Charles Bannerman

Why is Laurel Avenue a dual carriageway?

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Looking at the Goggle map, you get a sense of how well laid out Dalneigh was, with crescents, green spaces, shops, big gardeens, and plenty of living space.

It tells a story: that of the post-war feeling that working people should have a decent home and standard of living, which contrasts with today's serious lack of public housing and the over-priced boxes that people are expected to live in.

I recall too that the houses were quite spacious inside. It must have been a dream for people to move from tenements and the like to the greenery and space of Dalneigh.

Absolutely Dougie. I think this was very much the post war philosophy which also embraced the likes of Garden Cities. Certainly the house we lived in on St Andrew Drive had a pretty big garden, bigger than average for Dalneigh I suppose, with a back lawn which itself was 10 yards long and then there was a vegetable patch before you reached the back wall of the St Ninian garages. And that was just half the garden. There was another chunk parallel to that which was like a wee croft running down to the minister's hedge!

The Swedish houses are all 3 bedrooms and all identical to or mirror images of each other. The bedrooms were pretty large, especially the "master" :laugh: bedroom at the back and the one above the livingroom also had a fireplace. The other rooms were big too and there was lots of cupboard space.

In fact I was just today relating a tale of a previous era when the large collection of fireworks which - aged 10 - I had bought used to be stashed in the cupboard beneath the stairs! :redcard::tuttut: (Aye... the "lobbing bangers into front porches" craze culminated one year in one headcase putting a Roman Candle in Mrs Anderson the P5 teacher's front hedge!)

Other friends of mine (such as Beys and Kavvies for those who remember Inverness and Caley football of a bygone era) lived in stone houses on St Valery Ave and St Fergus Drive and these were pretty big too. The "electric flats" were maybe a bit different.

The streets were also quite wide - especially the bit of St Andrew I was on which had the transformer.

I remember the Swedish houses well, especially the "master" bedroom at the back, it seemed massive. The top of the stairs was also very spacious as I recall. Pretty cold upstairs though with no central heating, though I do remember the fireplace in the bedroom at the front. What I like too is the close proximity to the private houses that surround the scheme, so that you don't get the feeling of being isolated or in a ghetto. Very democratic again.

I guess Bruce Avenue and the like would have been built in the late 60s/early 70s?

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Presumably construction stopped during the war - but with what stage during the whole building programme did that coincide? What is pre war and what is post war?

This is December 1945, with no sign of construction having resumed.

sneck194512close.jpg

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This is December 1945, with no sign of construction having resumed.

Thank you Padrino. That certainly seems to help. That photo appears to show that as at Dec 45 (and therefore presumably also Sep 39) they had got as far as Dochfour Drive, Dalneigh Crescent and Columba Road and no further. I do have one concern, though, and that is the pale coloured rectangle on it, running parallel with Columba Road and its top right corner apparently cutting out a section of Caledonian Road. Is the rest of it obscuring something? There does seem to be a hint of that and - sod's law - the rectangle seems to cover where Laurel Avenue would be. On the other hand, the smaller scale/ larger area photo does seem to suggest that there would be little if nothing in that differently coloured area and that there is no Laurel Avenue.

What's the source of these photos?

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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This is December 1945, with no sign of construction having resumed.

Thank you Padrino. That certainly seems to help. That photo appears to show that as at Dec 45 (and therefore presumably also Sep 39) they had got as far as Dochfour Drive, Dalneigh Crescent and Columba Road and no further. I do have one concern, though, and that is the pale coloured rectangle on it, running parallel with Columba Road and its top right corner apparently cutting out a section of Caledonian Road. Is the rest of it obscuring something? There does seem to be a hint of that and - sod's law - the rectangle seems to cover where Laurel Avenue would be. On the other hand, the smaller scale/ larger area photo does seem to suggest that there would be little if nothing in that differently coloured area and that there is no Laurel Avenue.

What's the source of these photos?

They're from Google Earth - as far as I know, you have to download the app, as historical imagery isn't available through the web interface of Google Maps.

I don't know the original source, but I would assume the RAF. There are other photos available from this operation: Google "Operation Revue" for links.

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The houses on the canal side of St Valery Ave were built (or to be more accurate, occupied) in 1954. I believe they were the last houses (from that era) to be built in the area.

From the 1930 map we have Bruce Gardens (formerly known as Cemetery Road), Dalneigh Road (no houses on it though), Montague Row, Rangemore Road and the end of Dochfour Drive (From Rangemore Road to Fairfield Road)...far more in keeping with what you would expect from the size of a "Drive". Fairfield Road ran all the way to the canal and would have had access to the bank as it does now.

From the 1938 map. Dochfour Drive has been extended all the way down to Dalneigh Road....but no other development within the above boundaries. (Maxwell Drive and Lyndsay Avenue have appeared though).

The next map (other than the 1945 aerial photo above) is 1959 and shows a complete Dalneigh....so everything was finished and in place by then.

The 1945 pics above are clearly doctored. Dalneigh Road was well established as a road in to the main house in Dalneigh at that time, and the light patch covers this.

Assuming they are RAF pics, why would they blot out an area like that? Are they deliberately hiding something? or just altering it to make a newer photo represent what it would have been like a the time? (for what purpose I have no idea).

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The houses on the canal side of St Valery Ave were built (or to be more accurate, occupied) in 1954. I believe they were the last houses (from that era) to be built in the area.

From the 1930 map we have Bruce Gardens (formerly known as Cemetery Road), Dalneigh Road (no houses on it though), Montague Row, Rangemore Road and the end of Dochfour Drive (From Rangemore Road to Fairfield Road)...far more in keeping with what you would expect from the size of a "Drive". Fairfield Road ran all the way to the canal and would have had access to the bank as it does now.

From the 1938 map. Dochfour Drive has been extended all the way down to Dalneigh Road....but no other development within the above boundaries. (Maxwell Drive and Lyndsay Avenue have appeared though).

The next map (other than the 1945 aerial photo above) is 1959 and shows a complete Dalneigh....so everything was finished and in place by then.

The 1945 pics above are clearly doctored. Dalneigh Road was well established as a road in to the main house in Dalneigh at that time, and the light patch covers this.

Assuming they are RAF pics, why would they blot out an area like that? Are they deliberately hiding something? or just altering it to make a newer photo represent what it would have been like a the time? (for what purpose I have no idea).

Apparently, although the images were originally produced for public distribution, a lot of them were retrospectively censored. This means that there may not have been anything actually to hide, just that the censor identified something that they thought may have been sensitive. Original uncensored images were ordered to be destroyed, and the original cellulose stock was destroyed in the 1950s, so the real original image probably doesn't still exist.

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Off topic now but the river at one time chose it's own course on the way to the firth in a similar fashion that the River Spey still does to this day, changing course from year to year. I can remember digging up my fathers garden with him and the sheer weight of round stones we riddled out of a small patch of the garden must have been several tons. That was on St Fergus Drive so your own garden must have been the same Charles. Some old maps I've seen confirm the changing of the rivers course but not as far as that.

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There was a bandstand in a park inside the triangle of Smith Ave., Maxwell Dr. & Lindsay Ave.. What was the name of the park though? :yuk::laugh:

post-2081-0-26200300-1321005951_thumb.jp

eta spoiler

Edited by PullMyFinger

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PMF....The contents of your garden had nothing to do with the River. Dalneigh sits at the end of an Esker which includes Tomnahurich Hill and out over Torvean Quarry site and as such would be the reason why you (and everyone else in Dalneigh) had/has a garden full of stones.

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Just looking at the map in the spoiler on post #36, there was an existing bungalow at the end of Laurel Ave. and houses opposite the end before it was built so no planned trunk/distributor road?

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Just looking at the map in the spoiler on post #36, there was an existing bungalow at the end of Laurel Ave. and houses opposite the end before it was built so no planned trunk/distributor road?

I think if the full road had gone ahead, demolitions in the Fairfield Rd and Bruce Gardens areas would have been inevitable. But responses to this thread have been excellent and I'm certainly learning a lot - not the least that Dalneigh seems to have progressed as far as Columba Road by the war and that the rest was built apparently by 1954. That's with the exception of the houses and shops between St Margarets and St Mungo which are early 60s since I remember these going up and in fact my mate Dallas Fraser fell in the foundations one day and made a right mess of his face.

As it happens I took a detour round Dalneigh this morning and noticed something I never noticed in 14 years of coming home from the town and indeed to and from school up to 4 times a day for six years! What I spotted is that Dalneigh Road takes a very slight bend to the left at the Laurel Ave roundabout and again when it becomes St Andrew Drive where I lived!

It was the RAF photo that alerted me since the original Dalneigh Road points straight at the farmhouse - latterly the manse. On the other hand St Andrew Drive is about 50 yards adrift of that and it's these two bends that do that. The extrapolation of the beginning of Dalneigh Road would actually go through my old back garden which backed on to the manse.

I also realised that I didn't have a name for the thoroughfare which runs from Laurel Ave across Columba Rd and Dochfour Drive to the back entrance of the High School. But I now realise that this is because it doesn't seem to have a name - presumably because there are no house entrances on it, only the sides of gardens.

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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Assuming they are RAF pics, why would they blot out an area like that?

Probably planning to bomb it.

As fer the dual carriageway is it not designed to help the locals stagger home at nite ?

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Just noticed this topic today and feel I can add a little bit of chronological meat to the Laurel Avenue history.

Lived my early years at the top of Bruce Gardens and left there in 1954, aged 43/4, to stay in the canal side of St Valery.

Laurel Avenue was always there when I stayed in Bruce Gardens, whether it was dualled I cannot recall....however, when I was a pupil at Dalneigh I do remember being frog-marched with my schoolmates, teachers and other locals to the central reservation in the said Laurel Avenue.

Why?... well, the reason for the break in our education was a planting of trees ceremony in that central reservation of LA.

There certainly were many trees planted that day, can't remember if other schools were involved because there was a planting every 10 yards for the full length of the street.

The reason the trees were planted may have been as a completion ceremony for the carriageway, so what year was this?

I think I was in my middle years at Dalneigh by this time, possible P4, which would make this 1958-9.

I also know the the houses, both sides, were well established by the time the trees were planted.

I suspect few of these trees still survive to this day.

Interesting topic though, Charlie !!

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when I was a pupil at Dalneigh I do remember being frog-marched with my schoolmates, teachers and other locals to the central reservation in the said Laurel Avenue.

Why?... well, the reason for the break in our education was a planting of trees ceremony in that central reservation of LA.

There certainly were many trees planted that day, can't remember if other schools were involved because there was a planting every 10 yards for the full length of the street.

The reason the trees were planted may have been as a completion ceremony for the carriageway, so what year was this?

I think I was in my middle years at Dalneigh by this time, possible P4, which would make this 1958-9.

Een... I was at that tree palnting ceremony too (so Derek would have been there as well) but I wonder if it could have been a little later than 1958-59 because we were only in Primary 1 then. 1960, 61 maybe?

After somebody mentioned some weeks ago here that the houses on Bruce Gardens and Caledonian Road at each end of LA are different, I took a look and indeed that seems to be the case. That does maybe suggest that the intention might have been to extend LA to Glenurquhart Road and Telford Street and the housing gap laft to do this wasn't filled until that plan was finally shelved, possibly some time during the 50s. In effect General Booth Road fulfils that function nowadays. When would that have appeared? Mid/ latter 70s maybe since we have run Harriers races along that road since early 78.

I have been meaning to phone Sheila MacKay about this one but have kept forgetting.

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Note the temporary bridge across the river, in place to relieve congestion on the narrow suspension bridge. Does this imply it's later than 1942?

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The "temporary" bridge actually opened in 1939 two weeks before war was declared. It stood for 22 years as post-war austerity delayed the start of construction of the current Ness Bridge until 1959.

Edit - Make that 24 years as I discovered the temporary bridge was demolished in 1963.

39.jpg

Edited by Caley

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That is an absolutely LOVELY illustration of the Temporary Bridge and Castle Tolmie - just as I remember them. Is the illustration part of a set?

Caley's account of the construction and disposal of the various bridges is exactly as I understand it. The plan had been to replace the old suspension bridge in 1939 because they feared it was unable to support the weight of "modern" traffic and the temporary bridge was there as the intended alternative during construction. However the war intervened and work didn't start as planned. Inevitably, post war austerity made funds short but in any case, the old asymmetric suspension bridge had quite happily supported the weight of tanks running over it for six years and for the 20 odd years that elapsed, the temporary bridge did a lot to relieve traffic volumes which by then were beginning to increase.

Given the congestion on the current main bridge, and as deliberations on the western relief road seem to go on interminably, maybe we could do with the temporary bridge back again!

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It was found in this archive of illustrations and pics. I do actually wonder why they went to the expense of removing it when it would have alleviated traffic volumes on the Ness Bridge in future years. I suppose there were probably no traffic jams in 1963. and it wouldn't have been aesthetically pleasing to the town planners of the time who preferred everything to look like Lego.

This pic from the collection - High Street in 1975 - is fantastic I think.

43.jpg

Edited by Caley
  • Agree 2

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