Burgh of Monifieth 1952 – 2002


by Local Historian Mhairi Pyott

With families reunited after what had been a long War, the residents of Monifieth were similar to all other communities in the United Kingdom, looking forward to peaceful change and ` better things to come.`

Food rationing was slowly easing, housing problems addressed by the building of prefabricated family homes at Milton .

Returning from their duties in the uniformed armed services the `men of Monifieth` found employment in the local industrial businesses, such as James F Low, Ironfounders, Low & Duff, Albert Works,  Brass  Founders & Makers of Sugar boiling equipment. Darvel Carpet Manufacturers, Milton,  Ashludie Sanatorium, also numerous building firms who were contracted to `erect  modern and convenient homes ` suitable for Monifieth families.

Ashludie House

Ashludie House

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952 ,  was indeed the start of a `New Age` for the Angus Burgh.

Television was still in it`s infancy and not readily available to working class families, however, the Coronation Ceremony would be seen on the Pathe News at the Local Alhambra Cinema.

Door Alhambra

The Alhambra

The children of Monifieth Public School, celebrated in their own way, united under the auspices of the only ,  public  premises affording  those  between the ages of five to fourteen years age  an opportunity in learning primary  to  secondary educational standards.

Youth and Church associated organizations flourished, creating  a  spirit of `social community togetherness`, something which still flourishes to the present day.

Monifieth Railway station would witness hoards of weekend or day trippers disembarking from the carriages, drawn by steam locomotives, to enjoy the pleasures of the seaside, in the  fresh air and reputed `driest climate in Scotland`.

You can still visit Monifieth Station, similar to so many other assets, it was removed to the Railways Museum at Boness, in Fife , when Dr Beeching reviewed the running of the Transport industry.

The Burgh of Monifieth Council were responsible for the everyday affairs ie. Housing, Education, Sanitation, Roads & other Public Services.

Elected to office by the Burgh residents, council members gave freely of their time to ensure the best possible living conditions and amenities were available to all.

Burgh Council Offices were built in the High Street, to accommodate the ever increasing  numbers of clerical staff, necessary to meet the needs of the ever expanding housing developments and increasing population.

Government legislation ordered that these responsibilities be remitted  to Dundee City Council, effectively bringing to an end Monifieth`s independence.

Further government legislation, after twenty years, deemed it necessary for the transference of  the responsibility to Angus District Council.

During those twenty years many significant changes had taken place.

National economic criteria, or the general `closing down` of the jute industries, brought about the closures of Monifieth industries. However, with a vast number of the employees commuting from other local areas this did not , as one would have thought, bring mass unemployment, with linked financial and social deprivation.

Monifieth continued to flourish and be considered as a very desirable place to live and raise a family.

To cope with the increase of school age children the Monifieth Public  School, was utilized for Primary  School children. Secondary School pupils ,  travelling daily to Arbroath or Dundee. The school being renamed Invertay Primary School.

Seaview Primary 1988

Seaview Primary 1988

Later this establishment being replaced by Seaview Primary  School and Grange Primary School.  A purpose built Senior  Secondary  School known as Monifieth High School was built at Balmossie to provide all Monifieth children with the opportunity of Senior school education within the Burgh.

The disused industrial buildings  and houses  on the beach links were demolished, to be replaced by another caravan site .  A municipal caravan site had already been established by the  Burgh Council and was very popular with tourists.

Retail shopping was radically changed during the reformation of the High Street. Many old established businesses disappeared with the demolition of buildings. A purpose built shopping precinct was created on the cleared ground.

The four acre site of James F Low` foundry was considered as the best location for  the erection of a huge supermarket.

Tesco High Street Monifieth 2005 ( site 15 acres  previously James F Low Ironfoundry)

Tesco High Street Monifieth 2005 ( site 15 acres previously James F Low Ironfoundry)

Monifieth was still growing and flourishing, despite downward trends in industry and commerce.

One could question why this should be so?

Perhaps the answer lies with the long established `spirit of community`.  Certainly the  motto of the Burgh , established in 1895,  Vis Unita Fortior   (Stronger the force that is combined) is still relevant  today.

Community based organizations for all ages are even more popular than they were in 1950`s. Particularly those whose membership is formed by the `youth` of Monifieth. Entrance to the uniformed activities, ie Scouts, Guides etc, is by waiting lists to join. The Boyack Centre, a purpose built building for the meetings, was funded by money from a local benefactor.

Boys Brigade Company is ever expanding, with their meetings and popular Pipe Band practicing in the South Church Halls.

4Real Centre, in Victoria Street, offers many different programs of interest, for teenagers.

The numbers of activities for all ages are to numerous to mention, golf, football, art and history societies, etc. in fact something for everyone.

The fifty years of Queen Elizabeth`s reign has seen many changes, however,  the one thing that has remained constant in Monifieth is the village atmosphere and feeling of belonging to a `caring` community.

The future lies with our youth of today, they will be the  parents, teachers, youth group leaders, those who will give freely of their time for the benefit of others within the Community.

We the older residents who can remember the 1950`s must give way to trust that they the holders of the key to the survival of the Burgh of Monifieth, take note of the motto on the coat of arms. (Stronger is the forced combined)

Perhaps ,  in conjunction another Latin quotation , above the door of the Gerard Hall, donated by a Monifieth benefactor( Rev. Dr. James Gerard Young)  Bono Vince Malum  (Good overcomes evil).

Monifieth will then continue to be in the location of Paradise.

Mhairi Pyott .  2002.

One response to “Burgh of Monifieth 1952 – 2002

  1. ailsa milne nee Neill

    When Monifieth Secondary School closed, pupils who passed their 11+ went to Arbroath High. Those who didnt pass went to Carnoustie Secondary School, travelling by train. I was one of the first year pupils to do so in 1966

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