Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Remembering the lost shops of Dundee’s iconic Keiller Centre

The Keiller Centre has stood for over four decades in the heart of Dundee city centre.

The Keiller Centre was Dundee’s go-to shopping mall in its heyday.

The choc-a-block maze rose from the rubble of a confectionary empire.

It took its name from the famous family whose factory stood before it and the centre housed many shops and attracted crowds of punters.

The Keiller Centre was the go-to shopping mall in the 70s and 80s.

Situated between Albert Square, Commercial Street and the High Street, the centre first opened in November 1979 and became a truly iconic shopping destination.

History of the building

The original Keiller factory on Albert Square was one of the largest in Scotland.

The seating area at the Keiller Centre in 1983.

It had first opened in 1870 but the firm – wholesale confectioners, fruit preservers, and cocoa and chocolate makers – revamped the premises, kitting it out with costly modern machinery for the production of Keiller’s cocoa and chocolate.

In 1900, a massive blaze broke out in the chocolate department which forced workers to leap from windows as 100-foot flames shot up into the sky.

The famous sweetie shop with the Best Wishes card shop in the background in 1984.

The almighty inferno – ignited by an exploding fridge – ripped through the premises on Albert Square, causing the equivalent of £6 million worth of damage in today’s money and throwing 600 people out of work.

Explosion after explosion was heard, intermingling with the crashing of falling walls and debris.

Soon, despite the Herculean efforts of the firefighters, the inferno raged out of control and the buildings collapsed.

So intense was the heat that a thermometer in Commercial Street registered 136F.

Demoliton of the old Keiller factory behind Dundee High Street in June 1978.

The factory was rebuilt, but operations finally closed in 1947 and the site was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Keiller Centre.

The demolition of the factory was carried out by Dundee Plant Company in the summer of 1978 and took 23 weeks to complete due to the complexity of the demolition and the high skill that was required.

Included in the demolition was a 140ft chimney stack, a 105ft tower block and 10,000 tonnes of rock which was cleared from the foundations.

The Keiller Centre opened in 1979

Work began on building the new shopping mall shortly after the site was cleared and in November 1979 the Keiller Centre was unveiled.

Progression on the Keiller Centre off Albert Square in May 1979.

You were never short of somewhere to go for fresh meat or fruit and veg in the Keiller Centre or even some novelty rubbers from the newsagent for the kids.

The Keiller Centre was home to two butchers, Grossett’s and Scott Brothers, and also two greengrocers including Nicky Orr’s.

Grossett Cold Meats in the Keiller Centre in 1981.

Another highlight for many was a trip to ScoopaMarket which had barrel-loads of bombay mix, nuts, dried fruit, flour and the famous gumballs.

The centre was also the place to get your suave new outfits and your camouflage gear.

Magic Eye Video Hire provided the latest video tapes and music wasn’t left out either as Sharkey provided all the new cassette tapes and albums for punters to enjoy.

Interior shot of Magic Eye Video, Keiller Centre, Dundee, in 1982.

Jacanoni’s made Dundee and Dundee United ice creams featuring peppermint flavouring for the white and blue Dundee cone and liquorice and orange for the tangerine and black United version.

Staff at the Jacanoni Ice Cream Paradise in 1979.

In 1989 the Keiller Centre was bought over and a £500,000 refurbishment got under way.

The stores also received new branding which featured its new identity, The Forum
Shopping Centre.

The scoop-a-market in the Keiller Centre in 1988.

The refurbishment included new shop frontages and mirrored ceilings to make the internal appearance considerably more bright and modern.

The name change came just one day before the centre’s 10th birthday on November 3 1989 and locals were completely against the name change.

Ken Barlow cut the ribbon in 1989

However, they got used to it and the new name and interior meant there was another
grand opening and this time Ken Barlow turned up from Coronation Street!

Coronation Street legend William Roache marks a new era for the centre.

William Roache, who has been playing Ken since 1960, was mobbed by soap fans who flocked to see him to get an autograph with the screen legend.

An article following the grand unveiling said that “hundreds of fans” turned out to welcome the actor and the man himself was delighted with the surroundings.

Better than Alf’s Mini Market on the Weatherfield cobbles?

You bet!

Roache said: “This beats Alf Roberts’ shop.

“We wish the Forum great success.”

The mural at Keiller Centre which will be remembered by generations of Dundonians.

The centre has declined in the past 40 years with declining footfall and the grey shutters being pulled down on many units which have now lain empty for some time.

The Keiller Centre received a facelift in 2019 as the backdrop for the Dundee Design Festival which transformed unused parts of the building into exhibition spaces.

But for many the glory days were the 1980s and the early 1990s.

Just ask Ken Barlow…

Shoppers at the Magic Eye Video Hire in Dundee’s Keiller Centre in 1987.

More like this:

Death of a Rail Station: Dundee West was lost to the city forever in 1966

My Kind of Town: Do You Remember Sinatra’s Bar in Dundee?

Bally’s Nightclub brought the biggest stars of the 1980s to Arbroath