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Past Times

How Dundonians stocked up to celebrate Hogmanay through the decades

reports.
Graeme Strachan
Hogmany rush in Agnews in Dundee in 1976 before the bells tolled to welcome 1977. Image: DC Thomson.
Hogmany rush in Agnews in Dundee in 1976 before the bells tolled to welcome 1977. Image: DC Thomson.

Bustling hordes will soon drink their fill and plunge headlong into 2023 before waking up to make ill-judged New Year’s resolutions in a flurry of optimism.

It’s given us the perfect excuse to trawl DC Thomson’s archives to look back at Hogmanay booze and grub runs through the decades in Dundee.

So charge your glasses and join us for a trip down memory lane!

Some of the unique traditions

Hogmanay in Scotland was once more popular than Christmas.

From midnight until well into the first day of the New Year, the air thronged with revelry as first-footers moved through the streets, visiting neighbours, friends and relatives.

Some people bemoan the loss of the traditional celebrations.

The queues were lined up early at the drinks counter at Tesco’s before the New Year in 1981. Image: DC Thomson.

Queues were reported outside many off-licences and supermarkets on Hogmanay 1981 as Dundonians prepared to stock up for the New Year celebrations.

There were enough boxes of Kestrel Lager, McEwan’s Export and Tennent’s Lager in Tesco to keep the masses happy as the clock ticked towards midnight.

Eagle-eyed readers will spot the Tennent’s Lager cans adorned by the once-famous female models who starred in the promotional campaigns until 1991.

Hawkhill Brewers Bob Welch and Iain Douglas with a barrel of Old Bally Beer in 1983. Image: DC Thomson.

We all know just how important beer is at Hogmanay!

Back in 1983, Bob Welch and Iain Douglas of Hawkhill Brewers gathered up their supplies to make sure they had enough to bring in the New Year.

Many Dundonians over a certain age will remember when pubs opened at 11am and observed afternoon closing from 2.30pm until 5pm.

Busy shopping scene with people queuing up to buy alcohol in Dundee in 1986. Image: DC Thomson.

Supermarkets and off-licences were in high demand in 1986 as Dundonians went wild in the aisles before Hogmanay to get ready for the bells.

Four cans of lager in 1986 would set you back £1.85 with a bottle of whisky costing £7.

The Scotch and Wry Hogmanay special starring Rikki Fulton was watched by nearly half the population of Scotland and featured special guest Barbara Dickson.

Shopper Phyllis Milne getting her supply of drink for the New Year back in 2007. Image: DC Thomson.

Stocking up the cupboards with alcohol for the New Year period is a tradition, of course, which most of us still follow today.

For a lot of people it was all about being with their loved ones.

The biggest treats for the “wee ones” were the saucers of nuts and crisps dotted around the living room as they got to stay up past bedtime on Hogmanay!

Customers ordering steak pies on Hogmanay at Grossett’s in Arbroath Road in 2007. Image: DC Thomson.

Sitting down to a steak pie on New Year’s Day is the perfect hearty meal to cure a Hogmanay hangover after a night of celebratory drinking.

You can move seamlessly from svelte to huge over the course of three gargantuan meals between Christmas and New Year.

If you do manage to drag yourself out to the January sales afterwards, it’s not a good idea to look at the reflected image in the shop window!

 

 

Loading up their supplies at Morrisons in Dundee in 2008 are Forbes and Irene White. Image: DC Thomson.

Hogmanay essentials were flying off the shelves of Dundee’s shops in 2008 as revellers prepared to see in the New Year.

Supermarkets reported runs on alcohol as drouthy Dundonians stocked up, while the city’s butchers did a roaring trade in steak pies.

Police and health chiefs appealed to people to make sure they stayed safe and drink sensibly as they welcomed 2009 with temperatures plummeting to below zero.

A busy scene at Scott Bros in Strathmartine Road as customers pick out their steak pies. Image: DC Thomson.

Steak pie sales in 2008 were up on the previous 12 months!

“It’s been unbelievably busy this year, we have sold hundreds,” said Scott Jarron, of Scott Bros butchers on Strathmartine Road.

“People have been queuing out the door since yesterday and there were even people outside before we opened this morning.”

Colin Rattray, Linda Hart and Clare Hart getting ready to celebrate 2020 at Fat Sam’s Live. Image: DC Thomson.

If you weren’t sure of your plans over Hogmanay, you could rest assured that you could enjoy the evening in the city centre with plenty of revelry in the pubs.

Those were the days!

Covid struck in 2020 and most of us brought in 2021 and 2022 at home but thankfully things are returning to normal after two years of pandemic-induced darkness.

Whether 2022 was full of fond memories or things best forgotten, everyone loves a great finish, so make the most of Hogmanay in food, drink and fellowship.

Cheers!

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