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Past Times

Ladies in Lycra and Dundee United down Roma – it’s Dundee in 1984

How did Dundee look in 1984? We have opened our archives to look back at some faces and places.
Graeme Strachan
Dundee United fans line up for tickets to the Roma game in 1984
Thousands of Dundee United supporters besieged Tannadice Park in a bid to secure tickets for the European Cup semi-final against Roma. Image: DC Thomson.

So what did Dundee and its people look like 40 years ago? Let’s go back and see.

The year was dominated by the miners’ strike, an attempt to prevent colliery closures.

Michael Buerk gave a powerful commentary on the famine in Ethiopia, which prompted Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to form the supergroup Band Aid.

The halfpenny was demonetised and withdrawn from circulation.

Princess Diana gave birth to Prince Harry in September and the IRA targeted Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the deadly Brighton bombing attack in October.

A pint of beer cost 73p.

The average house price was £27,000.

Jim McLean led Dundee United to the European Cup semi-final against Roma where a dodgy referee killed off hopes of a Battle of Britain showpiece against Liverpool.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean skated to Ravel’s Bolero and Olympic gold at Sarajevo 1984, while John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova won at Wimbledon.

Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Police Academy and Beverley Hills Cop were the big movies being shown in Dundee.

And what about on the small screen?

Thomas the Tank Engine made his first appearance, Colin Baker became the sixth Doctor Who and comic Tommy Cooper died on stage during Live from Her Majesty’s.

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


The Rialto

Jimmy Smith holds the parchment he found in 1984
The parchment was printed several years before the Rialto first opened. Image: DC Thomson.

Jimmy Smith will be remembered for resurrecting the fortunes of the ailing Rialto bingo hall, putting on shows for customers, and his tireless charity work in Lochee.

In January 1984, during renovation work in the foyer of the hall, he made the unusual discovery of a parchment containing a list of bye-laws which was printed in 1913.

Keeping fit at the YMCA

A shot taken during the yoga class held under the instruction of Angus Lockhart.
A shot taken during the yoga class held under the instruction of Angus Lockhart. Image: DC Thomson.

The decade saw an explosion of women’s exercise classes.

Lycra, leggings and leotards became the must-have item for exercising in and were popular with members of the Dundee YMCA yoga class in January 1984.

Bats, coffins and stakes

The vampire hunters sense the presence of Count Dracula, in a scene from the Rep production
The vampire hunters sense the presence of Count Dracula. Image: DC Thomson.

Anyone for a pint of blood?

A scene from Dundee Rep’s January production of Dracula, which starred Linda Henry, Norma Dunbar and Peter Finlay with Royston Maldoom in the lead role.

King George Wharf

The Icelandic vessel unloads at the harbour.
The Icelandic vessel unloads at the harbour. Image: DC Thomson.

This photograph shows a busy scene at King George Wharf.

A ship’s cargo of salt was being unloaded into waiting trucks in February 1984.

Wellgate Market Hall

Supersave in the Market Hall
Supersave in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

Dundee’s Wellgate Market Hall was once a bustling hive of activity that drew happy shoppers looking to bag a real bargain.

Generations of shoppers made their way along thriving aisles selling everything from toys to fruit and veg, meat, clothes, luggage, jewellery, and wallpaper and paint.

Carolina Port

The 250-foot chimney at Carolina Port in Dundee
The 250-foot chimney’s last moments were captured. Image: DC Thomson.

Hundreds of Dundonians crammed every possible vantage point to watch one of the city’s landmarks disappear in April 1984.

Shortly after 3.10pm, with a sharp crack of explosives, the smaller of the twin chimneys at the former Carolina Port power station came to the end of its life.

European Cup football for Dundee United in 1984

Roma supporters gathering before the semi-final against Dundee United in 1984
Roma supporters gathering before the semi-final. Image: DC Thomson.

Roma supporters gathered at Ferrari’s in Ogilvie Street before the first leg of the European Cup semi-final against Dundee United on April 11 1984.

Davie Dodds put United one up just after half-time before Derek Stark hammered in the second on the hour and the Italian champions were reeling.

It was one of the club’s greatest displays and, when the final whistle blew, United were strong favourites to make the final.

Running on a dream

Dundee Parks Department staff pose for the camera before the marathon
There were nine staff taking part in the 1984 event. Image: DC Thomson.

The Dundee Marathon became an annual and colourful fixture until 1991 when the ninth and final edition took place when the city marked its 800th anniversary.

Dundee Parks Department staff were among those running in 1984 and were spending their lunch breaks running around Caird Park Stadium to get to peak fitness.

Getting the best view

Boys watch the marathon from atop telephone kiosks
These lads get the best vantage point. Image: DC Thomson.

Telephone kiosks proved a popular vantage point during the marathon.

Don MacGregor, who competed in the 1972 Olympics, won the 26-mile race for the second year in succession following the Fifer’s inaugural win in 1983.

Dundee Motor Show

People check out the cars on display at the Dundee Motor Show
The event was organised by Claverhouse Rotary Club. Image: DC Thomson.

Showing the way to the Dundee Motor Show was a tethered Renault advertising balloon hovering over the Dunsinane Avenue factory unit housing the event.

The show was opened by entertainer George Duffus and covered everything from humble family cars to exotic sports machines with 33 stands on display.

Keeping warm

The Household Energy Action Team during an open day for the public at their North Lindsay Street premises in May 1984.
The HEAT team were ready for action. Image: DC Thomson.

The Household Energy Action Team during an open day for the public at their North Lindsay Street premises in May 1984.

The HEAT project had already successfully installed insulation in 200 District Council homes and 135 private installations since its inception in October 1983.

Keiller Centre

People walk into the Keiller Centre in 1984.
A scene at the front of the centre in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

The Keiller Centre turned five in 1984, after opening in November 1979.

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

North End Juniors

North End Junior FC team photo in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.
North End Junior FC team photo in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

Dundee North End was formed in 1895 and are nicknamed the Dokens.

The team play home games at North End Park and they lined up for the traditional pre-season photograph, which featured in the Evening Telegraph.

Can you spot any former players you know?

It’s the final image in our gallery.

Did our pictorial trip back in time to the Dundee of 1984 jog any memories for you?

Let us know.

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