Tag Archives: Dundee

Postcode Safari (Part One)

I didn’t write a post yesterday because I was tired, cold, disorganised and lazy. Today, being merely cold and disorganised I’ve written 300 words and discarded them as unsuitable.

So, instead of my jaundiced view on life, I’m going to revert to a postcode safari. We did 25 parcels yesterday, so I have plenty to work with. I won’t select, I will just start at the top of the list and work my way down.

The first four are DD2, PE10, WS8 and BT71. That’s Dundee, Peterborough, Walsall and Belfast, so there is quite a spread. Well, it’s approximately Peterborough. I used to live in PE10 and it’s really about 25 miles from Peterborough. I also lived in PE2 and PE15. Even PE2, which sounds as if it should be in the city centre is quite rural. Same for BT71 – all of Northern Ireland has a Belfast postcode, so. if anything, BT is even less precise than PE. It is certainly bigger.

There are 121 postcode areas. Peterborough is 11th in terms of population and Belfast is 2nd, with only Birmingham being larger. In case you were wondering, London is cut into smaller districts. There are six districts with London in their name and other towns which have bits of London in their postcode area.This is the list, ranked by population.

DD2 is next to DD1, which contains one of then most notable of all ships – RRS Discovery.

However, I’m not sure it’s in the spirit of the tour to look at the postcode next door. This does, however, present me with a problem – my normal reference site merely says that DD2 is Dundee. D. C. Thomson, the comic company, are in DD1, Keillers no longer exist and Dundee FC are in DD3. As Dundee is host to the two closest football stadia in the UK, I suppose Dundee United are also in DD3. According to a website that knows this sort of thing they are only 0.2 of a mile apart – or 300 yards/metres if you prefer. Next on the list is Nottingham, at 0.7 for Forest and County and Liverpool/Everton, which are only 0.8 miles apart.

But so far I’m drawing a blank with DD2.

Ah! One last try and it paid off. The Camperdown Works were in Lochee, which is DD2. At one time they were the largest jute mill in the world. It was worth looking a second time because another site I checked implied they were in DD1. Jute was vitally important to Dundee at one time, and this fact alone is the basis for one of the less interesting museums I’ve been to. It’s great in parts but they made us sit through a rather dull film before we were allowed in and with two lively kids it was a bit of a trial.

That’s enough for now = Part Two will follow later.

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?


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,