was 'quite good and moderate: Students too found it good value with soup and a snack costing a mere

ten old pennies. One wond ers what the clientèle of the days when it was a restaurant serving luncheons and high teas would have thought of its con-

temporary makeover - still a cafélrestaurant but now possessed of a bar and beer garden and offering such treatsas Karaoke Nights and Happy Hours.

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