Tenement Tones

An interesting observation from Rosefield Street, a residential road in the west end of Dundee that I regularly wander up and down en route to the Post Office on Blackness Road. I had often wondered why two of the blocks of tenement flats – numbers 17 and 19 on the east side of the street – were constructed in a different stone from all of the others.

As the photo above shows, it is quite a marked distinction for not only is the stone much lighter in colour, but it is also smoother and, for want of a better word, looks ‘newer’. The overall design, however, matches the neighbouring blocks.

The answer is simple and dates back to the dark days of the Second World War. Dundee escaped the German bombers relatively unscathed. However, in a single raid on the night of November 5, 1940, eight bombs fell on the city, one of them destroying 19 Rosefield Street and damaging its neighbour. Miraculously, only one person – 64-year-old Mary Ann Laing – died in the explosion and subsequent collapse of the sturdy four-storey building.

The other bombs fell on Farington Terrace; the gardens of Fernbrae Nursing Home; a home in Briarwood Terrace; a home at the junction of Marchfield Road and Middlebank Crescent; the back courtyard at 258 Blackness Road; a power station on Forest Park Place – close to Rosefield Street – and in Queen Victoria Works on nearby Brook Street. It is believed there were two other deaths.

The raid may have been intended for the Tay Rail Bridge and the bombers overshot their target.

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