The glory days of iconic Dundee Shopping Center

Construction on Dundee’s Wellgate Center began in the early 1970s, with the mall set to replace a thoroughfare from the bottom of Hilltown.

After opening in April 1978, it quickly became the go-to shopping spot for many Dundonians and those from elsewhere.

From street chains to its popular covered market and of course not forgetting the iconic Nursery Clock and Waterfall, today we celebrate memories of Wellgate’s golden years with a series of images from our archives.


Development at Wellgate was underway in November 1975 and progress is seen from one of the Dallfield Multis here.

The center began to take the shape we all know now in May 1977, just under a year before the doors finally opened to buyers.

Every hour on the top floor of Wellgate, the iconic nursery rhyme clock came to life, enchanting audiences young and old, many of whom perfectly planned their visit to coincide with the show, especially for the biggest midday performance.

The clock was assembled by the watchmakers at Suffolk Haward Horological Ltd and installed in 1978 and since then has not only functioned as a timepiece but also the perfect meeting point for friends or couples on first dates.

The clock is pictured below in 1979.

When it comes to iconic features, the clock wasn’t the only sight the Wellgate Center had to offer when it opened.

The waterfall was made up of curtains of plastic threads over which water flowed and trickled into a pool below. There were also three small fountains that projected water upwards, creating a wonderful spectacle illuminated by colorful spotlights.

As the water feature became the center of attention, people started throwing coins into the pool like a wishing well, and every now and then the pool was dredged with the money going. to a charity.

When you look at this photo, you can see a very happy group of Wellgate Center assistants getting ready for another shift, or maybe celebrating the end of one?

However, this group was evacuated in September 1979 after the center was in the midst of a bomb threat. I imagine their reaction was taken when it was announced that they were not in danger rather than when the fear itself arose.

Dr Who star Tom Baker parked his Tardis in Dundee as he stopped by R. Gordon Drummond in Wellgate in November 1979 to sign copies of the brand new Dr Who paperbacks.

Wrapped in the iconic multicolored scarf, Tom meets children from Dudhope Nursery here.

Never one to fear an appearance in Dundee (see the renowned Forum Center opening here) TV favorite William Roache, better known as Ken Barlow of Coronation Street, was on hand to help celebrate the opening Granada TV’s new rental dealership at downtown Tesco Superstore in December 1979.

Her appearance certainly seems to have delighted many of the ladies in this group.

The entrance to the Wellgate Center as well as the much-loved Market Hall can be seen here in April 1980 with locals enjoying the spring sun outside.

The Wellgate Market Hall was a bustling central area with everything shoppers could ask for, from clothing stalls such as Hustlers, seen below in December 1980, to grocery stores and everything in between.

The market was continually popular until in April 1999 it was announced that it was on the verge of closing, resulting in the loss of 60 jobs. Here, buyers browse the stalls in December 1980.

There were a number of popular clothing stores that have made Wellgate their home over the years, including the City Jeanster store which was on the top floor of the center. Seen below in June 1986.

An ever popular store in the ’70s and’ 80s was the Weigh and Save stores, which allowed shoppers to get as much of their bulk goods such as flour, nuts, and grains, and of course candy, as needed. . This is a trend that we can see emerging more and more recently as we all try to be a little more environmentally conscious.

Here, young Dorothy Stewart was on hand to help open a new Weigh and Save store at Wellgate Center in June 1987.

The aforementioned Wellgate Waterfall has become an oasis over time and its popularity has increased. Here it can be seen in November 1986 with the surrounding factories having dramatically increased in quantity since it opened eight years ago.

There is nothing better after a long day of shopping than eating good food and in October 1993 it was easier than ever when the new Central Mall Café opened and became a hangout place. very busy from the start.

And finally, as if parents don’t spend enough on their little ones for a day in the stores, these pesky multi-colored fun seems to be around every turn, which translates into fun for just a dime more so they can have a go.

Here, this youngster is enjoying a children’s ride that was parked outside the Gemini Jewelers in June 1993.

Time Travel: Souvenirs from Dens Road Market


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Peggy P. Gilmore