Streetwise: St. Roque’s Lane

Name Plate

St. Roque’s Lane, corrupted into “Simmirookie” was near St. Roque’s Chapel. St. Roque was the patron Saint of plague stricken inhabitants who were isolated at the grounds beyond the East Port known as “Sick Men’s Yards”. Roodyards Cemetery which still exists was where those who died of infectious diseases were buried.

Old Dundonians may remember St. Roque’s Mill, built by Baxter Brothers in 1889, and others will make an association with St. Roque’s Garage, a once-thriving concern at the corner of Ward Road and what is now West Marketgait; the reason for commemorating the saint at that particular location is obscure. Most people will however be familiar with the appearance, if not the name, of St. Roque’s Library, the only building of any note on the south side of Blackscroft. It was built in 1910 (near the site of the former chapel) as a single-storey French Renaissance pavilion, and the original drawings show it to be set in a formal garden of great elegance. It was funded from part of the Carnegie Library Gift to Dundee, some of the old Blackscroft houses having been cleared when the Town Council acquired the site at the beginning of the century.

Source: ‘Dundee Names, People and Places’ – David Dorward