ScotlandsPeople launch 1885 Valuation Rolls

ScotlandsPeople is a superb on-line source of original genealogical information.    It is invaluable for anyone researching UK genealogy, Scottish ancestry or for anyone building his or her Scottish family tree.    ScotlandsPeople has almost 90 million records available and a new, additional, resource was added last month with the addition of the Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1885.
These 1885 valuation rolls include the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property.    The named person in the roll is usually the head of the household and, in many cases, occupations are also listed.   Since the rolls list every type of rateable property in Scotland, the records include people from all social classes.
There’s fascinating information about the West End in 1885 to be gleaned from this resource and ScotlandsPeople highlights the properties in the West End associated with Sir William Arrol, the civil engineer who planned and supervised the building of the replacement Tay Rail Bridge.   You can read more about Sir William Arrol here and view the valuation roll entry covering the property where he was tenant on ground at Tay Bridge Station owned by the North British Railway Company. The entry also includes the address of “47 Magdalene Green”, which would appear to be where the site office for the new Tay Bridge project was based.
You can also view the valuation roll entry for a dwelling house at 24 Strawberrybank, where Arrol was also tenant.    This would most likely have been Arrol’s main residence in Dundee during this time.
ScotlandsPeople is well worth a visit and can be accessed at

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In 1905, three were still there: Haggart had been replaced by Henry William Rennie, a merchant. Mrs James Burdon [sic], a spirit merchant in 1895, has been replaced by Duncan Macnab Burden, a solicitor, at No. 2 by 1905.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

History of the West End : 12

A final photograph in this short series shows Perth Road at St Peter Street.    You can see many more photographs of Dundee’s rich history on the City Council’s excellent Photopolis site.
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.

History of the West End : 8

Tay Square in Dundee 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 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.

History of the West End : 7

St David’s Church, Tay Street, was originally a “Tabernacle” church built by the Haldane Brothers in 1800. It was purchased by the Town Council in the early 19th century. Large scale alterations followed. The church was occupied until May 1947.
It was purchased by J. M. Wallace who transformed it into a popular dance hall, the J M Ballroom, which first opened in 1954. It continued under various names until it burned down in October 1994.

History of the West End : 6

This photograph shows the upper section of Dundee’s Tay Street at the junction with West Port to the left and North Tay Street leading into the distance.
David Mackie is listed in the 1892-93 Dundee Directory at No. 2 North Tay Street and No. 1 Westport [sic].
Andrew L. Peacock, the plumber and gasfitter (at No. 67 Tay Street) lived at No. 13 Kinloch Street.

History of the West End : 5

This photograph of the north side of Dundee’s Nethergate at the junction with Tay Street Lane 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 righthand 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.

History of the West End : 4

Blackness House was a picturesque 17th-century mansion, desmolished 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.

History of the West End : 3

This photograph by Alexander Wilson shows the junction of Dundee’s West Port (leading westwards to the left) with the Brown Street, which ran northwards to Lochee Road.
The Great Northern public house, owned by David Mackie, is listed as No. 2 North Tay Street and No. 1 West Port. The West End Clothing and Hat Co., owned by Joseph Hynd, was Nos. 5-7, and William Mather, pastrybaker, was No. 9.
The general dealer at No. 6 North Tay Street was Samuel Ronder, the loan office was most likely Elizabeth O’Farrell, a pawnbroker, at No. 14. Dundee Royal Infirmary can just be made out in the distance.

History of the West End : 2

Another Hawkhill photograph:
This section of the Hawkhill (which led westwards from West Port to Perth Road) shows the archway into Isles Lane.
To the west (and left) of the arch is Charles Laing’s fruit shop.
The building to the right has an advertisement for Woodward’s “fish suppers”; John Woodward sold fish at No. 110a Hawkhill. At No. 115 Hawkhill (to the right of the photograph) is one of the City of Dundee Co-operative Society’s five general stores.

History of the West End – a short series of photographs

With thanks to the City Council’s excellent Photopolis site, over the next few days, I am featuring some superb historical photographs of the West End:

This view of the Hawkhill in Dundee is 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.

The Logie Secondary School Roll of Honour

As those listening to the Tay Talk In on Radio Tay AM yesterday will know, I gave feedback about what happened to the Logie Secondary School’s Roll of Honour, dedicated in 1951. I quote our City Archivist about the Logie Secondary book written by Peter Murphy, the last Head Teacher of the school:

“A copy of this book is available for people to look at here in the archives and also at Local History, top floor Central Library…

I think we’re all agreed that the memorial perished in the fire.
The Central Library volunteers have put together a WWII roll of honour for all Dundee at
and searchers can be directed to that site for more info about the Logie fallen.
On sampling the first and last entries for Logie RoH, for example, I see that the Library RoH has fuller details of RJ Anderson at and Thomas Young at”

Bygone News …

There’s an interesting section on the Dundee City Council website where you can take a trip down memory lane to find out what was happening in Dundee 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago!

You can browse a selection of old newspaper headlines, what’s on listings, hints and tips and much more from bygone days. It covers not just 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago from 2008 (ie 1983, 1958, 1933 and 1908) but also the equivalent years back from 2003-2007 as well.

You can see more by clicking on the headline above. The photograph of the area around Dundee City Square/Boots corner/east end of the old Overgate (above right) comes from the Professor George Howard Bell “Old Dundee” collection hosted on the University of Dundee’s website at :

New local history course

Click on the above headline to read more about a new local history course taking place in the Mitchell Street Centre in early 2008.

Taking place over 8 weeks it will cover :

  • Victorian Dundee
  • The Smeiton family of Carnoustie
  • The impact of the wars on Dundee
  • Politics, Suffrage and Riots in Dundee
  • Plus visits to the McManus Collection and the City Archives

This Alexander Wilson photograph shows the Sinderins (with thanks to Dundee City Council). Many more fascinating photographs of old Dundee can be seen at