Around Hilltown - inspired by Maureen Reynold's Voices in the Street

The aim of this page is to show how the places, once so familiar, referred to in Maureen Reynold's book about growing up in Dundee, have either changed or been swept away.  In the 1950s trams running from the City Centre to Maryfield offered a quick and direct service to the foot of Mains Loan.  But the Number 2 bus route wound its way up William Street and through the narrow streets of Hilltown before arriving at the Tap o' the Hill.  From there it proceeded down Mains Road and up Provost Road.  After travelling along Clepington Road it eventually turned down Mains Loan having taken a long circuitous route that the tram covered directly in a matter of minutes.  While not exactly replicating the route of the Number 2, these images may serve to show just how much the region has changed since Maureen was a girl in the 1940s and 50s.

Scenes from Moncur Crescent - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Looking up Moncur Crescent towards Strathmartine Road.  There used to be a single tram line up this street, although few trams ran over it as most took the less direct route to Downfield by going up Main Street and through Hilltown.  It is perhaps a pity that the waste bins are so prominent in front of the floral display at the foot of Provost Road - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Moncur Cresent - looking towards the Fiveways Roundabout (left) and Dens Road (right).  On Saturday afternoons in the early fifties lines of tramcars would still have occupied the spur of track which led up Provost Road.  The trams brought the fans to matches at both Dens and Tannadice and waited during the game to take the fans back into town.  By 1956 all of Dundee's tramcars had disappeared - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
The views of Dundee Football Club's Dens Park which would have been familiar to Maureen Reynolds and referred to in her book Voices in the Street. But the floodlights would not have been there and the stand behind the billboards in Provost Road is a comparatively recent addition - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Some aspects of Mains Road have changed little  . . .

. . .  but the DPM (Dundee Pasteurised Milk) Dairy has gone, as has Bowbridge Jutemill..  Provost Road however is much the same after 50 years - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

The entrance to Bowbridge Works in  Thistle Street (left).  The Regent cinema in Main Street has been replaced with flats (right) - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Contrasting views on either side of Main Street looking towards Hilltown - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

St Salvador Street as it appears today.  The arches lead to a park which extends to Hilltown with corresponding arches opposite Stirling Street - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Alexander Street - both looking towards Hilltown - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Caldrum Street looking towards Alexander Street (left). Kinghorn Road at the Top of Hilltown (right) - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Strathmartine Road at its junction with Mains Road - a scene almost frozen in time - until you look across Strathmartine Road!  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

The modern Number 22 bus (above) and one of the latest garbage trucks (right) emphasise these are recent pictures.  The Hilltown scene on the left shows how the scene used on the front cover of Voices in the Street has changed:  the garbage truck in Mains Road is almost the only giveaway that this picture could not have been taken 40 years ago - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Time stands still - the Hilltown Clock looking rather uncharacteristic in its new-look pink (2005). PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Lengthening evening shadows in scenes contrived to give an impression of the late fifties at the Top of Hilltown - but waiting for an empty street proved impossible!  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Looking down Hilltown where once single deck tramcars ran. The Tayport ferry terminal of the old Fifies is clearly visible across the River - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Hilltown - opposite Stirling Street, the entrance to the park (left) referred to earlier and (right) the police station at North George Street - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Looking perhaps somewhat incongruous is this toilet situated on Hilltown between Stirling Street and Kinghorn Road - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

As the light fades, Hilltown is absorbed in shadow - foot of Kinghorn Road (left) and Main Street (right) - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Old and new buildings complement one another - the old Dundee Savings bank in Stirling Street (left) and its recently built companion.  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Hilltown from Alexader Street  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Anne Street . . . keeping watch (right)  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Views from Forebank Street  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Contrasting architecture - old and new church buidlings   PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Top of the Hilltown (left)  Cox's Stack (right)   PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Reach for the sky . . . Looking towards Broughty Ferry (left)   Balgay Park (right)  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Rival football grounds hide behind multis (left) while familiar landmarks - Dundee Royal Infirmary building, Dundee College and Tayside House - dominate the cityscape (right).  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
"O, beautiful railway bridge of the silvery Tay . . . ." (William McGonagall)   O, beautiful road bridge of the silvery Tay?   PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
In her book, Maureen Reynolds refers to the carnival (funfair) which used to set up in the Gussie Park - basically a large open space at the foot of Arklay Street.  Depsite St James' Church being replaced with the inevitable flats, the Gussie Park seems to have changed little as seen in the photo on the left, but most of it has been taken over as a practice ground by Dundee United Football Club as shown in the photograph on the right - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
Across from the much expanded Tannadice Park is the Club's direct retail outlet which also occupies part of Gussie Park - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow
The allotments leading up Arklay Street towards Sandeman Street are little changed over the last sixty years - PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Dundee - Victoria Road


Former jute mills compete with older tenements in providing accommodation for the 21st century and Victoria Road is again a two way street.  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Restored masonary somewhat surprisingly proclaims 1997.  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

A thankless task - keeping the streets clean - but the distinctive yellow "barries" are long gone.  Bonnybank Road (right)  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Entrance to Dundee City Central Library (left and right)  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

An attempt at recreating the Wellgate Steps at the entrance to the Wellgate Centre.  A rather forlorn looking "Boabie's Helmet".  PHOTOs Malcolm McCrow

Contrasting architectural styles (left) at the Foot of the Hilltown joined recently by ultra modern bus shelters in Victoria Road. 


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