Tag Archives: Dundee

Jute, Jam and Journalism

Today, I’ll start with DD4.

DD is Dundee, and Dundee is famous for the three things in the title. We went there on holiday just over ten years ago and I feel quite nostalgic about it. The kids were still young enough to like their parents and used to enjoy seeing new things. The wilderness years of teenagery and rebellion were still in the future.

We missed the Keiller factory, though we did see fields of fruit canes, which took care of the “jam” element. D C Thomson, publishers of many famous comics and annuals, are also based there. I say “famous” rather than “comprehensible” because it includes Scottish classics such as Oor Wullie and The Broons, which are distinctively Scottish in language. It’s a bit like reading Burns, but with the bonus of pictures.

We did, however, see the “jute“. In fact we saw a lot more jute than we wanted to, as we were forced to endure a lengthy film and display by a stern woman who seemed unwilling to let us go without forcing us full of information on jute. I suspect she’d once been a Gauleiter in the Jute Information Board or some such body.

Though we were interested in the jute, we were actually there for the Tay Bridge and the Discovery.

I’m not sure exactly which postcode it all fell under but Dundee is DD1 to DD4 so it will do. With hindsight we should have spent more than just one day in Dundee as there’s a lot to see.

It was a great holiday in some ways, and a low point in another. At the time someone owed me £1,200, and the recovery process wasn’t going well. After one particular phone call I made life hell for everyone, which really wasn’t fair. It’s one of those things that comes back to haunt me – bad parent, bad husband. Fortunately it was only for part of a day.

The debtor eventually came up with £600. Then he died, with no assets and a gambling problem I’d been unaware of.

He drowned after falling into a ditch and whilst in drink. (Gambling wasn’t his only problem).  There was some talk about a car being seen speeding away from the area where he was found. There was also a suggestion that I’d been involved. And that was why I sometimes tell people I was a suspect in a murder case. (I wasn’t, because the police never contacted me, but it makes me sound more interesting).

The interesting fact about DD4?

Er…

There are three towns in the UK with football stadiums less than a mile apart.

At three – Liverpool and Everton. Under a mile apart.

At two – Nottingham Forest and Notts County – the closest football league grounds in England, just 300 yards apart.

At one – Dundee and Dundee United – the closest in the UK – just 100 yards apart. Look at the map and gasp in wonder. They are close.

 

 

 

History in a Junk Box

There was a time when dealers used to have junk boxes full of clapped out coins, broken bits and base metal medallions. I certainly did. When I bought mixed boxes at auction the detritus from the bottom, after being carefully checked, would end up tipped in the junk box.

When buying, the junk boxes of other dealers were my natural habitat. I’ve bought some good stuff out of junk boxes. It seemed like they would never end. Then ebay came along and  it all ended up on line.

The contents of the box could cover anything from ancient coins to petrol station giveaways, via Georgian medals, Victorian adverts and pre-decimal coins. One of the staple items was the mass produced commemorative medal. They really started in a big way with Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 and ended in the 1930s with a flurry of royal events – George V’s Jubilee, the abdication (though this is shown only by the  items of Edward VIII (which aen’t really rare, whatever dealers may say) and, finally, the coronation of George VI.

This is the medallion Nottingham produced for the 1897 Jubilee of Queen Victoria

This is the Edward V!! medal from Nottingham – note the foresters supporting the coat of arms.

The colour changes for 1911, as do the supporters on the coat of arms, but the general idea remains the same. There is a second version of the medal, often known locally as the unofficial version (see below).

There is a medal very similar to the 1911 coronation medal – made for the 1914 Royal visit. It isn’t just in recent years that the Royal Family has been unpopular, there were seven attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria and one on Edward VII. In 1914, to encourage public approval George V embarked on a programme of visits. I’ve seen the itinerary for his visit to Nottingham – he visited Arnold and Mansfield too, though I think he just waved at Arnold in passing.

Royal visit to Nottingham (above( and Dundee (below).

Things seemed to tail off after that, with a much smaller selection being produced for 1953. To set it in perspective, rationing was still in force in 1953, and the fledgling Matchbox company struggled to produce model cars when metal supplies were diverted to fighting the Korean War.

This is one of the later medals, from Mansfield Woodhouse.

I have plenty more to show you yet, so don’t worry about me running out for the next few weeks,