Old Dundee

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Malcolm
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Old Dundee

Post by Malcolm » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:07 pm

Below is a picture in old Dundee. I have tried transferring it to an editing platform, but failed Would anyone care to date it please. I believe it's been demolished but don't know when.
What's puzzling me is that the photo is described as thirteen Powrie place, but there seem to be several families featured on different levels. Was it normal for a tenement building to be allocated a single number
The separate tall, slender building in the left foreground is also of interest. What is or was it.
I'm very interested in Dundee's pre and post 20th century social history. Any information will therefore oblige.
Thanks in anticipation.

Malcolm M

https://www.flickr.com/photos/118069284 ... Etd-ccFtSG
Morris (formerly Morrice) of Fife and Geekie of Scone

Wee Ann
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by Wee Ann » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:26 pm

Tenements usually has one number per 'close'. As you went up the stairs, everyone's name appeared on the door. Well that was the way it worked in Glasgow.
Roe/Rowe, Kane, Logue, Harkin, Commons, Gillan, Ireland.
McPherson, Richmond, Bowers, Laird, Russell, Cuthbertson, Scotland

AndrewP
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by AndrewP » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:37 am

Hi Malcolm,

Edinburgh also uses one number for a complete stair, with the names on each door to identify the individual households. I have seen tenements in Falkirk where each household had its own number within a stair. In the east of Scotland, a tenement is normally known as a stair, and in the west it is normally known as a close - same thing, different terminology.

I think the tall narrow building would have contained the shared toilets for these tenements, before such times as each household having its own toilet.

All the best,

AndrewP

Russell
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by Russell » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:31 am

Hi Malcolm
I agree with Andrew about both the 'close' numbering (you can see I'm west coast) and the half landing shared toilets. The photo is fantastic as so few show the gritty side of close communal living. I'm interested that the toilet block looks like an add-on beside the spiral access stair. Just imagine what it was like before the block was built :shock: Middle of the night. Need the toilet. run down two unlit flights of stairs in the middle of the night to the single toilet on the ground level :( .
I live in a small ex-weaving village. Each close has a single number with each house designated by 1/1 or 1/2 depending on which side of the close it is on. In the village here some houses can only be entered by going through the close up an open stair, across a bridge into the upper close to flats 2/1 & 2/2.
Prior to the 1851 census none of the houses were numbered at all :o

Russell
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rossm
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by rossm » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:50 pm

Judging by the shape of the buildings, the semi-circular stairwell and the various adjoining stairs, I reckon this was the building on the corner of Powrie Place and Forebank Road, with the front of the houses facing onto St Mary's RC Chapel as seen in the bottom right on this 1871 town plan:

http://maps.nls.uk/view/74415471

I think the wall and window you can just make out in the background of the top right of the photo, lurking behind the chimney pots, is St Mary's Chapel itself, which is still standing.

So if this is correct the tenement was there for a long time, although by the looks of this air photo that particular building was gone by the 1940s. St Mary's is identifiable, but there seems to be an empty plot where these houses were:

http://maps.nls.uk/view/75220804

Datewise, judging by the style of clothes my gut reaction was 1920s or 30s, but I've no particular expertise there.

Ross

Malcolm
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by Malcolm » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:27 pm

Thanks to all for your replies. However, there is much to know. I’m still unsure about the numbering system. Do you mean the whole height flight for a given number or does the number change at each level.
I’m not sure about the number of levels pictured but I’m assuming at least four, possibly five. There are five chimney pots for each of what I assume is a back to back situation and what appear to be four separate homes on the top level at least. This would have made each household rather small.
I can see what you mean by the toilet facility Russell. This stick like edifice must have been built later, albeit rather badly given its brick construction. The whole complex, which I think dates from about 1850, looks pretty Dickensian to me but very interesting all the same.
I believe the space you mentioned Ross, is now taken up by a sheltered housing scheme ironically. Thank you for the map reference, I will make use of that again.
I think the best way forward for me is to get hold of some census returns for Powrie Place. I hope it’s possible to do that without a known name.
Thanks again for all your comments.
Malcolm.
Morris (formerly Morrice) of Fife and Geekie of Scone

Wee Ann
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by Wee Ann » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:58 pm

The old tenements were were numbered at the entry, and each flat (or house as they were called) just had the family name on the door to identify the family within. Usually on a brass plate that needed polishing. When they started to build the "High Rise" blocks, the block was given a name "Stooky Mansions", and each flat or apartment was numbered 2a... 3c... 14b...)the number being the level, but I think most people still had the brass plate with the name on.
Roe/Rowe, Kane, Logue, Harkin, Commons, Gillan, Ireland.
McPherson, Richmond, Bowers, Laird, Russell, Cuthbertson, Scotland

StewL
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by StewL » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:24 am

We used to live in 18e Swallow Road, in the far close, I honestly can't remember what number the other close was, just that the two Ann's lived in the bottom two homes, we were on the top third floor at the end.
Stewie

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Orlaith17
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Re: Old Dundee

Post by Orlaith17 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:56 pm

I come from Dundee and used to live in a similar tenement at bottom of Blackness Road, where it began to join West Port. Our building was numbered 58 Brook Street. We went up a close with a gas mantle light half way up. There was a similar stairwell, but round. On each landing up the stairwell, was a long lobby with a storm door at the end. Two houses were at the end of each lobby, with front doors facing. Half-way up the lobby was a toilet, which both families on that lobby shared. We were at the top, so we had an open landing (a "pletty" we called it). So although 6 families shared the building, we all had the same address of 58 Brook Street. I think the slender building you refer to in your photo is probably a round stairwell of another building.

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