New Wellgate Memories Project launched

New Wellgate Memories Project launched

Today (Friday 28 April, 2023), Leisure & Culture Dundee Libraries have launched a new local history project in partnership with Dundee City Archives, which aims to celebrate the unique heritage of the Wellgate – one of the oldest streets in Dundee, which was demolished in the 1970s. The project will tell the story of the Wellgate and preserve it for future generations. The project organisers aim to gather as much information as possible about the people, shops and businesses that made the Wellgate a vital part of Dundee for over 500 years.

The project is the idea of Adam Piggot, a designer and artist from Glasgow, whose family ran a shop at 50 Wellgate for 74 years, from 1898 to 1972. Adam then approached Dr Erin Farley, Dundee’s Local History Library & Information Officer, with the concept. They have worked together since to bring this

project to fruition and celebrate the street's history, which is often less well-known than other areas in the city, such as the Overgate.

Adam explains, “I’ve been aware of my family's connection to the shop for as long as I can remember, but I’ve done a lot of research into my family history over the last few years that’s given me a much better sense of the people behind the stories I’d heard – my great-grandparents in particular. Knowing what a busy street the Wellgate was, it crossed my mind that there must be a lot more information out there, locked away in family histories, photo albums and old documents, that could provide us with a real insight into the life of the street over many generations if we could find a way of bringing it all together and presenting it in an interesting way.”

Adam and Erin are appealing for photographs, memories, stories, documents, videos and recordings – anything that gives a flavour of life in the Wellgate during its long history. While Central Library's Local History Centre team will be sourcing some of this information from existing collections, including those in the library and those held by the City Archives, they hope that the people of Dundee and beyond will supply the majority. Making connections with Dundonians – old and new – will be one of the most important aspects of the project.

Erin said

"I hope that this project will be a way to capture people's experiences of the Wellgate – memories of living, socialising and shopping there, and the sights, sounds and smells of the street – as well as bringing together more traditional historical information.”

"Ultimately, the project will be defined and shaped by the people who contribute– the stories they have to tell; the memories, images and information that they choose to share. So I would appeal to everyone to get involved and help us record, preserve, share and create a piece of Dundee history."

The results of this community endeavour will be shared as part of a series of events planned around the 50th anniversary of the demolition of the Wellgate area, which began in 1972 and continued over the next few years.

To mark this period of era-defining change in Dundee, they have plans for talks, storytelling sessions and outreach events throughout 2023. They also plan to use some of the material they gather to 'recreate' the Wellgate through a series of expressive collages created by Adam to form a visual centrepiece for the project.

At the end of the year, the content brought together by the project will become part of a publicly accessible Wellgate Collection. This collection will be held in the Local History Centre at Dundee Central Library.

Anyone can get involved by visiting the website

Image: The Wellgate and the view towards the Murraygate c1950s. Credit: Dundee Libraries

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