- UR-STU 19
Helen Gill Parker (nee Irons)
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Helen Gill Parker (nee Irons)
Part of Dr H. B. Goodall
Dr Arthur J Cruickshank
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
Age 92 and born in Birkhill
0:40 to 1:49
House before Birkhill and transition to house in Birkhill
1 to 2:26
Went to pre-school at Muirhead. Secondary school - Logie Central School in Dundee
2:28 to 2:52
Employment history and first job at Bruce and Copestick in Dundee along at the Cow Gate doing posters, advertising, creating banners and advertising orchestras for the Caird Hall
2:52 to 3:03
Influence from school teachers which inspired him into art (Mrs Williams)
3:40 to 5:30
World War II - Went to Bell Street with friends to join the Blackwatch at age 17. Left Blackwatch to get a trade and joined engineers (Major Mckinnes was the major of engineers) (Engineers at Strathmore Avenue)
5:30 to 11
Sailed to France in 1939 to serve in the war, ended up right through to a place called Beckerhaltz (in Germany)
11:50 to 13
Serving in North Africa during the war (November the 8th 1942) He was in Africa for almost a year
13 to 15
All the locations travelled to during war - Africa up to Tunisia over the Sangre River then travelled to Sicily then to the states of Messina in Italy. Lastly travelled right through Rome.
16:48 to 18
Returning from war, adjusting back to normal work life and marriage (Married childhood school friend, she was also in the Army as a Sargent)
18 to 19:53
DC Thomson - Interviewed by Mark Anthony, First person to work in DC Thomson after the war, Attended evening classes at Art College in Bell Street for 3 or 4 years.
19:53 to 21
First job at DC Thomson (Lettering) first wage was £6 a week.
21:50 to 23:07
Stories told what was happening back home during the war (tales) For example - his work colleague Jack Glass who kicked anything lying on the floor, all the colleagues placed lead weights in a match box and he kicked it and almost broke his toe.
26:10 to 27
Working conditions with male and females working separate.
27 to 32:30
Transition from lettering to head of art department in DC Thomson and joining the Daily Express, he left DC Thomson's in the 1950's then joined the Daily express and was there for 9 months. He returned to Dundee and was approached by Sandy Cuthbert who offered him the job offer for working as the head of the Art department.
32:40 to 34:48
Working in a union and non union workplace
34:50 to 36
Becoming part of the art department in DC Thomson - Mark Anthony was the head of the department and retired. William was the head of the department for 12 years.
36 to 38
Changes throughout the years (technology, machines)
39 to 44
Memories and artist dinners. Started way before the war and carried on. Also known as the editorial dinners. Held at Belmont Arms and the first dinner was held at The Queens Hotel. There were themes at the artist dinners for example the company dressed up as Tramps: Will wore a kilt with a paint brush attached as an accessory.
45:46 to 47
Being head of the art department and relationship with the Thomsons.
47:38 to 50
Overall review of working at DC Thomson and happy memories
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00.00 - 9.17
He was born in Dundee in Clemenpark Nursing Home, a poor house, on December 2nd 1931. He lived in Wyan street for three years until he moved to the Steel Houses in Kennybank. This was due to his mother being from a wealthy family and his grandmother being a "snob" and not wanting them living in the lower class areas of Dundee, thus she helped them move. His father was a labourer, constantly in and out of work, meaning his mother was means tested and received 3 shillings for her children per week until she was spotted with gold on her hands. His father was extremely left-wing and fought for workers rights.
9.17 - 15.25
For his first 6 year he was a very unwell child, contracting pneumonia every year. He was in and out of hospital and claims that he "lived off charity" because his parents couldn't pay the hospital bills. He recalls a family holiday that he missed out on when his family went camping and left him in the hospital.
15.25 - 21.33
He attended school at Cleblands, until the war broke out and they gathered in church halls due to bomb threats due to the school being close to the ship yards. They also gathered in small groups in children's homes until the end of the war. He attended the Morgan academy and recalls never being fond of any teachers throughout his school life and only liked one teacher from his university experience.
21.33 - 27.27
He felt his mother was very ambitious for him and favoured him over his siblings. His family were not particularly religious however his grandfather was an elder at their church for many years until an affair between the pastor and a young girl broke out and he found himself put off the church and religion itself. His mother briefly taught at Sunday school despite being an atheist.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 04:51
She studied Interior Design at Duncan of Jordanstone from 1974 to 1978. Chose Duncan of Jordanstone because it was the only place available at the time. She was in Canada on holiday when she got her results. She hadn't applied to art college yet but mother applied for her. She had an interview and was then offered a place. This all happened quite late in the application process and she was lucky to get in. She was born in Perth but moved around a lot with her family as a child. She went to school in Manchester. She says she is more Scottish than she sounds because she has an English accent. She wanted to come back to Scotland. Her family had moved to Inverness before she started her course. Interior Design course at Duncan of Jordanstone was a dedicated four year course. She was inspired to go to art college by a trip to an art school in Canada. Course at Duncan of Jordanstone was a really good course and quite architectural. Members of staff included: Val Morocco, an architect, who was head head of department. Mike Green who was an interior designer. Dennis White, who was a furniture designer. Val Morocco was Alberto Morocco's brother.
04:52 - 10:25
The course ran nine to five every day. There was a lecture everyday and they had time in the studio. Staff were always about. She was inspired by Neil Dallas Brown , who taught basic design, because he was brilliant on his theory of design and practice of design. Lectures were given by staff from various departments. She had 'Life Drawing' with Grant Clifford and was made to paint with her left hand. Students had a set project at the beginning of each year e.g. design a shop/bathroom/exhibition. Six week long projects. She had lectures in 'History of Architecture', 'History of Art', Basic Design', 'Drawing' and 'Painting', 'Textiles', 'Weaving', 'Sculpture' and 'Photography'. The course was very studio based. There was a good American lecturer for 'History of 'Architecture. She also participated in Furniture Making. It was a full on course. She never left the college before five o'clock. She once spent four days and nights non-stop working. There were a lot of drugs available in Dundee at the time. There was not a lot of relationship between the college and the university. Art students needed a special pass to get into the union.
10:26 - 15:40
The staff at the time was, Mike Green who she found was the most influential and was very creative. Val Morocco was more rigid. Green was very supportive and later taught at Edinburgh College of Art and became head of department but was under Val Morocco while at Dundee. Dennis White was really nice and very caring. He was gentlemanly but not an inspirational figure. There were no part-time staff. She says it is important for interior designers to be at an art college as there is so much inspiration. There was also James Morrison but he did not teach them directly. Grant Clifford was also a great influence. Jack Nox was also around at the time. She remembers some of these people being around and her friends talking about them.
15:41 - 16:58
She never came across the art college principal and did not know that one existed. There was a lot of close contact with 'Architecture and Town Planning' students. John Browning, an architect, set up drama society.
16:59 - 22:09
There were only six people in her year group. John Trasise, from Fife. Ellen Kristofferson, from Norway, was slightly older and was a good influence. She has a successful business in Norway and has a great relationship with Dundee. There were many Norwegians in Dundee at the time. A girl from her course only stayed for one year after meeting and marrying a Norwegian. Bill Fawns, from Dundee, was also in her class. She can't remember the others. She also knew people in other years quite well. Helen MacNamara, Hamish, Fiona Classan and Susan Deo. Dundee had very good reputation because it was architectural biased, an aspect which helped her at interviews. She also knew fine art students as well. She would go to pubs and then someone's flat after college. Art college had its own student union. Pool was popular. Canteen served only unhealthy food.
22:10 - 25:08
There were no societies or activities for students at the time which Jane was disappointed by. She would have wanted to get more involved with activities at the university but she did not think those things were meant for her. She bought clothes at charity shops. She made a coat out of a blanket from a charity shop with a hole cut in it. She stayed in various places while at Dundee such as Balgay Hill student residencies, Hilltown, Commercial Street and Step Row.
25:09 - 27:35
The Matthew Building opened in 1974. She was the first group of students in it. She found it was a very clean building, and Interior Design was on the fifth floor. The library was very good. The other building was used for some classes but lectures were in the Matthew Building.
27:36 - 31:30
Degree Show and Graduation: It was known as the Diploma Show during her time. Her dad died three days before her final submission so unfortunately missed her degree show. Degree show was held in a big hall. It was not as big back then as it is now. She did not go to previous years' degree shows but wish she had. There was not as much inclusion back then. She went to her degree ceremony in September. She has sad memories of that day because her dad was not there. She had spoken to dad on the phone the day before he died.
31:31 - 35:28
At the time, the record shop, Grouchos, was a popular place. It was a hub for student activity where they would swap records. There was also a pub culture. She went to St Andrews and sailed on the Tay once but had to be rescued. She and her friends would take the college van on outings, such as a trip to Perth or up the hills. Went to a Revels at Christmas time which had various themes. Architects would hold parties. There was not so much of a joining up of students through activities.
35:29 - 38:02
City Museum/ McManus Galleries and further activities: She never went to McManus Galleries but had a friend who lived nearby. She also never went to the football. She walked across the bridge to Tayport and went to the Caird Hall to see wrestling. She had lots of curries and went to see lots of films. She went to a cinema near Commercial Street. She also went to bookshops a lot. She would have liked to have gotten more involved. Medical students used to do a lot together. There was no bridge between the university and the art college even though she would have liked to have gotten more involved.
38:03 - 40:52
Links with older students: There was an awareness of what older students had gotten up to. They were quite close. They all knew where everyone had gone. She stayed with someone in London form the year above. Many of the students came back to Scotland. Her first job was at Edinburgh Council. She then went to London for twelve years doing various jobs but always wanted to go back to Scotland. There were few interior design jobs in Dundee at the time. Lots of architects stayed in Dundee. They were a very supportive year group. They would help each other and there was no competitiveness.
40:53 - 43:45
She found that other courses were not as technical at other institutions at the time. Students need to learn how to be creative. Mike Green was an influence. Dundee students would be able to show off technical drawing skills. She stresses the importance of knowing how to develop creativity. You need to learn about life, art and other influences.
43:46 - 48:02
After her time in London she got a job teaching at Edinburgh College of Art thanks to Mike Green. She had had her own business in London and two little children. She didn't want her children to grow up in London, she stayed in Bridge of Allan. Her job teaching at Edinburgh College of Art was the best job she ever had, it was exhilarating. She found teaching students inspirational. She learned so much from the students and did the job for seven years. She then became an interior designer at Stirling University. She then became art curator while continuing to do interior design. Being art curator is not as easy a job as she had thought. She currently does three days of interior design and two days as art curator but thinks the time should be divided up the other way round. Art curation takes more time. In her job she creates spaces for the paintings to go into. She really loves the student environment. Dundee was so full of ideas when she was there. Her job at a university reminds her of that. She hankers after the art college life.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
Discusses her early years education. Explaining that her family did not have the money to send her to the better, Harris School. Also discusses her mother dying when she was 10 and that her cousin helped to bring her up.
After school she stayed and helped at home for one year, until her father said that she would have to get a job. She wanted to get a job sewing but there were none. Her father was foreman at a spinning factory, Cox’s jute factory, and he got her a job warping there. She then describes the process of what warping is and what her early career was like working at Cox’s. They discuss pay and working hours.
She briefly mentions her getting a new job at the age of 17, sewing. The interview is then brought back to the jute works, where they detail working conditions, time-off, and rumours of an independent sign language existing among the weavers. Evelyn says that she really enjoyed her time working there.
The interview then moves to talk about Evelyn’s time at the furniture maker, Easts. They made furniture from scratch and the process and scale of the operation is described – starting from sawing the trees to sewing the upholstery. Evelyn was hired there as an upholsterer. The company was established in Lochee and traded for nearly a century.
During WW2 Evelyn and her brother were evacuated to Forfar. She spoke fondly about her time there, and told that her family was kept together.
She worked at Easts until she was married at 19. She kept on working until she had twins when she was 21. There were no restrictions on married women working, the other mothers at the factory would simply work school hours. The boss was very good with childcare. It was at Cox’s that Evelyn met her husband, he worked as a stone mason, preparing the floors for heavy machinery. She describes her father’s objections to the couple, and remarks about a story written in The Courier where the writer fabricated a statement about “love at first sight”.
Maternity leave and insurance pay. She was off work for a good few years after having twins. They didn’t keep her job but instead reemployed her when she told them she was ready to work, and they fit her hours to school times. The employers were frugal, but the unionised workers were able to earn better wages. Factory workers wages were standardised, and they had guaranteed holidays, etc. The office staff were not unionised, so they had worse wages and less holidays.
Social life outside of work. They would have bus trips in the evening, they would use the function suite at the Belmont Arms, have a meal and a dance. The employers did not organise anything. Evelyn discussed some of the extra work that would be done for the owners – sowing blankets and patches, repairs etc.
She worked at Easts for 40 years until it closed, 1948-1988. It was then bought over by Andrew Johnson, a civil engineer. The changes he implemented were better wages for the office staff and the manager got a company car, nothing else changed substantially. The manager of the factory was so underpaid until the takeover that he relied on government assistance. She continued to work under Johnson until the factory closed.
Evelyn discusses her other jobs. It is now only Evelyn and her former manager that is still alive, the two attended all of the funerals of her former colleagues. Although not the career she wanted she enjoyed her years working in the factories; she wanted to be a tailor which she learned in her own time. No pension schemes or provisions set aside. There was no mutual collection among the factory workers. They relied on government support if anything bad were to happen.
School of Life Sciences
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 06:45
David Sutherland was born in Invergordon on 26/10/33. His mother died when he was two and he has a brother and a sister. He went to school in Lenzie. He never realised at first that he had any particular talent for art. His brother was a good artist, he had an influential teacher at school, Mr Allison. David's father was carpenter and would do little carvings and little paintings. He took a keen interest in art at school. His teacher would help him with portraits. He left school at age fifteen. His father did not think an artist was a proper job. He went for an appointment with an art agency in Glasgow, Rex Publicity Service, in 1948 and got a job.
06:45 - 09:28
There were six apprentices and everyone was given an artist. You became the artist's 'boy'. He got the foreman artist. He mixed the paint, swept, cleared the artist's desk and lit the fires. He went to Glasgow School of Art in the evenings. He was there for five years, his time at the studio was his first time meeting professional artists. He would go home and try and copy their work. He enjoyed working in the studio.
09:28 - 11:20
During World War II his father was called up in 1941. David went to go live with two aunts. When his father came back from war he got a house and wanted David to live with him but David wanted to stay with his aunt.
11:20 - 22:42
Whilst in the studio, he would copy covers of magazines which would be displayed on Buchanan Street. He would also do cinema advertising. He would fill in letters for cinema adverts. He would also paint boards for cinema adverts but these were later destroyed. He later moved to the illustration department. The government later introduced a tax on cinema advertising. He also did posters for travel agents. He also did work on chocolate boxes, whiskey labels and fruit labels where he would use techniques such as airbrushing. He also did some work for a thread company. There were also some trademarks which he had to design. He was once asked to go to a hospital to draw pictures of surgeries but he refused.
22:42 - 22:58
He did his National Service 1952-1954 in Egypt. He and his friend, Ronnie, started a little company, Scope Studios. He then worked for Phoenix Art where he did his labelling. His mother-in-law printed out a competition in the Sunday Post for young artists. He submitted some work and got a prize. He was then contacted and got a job doing comics.
22:58 - 39:25
He really enjoyed doing comics, he enjoyed the freedom. He started doing freelance work for DC Thomson but was also a commercial artist in Glasgow. While in Glasgow he would do jobs such as painting in a restaurant. After about a year of doing both jobs he moved through to Dundee in 1959. "Danny and a Dolphin" was his first picture story. "Great Flood of London" was another one of his works. Harry Crammond was the script writer for his comic, he was a friend as well as his boss. He had to do lots of research for "Great Flood of London". It is a story about the North Pole melting and London being flooded under fifty feet of water. He needed to know what things would be seen if London was submerged under fifty feet of water, a lot of research goes into drawing. "Great Flood of London" appeared in the Beano. He had done a job before where he worked with Harry Crammond. Polls at the time showed that picture stories were down but cartoons remained high.
39:25 - 48:50
He used to copy Walt Disney cartoons. While at DC Thomson the artist who was drawing Dennis the Menace, David Law, was not well. He was asked to take over some of the drawing to help him out. David Law died and he continued to draw Dennis the Menace for twenty-eight years, he also took on the Backstreet Kids. He has drawn 2111 editions of the Backstreet Kids. He is given scripts but also has some freedom. The early scripts he was given were very detailed but later on he was given much more freedom to draw. He says that a good working relationship with the script writer is very important. There were about eight different script writers. He enjoys drawing animals, and feels that a sense of humour is a pre-requisite for being an illustrator. He has been with the Beano for fifty years.
48:50 - 50:09
When he started at the Beano they sold two million copies a week and it only cost 2p. He used to read the Beano himself when he was young, however, he was not allowed to read it until his dad came home.
50:09 - 51:16
He says that Dudley Watkins is among the greats. Watkins created many characters such as "Oor Wullie" and "The Broons". David also says that Paddy Brennan is a great illustrator and Leo Baxendale is a great cartoonist.
51:16 - 52:36
David continues to draw on a board and would never draw on a computer. He recalls a time when he once mentioned that he did not enjoy drawing bicycles and the script writer put many in the comic.
52:36 - 59:23
Dudley Watkins, who David regards as among the greats, died on the job. David had to carry on the drawing he had started. He also took over the Biffo from him. David mentions how having to work to deadlines was a crucial part of the job. He also mentions that it can be difficult to swap styles between the different cartoons.
59:24 - 1:06:34
He enjoyed the Great Flood of London immensely. He says that many things have come out well and has never had moments when his mind goes blank. He says that some artists reach a stage where they struggle to come up with ideas. He has been doing the Backstreet Kids for fifty years and says that his style has developed and improved over time and that things have a better flow.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 01:27
He had been a pupil at Perth Academy and went to a meeting of the junior branch of the British Association for the advancement of science at Queens College, Dundee. He had always wanted to be a doctor since he was a patient at Bridge of Earn hospital when he had a cartilage operation. He had an interview with Judy Greg - Secretary of the Faculty, Professor Womsley - Professor of Anatomy at St Andrews University, and Professor Copeland - Professor of Anatomy at Queens College. He came in Autumn 1964. At that time the college was still a part of St Andrews University.
01:27 - 05:46
He admired Professor Copeland and says that he had a very commanding presence. He used to say: "you can either be an academic and a sportsman or an academic and a socialite but you can't be all three." Carvell was at university for six years, graduating in 1970. Hawkhill at that time was full of bars and fish and chip shops. At the far end was the all night bakery. The person who ran the bakery was known as the Royal King. When the university split from St Andrews it had to form its own institutions such as the Sports Union which he was the first president of in 1968. Sports Union had to makes its own rules for colours, eg the full-blue and half-blue awards. They also picked colours which the sports teams would play in - scarlet and white. They had a lot to do to build their own individuality. They retained the red woollen undergraduate gown from St Andrews. Dundee added a blue to it. He still has his gown and gave it to his son when he graduated. Similarly his wife still has her gown which was given to her by her mother. There were not a lot of the buildings around at the time and there were only two and a half thousand students. Roseangle at the time was being developed. He was a sub warden there and he and his wife also spent the first years of their marriage as sub wardens there in a two room flat.
05:46 - 07:39
There was more of a community feeling at the time when the university was much smaller. There was one madrigal group, an operatic society and an orchestra. There was no big musical tradition. He played Strephon in Iolanthe. John Suchet was in the orchestra at the time. Other memorable students at the time include: Lewis Mooney - later Lord Mooney who became Minister for Defence under the the Blair government, George Robertson - later became Secretary General for NATO, and Brian Wilson - who was Energy Minister under Blair government.
07:39 - 10:11
Carvell did cross-country in the winter and athletics in the summer. He captained both teams. He had to set up all the governance of the Sports Union. As president he was also invited to all of the other universities' sports union balls which were a big feature of university life at the time. He also competed all over the country. Competing at Kings Building in Aberdeen was a particular highlight. He also developed own cross-country course back in Dundee. They also ran athletic events at Downfield. The staff were hugely supportive. In particular Ian Brown supported athletics and taught him to be a steeple chaser, having previously been a hurdler. Due to the small number of students at the university it meant that you had to be a decathlete.
10:11 - 11:53
Other universities welcomed Dundee and its facilities. Dundee students had previously competed for Queens College as part of St Andrews. In some ways it was sad to leave St Andrews colleagues. He competed in a road relay race for St Andrews but came last.
11:53 - 16:39
Early undergraduate course were all in the departments of Biology, Anatomy and Physiology. Carvell and other first year medics had to do a year of physics and chemistry. They did dissection later on. There was around forty in the class. Everyone knew one another and they all got on. Later on they went to Dundee Royal Infirmary. When he was there he was told by a doctor Donald Smith that "you must look sweet and smell sweet". He thinks this was good advice. The teaching was very good. There were great characters around at the time such as Ian Hill and Donald Douglas. They had twenty-two weeks holiday and thirty-weeks in the academic term. The undergraduate curriculum was very good. During your clinical years you had to do at least eight weeks of a placement which you could do abroad. He went to Houston, USA to do cardiology at St Luke's Hospital. The course meant that they got really skilled up. They did things that undergraduates now would never do.
16:40 - 27:58
Greenland: he had been a member of the rucksack club and a few of them from this group formed the mountain studies club. He had been interested in geography and had he not become a doctor he would have become a geographer. A group of them came together and wanted to study an area of snow and ice of the Laragroo in a place called Angarkoree in Greenland. Snow and ice had been there permanently and it had many features of a mini glacier. They studied wildlife and flora. They found green moss at the bottom of deep snow and ice. They ran a met station while in Greenland.
27:58 - 36:47
They sailed from Leith docks on a boat called Gulfoss run by an Icelandic steamship company. They sailed out second class and came back third class. Sailing second class was fine but sailing third class was awful. There were no stabilisers back then and he was violently sea sick. It took them two days to get to Reykjavik. They slept at the airport in an aircraft hanger under the wing of DC3s. While they were there some Icelandic dental students took them out. They experienced the midnight sun while they were there. They then flew out to Mestersvik. They were then taken by a lorry inland. When they were there they travelled in cross-country ski style while carrying a fifty pound pack on their backs. They stayed in mining huts for two weeks. They then went to Lomso? where they did most of their research. It took them twenty-four hours to get across to the other side of the river. They were charged at by a muscot but the dog scared it off. One time he woke up and found a whole herd of muscots. He lay completely still not wanting to grab their attention. He says that arctic foxes were great fun and would steal things from them. The Gannochy Glacier is named after the Gannochy trust.
36:47 - 41:07
Party who went to Greenland: There were eight people in the exploration and climbing team which he was a part. There were others who stayed on the shore but they did not have much contact with them. Dr Roger Allen cut his foot when a rock fell on it. Carvell was only a fourth year medical student at the time and had learnt how to sew up a wound before but had never actually done it before. The first wound he ever stitched up was six thousand feet up at the head of a glacier. They took a lot of medical equipment including dental equipment which was quite heavy. Everyone had there own medical pack. There were three dentists in the trip. It was common for people on arctic trips to have dental problems. He thinks they brought too much medical equipment with them. Brian Dobson dislocated his shoulder on the trip. Carvell had an absess on his heel during the trip. Boot trauma was common. Someone from another group fell down a crevasse and fractured their face. They were in Greenland until the end of August.
41:08 - 44:50
Greenland in the summer has been described as heaven on earth. Carvell thinks that is down to the midnight sun and the clarity of the air. The clarity of the air makes things seem closer. You can see every peak and contour. All plants would come to life at the same time. There was the danger that snow bridges would collapse in the heat of the sun during the day so they climbed at night.
44:50 - 47:38
Many of his clothes were not fit to wear again after the trip. During the trip they did not change clothes or wash often. No one shaved because you could not afford to heat water to shave. At the end of the trip he had to peel his socks off in a shower. They all smelled but they were with each other all the time so they were not bothered. They were grateful to get back home safe and sound. They had a great time and felt really privileged to have gone to a really remote part of the world. Their trip was the first of may subsequent trips. The glaciers they named have been firmly attributed to the university. He has kept in touch with many of them but unfortunately missed out on the only reunion they have ever had.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
D.O.B. 02/06/1932. He was born and raised in Kirriemuir, Angus. He attended Websters Seminary Primary and Secondary school. They then discuss where his artistic talents come from and he tells of how his granny encouraged him to draw his uncle, who was a paratrooper. His mother was a weaver in Kirriemuir. They also discuss his enrolment to the teachers training college, Park Place. He went there from 1955-1956.
He describes how he was "ganged" into art college and teaching. He tried other jobs such as printmaking at D & Browns before leaving to do Junior Secondary and Primary in Lanarkshire, where he was for two years 1956-1958. When he came back to Dundee he worked in Kirkton Highschool for 10 years. He discusses notable pupils, he names Ricky O'Neil, a renowned Dundee photographer.
Mr Petrie discusses his transition from teacher to freelance artist. He started work while teaching in 1961. He would prepare work during the summer when the school was off and, eventually, he got in touch with Ian Chisholm, at DC Thompson. There he began working on the Beano, shadowing Leo Blaxandale. Until 1968 he was still teaching, he transitioned to fulltime artist in 1969.
The interview moves into what it was like to work in the comic industry at the time, specifically at DC Thompson. They discuss the process of drawing and pencilling, as well as the relationship between editor, script writers and artists, such as himself. His most notable character was Minnie the Minx. He worked for Cracker, Tophat, the Beezer as well as other assorted scripts.
They reflect on the comic industry, what's changed and what was successful then. He notes a particular comic that he would no longer feel is deemed 'pc' by todays standards, Minnie dressed as a "Red Indian". Mr Petrie nominates Davie Sutherland as a hero of his, because of his transition from black and white straight before moving into comics and caricature.
Mr Petrie is asked about life now he is retired. When asked about what he thought of someone else drawing Minnie the MInx, he doesn't feel like they got the faces right. He has done one page for the Beano since retiring, Fatty Fudge in the 2011 Christmas Beano.
Now that he is retired, he is a partner with the Dundee art society and involved with the Perth society. He sells his paintings at their exhibitions. He uses a lot of acrylic and has been painting some self-portraits for fun. When asked about enjoying his time as a freelance artist he replies, very much so.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 04:45
He applied for role at Dundee, 1970 having previously been living in Bristol. He had visited Scotland before and had nice feelings about Scotland which were influential in his choice to come to Dundee. He had sailed from Lancashire to Oban and had also been on a week long course in Glasgow.
04:45 - 07:45
Arrived in Dundee early one morning while the haar was in. Not taken by the place at first. Colleagues down south ridiculed him for going up to Dundee. Lived in Perth at Kinnoull Hill. Biochemistry department at that time was moving into new building.
07:45 - 10:00
Beginning to build up the department: Difficult to get government money. Needed to get in protein chemists. Philip Cohen? and Derick Chignal? Impressed by fact they applied to Dundee. Showed they were prepared to strike out on new territory.
10:00 - 14:17
Phil was a new scientist. Brought in new machinery, got a gift from Cambridge University. He says that as a head of department you "never stop starting". Always try and get new people into work on various disciplines of chemistry. Genetic Engineering. Chris Higgins, David Lilly - first class. Skilful recruitment. Comparison to head of an orchestra. Always need to replace and improve parts. Gardening comparison: fertilisers, weeds, always needs tending to.
14:17 - 17:24
Everyone was cash-strapped during this time. Adam Neville arrived and staff resources were distributed in terms of teaching and research income.
17:24 - 19:27
Chemistry and biochemistry were in separate buildings, they had no problems and helped each other. Garland made important decision to have Biochemistry as part of the Science Faculty. Biochemistry very science based and did not want Faculty of Science to steal students (had they been in Medical Faculty) and Garland had medical background so could build bridges between two.
19:27 - 21:10
Researcher for Psychiatrist Professor, Sir Ivor Bachelor: Wanted chemist to do research. Garland got one of his former researchers to do it. Successor was Prof Tim Hales.
21:10 - 23:03
Principal Neville: Interviewer asks if difficult financial period impacted his time as Principal. Garland says about Neville that "he called a spade a spade". "Said what he meant and meant what he said." Good to do business with. Neville's daughter is Chief of Police at Metropolitan Police. Talks about a trip to Poland. Neville asked Garland to bring a present back for his daughter.
23:03 - 24:30
MSI Building: Philip Cohen describes it an almost as empty building. Why was it built? University had sense to build a building for the future. Biochemistry was expanding so fast it made sense.
24:30 - 26:23
Braveness: Interviewer asks if it was a bit of a gamble coming to Dundee. Garland does not think so. He was in a good position, he had a medical degree to fall back on, if things hadn't worked out he would have left. He had a PHD and a good background plus an award or two. He always saw move to Dundee as a a good decision. He still had a few fights to fight at the university, but it was a happy time domestically.
26:24 - 29:22
Funding at Dundee University: He thinks that what you did with the grant was much more important than just getting the grant. Accountability was important and you had to have a good track record. You could not do it without grants. You have to produce "goodies" with first grant money before asking for more.
29:23 - 30:35
Interviewer asks if he thought University would end up the way it is today. He gives some reasons for why Dundee is a centre for excellence: Not limited by space, reasonable housing, no long commutes. Dundee is place where people can really come and get stuck into it.
30:35 - 32:16
Recruitment changes with success. Dundee now very well known and has a larger field to choose from. People who came in early days were very pioneering and Garland too has a pioneering spirit. He thinks you cannot compare people who came in the early days to Garland himself. They all had different reasons for coming.
32:16 - 38:11
He did not like committee work, thought it was a waste of time. He did not do committee work in Dundee but had done a lot in London. He was the Chairman of a Medical Research Council funding board which gave him an insight into what it is grant committees look for. It was a whole education in itself. Following this he was then able to advise colleagues on how to write grant applications which was very useful for colleagues. Looking back the things he did were, he thought self evident. Dundee does well compared to other Scottish universities. Problems of staff in other institutions. When he arrived professors from other universities, with the exception of St Andrews, were friendly to him. They were all very nice and welcoming. Garland was "one of the boys".
38:11 - 43:30
Life Sciences - Balance between Teaching and Research: Garland thinks the two are synegistic. He got rid of old methods. He read book "Audio Tutorial Laboratory" which introduced new method of teaching for medical students which was very popular. Involved demonstrations. Staff did not have to spend hours in a lab. One woman would do it. Lecturers would share material. Changed the way science staff taught as well.
43:30 - 46:10
Retirement and Career History: Left Dundee 1985 and then went into industry for two years, Unilever, but was not a good experience. He then became Science Director for (?) International. He became director of the Institute for Cancer Research at age 55. While he was there Dundee was second place for cancer research.
46:10 - 48:57
Lectures had nothing to do with Garland himself. They started after he had left the University. He knows Peter Downes, the current principal, but he came after Garland had left. Garland describes him as very organised, he listens carefully and had been with one of the big pharmaceutical companies. Garland says people in the 1970s would have laughed at the idea of someone from life sciences becoming the principle of a university. Garland himself would have never become principle.
48:57 - 53:10
There were "hairy" incidents that happened in the laboratory. Oil leaked through the ceiling once. They did not take radiation safety as seriously as they should have back then. Philip Cohen used a compund which inhibits enzymes, related to "Bella Donna" which dilates someone's pupils. He was once told that Phil was not well. He went to see him, saw that he was woozy, and knew what the problem was straight away. Cohen was more of a hazard to himself than to other people. There was an antedote but he was fine. Garland says that if you worry about people you will never become head of department. Cohen is nostalgic of their time together. There were also difficulties with money. Garland built himself a laser, "it was lethal". Health and Safety would have shut it down straight away.
53:10 - 55:02
The key to success is you need to have vision of what you want. Successful scientists come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but are always driven by something. Also need to have a good time. Need it to be intellectually stimulating. Requires hard work. Interviewer says this ethos still prevails today. Garland thinks that is true of all good labs.
55:02 - 56:08
International Competition: Interviewer asks if there is any kind of Ivory Tower syndrome - so good that they do not know the rest of the world exists. Garland says that is definitely not true. The world is not confined to Dundee. There is constant competition from scientists in Los Angeles, Heidelberg and Cambridge etc.
56:08 - 1:01:28
Interest in Dundee: He has a paternal relationship towards Dundee. His children grew up there. When he left his jobs in London kept him busy. He was quickly able to put Dundee behind him. Universities round the world publish online and it is there immediately. When asked about the difficulties of being at the top of your field Garland replies: "Once you get to the top you've only got yourself to blame if you go down." Leading labs tend to have their lead for a long time. He feels no sense of ownership towards new buildings. It was a place where things happened. Lots of memories of his house on Kinnoull Hill. He has no emotional attachment to Dundee but has never seen it as being a negative move. Positive in all sorts of ways. However, schooling in Perth for his children didn't work out, was not up to standard
1:01:28 - 1:02:34
His children all got skiing qualifications. His son went to Edinburgh University where he was captain of skiing, athletics and wind surfing. He is also a grade 1 skier, top class. His eldest child went out to Switzerland as a ski instructor where she met a nice Swiss mountain guide and married him. Garland has two Swiss grandchildren. One is a mountaineer and ski guide and the other is a girl reading history at Geneva University, but also works as a ski instructor during holidays to make money. Skiing has had a big impact on life. He still skis today.
1:02:35 - 1:05:07
Advice to Interviewer Researching History of Life Sciences: He says to focus on the people. Garland says that his job was not difficult. You get a good group of people together and off it goes. Often underplays his role. Says you have to get on well with people. Draws comparison with sailing which is another interest of his. Getting on with others is crucial to sailing. Garland has sailed to Brittany.
1:05:08 - 1:11:58
Speaks very highly of people at Dundee. Does not know as many of the current people but speaks highly of the people during his time, such as David Lilly, Graham Hardy and Chris Higgins. He also has admiration for Mike Ferguson. They all have something in common but he cannot say exactly what that is. They all know what excellence is and they admire it in other people. There is mutual respect and a lot of tolerance. Garland says there were no fights when he was there. There was a sense of unity. They all work in similar fields. Interviewer mentioned David Lane but he came after Garland's time. Interviewer also mentions buildings. Garland thought of better ways to spend money and was not into aesthetics. Interviewer asks about golf. Garland was an athlete in his youth. Found playing golf effortless. He liked driving but hated putting. He did not want to get addicted to golf. He had no time for golf during his time at Dundee University.
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.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:16 – 06:55
The interview opens by discussing where Ted was born and to share some information/memories of his family. He mentions that his father had lost a hand as a Polish volunteer during the Second World War. Ted was born in St Andrews but lived in Dundee and Auchtermuchty, in housing schemes. Auchtermuchty had a lot of job opportunities for men in the Steel and ironwork foundries. He was in Auchtermuchty for 40 years. He talks about some of his hobbies – Football and music. He describes the music scene of dancing halls and live music in Auchtermuchty. He said that he left school early, when he was 15, and left to go be a butcher. He had kept going with his band while working as a butcher (they mainly listened to Scottish music).
07:00 - 12:30
Auchtermuchty had a folk festival for 30 years and he described that event as a turning point in his life. He talks about the way that orally transmitted culture was passed on through the music, things weren’t written down in song books. It was story songs and supernatural songs, and this was where his interest truly blossomed. He won the festival singing competition.
12:35 – 21:54
He talks about the development of folk music in Scotland and his own collection of songs. He reminisces about some of his encounters with musicians and bothy ballad groups. He talks about the process of being passed on the songs from other musicians (Duncan). They then discuss his memories of his traveller friends who played the pipes, ran a shop at Glencoe from a caravan, etc. They talk a bit more about the traveller community and their relationship with Scottish folk music and changing perceptions of the travelling community. He mentions the rag ‘n bone men (scrap collectors). The conversation focuses on travellers and types and hierarchies.
22:00 – 30:00
They then go on to discuss his surname, Polytello (pronounced Polyte- wo). He speaks of his father serving in the cavalry and tank core during the Second World War and the story of his first and second wife. He thought his first was dead and so technically he was committing bigamy by marrying the second. He wrote to the war office to find out more about his Polish family and he paid someone to look over all of the Polish records he had accumulated. He managed to trace his stepbrother, who had died a few years before he found out. He managed to visit his family however, and went to Krakow. They were able to prove their relation by showing the family crest and some heirlooms belonging to his father. The last visit was in 2003.
30:16 – 43:45
His first job was a butcher, where he served his time. He got married when he was 20, got a farm cottage, but struggled to pay his way. He got a new job in Ayrshire with better pay, still as a butcher. He talks about delivering eggs, bacon, and sausage to all the summer campers. Then he tells of how his job changed over time – sometimes he served as a grocer’s van, a baker’s van, as well as a butcher. They also discuss the change in the money system and the metric weighing system. He loved his job; he would drive around the Scottish countryside and sang songs while he did it. The job was becoming too stressful though and the hours became too long. After the butcher’s van he went to work in a factory, got a labouring job in the Auchtermuchty steel and iron works which had much better money. He became a parcel driver at one point, and then he became a kitchen porter in a 5-star hotel. When he got older his wife secured him a job in the University of Dundee. On the weekends he would go travelling to concerts and play in festivals with his wife – toured for 9 and a half years. It became a bit too busy for them, so he has stopped now.
43:50 – 54:50
They discuss him and his wife’s music career. He explains why he doesn’t do it anymore – mainly the amount of time it would consume and getting tired of the travelling. They then talk about his hopes for traditional Scottish music, oral traditions, etc. He says that there is a resurgence among younger people, and hopes that it is passed on in Scottish schools. It is an important part of Scottish tradition and forms an important source for Scottish history. He never wrote anything, just listened and sang the songs back to people. They talk a bit about musicians again, and the difference between instinctive players and strict learned musicians. Speaks a bit about accompanied and unaccompanied music. Discusses the process of learning and transcribing songs from the recording he took.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
Born 1950, his father was a policeman, at that time policeman were moved around every few years. Has an older brother who stayed in their hometown. Has no art ability. but enjoyed various comics when he was younger. Was encouraged by his parents to read. Enjoyed the classics. Lived in a village called Thronhill from about 3 to 12 years old. This was between Stirling and Aberfoyle. Believed this helped him to get his job at DC Thomson's as he and his brother could live carefree. Helped with his high school newspaper, wanted to be a journalist. Left school and got a job at DC Thomson's
His head teacher encouraged writing, realised that he could make money from it one day. Started working in Thomson's 1969. Took about a year before he was given actual work to do, they were strict on punctuation and spelling. Discusses the training methods used at Thomson's. There was a lot of competition from American comics. His first editor was Bill Cunningham, says he was good to learn from, however was an old army man.
Worked on the ''Rover'' and ''Wizarding'' for six months before he moved onto the ''Beano''. He enjoyed that as the artist was collaborative, so he was working with the people who were illustrating his stories. When working on the ''Rover'' he had to cut lines and insert advertisements into it, which was difficult depending on the size of the ad and the story. He would sometimes write stories that did not always follow the 'guideline' for a ''Beano'' comic. Discusses the process of writing a story to then discussing with the artist what the comic would look like. Also talk about how important details were, depending on what he was writing it had to be as accurate as it could be.
When writing he had to think of what it would look like in the artists drawings. Says those were different times, children reading the comics had different experiences to those today. spent some time away from DC Thomson's when he worked as a lumberjack, the company went bust, but was lucky that he still had friends, and ended up back at Thomson's. Worked with David Donaldson and Steve Brait. The only time people really got together was when they were launching a new story. Worked with Barry Appleby, who created interesting images, most likely aimed at older boys. He began to change thing in 1986, received okay form some, but he thinks that he did too much too fast.
there was a shift in culture and so the comic changed along with, now a focus of popular culture, violence and music. Most complaints came form the women who read it. Wants to keep the quality of the work the same. Left the business to work in animation.
Talks about Britain after the war comics helped to bring a feel good factor. He doesn't think that the comics hold any specific humour, it's necessarily a Dundee kind or humour, as the writers were from many different places.
Says there's a difference between American and British comics, this can be seen specifically through the American version of Dennis the Menace. America was more focused on the parents/adults than it was of the children. He says you have to senor yourself as there are many things that cannot be printed. Worked on the ''Broons'', wanted to bring the characters back to life.
Say comics are on a decline, but so are other paper products, like newspapers and magazines. Some comics are online but its not that same as having a physical comic. He is proud to have tried to keep it alive, he was the editor in the 80s.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 06:47
William "Bill" Barr was born on 5/5/1941. He had worked in printing and then qualified in printing. He then worked at Cambridge University Press. He then studied design. He applied for jobs in Dundee and Coventry. He would have preferred the Coventry position but only got the Dundee one. He was appointed at Dundee at the same time as Bob Miller Smith in the mid 60s. Barr was hired to set up graphic workshop. He was given a lot of money to do this. At the time of his appointment there were fewer schools. There were twenty-six members of staff appointed on the same day as him. Nearly doubled the size of the number of staff. At the time students were awarded a DA (Diploma in Art) which had no classifications. The university was not interested in Duncan of Jordanston at the time because it was not academic enough. Duncan of Jordanston and the University of Dundee grew closer.
06:47 - 10:40
Merging of Duncan of Jordantsone and University of Dundee: The two institutions merged in 1994. Many people were not happy with the merger but Bill Barr was pro merger. He felt the merger could offer the students much more. For example, welfare, sport and a student union. Following the merger Duncan of Jordanstone became a faculty of the university which did not satisfy a lot of people. They fought to keep the name of Duncan of Jordanstone. The research culture of the University of Dundee impacted Duncan of Jordanstone whose research was still in the early stages.
10:40 - 14:08
New Activities for Students: There was the tradition of Revels. They would close classes in the first week of December and decorate the place in various themes. Everyone was involved and students took care of the publicity. This tradition came to an end in the mid 1970s because the assembly hall they had used previously became the first year general studios. He says that one time someone brought in chickens and let them run lose.
14:08 - 18:05
Developments: Town planning grew out of architecture. They brought in television and imaging and floppy discs were developed. Barr thinks that new technology has blurred some of the various art forms.
18:05 - 19:00
Art Faculties: There was not a lot of photography at the time. There was also some work in calligraphy.
19:00 - 19:54
Growth of Student Numbers: Interest in Duncan of Jordanstone grew. There had been a fear of elitism at Duncan of Jordanstone but Bill says that students are judged on their portfolios and not their background.
19:54 - 29:26
Barr had one foot in the door of graphic design and the other in printing. The head of School of Architecture was Jimmy Paul. Head of Design later became principal (?). Head of Jewellery was Roger Miller. Head of Graphic Design was John Greensmith who was a great calligrapher and was responsible for the lettering above the building. There was also Bob Miller Smith, Donald Shannon and Willy Watt. Will Watt taught fashion. In Textiles there was Roy Guild, Andy Taylor and Norma (?) Head of Illustration was Ron Stenberg. Head of Town Planning was Roger Rossco. Alan Rob was head of Fine Art. He was appointed after Alberto Morroco. (?) became principal. Arthur Hill then became head of Design. Chris Carter asked Barr to be vice principal.
29:26 - 34:00
Moments of Career: He also set up a small consultancy and became designer for Dundee Institute of Technology. He worked with Henry Cumen and later Bernard King. During his time as vice-principal at Duncan of Jordanstone Research Excellence (RE) and Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA) were important. TQA was graded on a scale from one to five. They were graded a four one year and received a lot of money. The University of Dundee was pleased with this and it helped push the merger between the two institutions. They later received a five. Barr was later given responsibility for Botanic Gardens, IT Services and Estates and Buildings.
34:00 - 36:02
Barr was the one who really got campus development going. He needed £45,000 for the development. He knew he could not get this money from the university alone and brought in Mike Galloway from the city and Michael Gale from the SET. He started mapping Hawkhill, Dalhousie Building.
36:02 - 44:25
Changes to Curriculum: He received advice to make sure that staff never touch the students' work. A part of the developments to the curriculum they introduced more serious lectures. They also later brought in the dissertation. They demanded more from the students and the staff. They were also however bedevilled by many people approaching them, especially those in graphic design, to do certain projects. There was a significant increase in the number of students which meant that staff has to organise their time better. They developed student centred learning which was successful. They also developed things such as progressive learning and learning outcomes. These things had existed before but were now much tighter. There was also an increasing awareness of technology. Design now could not exist without technology. In the past they would use tools such as scalpels and spray paint. Barr also brought in a lot of professionals to teach a few days a week which is of great value to the students.
44:25 - 49:20
Art and Music: According to Bill there is often a strong correlation between art and music. He plays keyboard. He recalls a number of students and staff who also had an interest in music. He recalls having to fire someone who was in a band. They would not turn up or come in late. Bill asked them to choose between their work or their music and the person chose the music. He recalls a time when a Christmas party had been arranged and all members of staff were asked to perform something at it. Bill agreed to the piano and recalls the loud noises as a group of people tried to move a piano up four flights of stairs. He played the piano while the students played musical chairs.
49:20 - 50:50
Bill remembers a student called David McKay who studied graphics and went to work in London before moving on to Australia. There are many former students all over the world in places such as London, New York and Australia. Some students have come back as assessors. Andy Ewan runs the The Yellow Pencil Company but worked as an assessor for four years. He was a very good assessor because he could relate to the students. Bill remembers that once they had moved into degrees they started to introduce the assessors to students in third year so they could get used to the external assessment process.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
During this initial phase of the interview, they discuss Alex’s school and family life, mentioning the impact of the second world war.
The interview then moves on to Alex Coupar’s early career – starting as a photographer for the DC Thomson newspapers, evening Telegraph and the Courier. He then talks about his National Service and his wanting to be a photographer with the RAF, which he became. He trained at the school of photography and travelled widely.
Here they discuss what fuelled his ambition to be a photographer – any family influences etc. Alex reminisces about his first camera. He discusses some of the camera options that were available to him and the process of applying for a bank loan to pay for it.
The interview moves to his life after the RAF and getting accustomed to civilian life again. He worked for the DC Thomson newspapers. He discusses parts of his role and the team that he worked with – the relationships and skills. He became a member of the Institute of Corporate Photographers, which helped him to develop the level of photography in the company. They talk a bit more about his time as a Press photographer and the writer he collaborated with at Scots magazine.
Alex talks about some of his most memorable stories. He speaks about one of the largest local news stories that he was a part of: an escaped convict. He then tells the story of a crashed aeroplane, near Wellmark, and he took pictures of the scene. He got into a confrontation with the Police Chief Constable over this. He takes a detour in narrative to talk about a trip he took to Czechoslovakia during the cold war days. He got arrested then for taking pictures of school children.
The discussion then goes to Alex talking about establishing his own photographic company and the motivations for this. He operated his own business from Dundee centre. Because of his reputation people often demanded he attended all the jobs himself.
The interviewer asks about his involvement with the Dundee Rep Theatre. A man named Richard Buchel was interested in the photographs Alex had taken for The Courier and so asked if they could be supplied with a weekly photograph. Mr Coupar names some of the renowned members of the theatre who worked there. He then describes a fire which destroyed the theatre of Nicholson Street. He talks about how the rep theatre then moved locations several times without a base for the organisation. He briefly discusses some of the history of the rep theatre and director Robert Robertson. He stopped his involvement with the rep after Robert left. But he continued to work with other theatres – in Perth, Arbroath, Kirriemuir and others.
The conversation moves on to a discussion about converting from traditional analogue photography to digital photography and Alex’s experience of this. They talk a bit about the change in technology – smart phone cameras and lack of print photographs.
The interview moves to a discussion about his clients. He discusses photographing the Queen Mother, first in 1952 and on many other occasions between then and 2000. They discuss the strict instructions that had to be followed when photographing royalty. He remembers the Queen Mother fondly.
It goes back to a discussion about digital and analogue cameras. They discuss the changes in the industry – the way people would dress and what he believes was a deterioration in professional attire.
Photographers idols. Speaks about some of his contacts. It talks about his own personal archive of photo’s – which are in the University of Dundee Archives. They are an account of his entire life as a photographer. His commercial counts are also stored in Dundee archives.
The Nine Trades. The running of a small business was, generally, a solo career. The trades offered a community – the Bridie supper. They talk about gender diversity in the trades and discuss trade members. He talks about his roles within the Nine.
Tells what photographs he still takes – holiday pictures, mainly. He talks a bit more about some of his photographs and reminiscing his travels. The final question is about his favourite photograph – he mentions the Queen Mother.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
0:17 to 2
Date of birth, mother and fathers occupation. - Born in Dundee 29th of November 1939. Father worked in the mills he passed away when she was 4 years old. Her mother worked as a spinner in the mills, she worked in Little Eddie's across from verdant works, then worked in Henderson's also across from Verdant works and finished in the Bower cleaning toilets.
2 to 4:12
Household background in childhood. She lived in Park Lane just off from Westport in Dundee. There was one room and a small kitchen in their house while six people were living in it. There was an outside toilet. Lived in a tenant that was full of kids that she played with outside.
5 to 9:18
School and further education/employment. Attended Tay street pre-school and attended Logie Annexe secondary school in Dudhope and she left school at age 15.
9:19 to 11:38
Becoming part of the weaver industry. First started in Shepherds Loan however didn't stay there long as her mother took her to the Bower at Douglas Street in 1954, she was here for around 3 years. Worked 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and earned 5 shills a week
11:48 to 12:30
Living in Park Lane and having to move due to Dundee University taking over - houses ended up as slums at the time due to other residents moving away.
13:50 to 15
Working in the weaving industry, materials she worked with - 6 weeks training, worked with every material in Jute
15 to 15:30
Background about working in Verdant Works - longest leaver in Verdant works (worked there for 17 years)
15:30 to 16:13
Safety in the mills and social care - Safety was lacking: no doctors or nurses present.
17 to 18
Unionism in the mills
19 to 22:25
Typical day in the mills and Marriage - put on 16 looms. Non stop working although 10 am = break and 1 hour lunch however it was pointless as the looms would get dusty or fall off. Married Husband known from childhood who was an electrician and they married in 1966
23:57 to 25
Sign language used to communicate with each other and deafness occurring due to the mills
26:10 to 27
Work accidents/health and safety - a work colleague getting her fingers took off trying to clean the looms and her cloth got caught in the mechanical part of the loom.
27 to 30:10
Equal pay for weavers between Genders and workers kitty - workers kitty was used to get their hair done and to buy new curtains.
30:13 to 34
Verdant Works - Thought working at Verdant Works would be a good hobby for after her retirement. She started in 1996, only jute worker and she tries to teach people how to weave for example: mechanics and nurses. She produces cloth and sells it.
35 to 36:30
Religion/going to church
37:08 to 39
Regeneration work in Dundee - Older places in Dundee taken away (Old Overgate)
39 to 39:49
Christmas - Never celebrated in her family as a child as her mother could not afford for 5 children and Lily's father passed near Christmas which was upsetting for her mother. Her mother also worked Christmas day at the mills.
41 to 42:41
Social Activities/picture houses (The Regal, The Princess and The Queen's picture houses).
42:43 to 44
Language difference in Dundee
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.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
He was born in 1935 as an only child in Lochee, in a nursing home. When he was 6 he moved to 35 Boldoven Terrace which he recalls liking, especially the neighbours and the dog. His father worked in the Jute industry until he went to fight in the War and James went to live with his grandparents and aunts.
He began school at the age of 6, initially attending Cleblands and then attending The Morgan in 1947. While Teachers were sparse he believes the War had no impact on the quality of his education.
His loyal cinema was The Royalty, only a few minutes walk from where he lived. Mr Butcher was a projectionist there and used to give James small clippings of film. When he couldn't afford to watch a film, Mr Butcher would open a window to let him listen. The cinema was very popular with the kids and James recalls the worst punishment being not being allowed to go and watch the films. It used to cost 6 pence to sit downstairs and 9 pence to sit upstairs.
He felt special when he attended Clebland, as he was top 3 in his class and was very creative. However when he moved to The Morgans he became a "sheep" and was known by Smith, which made him feel like he was loosing his identity. He started writing and selling comics when he was young which he believed catapulted him into his love for printing. He left in year 7 and attended Art College for 4 years and then taught for 10. He didn't enjoy teaching much but it aided his lifestyle financially
He worked in the Dundee Rep Theatre with some friends from school. James notes his preference for the entertainment industry and specifically the level of presentation involved in this. He recalls the late nights and fish suppers he would get after the shows and how he felt almost in a daze
After teacher training he was given a trial run, doing 2 and a half days at 'Grove' and two and a half days at 'Logie'. He was employed at Broughty Eater Primary School, he didn't enjoy working here and he felt unwanted. He then worked in the 'Rainbow' Primary School.
26.40 - 31.10
To escape national service he moved to secondary teaching in St Michaels where he taught geography for two years before moving to art. Recalls Mr Moore, the head of his, department being a very kind man and the moment he knew teaching wasn't for him. He also reflects on corporal punishment and that many problems arose once this had been stopped.
He believes children today are being let down by todays education system. When he left teaching, he continued printing by renting two rooms on Form Street for 3 years. He printed for businesses and his church and became one of the biggest suppliers for youth and community services which later moved onto the council. He recalls his aunts experience with war work and her musical talent.
Aged 10 he took piano lessons and found playing to be very thereputic. However, when he moved to highschool he focused more on writing. He had played the organ at church after the organist suffered an injury but never stuck with it as he found it to be too intricate.
In college he started a film circle. While living in south Tay Street he made one of his rooms into a small cinema room. He set up a cinema at the foot of Roseangle and called it 'The New Electric Junction Picture Palace' before he was forced to move out. He found himself in partnership with someone "less than honest" years later he had to leave again. He described this as "jumping out the frying pan into the fire". He opened another on West Bell street and called it 'The Britannia'
In 1977 he married a "country lass", and moved from Eden street to live in Whitefield. Around 2008 he heard that Whitfield was getting a new building and wanted to turn one of the rooms into a cinema come lecture room with tiered seating. At first they didn't have a license and showed only public domain short films. When they got their license the first picture they showed was 'The Artist' (2011). People were not charged to see the film as company 'Link Up' funded it, however people were asked to make a small donation and food and drink was sold.
1.01.03 - 1.07.30
They had a children's club and James disliked it because the children wouldn't settle. He doesn't believe that big chain cinemas should be called cinemas because they lack the behind the scenes talent because everything its done digitally and no projectionists are needed now. He also recalls a film called 'The Smallest Show on Earth' about lower budget cinemas.
1.07.03 - 1.16.01
When asked about his favourite films he recalls 'Laxdale Hall' and talks about how its was the people's favourite, recalling how his friend would rent it over and over until the store sold him it. He was in a Dundee cinema society and loosely considered filming his own movie. He is a member of the Scottish Association of Movie Makers, an umbrella group of all camcorder groups in Scotland. He enjoys editing and appreciates modern editing and the fact that nothing is ever lost, unlike with old fashioned editing. His only ambition is death and credits cinema to one of the few reasons he's alive after his wife's death.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
0:17 to 2:38
Born 1983 in Dundee at Ninewells Hospital. Oldest child to her mum and dad and oldest grandchild on both sides of the family. Her Mum was 19 and her Dad was 21 when she was born. She has 4 sisters: Holly, Beth, Ruadhan and Ellie. Grandmother was a dress maker and grew up with fashion.
2:39 to 3:20
Pre school at St Pius Primary then moved to St Margaret's and attended St Johns High School
03:26 to 4:15
College and University - Dundee and Angus College to do access textiles fashion course. Attended Duncan of Jordanstone University in Dundee.
4:25 to 5:26
Graduating, finding a job and designing for celebrities - Graduated in 2009 and made her own clothes in 2010 and started up her own blog. Approached by Marina and the Diamonds to design her tour wardrobe.
5:27 to 7:50
Family (twin sons) and achievements: Freddie and Oscar born in December 2011, in June (2012) she won the young designer of the year award (twins only 6 months old).
7:53 to 8:27
Opening up her own studio: Meadow Mill
8:28 to 11:53
Influences and encouragement from Duncan of Jordanstone and her signature style: Encouraged by Janet Shelley (Head of Textiles). She specialised in printing.
13:35 to 14:57
Dealing with success and international reputation.
15:53 to 16:55
Process of celebrities wearing HS clothing - Celebrities contact Hayley asking for designs.
16:55 to 21
Ambassador of Dundee - Official Ambassador of Dundee in 2012.
21 to 22
Influenced by Dundee - influenced by creative sectors in Dundee.
22:10 to 22:58
V&A - involved with the V&A and hopefully to be featuring with the V&A in future.
22:59 to 24:30
Staff/Interns - Kerry Alexander (cutter and seamstress). Intern students from all over Scotland.
26:56 to 27:56
Free time/social life (The Reading Rooms, nightclub).
28 to 29:11
Different types of brands (luxury and affordable) Main focus is on affordable brands for local Dundee area.
31 to 32
Noticing local Dundee people wearing Hayley's clothing and how appreciative she is that she is receiving support.
32 to 33
Diary planning and how to work towards certain timeframes. Brings out two collections a year however brings out mini collections throughout. Private bookings also (weddings).
33:55 to 34:58
The process of Hayley's designs going down to a factory to be processed, she designs the items and is then processed by a pattern cutter. She sends the pattern, design and tech drawings.
34:59 to 36:53
Online order process - attempt to deliver orders between 2 working days, when first launched on website it can take up to 5-7 working days.
36:54 to 38
Marketing the HS brand - through her website and social media (thousands of followers on twitter, Facebook and Instagram).
38 to 40:35
Attending trade shows - hopefully in Paris and New York. Brands she sits along with and her aspirations - HS is a high end high street brand for example (Selfridges brand).
42 to 43:30
Going back to Duncan of Jordanstone University to produce speeches.
Part of The Dundee Oral History Project
00:00 - 06:31
He was born in Bevington, Cheshire in September 1925. He had a happy child. He was an only child and went to a local council school before then getting a scholarship and going to a Public School. He went to Cambridge where here he got his PhD. He got a job in Dundee in 1955 and has stayed ever since. The university was much smaller back then. Everything's closed down at five o'clock and all the staff knew the staff in other departments. He worked in the chemistry department. His father was an accountant and his mother worked in an antique shop. His father's brother did well as an accountant at various companies. He went on holiday with his friend Richard, his fiancé and his sister. Richard's sister shared a flat with a girl in London. He visited the flatmate many times and ended up marrying her. They got married in Grimsby and came to Dundee a few months later. Their first house was in the Nethergate, one story down. They later sold the house to the church of the spirit. He tells a story of wife's brother, an accomplished oboist, who would tell fellow musicians who were in Dundee at the time to stay with his sister. One time, after they had sold the house, a horn player went along unannounced on a Sunday looking or a place to stay and ended up shouting through the letterbox to see if they were in. When he arrived in 1955 the university was still a part of the University of St Andrews. He worked in the chemistry department his whole working life.
06:31 - 14:12
He became involved in the climbing club, Grampian Club, through someone else from the chemistry department. It was something many families got involved in. The children would go to the beach and the fathers would go climbing. Many of the families had children similar ages to his own. They would go on various trips together. He went on a trip to Greenland through the Grampian Club. It was a joint exhibition organised by the universities of Strathclyde and Dundee. The organisers wanted more people to go on it because it would be cheaper for everybody. He was there for four weeks. They climbed mountains there. Many different people went on the trip such as botanists, ornithologists and experts on snow and ice. The Grampian Club was founded in 1927. They would go on trips once a month. They took the bus on trips and would stay in hotels and go for meals after. At its peak it had two hundred members. There were about twenty to fifty active members, a bus full of people, who would go on the trips. Some people did not take the bus but made their own way there. It was financed through subscription but some would also leave money for the club when they died. He has done about two hundred Monroe's. One of the most dangerous things he has done happened during the Greenland trip. While camping on a glacier he went to collect water without wearing crampons and had he slipped he would have been swept away.
14:12 - 15:47
Originally the only people who were involved were of a very professional background. Now it is much more broad. It used to be very formal. New members had to be proposed and seconded. There was not a lot of equipment for the club at the time. There were no anoraks but there were old army ice axes you could use. As it became more popular more equipment started to develop.
15:47 - 16:49
He stayed in four or five. He tells story of how one particularly talkative member of the club put off others from staying in a bothy.
16:49 - 18:00
He would sometimes do climbs on his own, about once or twice a year. He would sleep overnight in the car. There were no phones at the time so it was quite a brave thing to do. You could be in a lot of danger while climbing. He recalls a story of some climbers getting avalanched and having to be rescued by mountain rescue.
18:00 - 19:09
Favourite place to climb and fellow climbers: The place he went most often was near Glencoe. There was very good camaraderie between all of the climbers. It was easy to know everyone because Dundee is a small city.
19:09 - 21:12
He had not originally intended to settle in Dundee. He says most English universities were in big cities and an attraction of Dundee is its surroundings. He is still in touch with many of the climbers and they meet once a month to have lunch together. He similarly regularly meets with the chemists.
21:12 - 26:18
He first briefly talks about his collection of old photographs of Dundee and his interest in photography. He then says how they would often take the train to go climbing and that they went climbing all year round. There was also competition among the club for Monroe climbing. There have been fatalities while climbing. Someone with epilepsy died on his way off a hill one time. Another person was hit by a bus while they were getting off another bus. It was a well run club. Health and safety changes affected the club. For example, drivers could not drive for as long as they used to without a break so they were not able to go on long day trips as they used to.
26:18 - 28:45
He possesses a collection of old photographs of Dundee. There are only still films, no cine films. He looked for special trains and would take pictures of them. He photographed the original university buildings and also took pictures of Perth Road. He also took pictures of Half-Time? School which was meant to be rebuilt but never was. He had a collection called Disappearing Dundee. The photos are still in good condition.
28:45 - 30:15
He started at the university in 1955. While he was there it became its own university. When it became its own university there was more money for it to spend. The split from St Andrews was fine for departments which were just in one of the universities. There were difficulties however when it was split across two as it was for chemistry. They had to set a common exam. Before the split they often felt that they were not getting their fair share of the money.
30:15 - 36:48
He says that the university's strength is medical science. He thinks the new developments in the city are a good things. Things he would like to see include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra coming to Dundee more often. He would also like to see a big theatre for touring companies to come. He mentions the derelict King's Theatre in Dundee. He had a friend who campaigned for its renewal and he had too for a little bit. Dundee used to have a few theatres. He took his children to see a performance of Peter Pan where the actors would fly about on wires. He has also been involved in the Dundee Access Group. They have achieved things such as getting more wheelchair accessible taxis. He has been involved in Dundee Access Group for twenty years. His late wife was involved with Oxfam and helped to set up the Oxfam shop on the Perth Road which was the first one in Dundee. His wife also helped to set up Shopmobility.