Today’s Dundee West End is a bustling place, with busy shops, bars and restaurants – when the city is not in lockdown.
But in the early 80s the area around the Sinderins on Perth Road was a different place, with derelict buildings and dilapidated shops.
In need of some TLC, a major renovation project got under way, with the local authority looking to create a feature – dubbed the “West End Gateway” – to mark the entrance to the shopping district.
Work began in 1986 to transform the site, as sections of the building were demolished and converted into flats and retail units.
The crowning glory of the renovation works was a gable bay window feature, looking on to the Sinderins.
Developers Chasian Holdings, building consultant Ron Weir, structural engineers W A Fairhurst and William Lyon, a specialist contractor for Maryfield Construction received a Civic Trust Award in 1988.
Memories of the project have been stirred-up again with the arrival of the new Sinderins Beacon last month, which now sits in front of the project.
Whilst the beacon has been a contentious subject, with its swelling costs and general appearance, it marks another symbols as an entrance to the Perth Road.
William Lyon, founder of Lyon Building Services Limited, admitted he “wasn’t sure” of the new addition as he reflected back on the project he helped create in the 80s.
Bill said: “All these shops going down Perth Road were all derelict, the council wanted a feature which they were calling the West End Gateway.
“They were on about a possible statue even at that time, then they came up with the idea to do a special gable end which cost around £14,000, I’m sure.
“We rebuilt that gable end and hand dressed the blocks, I think the biggest compliment we got is that it always looked like it had been there.
“There was a big feature in the paper around the time the project was completed, it took us around a year to complete the whole renovation.”
He added: “As soon as I read the story about the new Sinderins Beacon it brought back a lot of great memories.
“As you can see from your archive pictures the site on the Perth Road was in an awful mess.
“Everything was stripped right-out before we started, there was a structural engineer from the Tay Road Bridge involved in the project.”
‘It’s certainly different’
As Bill reflected on the works, he wondered how the Sinderins Beacon will be judged in the years to come.
He said: “I first saw the images of it on social media and had to come along and see it for myself, it’s certainly different but to be honest I’m not entirely sure on it.
“Looking at how much it cost I can understand why people have voiced their frustrations.
“The two (gable end and beacon) have been deemed as features of the area, though I’m not sure if the two complement one another.”