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Monifieth Heritage Centre


There has always been a problem in Monifieth finding accommodation for meetings.

It was the reason why MLHS initially, in 2004, leased the premises at 55  High Street, which resulting from donations of items  etc by members of the community developed into  Monifieth House of Memories / Heritage Centre.

One of the main attractions by the MLHS, and a valid reason for the lease application for the former Angus Access Office being the anti rooms, which not only would allow setting up for research etc, but also have available meeting space for other discussion / learning groups..

Monifieth residents are accustomed to travelling out with the town to find services on offer to those in other Angus towns.



As you can see from this years books we need support in our venture.

Balance sheet 31st October 2017


Should we be successful with our Lease Application for the Angus Access Office, and I sincerely hope we are, then we must start getting into place formal plans for the management of a Monifieth Community Heritage Centre. Please note that the key word is Community, which means that they would be required to play a much more active part in supporting the ambitious project. We the Monifieth Local History Society will continue as we have done for 14 years to promote the Monifieth Heritage story, however, we will only be part of the Heritage Centre  giving our support .
The proposed Heritage Centre will not only attract more  visitors to Monifieth, it will help `town centre regeneration`, something very badly lacking at present, for all High Street businesses. Monifieth would be moving up the ladder, on the tourist trail, catching all the visitors in the area, due to the opening of the  V & A, more  cruise liners docking at Dundee.
A Heritage Centre Management Committee will need to be established from those who are willing to become involved. Can we state now that this is something which should not only be undertaken by the “Golden Oldies / Senior Citizens” but those with ambitions and committment to preserving the not only the heritage , but the community of Monifieth, which is rapidly becoming a Dundee dormitory.

Monifieth in 1918

Monifieth in 1918,   by Mhairi Pyott


As one with an interest in local history, and generated by the rapid changes taking place in what by choice is my home town of Monifieth, my search for information produced some fascinating details of life in the Angus burgh in 1918.


Businesses on the High Street flourished, with a Bank ,Confectioner & Fancy Goods, Bakers. Butchers , Post Office and Circulating Library.


Alexander Troup. Chemist.



The Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society, ( Monifieth Branch) at 7 High Street, advertising “ “Nothing but the Highest Quality of Goods kept in stock” Members Dividend 3/2d in the £.

Membership cost 1/3d”

Eastern Coop


At 51 High Street, W.K. Nicoll . Fancy  Draper, offered a vast selection of Ladies , Gents and children`s wear.  Also an agent for Pullars of Perth, Cleaning and dyeing services.


At the corner of Union Street and Maule Street,

The West End Drapery Store, where Mrs Walker always had on hand a first class selection of Drapery Goods. Ladies, and Gents underclothing made to order. Children`s garments a speciality.

Machine made stockings and socks, any size; Paton`s wool only used.

Babies shawls, Jackets, Bootees, Hoods and hats, all hand made. Best quality guaranteed.


H K Sinclair, High Street, General Ironmonger.

Electro-plated goods, and cutler. Agent for Anglo American Petroleum Oil, Garden seeds etc.


Over fiftyone shops listed . Giving employment to over 160 people.


The Royal Hotel, offered Comfortable and Airy bedrooms, for moderate charges.

The owner George Stewart wished to inform the public that he has on hand a large stock of Fine Old Whiskies, well matured.

Parties wishing a glass of cool beer can always rely on getting it in Sparkling Condition at the “Royal”.


The participants could have used the popular transport services of   Monifieth to Dundee Tram Co., which operated throughout the day from 8am, between Dundee High Street and the terminus beside the Royal Hotel.

Monifieth, Dundee Tram Company

Established in 1905, had later due to popularity and public demand extended the line further to a terminus at the High Street Tay Street junction.

Including car drivers, conductors and others engaged at the offices and power station at Milton, there were over forty people employed in carrying on the service, the majority of whom resided in Monifieth,

Mr Daniel Fisher was the Manager.


Many residents of the time who worked out with the town, favoured travelling by the excellent rail service, which created a busy scene at the Monifieth Station, with a ticket/ booking hall, and up and down line platforms, waiting rooms etc. The  Station master John Gilles in charge,  was described as being ever alert, happy and with the knack of inspiring his staff with a like spirit.

Nine people employed on station duty, where “from early morn there is a scene of busy industry.”


Many employees of the Monifieth “Foundry by the Sea” ( JF Low & Co.), and Low & Duff Brassfounders , Albert Works,  were not residents of the town and were regular users of these modes of transport.


With the majority of local men `away to war` the women of the area became the foundry workers, along with the running of other various essential services.

Perhaps residents with a little time to spare, made a visit to the Cinema, which also served as a location for local drama group performances..

Despite the war still on going there was social interaction between the residents who were members of leisure and sporting organisations.

The Gerard Hall was used as a temporary Military Hospital, which meant that many activities took place in the other Church Halls.


The Ministers being :

Monifieth Parish Church, Rev D D McLaren.

Monifieth United Free Church ,Rev Crawford Smith

Panmure United Free Church, Rev Harry Law

Scottish Episcopal Church.

Services listed as the same time as other churches, with times for Holy Communion.

Secretary : Charles Nicholson, 9 Durham Gardens.

St Brides, R. C Church , Brook Street. Sunday Service 10am,

Guild meeting and evening service once a month.


Among the various groups and organisations are listed;

The Rifle Club.

In 1912 an indoor Rifle Range was fully equipped and “under the careful guidance of Major Vair, and other enthusiasts continue to do good work”


The Literary Society. “An excellent service in cultivating the intellectual and social facilities of the  members.”


Monifieth Liberal Association : “The Unionist Club, comfortably quartered, work quietly to propagate the principles for which it is established.”



Various Golf Clubs, Bowling, Tennis, Aquatic, Football, Cricket, Quoiting, and other outdoor sports “Recreations have increased in number, tending to improve the health and social environment of their members.”


Musical Society ( ? Singers)

Monifieth Musical Association,

Monifieth Orchestra performed in the South UF Hall


Panmure Lodge Loyal Order Ancient Shepherds, William Low.


Secretary Monifieth Golf Links Committee : James Young, Etona, Durham Street.


Masonic Lodge Grange






Monifieth School Board


Chairman Rev Crawford Smith; Members, Rev D D McLaren, David Low, George Galloway, J M Wilson, Alexander S Troup, William M Bell, Clerk; David Gowans. Treasurer James Fenton. Headmaster John Malcolm. FSA (Scot.) .

Headmaster Mattocks School; Alexander Inglis.



Monifieth Public School

Provided education for local children from 5years until the official school leaving age.

Provision of further education was not available within the Burgh and meant travelling to Grove Academy in Broughty  Ferry, or alternatively Arbroath or Dundee.

Public School Monifieth


Monifieth Town Council

Chief Magistrate , Provost Maiden; Senior Bailie, T Hannigan; Senior Bailie , David Band;

Councillors : J k Doig; J.M. Rattray; Wm Crooks; Wm Robb; Town Clerk , James Fenton;

Town Chamberlain, David Gowans; Burgh Surveyor, Charles A McKenzie;

Procurator- Fiscal, A Burns Petrie.


Medical Practitioner, Dr Richardson, Hillbank.


Gerard Cottage Hospital : Matron Miss McIntosh.

Monifieth Police Station.

Police Sergeant Brown & Constable Riddoch.


Gas Works Manager Jas. D Luck.


The estimated population approximately 4000.



David McRae, local journalist and publisher wrote ;


“ The year of peace is passing into the limbo of the long calendar of our history.

Up to July it was a period of anxiety for our Army, which has for months been opposed by overwhelming odds.

Even since then it has been a time of sorrow for many households in all parts of the British Empire.

Though we felt the surge of triumph in our blood, there was up to the last moment continued solicitude

for our brave lads who were facing the unscrupulous foe.

When the joy bells rang they had also peal of pathos.

There were so many with sad hearts on 11th November, for the brave lads who had fallen.


It has been rightly said that we have been fighting not merely in redemption of promises, nor to bring

to the ordeal of battle, but to preserve the well being of the civilised world from monstrous evil.


Monifieth did uphold the men at the front, and to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded.

No place of its size could have done more.

Our efforts to raise funds for the various organisations have invariably been successful.

In all that has been done our women have played a noble part; they have worked with

a will day in and day out.

We have reason to be proud of how they have all carried on so successfully.


There have been many flag days and other means to raise funds by different societies and clubs, in the

Burgh, but the garden fete and free gift sale at Tighnagarh, the residence of Mr & Mrs John Nicoll,

was the crowning effort of the year, and resulted in a sum received far beyond expectations.


No triumph however great will compensate us for the brave lads who have fallen


So be it, God will reward them and us for the Calvary through which we have passed, and their

country will surely engrave their names on a scroll of honour as a lasting memorial of their devotion

and sacrifice.”



Monifieth still remembers them.


The passing of one hundred years has brought many changes to Monifieth,

Whether those changes are for the better or worse I cannot judge.

We can learn from the past.

Monifieth`s Heritage is certainly worth preserving for the future generations



I can understand why those similar to myself choose to make it their `home town, creating what can only be described as a population explosion.


There is still a village atmosphere, where people are friendly, and a vibrant community spirit still exists.


What will be written about Monifieth 2018, in 2118 ?


























































Tale of Two Bottles


From time to time we get unusual requests and it is sometimes interesting how things turn out.

“The bridge over the Dighty, at Monifieth has certainly been a crossing point for many centuries. …

                              Just found a milk bottle from Milton of Monifieth Dairy in farmyard in Gloucestershire. Well travelled! Would be fascinated to find out why it made it this far.
                              Interested to know when the dairy opened and closed in order to date the bottle.”

A lady  had dug up a Milton Dairy milk bottle in Gloucestershire and wanted to find out more about it. We replied…
There is information on our website and adverts, story & pictures. The owners before Forbes was Millar going back for quite sometime.
The dairy  is no longer operational.
We thought that that was the end of the story but we quickly received an email  from Stuart.
My great grandparents and grandparents had the Milton Farm and Dairy.
Contact me at and I will give you my information on the Milton.
I would love a photograph of the bottle.
This was passed on to Myra and she replied….

Dear Stuart

Please find attached a photo of the milk bottle dug up in a farmyard in Driffield Gloucestershire.
Fascinating to hear that you are connected with the dairy.

Our President has just emailed me  and said…..

We also have a half pint one, with `tuberculin tested` printed with the name.

We love to hear of stories like this. Please keep them coming.

House of Memories Bottle

President’s Report September – Become a Friend

Friday 8th September 2017.

We are depleted in numbers due to the illness, of Alex Bell, our Vice President, and Doris Bayne, our Treasurer.

Their invaluable work as Society volunteers, I feel should be recognised by nomination for Honorary Membership, with the wish to see them soon back in good health . Seems as though the summer is over and we are now planning for the Autumn months. We should feel some sense of achievement in the fact that after 17 years since the formation of the group, we are still very active and contributing a much welcomed service to the community at large.

Monifieth, unlike other Angus towns, being bereft of some services provided by the Angus Council Administration, is dependent on voluntary organisations to preserve and encourage the sense of community. Monifieth Local History Society’s objective in preserving the Heritage of the local area. The success of our work, can perhaps be gauged by the House of Memories, and Website, both being very active for over 13 year, and yet still creating much interest.

The financing of both has over the years been graphically ‘peaks & troughs’, and causing many sleepless hours for those associated with fundraising. However, we are still here and operational, thanks to the generosity of the local community, Angus Council Community Funding, and the initiative of our volunteer fundraisers. We still survive. The Future requires us to consider, even re-consider ideas old and new, to maintain and improve our objectives. We do have some feedback from those who attended our recent talk “Monifieth’s Disappearing Heritage”, for example; Friends of the House of Memories. Those who are prepared to sign up as interested in supporting our work, without the necessity of becoming ‘paid up ‘ members.


One final suggestion, with the approach of the ‘cooler autumn days’, the ’55’ volunteers, bring out their woollens for warmth.( Energy prices are rising) Thank you all for your commitment and hard work.


The Monifieth Local History Society was formed in September 2000 under the patronage of Lord George Thomson, of Monifieth, by a number of people interested in researching, recording, and promoting the social and industrial past of the ancient community of Monifieth.

The main objective of the Societybeing to create an awareness of the many historic happenings, and events connected with the Burgh, locally, nationally and internationally.

Learned historians have recorded that in pre-historic times , the only collection of human dwellings, in what we now call Scotland, were at Laws, Ardestie and Ardownie sometime around 3000BC.

The development over 5000 years to the present day has resulted in a community spirit, which is caring, vibrant, and very much concerned with the future of how their home own will evolve.

The Society’s work will hopefully convey the innermost feelings of the people of Monifieth past and present.

The future is unpredictable, however, with the experience of a community surviving for 5000 years, we believe Monifieth’s residents will look forward with future generations considering it to be ” The Best Place to call Home ”

Ardestie Earth House

Ardestie Earth House

As sure as the sun, has arisen and set for thousands of years the Dighty flows into the Tay beside the place where many have been proud to call home.

To others it is known as Monifieth

The Story of Panmure


Saturday – Items from Panmure House on display.

Sunday – Monifieth Boys Brigade Pipe Band will be playing playing

Wednesday – Panmure House Talk

In my young day

In My Young Day by Mhairi Pyott.


Currently featured on the front pages of the newspapers are concerns regarding “Recycling Centres” and their availability to members of the public . Everywhere you can find them. Collections skips for clear glass, green glass, cotton goods, woollens, clothes for re-use. We have become a nation aware of the need to slow down the amount of waste our country generates every single day. This recycling project is by no means a brain wave of today’s bright boffins. Recycling of materials has gone on for centuries. People born before the Second World War, will distinctly recall how little waste there was to be found at the end of each day, from the average family home. In the first instance there was a short supply of money, which in itself promoted careful use of all material things. The sound of a bugle heralded the arrival of the ragman’s horse and cart on a collection round. “Bring out your woollen rags and get the bairns a goldfish” I desperately wanted one of those fish for a pet. ” You must have something old and woollen Granny?”, I nagged at her. I can picture it yet as she pulled off her ‘working ‘ cardigan, “Take the clothes off my back, and maybe I’ll get a minutes peace, lassie”. I got the fish in a jam jar — a fair exchange for Granny’s jumper that was darned, patched, and most possibly worn by several owners before being handed over to her. Needless to say that the fish had not survived very long

The jam jar would have been stored with others and exchanged at the local ‘rag store’ for cash. In some towns it was an accepted practice, that two jam jars paid entrance to the cinema. Glass lemonade bottles were another good source of pocket money, if collected and returned to the shops. Even those that had been stored under the bed for days in the production of that fabulous drink Sugarelly Water, made from a stick of hard liquorice, placed in the bottle with water, shaken vigorously, then stored in the dark beneath the bed, to mature.

With the War on and everything rationed, and produced under the ‘Utility Regulations’, new clothes were something of a novelty. Out grown or part worn garments were handed from family to family, dependent on who had someone the size and shape to fit. Fashion never seemed to be part of the equation. “Run up to the meal store, or the bakery and see if they have any flour bags”, was a common command. Washed and bleached, they could be turned into pillowcases, table cloths, blouses, knickers in fact anything Granny set her mind on having.

When wearing apparel could no longer be considered respectable enough to be seen in public, then it was handed over to Grandad. On the dark winter nights he spent many hours with a home made ‘cleek’ looping multi coloured strips of rags through a canvas sack., ultimately ending up with a brightly coloured designed hearth rug. Blankets, thinned by many years of service were revitalised when covered with squares of material from all types of items. Flannel shirts, curtains, aprons, dresses, anything at all. It was a good game to play at night looking at the various patches and remembering where you had last seen them.

Jumble sales at the Sally Army were great material sources, for re-fashioning. A man’s large woollen pullover could be ‘rattled down’, the wool washed then knitted again into several smaller garments. “Hold your arms up, and still”. What a tiresome job it was holding up hanks of wool until they could be wound into a ball. “There you’ve let some drop and it’s all tangled up now” The agony being prolonged until the knots were unravelled. The final parting of woollens and clothes was normally at the time of the ‘Spring Cleaning’. This involved a journey to the ‘Rag Store’. “Clean woollens over there, and others to this side” was the instruction before weighing the separate lots in exchange for cash.

Rabbit skins were also much sought after, with regular door to door callers requesting the honour of “taking them off your hands”.  With food, including meat being rationed and living in a rural area they must have done good business, as many a Sunday dinner started off in a poachers pocket. Any household garbage such as vegetable peelings were quickly added to the compost heap, or collected as swill for local pig farmers. There were still several families who kept a pig in their garden for their own use.

The age of plastic containers had still not arrived, which meant most packaging was of paper or cardboard. Apart from what was utilised , cut into squares for ‘delicate personal ‘ use, all newspapers wrapping and clean paper was carefully stored, then collected by the ‘ scaffles’ on refuse day. Old prams, bicycles and bits of toys were turned into ‘carties’, or saved as spare parts. Broken or unwanted furniture was used as fuel, for the fire when coal was in short supply. Zinc buckets, some still with the obvious white and maroon paint, from the berry fields were filled with ashes from the open fires in every home, and set out for collection on the day appointed by the Cleansing department.

There never appeared to be any other type of rubbish left on the pavements. Certainly nothing to put in today’s selection of multi coloured wheelie bins. With the advent of smoke free zones and central heating it should mean a reduction in the amount of garbage. No ashes for a start. Recycling collection points overflowing, and yet we need the emptying services for the blue, black, brown, and green, chest high receptacles at regular intervals. There certainly wasn’t all that rubbish when I was young.

When I Was Young

All the talk was about underwear, and candle parties, who was attending which `keep fit` groups. The conversation of the young mothers had little interest in someone of my age group, waiting at the school gate to escort my grandchild safely home.   I stood gazing across the school wall into the empty playground. Soon it would be bursting with shouts of pleasure as around one hundred five years old bairns rushed out into freedom.

Had things been the same when I attended the `infants school` all those many years ago?   I can still recall the name of my first teacher, when I was enrolled at the tender age of four years old.

Outbreak of War, and the need for women to work in the munitions factories, prompted the government into early school placements.

No fancy computers then.

How well I can remember the small brown case to carry my slate, skailie (slate pencil), and a small Oxo tin, with a damp cloth to clean my slate

Before that tearful first morning, my mother had burned my name on the wooden frame around the slate with a poker heated to red hot in the open coal fire. “You’re a big lassie now, drink up the milk the teacher will give you, and do as you are told and you will be fine. Remember if you hear the siren then run for the air raid shelter after you have put on your gas mask. Mam will be here at home when you get out at four”

Perhaps there had been more said, but basically that was the message given to me and my other classmates.  One girl in my class I recognised, as she lived with her Granny across the` close` from mine.   Our playing together had brought me a rather painful experience.  This followed having two beads surgically removed from my nose at the Infirmary, with a pair of vicious looking forceps, by Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse.

Granny had been non too happy when I announced before Grandad “ We were just playing at being Grannies and taking snuff up our noses like you do” Weavers and those in the linen trade developed the habit of snuff taken to clear the factory dust from their sinuses. Not something approved by my grandfather.

I can recall the look that passed between them.

My mother who was a very loving and caring person, out of character, smacked my backside as a warning of what to expect should I not behave myself when Granny was my minder.  Fortunately the teacher never took such drastic actions.  There must have been times when she was sorely tempted. Air raid shelter drill must have been a teacher` nightmare.

“Come along now, hurry up, quickly without running , into the shelter where you will be safe”.  We all sat on a wooden sparred bench the length of the dark, dingy and damp smelling, windowless narrow corridors, designed to promote our survival.   A teacher would hand us a hard boiled sweet. Chewing was supposed to lessen the noise of bombing !!!

“Now put on your gas masks and we will all sing some songs together”           What `Ten Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall ` and `Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree`, sounded like I have no idea. The adjudicators at the Music Festivals would have had their work cut out reporting our efforts.  Some of the class would start crying for their Mum. They were mostly the evacuees. My special friend had come from York, where the bombing experience had been bad. There were trainloads of evacuees arriving at the station. Labels were tied to their jacket collars, gas masks slung over their shoulders, and brown paper parcels of clothes under their arms. They were marched along the street to the Salvation Army Hall.

After tea and refreshments they were taken to their temporary homes to meet the unknowns who had volunteered to care for them.  At four o`clock I would run along home with the other children who lived in the street. We all had keys tied with ribbon or a string tied around our necks.                                                 “The bairns need to get into the house if we are held up in getting home” was the given reason for this custom.  The mothers who worked part time finished at four o`clock to be home about the same time as we arrived. Some had to pick up the younger children from the newly built nursery. Even the babies in my young day were doing their bit for the War Effort, by being separated from their mothers who were saving Britain in the manufacturing of bombs.

Free at last after tea. Out to play around the `back doors`. `Shoppies` in the outside lavatory. Grown ups did not approve of this game. With several families sharing the use of our `shop` for legitimate purposes, we seldom found it free for open business.   Maybe a concert in the washing house.   What a grand stage the boiler made.   “There is someone’s Mam shouting.  Sing up louder and we`ll say we never heard them”, one of the older bairns would say.                                    “ Are you going to the `Sallies` tomorrow?”  A choice of Activities. The Juniors or Young Soldiers.  “ If you go forward and get saved you get a slice of dumpling “Yes I was saved.

“Would you bairns do as you are told and get away home before it`s black dark” was the orders of the washing `taker in` from the communal drying green.     “The Bobbies or the Air Raid Warden will get you if you don`t get a move on”   We were so innocent and safe apart from the threat of Hitler`s War.

“ Oh there you are. I thought that maybe you had got lost in the dark. Run up to the chip shop for a penny bag for your supper. That`s a good girl. Take the torch and remember to shine it on the ground because of the black out”   What a treat a poke of chips was. No fear of the dark and passing the end of the closes. There was nothing to be frightened of but Hitler, and all the dads were away from home to sort him out.  The chips were eaten on the way home. At first so hot you had to grip them between your teeth and blow. When you reached the bottom of the paper bag, the last few were congealed in a soggy mass of salt, grease and vinegar. Fingers licked clean, before touching the polished brass door knob.

“Tomorrow is Saturday and you`ll get a long lie. What`s happened to your skirt it`s torn at the back ?”  “Must have been that nail on the lavvie wall for hanging the paper squares on”.   No Soft toilet tissue for us. Newspaper squares finished off the job.  “Need to try and mend it then for there are no clothing coupons, or money to get you another one. You cannot go to the school with a hole. in your skirt”

The school bell rang and brought me back to the present day.

“They`ll be out in a minute”, said the young girl who had joined me at the wall.  Sure enough , out came a mad rush of blue, white and grey. Ties squint, shirt tails half tucked in waistbands. Blue uniform blazers trailing from shoulders. School bags of all colours, and decorated by Power Rangers, My Little Pony, Fireman Sam.   “Hi Gran this is the work I did on the computer this afternoon,” said the joy of my heart, handing me a long sheet of print out paper.  Before I had time to answer he added . “Can you take the car round by Sam`s house as I want him to come for tea and play in our garden”.

Other similar arrangements, were being made by the young mothers, waiting beside me.   “Yes if you can pick the girls up from Brownies, then I`ll see to the boys from football training. One of the men can pick up the older ones from Orchestra and Choir practice. It will be easy for them after being to the meeting about `Children & Drugs Awareness` lecture.

No one going for the concert in the washing house, but of course everyone has Utility rooms now. No shops in outside lavvies. No drugs awareness either. Granny`s snuff was enough for us, and even then we were not brave enough to try the real thing. Hitler was our only `bogey man`. There never seemed to be funny men to offer sweets and take us away forever.

Things have certainly changed since my young days at infant school. I asked myself had it been changes for the better, was technology giving our bairns a better chance in life?

I wonder. ! ! !