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Sandra Thomson

00:05-04:30
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.

04:30-09:05
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.

09:05-11:19
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.

11:20-21:50
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.

22:00-31:10
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.

31:15-36:20
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.

36:25-44:07
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.

Jim Ashwood

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.

Anderson-Grice Co. Ltd, Carnoustie

  • MS 314
  • Collection
  • 1973
Black and white photographs (interiors and exteriors) of Taymouth Works, Carnoustie taken by John R. H[eime]

Anderson-Grice Co. Ltd

James S. Miller Collection

  • MS 297
  • Collection
  • 1875-1993
Items and papers relating to the experiences of Mr James Miller during his employment in Calcutta during and of his voyage to India to take up this post.

James S. Miller

Papers of John Grant, Angus Jute Works, West Bengal

  • MS 431
  • Collection
  • 1947-1948
Notebook belonging to John Grant, Spinning Department, Angus Jute Works, West Bengal describing the spinning department and detailing spindles, drives, machinery and production; Essentials of Colloquial Hindustani by Mohiuddin Ahmad, owned and annotated by John Grant

John Grant

David Henderson Collection

  • MS 254
  • Collection
  • 1710-2005
Correspondence, 1837-2005; Records, 1774-1983; Notes on Whaling, 1793-2005; Newspaper articles 1837-2004; Publications, 1710-2005; Miscellaneous, 1877-1998; Postcards, n.d.; Photographs, 1773-1979; Microfilm and slides, n.d.; Maps and plans, 1853-1976.

David Henderson

Lord Robert's Workshop and Blindcraft, Dundee (formerly the Royal Dundee Institution for the Blind)

  • MS 319
  • Collection
  • 1837-2010
Royal Dundee Institution for the Blind/Blindcraft: Accident register 1958-1965, log book 1946-1966, annual reports 1870-1929, 1932-1945 and 1967-1968, slides (2 trays of 35 mm slides and box of large format slides n.d., published volumes 1884-?; correspondence early 20th C, admissions certificates early 20th C, Gospel According to Luke in Braille c 1930s." Reports & Minutes 1872-1968, Finance & Stock 1896-1980, Constitution & Rules 1910-1940, Administration & Correspondence 1886-1993, Photographs & Negatives c 20th Century, Newspaper Articles & Sketches c 20th century Lord Roberts Workshop: Advisory committee minutes 1943-1955, exhibition boards n.d., minutes 1923-1949, 1961-1972, directors' and officials' attendance books 1923-1993, magazine - Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts Workshop Gazette and Annual Reports 1982-1991, manager's reports 1968-1985, directors' minutes 1919-1933 and 1949-1961, Central Scottish Area Committee minutes 1919-1961;" Minutes 1919-1992, Reports, Administration & Finance 1929-1992, Publications 1924-2010, Photographs & Negatives c 20th century Articles and Publications 1837-1932

Lord Robert's Workshop/Royal Dundee Institution for the Blind/ Blindcraft

D J MacDonald Ltd, Engineers, Dundee

  • MS 93
  • Collection
  • 1861-2013
MS 93/I Records of D J MacDonald Ltd 1861-1989 MS 93/II MacDonald Engineering (Dundee) Ltd 1984-1989 MS 93D Technical drawings and plans

D J MacDonald Ltd

Wm. R. Stewart & Sons (Hacklemakers) Ltd, Dundee

  • MS 101
  • Collection
  • 1904-1981
Company files 1946-1987; letter books 1904-1952; correspondence files and boxes (UK and foreign) 1961-1976; purchase records 1915-1967; order records 1908-1965; completed orders and related correspondence 1960-1981; sales ledgers 1900-1966; general sales correspondence 1956-1976; specification cards and pin order records 1952-1977; copy order records 1971-1973; technical papers 1964-1975; repair invoices 1961-1968; wages books 1963-1974; work studies 1959-1973

William R Stewart & Sons (Hacklemakers) Ltd

Alex Coupar photographic collection

  • MS 258
  • Collection
  • 1940s-2000s
Draft outline: 1 box each of prints labelled: 35 mm negs; b/w industrial; odd prints / Scotts magazine etc; family pics??; colour prints; early pictures; transparencies Queen Mum exhib details; publications; annual a/cs; articles etc; prints; old pics 1950s; Queen Mother collection; Queen Mum; Rep and other theatre; old pics; publications; contact prints; large negs and tranparencies; cars, lorries etc; books, magazines and cuttings; mounted prints. Also 2 boxes labelled transparancies; 2 boxes labelled ships; 1 folder shipping photos; 2 boxes b/w prints;piles of large prints associated with Dundee, people, places incl Rep; 2 framed prints of people; 35 mm file no 1 includes negatives; 3 large boxes of photographs; 2 cameras in metal cases; 2 negative drawers; 4 volumes of negative index. [Acc 2013/551] Daily work diaries and a copy of a handwritten biography of Alex Coupar [Acc 2013/564] Copies of 'Life and Work with Photographs by Alex Coupar (September 1966, October 1966, January 1967, October 1967, November 1967, February 1968, April 1968, June 1968, April 1970, October 1970), Material relating to Scottish Theatre Archive, 1997, Dundee's Own Chirstmas Number 1949, Dundee's Own Christmas Number 1968, Dundee's Own Chirstmas Number 1973, building and civil engineering section from The Scotsman June 12, 1969, 8 books on photography, c1947-1973 [Acc 2013/588] Photographs of RAF, 1915 planes in Tay, Glamis, Rep and the first photograph of Coupar's published in a newspaper from 1946, plus other photographs [Acc 2013/605] 5 x 35mm neg strips [2014/612] Images of Craig Pier market [Acc 2014/612]; Records relating to Spanphotos and Coupar's work with various local charitable and health organisations [Acc2014/615] ; Material relating to the closure of Coupar's partnership Spanphoto and attempts to form a new partnership; to Coupar's time on the board of Dundee Historic Environment Trust; to inovlvement with Radio Tay's Caring for Kids campaign; involvement with Anton House workshop for the disabled in Broughty Ferry; and to his time as Chairman of Balgowan school, includes material from the School, photographs and drafts for a publication put together by Coupar (Coupar thinks most of the school records have been destroyed) [2014/617] Cheques and bank statements, invoices, receipts, photo shoot diaries and other financial and administrative records related to Spanphoto Photographic Studio, Dundee [2014/619] Negatives: Traction engines, Aberdeen; Queen mother at Falkland Palace & Wimberely Court; 4 x5 negatives featuring the Queen Mother, 1955 & 1994; Scout Gang Show; packet of 2 1/4 negatives featuring the Beatles, Dundee; 1 x 2 1/4 featuring Sandy Campbell, Loch Awe [ACC 2015/738] Black & white print of University of St Andrews first computer, c1966; 4 colour prints of wedding flower arrangements at Park Church, Dundee, 10th September 1981. [2016/758] Bundle of black & white and colour prints of varying sizes: 5 sheets of colour contact prints of Dundee Harbour;2 strips of black & white contact prints of Bonawe Furnance & Taynuilt;2 black & white contact sheets and 1 print of Glenys Marshall;1 black & white print of Beth Robins;Black & white portrait of Bert Stewart 1951; Model promotional cards: Kelly Cooper; Gillian Lawson;2 colour prints of the Stratmore family, 21/10/1996;1 colour contact sheet of Joanna Lumley; 2 colour prints of St Andrews Church, Dundee, 2014;1 black & white print of the City of Hereford ship;1 colour print of a cave painting at Davaar, Argyll; 1 black & white print of a snowy Glenprosen;1 colour print of Skye;1 black & white print of the 'Unicorn', 1961;1 black & white contact sheet of Aboyne Station;1 black & white print of Perth Railway shed;1 colour advertising shot for Valentine's cards, c1980; 2 black & white prints of Balmoral Castle with Alex's children in the foreground, c1968;1 colour print for Scottish Gas used for a magazine cover; 13 black & white prints of trains; 1 black & white print of art by Neill Dallas Brown; 2 colour prints of 'Discovery' in Victoria Dock; 1 black & white print of Nell Curran; 1 colour print of Miss Arbroath, 1959; 1 black & white print of Fintry Scout troup, 1960; 1 black & white print of 'Bonnie Dundee' c1970-1980; 1 black & white print of the 'Flying Scotsman' - only visit to Dundee, 1964; 1 black & white print, Millers Boatyard, St Monance;Envelope of transparencies: theatre 101-144; various railways 1-210; 2 unlabelled packets; Flying Scotsman; 'Hogwarts Express', Bonnie Dundee.;Poster for talks and exhibitions: 'A Nation's Enterprise: the spirit of Dundee'; 'The Building of the Tay Road Bridge', 4th March 2010; 'Not the Papparazzi: The Royal family and me', 4th July 2013; 'Not Him Again', 7th July 2011. [2016/842] 1 box of 90 b & w and colour prints covering various subjects including people, shipping and employment; promotional posters for talks given by Alex Coupar; digital copies of photographs; slide including those used for talks given by Alex Coupar. [2017/853] Box of slides containing approximately 1100 slides covering various topics such as people, places and architecture, some of which are captioned or numbered; 1 blank 'Standard Signature Form for Models' which was used when using agency models; 1 envelope of contact sheets and prints of Aboyne, Park Avenue Church in Dundee and a Lord Dean of Guild Portrait. [2017/861] Limited edition prints of Tay Bridge fireworks with list of purchasers, various scenic prints chosen by Coupar and his wife to hang in their home; various newspapers, letter headings and other ephemera relating to the local area; cd of images used in Coupar's talk on the Building of the Tay Bridge; cd of images of Prince Charles visit to Glamis for new gate ceremony; The Rep 'Twenty Golden years'; 8 mounted prints of Alex Coupar at Scout Camp, 1942-44; slides of Rover Trip to Hungary, with list; slides used in talk about Theatre photography with list; negs of personal travels abroad and in the UK, 1990s, copy of letter from Joan Auld, Archivist concerning the negatives of the Queen Mother [2017/868*]

Alex Coupar

James Banks & Sons, Rope and Twine Merchants, Perth

  • MS 32
  • Collection
  • 1895-1943
Balance and stock sheets. 1921-1943; state of settlement of price of Rope Works sold by Mr James Banks to Messrs John Moncreiff & Sons Ltd., Glass Manufacturers, Perth 1930; sports meeting samples, early 20th century; photographs 1895-c.1930.

James Banks & Sons

Wm. Fergusson & Sons Limited

  • MS 23
  • Collection
  • 1839-1950
Abstract of accounts, furnishings and current charges 1892-1915, Ledger no. 1. (With index) 1911-1921, and souvenir brochure giving brief history of the firm and includes mounted photographs showing exterior and interior views of Dudhope Works, some with personnel with negatives of photographs, 1839-1946. Also includes illustrated booklet outlining history and development of Low & Bonar Group & Companies, including William Fergusson & Sons Ltd. c.1950, and a set of accounts and reports 1985.

Wm. Fergusson & Sons Limited

Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee

  • MS 15a
  • Collection
  • 1824-1888
Copies of documents relating to the administration, finance, members, and court actions of the Nine Trades. Trades in Dundee have co-operated since at least the sixteenth century to their mutual benefit. Nine of these tended to work together and this grouping gradually became more formalised. The trades involved were the Baxters (Bakers), the Cordiners (Shoemakers), the Glovers (originally Skinners), the Tailors, the Bonnetmakers, the Fleshers, the Hammermen, the Brabeners or Websters (Weavers), and the Waulkers (Fullers) who later united with the Listers (Dyers). The Nine Incorporated Trade of Dundee is still in existence