Walking down memory lane

Published on 7 July 2021

The past year has brought many challenges, meaning that it hasn't been possible to travel to the University and welcome alumni back to revisit their favourite haunts.

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We recently launched our new ‘Virtual Tour’ and asked alumni to share their own memories of campus and the city.  We were delighted to receive responses from all over the world.

“To say that I enjoyed my four years in Dundee would be an understatement. I spent two years in Airlie Hall (in Airlie Place) then two years in shared houses close to the campus (Sunshine House and Ceilidh). In the 60s Airlie Hall spanned both sides of Airlie Place. It was a great place to stay after leaving home and it provided three good meals a day and even afternoon tea. The staff were terrific and many of us made good friends with the waiting staff (one friend married one of them) and I remember my cleaning lady, Mrs Anderson, who spoilt her charges with home baked apple pies. All in all a great place to stay.    Sunshine House had been a long-standing tenement student rooming house in the Nethergate (two floors above what is now the Tonic Cafe and Bar and immediately across the road from the Queen’s Hotel). In fact, several years ago, when a few of us had one of our reunions at the hotel, my room faced across the road to what, many years previously, had been my old bedroom.  Eight or so of us stayed there and it was run by the redoubtable Mrs Wilde. To say that she was a character would be a gross understatement! She would come in of a morning to prepare breakfast and again in the evening to cook dinner - regaling us with some of her fantastic stories. 

Of all the places I have studied in, I have to say, Dundee was far and away the best. I’ve never found so many good friends and had such fun times as then - and of course so many of us still stay in touch even though we are now in our 80s. My last time in Dundee was in the summer of 2019 with an old Airlie Hall/Ceilidh mate, Roy Heydon. Even though I’ve just turned 80, I remember my time in Dundee as though it was yesterday.

John Porter, BSc Pharmacology, 1964. Australia

 “My two favourite spots were the old quadrangle and the Magdalen Green area. Not on the campus, I know, but still relaxing and beautiful.  I never had a bad interaction with anyone anywhere in Dundee. I am from the Sheffield area, so it was quite a hike to travel back and forwards but it was well worth the effort! The only University I have known with such a great access to the outdoors and countryside.” 

Dr  Andrew Thompson, Bachelor of Dental Surgery (1975) Canada 

“I have fond memories of many months working on the weather satellite tracking station on the Ewing Building under the supervision of Messrs Baylis and Brush! It was the duty for most final year undergraduate students to contribute to some part of the station. I have fond memories of gazing in the total darkness at a cathode ray tube that produced a very fuzzy image of the UK as the satellite whizzed by. The station developed many bells and whistles under the care of Messers Bayliss and Brush. A microwave dish replaced the old helical aerial and much better pictures resulted.  

Many years later I was visiting a company in Bochum, Germany, who produced satellite tracking systems and I discovered their roots lay in the system developed in Dundee! Now I am part of an amateur radio team - part of the AMSAT-UK organisation, looking after and making tiny satellites for the Amateur Radio community.”  

Brian Hardy, Bachelor of Science (Hons), Electrical Engineering and Electronics (1977). England

“Just wanted to say the virtual tour is fab!  Brought back many happy memories from over 25 years ago!” 

Jill Doherty, MA (Hons), Environmental Science & Geography (1995).  N. Ireland 

Vera Danquah standing with a friend outside the Tower Building
“These are the memories we created during the lockdown while graduating.  Different people brought together by the University of Dundee, made us family and we are grateful. Thanks for the opportunity.  ”

Vera Danquah, MSc Finance and Risk, 2020, Ghana

“I spent my first year in what was then Airlie Hall, my second in a University-owned flat in Park Avenue up by Baxter Park, my third in a tower block bedroom in Belmont Hall, my fourth in another University owned flat on Perth Road (a recent acquisition, freshly painted), almost opposite the Tower (then containing the library) and my last two years in Steggal House, out past West Park Halls, now converted to private flats.  The iconic ‘chippies’ at each end of the old street – ‘Greasy Pete’s’ at the West Port, and ‘Sweaty Betty’s’ at the Sinderins end!  I confess that the latter had gone when I arrived as a student, but old hands related the tales associated with Hawkhill with considerable relish!  

The University, which owned the building, had granted the Medical Students’ Association the use of what had been the ‘MC Bar’, just up from Park Place, opposite the Engineering buildings (now Loca Rita’s) at some point in either the late 60s or early 70s, and I spent a fascinating year as one of the students who worked behind the bar – your friendly, local ‘bar steward’, as it were!  Now there was a venue!  

John Francis (Frank) Leonard, Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (1980). Dundee

You can access our virtual tour using the link online and rediscover the places where you used to spend time every day.

Regardless of when you graduated, we know that many of you will have fond memories of many of the places you can see on the ‘Virtual Tour’. We would love to hear your stories and weave alumni memories into the fabric of the tour.  

Send us an email, alumni@dundee.ac.uk or post on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverDundee to share your memories.  

We hope to be able to invite our alumni back to campus soon.  

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