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Past Times

Shoppers needing a donkey jacket or a perm went to Dundee’s Keiller Centre in 1984

Visit some of the shops in the Keiller Centre 40 years ago which promised 'all your family needs under one roof'.
Graeme Strachan
Shoppers take a seat while others wander around the Keiller Centre in Dundee in 1984.
Take a trip back to the shopping mall 40 years ago. Image: DC Thomson.

All That Glitters, Best Wishes, The Capital Meat Centre and Charlie’s Heel Bar were all options for shoppers in a Dundee arcade.

They were just some of the shops in the Keiller Centre 40 years ago, which promised “all your family needs under one roof”.

All are guaranteed to leave a certain generation of Dundonians feeling nostalgic for a shopping mall that opened in 1979 and expanded to 60 individual units by 1984.

Also on offer were Gee Fabrics, Jacanoni’s, Magic Eye Video Hire and The Cursor Keys.

An Evening Telegraph advertising feature in 1984 triumphantly said Dundee could now boast one of the “most attractive one-stop shopping centres to be found anywhere”.

How many of the shops can you remember from the Keiller Centre in 1984?

The Centre Food Hall was run by Spar. Among its stock 40 years ago were “wines and spirits, tins of soup, vegetables, fruit, tea and coffee, and pet foods”.

A delicatessen offered homemade meat loaf “on special offer at 25p per quarter”.

The exterior of Housewives Choice in the Keiller Centre in 1984.
Housewives Choice in the Keiller Centre in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

Housewives’ Choice featured curtains and towels and shelves stacked full with duvet covers, sheets and “valances in a bewildering array of colour and pattern”.

A pair of oven gloves was suggested as a “useful gift for anyone starting up home”.

You would find everything for the motorist at Car Care Products with a full set of car seat covers at £13.65 and “four cars available for giving driving instruction”.

The Dundee FC shop sold “hats, scarves, badges and photographs of your favourites.” Programme collectors could pick up “old issues of Dundee matches”.

Cornloft stocked “everything from vitamin supplements to goat’s milk” which cost 35p. The shop’s other lines included cold meats, cheeses, wines and sherries.

Shoppers peruse the wares of the Keiller Centre in 1984.
Shoppers peruse the wares of the Keiller Centre in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

British Beef was the place for steak, pork and lamb “almost straight from the animal”.

In 1984 the biggest bulk deal was £5.50 where you could buy 1lb mince, 1lb sausages, 1lb bacon, 1lb frying pork, four gammon steaks and two chicken portions.

Kitchen carpet, anyone?

Kydd’s stocked a wide range of small items. They included cosmetics, perfumes, toiletries and razor blades at bargain rates along with “a hundred and one other things”.

Thistle Carpets were offering “special carpeting suitable for the kitchen” which “cleans more easily and resists dirt and liquid spills” at £3.55-£7.99 the square yard.

Fashion was all the rage at Perry’s. You could buy “fancy jumpers” for £6.99 and “donkey jackets” at £12.99 among the women’s range. That also included “baggy jeans” at £12.99.

Perry's in Keiller Centre 1984, which sold ladies and children's clothes
Perry’s was the place for a donkey jacket. Image: DC Thomson.

Leather and Crafts sold mugs and plates, leather handbags and framed pictures. While “everything for the home dressmaker” was available at Gee Fabrics.

They stocked a “wide range of haberdashery” and performed alterations and repairs.

Jacanoni’s sold knickerbocker glory, banana split, hot choc ripple and ice cream in the colours of Dundee and Dundee United. They had kiddies’ specials too “at a reasonable 45p”.

Allow Classics salon to groom your power ponytail

Celebrating a big occasion?

Best Wishes was the place for cards for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, births and engagements alongside cuddly toys, wedding cake decorations and horseshoes.

A headshot of Sandra Hutchison, who was behind the counter at Jacanoni's.
Sandra Hutchison was behind the counter at Jacanoni’s. Image: DC Thomson.

Excess can best describe hair trends in the 1980s.

This was the decade when hair went supersized with crimps, perms and highlights.

There was also the power ponytail.

The Classics salon in the Keiller Centre would “do the needful” for those needing attention “be it a straight-forward trim or a more expensive styling”.

A perm was £10 or £11.50 with a cut.

There were special rates for senior citizens Monday-Wednesday at the unisex salon, where a shampoo and set would cost £2.20 and a perm £5.50.

A flyer advertising Classics salon at the Keiller Centre in Dundee
Did you ever get your hair cut at Classics? Image: DC Thomson.

The Magic Eye Video Shop stocked 4,500 films and 1984 was a great year for movies including Beverley Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Gremlins and The Karate Kid.

You could hire one film per night for £1.

The Cursor Keys Home Computer Centre was one of the latest additions where “computers, software, games, tapes and a wide selection of books” were available.

All That Glitters…

Special offer was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum at £129.95 plus £20 of software.

Spectrum games in 1984 included weird and wonderful titles like Eddie Kidd Jump Challenge, Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, Jet Set Willy and Zombie Zombie.

A woman looks at the display of Grossett Fresh Meats.
The Cursor Keys Home Computer Centre was beside Grossett Fresh Meats. Image: DC Thomson.

Hap Stores stocked a wide range of clothing for the younger members of the family “with the baby being particularly well catered for” including romper suits and bootees.

The Evening Telegraph advertising feature said “the lady of the house can obtain a jacket for £2.99, a cardigan for £3.25, and tee shirts from 99p”.

All That Glitters brought made-to-measure jewellery to the Keiller Centre in 1984.

All That Glitters opened in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

A bracelet, ankle chain or necklace could be made to your size while you waited. Prices started at 75p per inch with a special opening offer of 25% off.

Other items in stock were “watches, lighters and clocks”.

We assume they must have glittered.

Bargains aplenty for Keiller Centre shoppers in 1984

The Capital Meat Centre was a freezer chain selling everything from frozen meat, fish, vegetables, ready meals and desserts to chilled items.

Among the bargains on offer were 10 king size sausage rolls for 66p, 1lb of breaded whiting at 74p, 1lb of rolled lamb at 99p a pound and a litre of ice cream at 45p.

A poster advertising Capital at the Keiller Centre
Did you get king size sausage rolls from Capital? Image: DC Thomson.

Charlie’s Heel Bar was the place to go if you were having trouble with a pair of shoes.

A lady’s stick-on-sole and heel was down from £3.55 to £2.99, a gent’s stick-on sole and heel reduced from £4.75 to £3.99 and a lady’s stiletto heel costing £1.10.

A gent’s heel would set you back £1.95.

A woman stands outside The Sweetie Shop in 1984.
The Sweetie Shop in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

The Sweetie Shop was selling holiday rock at 25p and 50p.

Mint crisp chocolates were reduced from £1.85 to £1.25 and many people who shopped in the Keiller Centre will remember the temptingly sweet smells from the shop.

Was there anything the Keiller Centre didn’t sell?

Remember Andrew Keracher, the fish merchant?

In 1984 his prices included boned herring at 78p a pound and rainbow trout at £1.20 a pound with snails at £1.60 per dozen, 1lb prawns at £1.99 and 1lb of scampi at £1.90.

People walk past Apollo Blinds in the Keiller Centre
Apollo Blinds in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

Apollo Blinds were offering customers the chance to brighten up their homes.

Venetian blinds were popular and the advertising feature suggested roller blinds were a “pretty way of adding some interest to the kitchen or the bathroom”.

Shop staff offered free estimating and measuring to make sure everything fitted just fine.

People sit on a bench outside some of the centre's shops
The Keiller Centre in 1984. Image: DC Thomson.

Did anything at the centre take your fancy?

A full set of car seat covers? A perm and cut at £11.50?

The ZX Spectrum 128K? Holiday rock for 50p?

Or maybe a £12.99 donkey jacket?

What would you have spent your money on at the Keiller Centre 40 years ago?

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