A plea for tales of life in Dundee’s former Ellengowan development has stirred the memories of one man who used to live there.
The appeal was made by Hillcrest Homes as part of a heritage project as work is under way to redevelop the site off Arbroath Road.
Dave Nicoll, 53, from Ardler said that when he read the appeal for stories it got him thinking about his time on the estate.
Dave said: “I am surprised I have remembered so much, but it’s also surprising what can jog memories to the fore again.
“I’ve given it a lot of thought and actually have many memories of Ellengowan Drive from 1977 to 2000 while I lived there.
“My parents were one of the last to leave the ‘top half’ in 2018.”
Dave fondly recalls the bedrooms of his family home at 92 Ellengown Drive having fireplaces in them.
Dave said: “I moved in September 1977, I remember this was one month after Elvis Presley died.
“The living room had picture rails on each wall, two-thirds of the way up.
“It was extremely hard to drill through the asbestos that was in every house until late 1990s, early 2000s, when the houses began to get revamped.”
Dave has vivid recollections of the outdoor areas he used to play in as a young boy.
“Ellengowan House, part of the original farm that was the area Ellengowan was built on, sat on the west side of the park between the two parts that became the ‘top half’ and ‘bottom half’ of Ellengowan,” he said.
“When we used to make dens in the small park as it was called, we came across many milk bottles, broken usually.
“I also remember that the park, near where the swings were positioned, was built on hollow ground. There was a hole near one swing post holding it up, and we were able to put sticks down quite some distance.
“Being maybe 11 at the time, it seemed like the hole was very deep.
“That park was used by us children for football, hide and seek, tag, and the climbing frame on the slide was popular for trying some stupid stuff on, as you do at that age.”
Building at the £20.5 million redevelopment at Ellengowan has now resumed after being forced to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The work will see 130 new homes to replace the 128 buildings that were bulldozed last year.
The original houses were first built in the 1920s as temporary accommodation, but were still standing almost 100 years later.
When first announced the proposals were highly controversial with Ellengowan residents.
The age of the houses meant they featured wartime shelters, which were removed a long time before the homes were demolished.
But Dave remembers them well and often wonders if any war memorabilia remained inside when they were destroyed.
He said he also has very strong memories of his neighbours over the years.
“I remember the McDermotts lived at 73, with their two sons, Russell and Wayne,” he said.
“In the next block up the ‘middle path’ as we always called it, and first left, lived Yvonne and Avril Stewart, at number 69.
“The block upwards from them Alison Humphries lived at 99, Kenneth and Tommy Matthews stayed on our block, but at the start, 89.
“Gill McCartney stayed on the top block, at no.123 and Elaine Murray stayed on the start of that block, nearest the path, at 121.”
Dave also has fond memories of working as a paper boy for the Kiosk, run by Dave Galloway from the ages of 12 to 15, then occasionally helping out until he was 20.
“Ellengowan was certainly an area unlike any other back in the 70s and 80s when we first moved there,” he said.
“It never really changed in appearance, but there were less children over the years as more middle-aged couples seemed to arrive, or mothers with their grown-up children.
“My parents have fond memories of Ellengowan for the 41 years they lived there.
“Now, my dad is basically living less than half a mile from the last home he shared with his parents and brother when he lived in Craigiebank in the 1940s through to the late 50s. He has come full circle, 63 years later.
“Mum has been thinking of all those she and dad knew back there since they moved in in 1977. Some things she hadn’t thought of in a long time.”
The first phase of the development is earmarked to be completed by mid 2022, and this will comprise of 70 homes for affordable rent.
These 70 homes will be a mixture of apartments and houses.
Anyone with tales to tell about Ellengowan can contact Hillcrest Homes.