- MS 258
24 results directly related Exclude narrower terms
Anderson-Grice Co. Ltd
Bonar Long & Co. Ltd
The Buist family
D J MacDonald Ltd
James Banks & Sons
James Ernest Cox
James S. Miller
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 06:28
He was born on the 11th June 1945, in Smalls Wynd, Dundee. The place he was born is now in the centre of campus and is one of the busiest spots. His father worked in the mill. He had also served in the second world war but never spoke about his experiences. His mother was a weaver and he had a sister who was twelve years older than he was. He went to St Josephs Primary School. He had a happy childhood. Where the university is now used to be mostly tenement buildings.
06:28 - 09:25
He remembers one of his teachers, Miss Hunt, being an inspiration. He also remembers playing for the St Josephs football team down at Riverside. His mother did not want him to go into the mill and got him to go to trade school and became a joiner.
09:25 - 11:02
There was a great community spirit where he grew up. He had a great group of friends and there would be parties. There was also lots of shops and a pub.
11:02 - 12:50
His first job was as an apprentice for Pet Brothers where he worked for five years. He remembers getting his first ever payslip. The interviewer then asks him about any of his holidays as a child. He remembers going to Butlins and also went to Dublin.
12:50 - 14:35
He worked five and a half days a week and even had to work on Christmas day. He had a few days off around new year. Aprentices received holiday pay. The only time he had time off was during the April fast, October fast and the Dundee fortnight.
14:35 - 26:05
Entertainment in Dundee and around Hawkhill: When he was a teenager he went to Lochee Park every day after work to play football. He would also buy records at the weekend. He would also go to a dance hall, Robbie's, in Wells Road. He would also sometimes go for a coffee at the bottom of Hawkhill. He went to the cinema three times a week. He remembers there being many shops along the Hawkhill at the time. There was an Italian ice cream shop, a dressmakers shop, the post office, the marine bar and a chipper. He also remembers there being many horses going about the streets. They were used to transport jute to and from the mills.
26:05 - 27:41
He had a comfortable childhood. He was always fed, warm, kept clean and had the occasional holiday. He would have sausage, bacon and eggs every Saturday for a treat. He would also always have fish and chips on a Friday.
27:41 - 28:24
He only remembers going to the theatre once when he was younger. He was not as keen on the theatre as he was the cinema.
28:24 - 31:32
He remembers the old Overgate getting knocked down. It used to be quite narrow. The west side was alright as it had shops such as Burrells, which sold shoes, and Greenhills, which sold "sass" (sassperilla) - a solution you could get from the chemist which could cure a hangover. There were also basement shops. He thinks it was a good and a bad thing to get rid of the old Overgate. However it would have been difficult to modernise the old house on the Overgate and it would not have fitted in with the development of the city. He thinks it was more tragic to see the old Hawkhill go.
31:32 - 38:21
He is asked if he knows anything about the origins of some of Dundee's more unusual street names, such as Beef Can Close. He is doesn't know the origin of that street name but thinks the name Small's Wynd might come from Reverend Small who was a moderator of the Church of Scotland in the late eighteenth century. He is intrigued by the names of many places but does not know the origins of names such as Lyons Close and Swintons Lane.
38:21 - 41:00
He remembers the Fifey, boats which ran between Dundee and Newport, and used to travel on it a lot. The boat journey was fun but he also remembers there being not too much to do on the other side. He also remembers the trams which used to run in the city. He remembers that they would go up Blackness Road and he once took one to Dens Park. They were very uncomfortable.
41:00 - 45:15
It was compulsory to join a trade union back when he first started working but he did not get too involved. The only strike he participated in was the general builders' strike in 1972. It was a strike to get the minimum wage of £20. He was off for six weeks but got a part-time job in a bar. His average wage was about £15 at the time. He stayed in Seafield Road at the time which he rented from a private landlord for 50 pence a week.
45:15 - 49:30
Public Consultation/Opinion: During the 1960s and 70s much of Dundee was knocked down. He does not remember too much because he was young at the time but generally people were quite happy. They were glad to see the end of old dirty buildings. As a result of the demolition of these buildings many people were moved out of the city centre and into areas such as Fintry. Most were happy however, to be getting a new house. His mother was delighted at the time to get a new house on city road. As a child he would go to places such as Balgay Park and the Swanny Ponds to play.
49:30 - 56:02
He remembers the Timex strike and one of his friend's wife worked there and was involved in the strike. The strike gave Dundee a bit of a reputation for being quite militant with regards to trade unions. This damaged Dundee at the time and many companies were scared away from Dundee by its reputation. However now he feels that the reputation no longer stands. He thinks Dundee has done better in some regards compared to other cities such as Aberdeen. He worked there in the 1970s when there was rapid growth in the city thanks to the oil industry. He says it was like the wild west with people coming from all over the world to get to the oil industry. This has created problems for the city now however as property prices are unaffordable for most people.
56:02 - 59:05
Corruption on the 1960s and 70s: He thinks there was a public awareness at the time. He was also aware at the time of a climate of fear. He remembers some of those involved coming into the pub where he worked to discuss things.
59:05 - 1:05:20
He is currently doing a part-time MA. He has also studied during his career. While working for NHPC (National House Building Council) his boss encouraged him to start studying to be a member of Chartered Institute of Building. He studied part-time for seven years to do this. He had to travel all over Scotland to compelete modules which were run in different universities and colleges around the country. Before he retired he did an HNC in Computing and also taught computing to seniors at the university.
1:05:20 - 1:08:45
He is optimistic about the future of the city. He meets lots of great people though the university and through volunteering at CAN (Celebrate Age Network) where he does the newsletter and maintains the website. He has concerns about the Scottish Independence Referendum. He thinks Dundee's greatest strength is its resilience.
Lord Robert's Workshop/Royal Dundee Institution for the Blind/ Blindcraft
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
The opening segment of the interview touches on aspects of her childhood and of her family business. Sandra Thomson remarks that she lived a “spoiled” childhood when living in Calcutta, but that all changed when she went to boarding school. Her father and grandfather were both involved in the Jute industry which operated between Dundee and Calcutta and she discusses some of the networks of that industry.
Sandra reminisces about her time in Calcutta – her friends, her nanny, and her first memory (suffering from dysentery). Sandra’s mother was involved in a lot of voluntary work in Calcutta. St. Johnsons was her primary school, which catered to British immigrants. She later revisited her childhood home on Lovelock Street, Ballygunge, Calcutta. Here she describes more of her memories, of the staff who worked there and what it was like growing up in the house.
They begin to discuss the lifestyle of the British people who lived there. They enjoyed lots of activities such as golf, cocktail parties, tennis, etc. They talk more about the staff living in the house, describing them as part of the family. Sandra briefly discusses the living conditions of the mill workers. The interview moves to the family’s return to Scotland. Sandra discusses the transition from boarding school in Calcutta to a state funded school here in Scotland.
The interview discusses the jute industry in Dundee and its final closure in 1999, with the closure of Tay Spinners. There is mention of the history of jute trade and what has come after it – such as, the conversion of the mills into housing or exhibition spaces. Sandra then talks about the process and history of the jute industry (jute being vegetable fibre). Sandra tells of why the jute industry came to Dundee – because of the whale industry, a reputation for being good weavers, and the East India Company wanting to expand the uses for jute.
Sandra tells of her involvement with the jute industry and where she learned about the industry. She was good at speaking Hindi so she would order supplies from India and help with the selling. However, they were undercutting their own market and profits were so small that it was obvious the industry was in decline. The arrival of plastics and strikes in India had a massive impact. There was also increased competition from other markets, like Turkey and Belgium. This forced her to re-evaluate her own business and she tried to move into bag making and selling to supermarkets. Unfortunately, Sandra was not successful in this venture, but she is credited by someone who came after her and was successful selling to supermarket chains. She still works with jute, making paper, coffins, plant pots, and shrouds. Sandra is very confident that jute will have a revival.
Sandra is asked about life in India and how much has changed from her childhood. She did not see much poverty when she was a child, but is more aware of it now, despite the economic developments. Her experience of being a woman in India was that it was not much of an obstacle, but she credits her father for why she did not experience much chauvinism. They discuss the ongoing connections between the generations of Brits that lived and worked in India.
Weavers and the nine trades. 500 years of male exclusivity until Sandra Thomson, Sheena Wellington, Janet Foggy, and Lily were asked to join. They hold meetings, dinners, and tea parties. They had 200 at Caird Hall in 2012, which was televised. Sandra does a lot of jute talks and visits schools and colleges.
Thomas Hunter Cox
Wm. Fergusson & Sons Limited
William R Stewart & Sons (Hacklemakers) Ltd
Dr. David Lennox