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.”

Photopolis : Dock Street

The photograph below shows the western end of Dundee’s Dock Street, with the Greenmarket to the right and east, and Dundee West Railway Station to the left.
 
The rear of Gilfillan Memorial Church is impressive to the left, while nextdoor is the ‘public warehouse’, which was occupied by various salt merchants and fruiterers. Around the corner is ‘The Weigh House’, another salt store.
 
Among the salt merchants, the Cowan family were pre-eminent. Members of the dynasty included George C.’s brother, Edward, who was Town Clerk of Broughty Ferry, and his father, James, who was a harbour trustee and member of Dundee Council from 1877-1982.

Photopolis : Seagate

The photograph below shows the corner of Dundee’s Seagate running from west to east left to right and St Andrews Street leading northwards at the righthand side.   The area was cleared for St Andrews Buildings, which bear an inscription dated 1894.
 
The corner building here housed John D. Bruce, solicitor, and John Findlay jun., a house-agent who lived at Floralbank in Broughty Ferry. Nextdoor, at No. 114 was the saddler, Robert Sim, who lived at No. 112. J. Hendry is listed there in 1891-92.
 
No. 108 was occupied by Fairweather and Sons, tobacco manufacturers, George Livie, boatbuilders, and the home of Joseph Jaffrey, broker, whose business premises were at No. 146 Seagate.

Photopolis : City Churches

The Alexander Wilson photograph below shows the eastern portion of Dundee’s City Churches, with the south at the centre, the Steeple to the west and left, the east at the right.
 
The Mercat Cross (a 16th-century column surmounted by a replica of Scott Sutherland’s Unicorn) stands inside the railings.   Today it is slightly further west, midway between the Old Steeple and the current Overgate shopping centre.
 
The carriages are at a ‘cab stance’ (the precursor of the taxi rank), which started at the north end of Union Street (which led south to Tay Bridge and Dundee West railway stations).   Fares were in units of sixpence, varying by zone.

Photopolis : Meadowside and Euclid Crescent

The photograph below shows the Post Office which stood at the junctions of Dundee’s Meadowside and Euclid Crescent, with the fence and bushes in the grounds of Dundee High School to the right.
 
The postmaster in 1902, shortly before the area was redeveloped for D. C. Thomson to plans by to plans by Niven & Wigglesworth, a London company, was George H. Gibb, who lived at Hermonhill in Perth Road.
 
On weekdays the office was open from 6.45am until 9pm, with the sale of stamps continuing until 11pm.   In its role as a savings bank, business was carried out between 9am and 6pm.    Postal business was also available on Sundays from 9.30am -10.45am.

Photopolis : Cowgate

The photograph below – strictly speaking – shows St Andrews Place, Dundee, where Cowgate and King Street meet; the trees behind the wall with railings are in the grounds of St Andrew’s Church.
 
Fleming Brothers’ City Clothing Warehouse at No. 16 dominates the corner of the scene, nextdoor to David McLardy & Co.’s domestic machinery warehouse. Fleming Brothers also had a Household Furnishing Co. at No. 15 and another shop in Lochee High Street.
 
McLardy’s advertisement in the 1904-05 Dundee Directory lists mangels, wringers, sewing machines, etc., ice cream freezers and all kinds of household furniture, and drapery and boots – in other words, they sold just about every for the home.

Photopolis : Dundee West Station

Although, to date, I have featured West End Photopolis photographs, I’ll now feature some City Centre ones.   This Alexander Wilson photograph – below – shows the Dundee West Station (the third building on that site) with its distinctive clock tower in red sandstone. The goods yard stood to the south of the main station.
 
To the right of the picture is Mathers’ Commercial Hotel, Whitehall Place, built in 1898 to plans by Robert Hunter.    Previously Mathers had had a temperance hotel in Whitehall Street, but increased trade required a bigger building.
 
The Caledonian Railway’s carting department was run by Wordie and Co., who were also agents for the Dundee and Arbroath Joint Railway at Dundee East, and the London and North Western Railway at Dundee West.

City Centre Bus Changes from Monday

Received an update from the City Council this afternoon regarding changes to public transport in the City Centre starting Monday (8th January 2007) due to the Scotland Gas Networks Main Replacement Scheme. You can view this by clicking the headline above.
Also from Monday, the bus stops in Dock Street will be suspended for approximately 11 months to facilitate rail tunnel strengthening works.

Update on rail tunnel works & partial closure of Dock Street

The City Council has advised me that the above works will start on 8th January 2007 to reinforce the rail tunnel that runs under the Dock Street Area.
Buses will only be using Dock Street in a northernly direction, the buses which would normally travel east on Dock Street will, for the duration of the east bound closure, require to use the route onto the large roundabout which handles all traffic from Riverside Drive and West Marketgait.
As a result, at peak periods, this is likely to cause congestion in Crichton Street and surrounding areas.
The Planning and Transportation Department will be monitoring this traffic congestion and may alter the timing of the traffic lights at the large roundabout to allow a better flow of traffic during this period.
If you are leaving the City Centre via Crichton Street, it will make sense to travel along Dock Street and up Union Street onto the High Street taking a westerly route out of the City Centre.

The High Street Clock …

Following the recent complaint about the new High Street clock running slow, its now, err …, missing one if its hands.
The City Centre Manager advised me this afternoon that the repair required had been reported but that also the manufacturers have been written to, requesting that they come up to Dundee to sort out the various issues that have affected the clock since its installation.

Belfast, City Centre, Riverside Approach, Seabraes

Was in Belfast Tuesday/Wednesday with the “day job” – we ran a professional meeting on local government reform at Belfast City Hall – keynote speaker Sir Michael Lyons of the Lyons Inquiry – excellent day. As the photo shows, Belfast City Hall is a superb civic centre.

If you click on the headline above, you can read the article about my latest City Centre & Harbour Community Council update (and indeed download it) – attended half the meeting tonight (slightly exhausted after last couple of days!) but useful discussion on festive and other matters.


Good news! Photo below shows Network Rail busy replacing the blue boards today on Riverside Approach – but less good is the other photo from a local resident showing the glass at Seabraes. The City Council met with SET earlier this week to explore the detail of a proper maintenance arrangement; meantime I have requested that the glass gets cleaned up.