Monthly Archives: November 2019

Members Newsletter November 2019

Monifieth Local History Society

Newsletter November 2019

Dear Member,

Thank you for renewing your membership for 2019/2020. The last time you heard from us we were still hoping to lease the premises of 81 High Street, the former Angus Council Access Office, to establish a Heritage centre, be able to display the collection of items donated by local people and from which to deliver the society’s services and programme. Sadly, because of the many difficulties and unforeseen circumstances outlined below, we were unable to sign the lease:

  • we are an ageing committee with health and other issues; • due to lack of volunteers, we have no treasurer, secretary or fabric convenor; • the challenges of getting the premises fit for purpose had we signed the lease were too great; • a lack of support from local councillors; • we were not successful in getting any money from the Monifieth Town Centre Development Fund; • lack of volunteers; • if the venture was not successful, the committee would be liable for debts incurred by the society.

The final blow was that our President, Margaret Copland, who inspired and led our campaign, was taken into hospital with a serious condition, days before we were due to sign the lease.

But enough of our tales of woe! Our President is out of hospital and recovering her health and strength; financial support from local people through the ‘Go Fund Me’ website has enabled us to stay solvent, and continue to pay for storage of the collection of items which used to be housed in the House of Memories; throughout our difficulties our webmaster, Kevin Clayton has done an admirable job to keep our website up, running and flourishing! With advice from OSCR the Charity Regulator we will be deciding what is to be done with the collection of items from the House of Memories.

Meanwhile we will be drawing up our programme of Talks and Trips (yes, we hope to be able to reinstate this popular part of our programme!) about which our next Newsletter will inform you.

Due to present circumstances we are unable to run our Christmas Meal, but wish you all health, happiness and the Seasons Greetings!

Margaret Copland, President and Archivist; Marianna Buultjens, Vice President; Kevin Clayton, Webmaster; Elspeth Johnston, Diplays and Events Convenor; Diana Robertson, Volunteers’ Manager; Linda Johnston, Membership Secretary; Jessie Meachan, Committee Member.

A Night at the Flicks

`A Night at the Flicks`.

By Mhairi Pyott.



`Braveheart`, `Rob Roy` `Harry Potter` `Lord of the Rings and

similar film epics have brought a revival of the `picture

goers`. I admit that I was one who had not seen a performance

on the `big screen` since `Close Encounters` almost thirty

years ago.

To be honest at the time my young daughter was not amused by

my reaction to the then “as near real space encounter of all

time “. I fell asleep and was awakened by the quadraphonic sound system making the building, seats and myself vibrate as the screen portrayed the landing of the intergalactic vehicle.

The modern day effects are even more startling and amazing.

The Scottish epics I enjoyed , despite the blood, gore and `poetic licence`. My husband, most unusual for him, sat very quiet and white faced while Mel Gibson acted his heart out.  “Are you disturbed by all the slashing off of arms and legs?” I asked.   “No I am shell shocked at the arm and a leg it cost us to get into this place”.  Even longer since he had been out for an evening at the cinema.

”One and nine pence, old money, for the dearest seats was what I last paid”

I suppose that could have been right.

The Kings and Regal cinemas in our town, charged the same entrance fee, somewhere about nine pence, a shilling and one and nine pence, depending on the area where you were seated. Prices for Saturday matinee were different. Oh what a glorious occasion. You set off from home about one o`clock to join the queue for the Regal performance which started about two o`clock. By the time the `box office` opened the queue could be down the street as far as Coopers lemonade factory. The `cheap seats` several rows of wooden `tip ups`, were right down at the front of the theatre, next to the screen.

Viewing was similar to lying with your head back for a dental inspection, allowing any possible sight of the action on the directly overhead screen. Almost as painful as dental treatment when you tried to pull your chin down to your chest to stand erect for the playing of `God Save the King`, which ended all performances.

The only time the auditorium vibrated was when the film broke down. Hundreds of pairs of feet stamped in unison to chants of “Get a penny in the meter”.

Emergencies and similar riots were quelled by the two matronly usherettes, who spotlighted the troublemakers with a beam from their powerful torchlights, while uttering “I`ll see your mother and tell her how you behave”. This promise would have banished any enemies of William Wallace or Rob Roy.   I cannot ever remember the Theatre manager ever being at the afternoon performances.   At later performances he was there resplendent in evening dress, complete with bow tie.

Snow White, the Lone Ranger with his Indian companion Tonto, and of course Buck Rogers in Space, were all shown to the accompaniments of boos and cheers.

`Blossom` in the Dust`, with stars Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon was my all time favourite. Poor little Tony, crippled and wearing callipers, tenderly cared for by Greer and Walter.  The happy ending climax, marked by tears, most probably due to the pain and need of a neck support after two hours of extended viewing.  For weeks after we played out the rending scenes in impromptu theatres, the wash house or some half empty coal cellar.

“Song of Bernadette” was another all time favourite. As a special concession I was allowed to accompany Granny to the Kings to watch this spectacular production. There were two showings or `houses` Monday to Saturday. The first performance commenced about five forty five. With the factories not finishing work until six, the weavers who had started at six in the morning, made no great rush to attend mid week early shows. Seated next to Granny in the dearer, downstairs velour covered `tip up` seats, I felt like a Royal Princess. An extra `for being good` I`d been given a bag of home made treacle toffee from the sweetie shoppie in Union Street.  The moving tale of Bernadette and the appearance of the Holy Virgin kept Granny enthralled. Lourdes with all it`s wonders to behold.  The toffee was a bit sickly and Granny rescued it for `safe keeping`, putting it in the breast pocket of her jacket. When the film was nearing the finale Granny started fidgeting.  Concerned about her behaviour I enquired “Are you alright?”  “Oh I`ll be fine just watch the miracles and keep quiet”.

Much later I was to learn that Granny thought she was haemorrhaging and soaked with blood , which was oozing down on to her legs. Yes it was only the treacle toffee melting in the heat.

However, some of the audience might have benefitted from healing cures. A vast number of wounded soldiers in the audience were conspicuous with their bright blue uniforms and red neck ties. Allowed out on pass from the nearby military hospital, the walking wounded, were a familiar sight in the town, but then so were many other uniformed service men.

No uniforms for the usherettes or commissionaires for the Regal or the Kings, but they were grand places for entertainment when I was young.




Written in Monifieth Almanac by David McRae c1905

“From time to time remains of bygone battles have been unearthed in the neighbourhood of Panmure, and lately yet another link with the past was discovered, when a rude sarcophagus containing two skeletons, was dug up on one of the many fier cairns in the neighbourhood.

These cairns are known to antiquarians as the Cur Hills, and lie about a mile and a half to the south of Panmure Monument, where the tomb of Camus, the Danish General, who fell at the battle of Barry, is situated. The hill where the coffin was found is a little to the north of the farm of Carlungie, which stands about one thousand yards from the main road from Arbroath to Dundee.

For some time past workmen have been engaged in excavating the mound for the purpose of obtaining gravel for road-making, and when about two feet from the summit of the hillock came upon the coffin. The stone was soft, and one of the sides came away, disclosing the skeletons of two people, apparently a man and a woman. The skull was entire, but on the top was a peculiar cut , which showed how he had received his death.. The forehead was particularly large, and every tooth was in place in an excellent state of preservation. The other skull was very much smaller, and the forehead not large at all.

The bones of the man appeared to be rather bigger than those of the present day men.

Unfortunately, the bones were allowed to lie, and large numbers of persons visited the place, with the result that the bones were rudely handled, and soon fell away , and mixed up with the gravel.

That the skeletons were in some way connected with certain of the great battles fought in the vicinity, may be deduced from the fact that they found their resting place in cairns. It has long been proved that the cairns are monuments of either the Battle of Barry , in 1010, or that of Panmure.

The excellent state of preservation in which the skeletons were found favours the theory that it was in the latter battle , which was fought in 1337.

The presence of the female in the coffin is rather remarkable. On the land of the same farm, and a little to the west, similar finds have been made of a large mound, and here urns and implements of war have been discovered.

The bones were taken from the coffin, which bore no marks of any kind, and buried.”