The Newport, Wormit & Forgan Archive

The Building Trade 1893 - 1900

Excerpts from The Dundee Building Trade in The Dundee Yearbook, 1893 - 1900

The Yearbook titled '1893' refers to events during the year 1893, and was published early in 1894.


Wormit still continues to grow, and that rapidly, seven houses having been completed during the year, and three being in progress. These consist of villas and cottages, with rents ranging from £25 to £60 - a large number of Dundee workmen having found employment thereat. Mr Alexander Robertson has built two handsome semi-detached villas at the new street behind Newport East Station, while a double villa has been built for Mr Daniel Lawson at Woodhaven. In West Newport two semi-detached villas near the West Station are approaching completion. These are to the order of Mr James S. Gibson.


Villa at Wormit

In Newport, and especially in Wormit, the building trade has been exceptionally brisk, and tradesmen have had their hands full. In Newport the work of building a handsome rectory in connection with St. Mary's Episcopal Church is approaching completion. The street at the East Station, which forms a continuation of Linden Avenue, is now bordered by a row of elegant villas. Two of these have been occupied since last year, two are nearly ready for tenants, and two slightly smaller villas are in course of erection. In West as in East Newport, building centres in the vicinity of the Railway Station. Opposite the platform at present are being built two double villas, while the foundations of another pair of semi-detacheds are being laid. Near the railway bridge one or two houses have been built, and at Waterston Crook the work of constructing two superior villas is going on. Wormit as a residential suburb is growing fast, and the past year has seen numerous additions to its villa-clad hillsides. It is anticipated that by next Whitsunday the population will have been increased by over 20 families, accommodation for whom is being prepared as fast as the work can be carried on. In most cases the houses range in size from five to eight rooms, and the rental from £25 to £40 each. They are all of the villa or cottage order. The tendency of the building is to extend in the direction of Newport. Wormit's public buildings are in course of erection. They consist of the Established Church Hall, large enough to accommodate 300 persons, and the Free Church Hall, which is seated for 130 persons. Contracts for the new school have been accepted. These await the sanction of the Education Department, and thereafter the work will be begun without delay. At Woodhaven three double villas are in course of erection, and a single villa is approaching completion. Two double villas are being built at Scroggieside. In Wormit proper the additions to house property presently being made consist of three double villas and a single villa, all within a short distance of the Railway Station, while a neat cottage is rising on the west face of the hill. During the twelve months there have been completed and occupied two double villas at Woodhaven, two at Scroggieside, and a double and single villa at Wormit. The sketch [shown] represents the front elevation of a villa erected on the face of the hill above the Railway Station by Mr Alexander Stewart, builder. Adjoining it is another villa similar in construction.


All along the south shore of the Firth, from East Newport to Wormit, building operations have been in full swing. Beginning at the east end, the elegant and picturesque Episcopal Rectory, combined with a church hall, was finished in May. A new terrace of three double villas running east from Causewayend Road has been erected by Mr Alexander Robertson, builder, and another new terrace is about to rise in front of Linden Avenue, four feus having already been taken. At West Newport, opposite the railway station, Mr Alexander Geddes and Bailie Doig have each built a villa, and two semi-detached villas have been put up for Mr David Thomson. Further west, near Waterston Crook, Mr Robert Chalmers completed two large villas, and two others were afterwards begun for the same. proprietor. Behind these two small cottages have been erected by Mr A. A. Paul. At Woodhaven Mr D. Lawson and Mr James Murdoch each constructed two semi-detached villas. A single-villa was put up for Mr David Lindsay, and two others are in process of erection for Mr William Buist. The new cemetery at Vicarsford was enclosed by boundary walls, finished with handsome pillars and artistic wrought-iron gates, a lodge being built at the entrance. Operations have just been commenced for the extension of the school. On the main road between Woodhaven and Wormit there has risen a large and commodious school for the supply of the educational wants of Wormit. Mr Stewart's Public Hall and Post Office in Wormit are now completed. An elegant hall capable of accommodating 300 persons has been constructed for the Established Church congregation of the village, and a more modest building of the same class has been erected for the Free Church congregation. The following dwelling houses were built during the year: two semi-detached villas for Captain Anton, two double cottages for Mr Robert Boyd, a large single villa for Mr T. M. Wears, two villas and two semi-detached cottages for Mr Alexander Stewart, a large single house for Mr Worrall, and a villa for the Rev. R. H. Wyllie.


In East Newport the splendid terrace double villas in Gowrie Street, at the East Station, has been completed by the erection of two double villas. This terrace, with Linden Avenue, of which it is a continuation, is one of the finest of its kind in the district, and viewed from the lower ground or the river presents a fine architectural feature. In Albert Street, immediately in front of Linden Avenue, two handsome double villas have been erected by Messrs C. & L. Ower, and two villas of artistic design are at present being erected for Mr J. C. Robertson, from plans by Mr T. M. Cappon. Two large airy class rooms have been added to the Public School; Mr William Smith has made a considerable addition to his residence, Taygrove; and Mr Fred. Thomson, Cupar Road, has remodelled and extended his house. In West Newport, two double villas have been built for Mr Robert Chalmers, and two cottages for Mr A. A. Paul. A pair of villas are in course of erection for Mr Jason Worrall. In Wormit, some five and a quarter acres have been feued during the year. To the west of the Bridge, on the low ground, one large single villa has been put up by Mr Thomas Marshall, and two double villas are in course of erection for Mr Walter Scott. East of the Bridge two double villas have been built for Mr William Bruce. On the high ground Mr Anson Wood and Mr A. Birrell have erected single villas. In the east, Mr R. Kinnes is having put up two double villas, and Mr Rowbottom one large single villa. Mr Alexander Stewart, the creator of Wormit, with undiminished enterprise, has put up three double and two single villas on the large area of ground feued by him. To the east, on St Fort ground, Mr Robert Tait has erected two double villas, and Mr Robert Boyd one single and two double cottages. A number of workmen's cottages have also been erected considerably to the eastward.


In Newport the building trade has only been fairly busy. Two large and handsome semi-detached villas have been put up in Albert Street for Mr J. P. Robertson and Mr Alex. Nicoll. Mr Alexander Robertson has built four semi-detached villas; and a tenement of workmen's houses has been erected in Meldrum Square. Three or four large villas have had important additions and alterations made upon them. An organ chamber has been added to the Free Church. Important improvements have been made at the East Station and at Tay Terrace, and a great many of the footpaths in the burgh have been re-formed, kerbed, and channelled. Plans have been passed and contracts entered into for the erection at the foot of Robert Street of two villas for Mr William Kidd. In Wormit about two and a half acres have been feued. The new buildings include a large handsome villa for Mr Thomas Marshall, two semi-detached cottages for Misses Deuchars and two semi-detached cottages for Mr Caldwell. Immediately to the east of the Bridge a terrace of three villas is in course of erection. To 'Stewart town' there have been added three pairs of double villas and two large single villas. On the high ground to the east a large villa has been erected by Mr Rowbottom, and a smaller one for Mr Williamson. Two semi-detached cottages have been put up on St Fort ground near Woodhaven. Considerable progress has been made with the forming and kerbing of footpaths. A large number of houses remain unlet.


Villa at Wormit

The building trade in Newport and district has been comparatively quiet. Several minor alterations have been made on existing buildings. The only important works carried out have been a large villa residence in East Newport for Mr John A. Leng, and two semi-detached villas for Mr William Kidd. The former occupies an important site on the Craighead feu, between the public road to Tayport and the river front. It is built of red stone to a pleasing design, at once practical and ornamental, and adds a picturesque touch to the burgh as viewed from the river. Messrs Johnston & Baxter, Dundee, were the architects. Mr Kidd's semi-detached villas [shown here 100 years later], from plans by Mr Robert Keith, Dundee, are on an imposing scale. They are three storeys in height, and their splendid appearance is enhanced by the effect of the white, dressed stone of which they are built. Their position - at the foot of Robert Street, and overlooking the main road and braes - is an outstanding one, and it is matter for congratulation that such a site should be occupied by buildings creditable to all concerned. Mr Leng's villa and those for Mr Kidd will be ready for the May term.

All the desirable sites near East Newport Station have been taken up, the vacant sites at the east end of Albert Street being filled up with handsome semi-detached villas for Mr T. M. Cappon. These are built of a warm red stone, agreeable to the eye, and are excellently arranged. They are intended for occupancy in May. In Wormit a considerable number of houses were completed and occupied at last May term, but since then building has been quieter. On the west side of the Bridge Mr Walter Scott has feued another stretch of ground near the river, and is erecting four semi-detached villas, to be ready for May. Mr Alexander Stewart has made several valuable additions to 'Stewarton', and, with a view to further extension, has practically feued all the hill ground immediately to the west of the reservoir. He has also taken a feu on which to put up works for electric lighting, and is to proceed with building forthwith. The long-talked-of addition to the Public School is now in progress ; and it is expected that the proposed Joint Church will soon be put into the hands of the tradesmen. Many improvements have been made upon the roads and footpaths, making the village look tidier; but much remains to be done.


During the year 1899 the building trade in the district has been, if anything quieter, after the great activity of preceding years. Since the completion at May term of the large villa at Craighead, Newport, for Mr John A. Leng, Mr William Kidd's handsome double villas fronting the river in East Newport and the picturesque double villas of red stone near East Newport Station, all noted in last year's report, very little work has been started, the only undertaking of importance being a pair of double villas at West Newport for Bailie Robertson, and a pair of villas in the vacant stance at East Station for Mr T. M. Cappon, architect. Some minor alterations and additions have been made, and the much-discussed slaughter-house question was settled by the erection of a modern and fully equipped building, on the former site, for Mr Matthew Morrison. Plans have lately been passed for a row of shops, with Club apartments above, on the site in Cupar Road presently occupied by the Old Toll House. The work for these will start as soon as the weather permits. At Woodhaven nothing has been done excepting to transform the old barn and farm buildings into workmen's houses; and the place has been dignified with a shop. Even Wormit has shown signs of adopting a more settled and leisurely manner of expansion. On the main highway several small cottages have been put up, the Public School has had a large and much appreciated addition, carried out from plans by Mr T. M. Cappon, F.R.I.B.A.; and the building has been entered upon of the joint Free and U.P. Church - Messrs J. Maclaren & Sons, architects. Mr Alexander Stewart has busied himself with the extension of 'Stewarton'. In addition to two single villas, he has at present in course of erection a large terrace on the high ground, in line with the Reservoir. All the buildings in this part of Wormit are supplied with electric light, and it is hoped that this illuminant will soon be extended to all the houses and streets in the district. It is right to point out that no further extension can take place on the higher ground either at Wormit or Newport until Dundee Water Commissioners consent to carry their water supply to the full requirements of their water area. There have also been erected four cottages and a large workshop on the highway from Wormit to St Fort, and a pair of semi-detached villas on the ground fronting Wormit Bay.


In Newport and Wormit, like other districts, building operations received a sharp check from the gradual and general rise in the price of materials and wages for the past few years back, and there have been no new works started, although some buildings have been finished and occupied during the year. At East Newport a pair of semi-detached villas were completed in Albert Street for T. M. Cappon, and 'Robertson's Buildings', St Fillans Place, which are to be occupied as a Unionist Club, and a row of shops are now practically complete. Kilnburn House has received a considerable addition, while in West Newport the only new building erected is the block of two semi-detached villas at Waterston Crook for M. A. Robertson. Wormit has made a handsome addition to its ecclesiastical buildings in the form of a U.F. Church. Mr Stewart has made further additions to his terrace on the hill, and developed the range of his electric lighting. A new U.F. manse is in course of erection at the Gauldry.

Wormit is prolific in schemes for increasing the amenities of the locality, some of which may never reach a practical issue. The erection of a bathing shed, however, is likely to be an accomplished fact in 1901, as a considerable sum has already been collected for this purpose, and the gentlemen appointed to take charge of the matter are only waiting the advent of spring to continue their efforts. Negotiations were pending in December for the acquisition of ground in proximity to the railway station to be laid out as a golf course, and should they meet with success this would undoubtedly add to the attractions of Wormit, both as a residential suburb and as a holiday resort.


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