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Past Times

Station blazes and library battle – memories of Monifieth in 1980s

The 1980s was a time for fads and gimmicks, everything was glossy and larger-than-life, so how did Monifieth look in the era of 'loadsamoney' and the yuppie? reports.
Graeme Strachan
People and cars on Monifieth High Street in 1980. Image: DC Thomson.
Monifieth High Street in 1980. Image: DC Thomson.

They called it the decade that taste forgot.

The 1980s was a time for fads and gimmicks that were adopted and discarded on a whim, from haircuts lifted from Neighbours to Frankie Says T-shirts.

Everything was glossy and larger-than-life.

So how did Monifieth look in the era of ‘loadsamoney’ and the yuppie?

The DC Thomson archives team has dug out a varied selection of photographs which capture people and places on another whistle-stop tour through the town.

Grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy having another browse back through the ages courtesy of The Dundonian, which appears in the Evening Telegraph every Wednesday.

Some of these photographs have not been seen for years.

Do these awaken any memories for you?


Travel back to the 1980s…

Two cars are parked outside and several cars are visible through the showroom window of Tayside Motors in Monifieth in March 1980.
Two cars parked outside and several cars are visible through the showroom window. Image: DC Thomson.

Tayside Motors in Monifieth in March 1980, which was advertising the Polski-Fiat range after the common market opened the flood gates for cheap imported cars.

Due to its low price, the Polski-Fiat 126 became the unofficial people’s car of Poland, and was by far the most common car on Polish roads in the 1980s.

Diggers get to work on the massive task of shifting 24,000 metric tons of rock. Image: DC Thomson.
The massive task of shifting 24,000 metric tons of rock. Image: DC Thomson.

The start of a project to shift 24,000 metric tons of rock from the British Gas causeway at Monifieth Bay in September 1980.

The causeway was built to help lay a gas pipeline from Monifieth to Tentsmuir and the rock was being moved by diggers to fight coastal erosion at the beach.

Image shows a digger at the side of the golf course. Image: DC Thomson.
A digger at the side of the golf course. Image: DC Thomson.

The pipeline was being laid across both golf courses at Monifieth in October 1980.

Some of the golfers didn’t let the construction work put them off their swing, though, and continued playing against the backdrop of cranes and diggers.

The fight to save Monifieth library

Libraries have often been an incredibly important part of local communities and they were even more at the forefront of people’s lives in the 1980s.

People gather at Monifieth Library as the doors were closed on September 4 1981. Image: DC Thomson.
The scene at Monifieth Library as the doors were closed on September 4 1981. Image: DC Thomson.

Residents of Monifieth were outraged in September 1981 when Dundee District Council decided to close the branch library as part of a £1 million package of cuts.

Protesters leave the Monifieth Library under the watchful eye of a policeman. Image: DC Thomson.
Protesters leave the Monifieth Library under the watchful eye of a policeman. Image: DC Thomson.

An interim interdict stopped the council closing nearby Broughty Ferry library as part of the closures but led them instead to choose Monifieth.

When the library was closed by the council on September 4 1981, around 50 people held their own protest by refusing to leave the premises and taking part in a sit in.

Two people reading books in Monifieth library. Image: DC Thomson.
Two people reading books in the library. Image: DC Thomson.

The protesters pointed out how the closure weighed heavily on pensioners who were unable or unwilling to be put to the expense of returning their books to Broughty Ferry.

People in the community were eager and willing to rally round and fight to save the library.

Their efforts worked and the Monifieth branch remains in operation to this day.

David Smith outside his property while kids play in the street. Image: DC Thomson.
David Smith outside his property. Image: DC Thomson.

Children out playing in Erskine Terrace in September 1981 where homeowner David Smith hoped Tayside Region would start a bus service.

Traffic danger is the number one reason children don’t play outside like they used to.

The High Street in 1982. Image: DC Thomson.
The High Street in 1982. Image: DC Thomson.

A busy scene in Monifieth High Street in September 1982.

There are also several shops visible including a Post Office, Kodak Express and a Royal Bank of Scotland, with the Burmah garage in the background.

A Monifieth street scene in 1982. Image: DC Thomson.
A Monifieth street scene in 1982. Image: DC Thomson.

The names might have changed over the years but the shops and businesses on Monifieth High Street look the same today as they did back in September 1982.

There is a chimney visible in the background.

The view from Hill Street in Monifieth in May 1983 showing the proposed housing development. Image: DC Thomson.
The proposed development. Image: DC Thomson.

A view from Hill Street in Monifieth in May 1983.

Land which was part of textile manufacturer James F Low’s foundry site was being taken over by a private housing development

Rows of caravans and individuals walking on the road next to them. Image: DC Thomson.
Rows of caravans and individuals walking on the road next to them. Image: DC Thomson.

The Dundee District Council-controlled Monifieth Caravan Park in July 1983.

Bowling greens, tennis courts, football pitches, golf courses, pleasant park areas and the beach itself all added to the attraction of the “small town” atmosphere for tourists.

People playing pool in Monifieth. Image: DC Thomson.
Pool games in Monifieth. Image: DC Thomson.

Who needs the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield?

The Grange Country Club in Monifieth was a popular draw in December 1983 and our image shows some of those who turned up for a game of pool.

The burnt-out Monifieth Train Station. Image: DC Thomson.
Monifieth Train Station. Image: DC Thomson.

The 1980s saw severe cuts with Monifieth railway station building being closed and boarded up after usage plummeted at its booking office.

Mob rule took hold and the quaint station building suddenly became a hotspot for vandalism with a number of attempts to destroy it by fire.

The building was eventually gifted by BR Scottish Region to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, which operated the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway near Grangemouth.

It’s the final photograph in our look back to 1980s Monifieth.

So did our pictorial trip back in time jog any memories for you?

Let us know.

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