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Guest Jock Watt

Dalneigh & Ferry Memories

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Guest Jock Watt

I believe you !

I remember that there was a Dan Dyce who lived opposite us and gave his neighbour a fractured skull by hitting him with a large boulder! Every one was afraid of him - but this was back in 1940 or thereabouts!

[edit: edited by Scotty to split it from Eastgate thread and rename it to 'Dalneigh & Ferry memories']

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Guest Caley83

Even today, that Dyce mob are still causing trouble.

Probable the minkiest family from Inverness!

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Never mind, Jock. I'm sure that, with Dan Dyce around, the Germans would never have been able to mount a successful invasion of South Kessock in 1940. Dan would doubtless have hit Rommel on the head with a large boulder.

In fact, I'm sure that the gentlemen of the Wehrmacht were fully aware of the inadvisability of attempting to invade South Kessock at any time! What chance would a mere Panzer Division have against the West Drive platoon of the Home Guard?!

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Guest Jock Watt

From my bedroom window in 100 Kessock Avenue on the night of VE (Victory in Europe) Day I watched Dan Dyce march round and round the bonfire playing his pipes!

The cops came twice but went away again without taking any action!

The bonfire was still burning at daybreak and there were NO palings on any fences within several hundreds of yards around!

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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So not much change in the last 60 years then.

:D :D :D :D :D :D

Didnt realise the Ferry was that old! thought the houses were built after the war?

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Caley 100 - I think many of these brown or formerly brown harled houses in Kessock Ave, West, North and South Drives, might be 1930s, possibly in common with bits of Bruce Gardens and Dochfour Drive. The immediate answer to the post war housing shortage was the Prefab, some of which are still there in Sunnybank Rd off Culduthel Rd.  Then Dalneigh and Old Hilton saw a lot of expansion in the 50s - hence also the construction of the similarly designed primary schools in these areas. For 14 years, from 1958, I lived in a Swedish House in St. Andrew Drive which I believe was 50s construction (and when the Beatles "Submarine" came out, we all sang "We all live in a Yellow Swedish House"!). I also remember a "Tom Fraser" Old Inverness piece in the Courier a few years ago detailing the creation of the "Electric Flats" in Bruce Gardens, Dalneigh Road and St. Valery Avenue. The houses down the middle between St. Mungo and St. Margarets are definitely mid 60s because I remember them being built.

So it's not just in recent years that Inverness has seen rapid changes to its housing stock.

Jock... you would be able to tell us definitively about the Ferry Houses etc.

And I suppose if these houses weren't down the Ferry by 1940, there could have been no West Drive Platoon of the Home Guard under Captain Dyce to repulse invading Panzer Divisions!

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The Ferry houses were built in the 1930s. For a whimsical look at what life in the Ferry and Dalneigh was like during the forties and fifties read "The Lads from the Ferry". Apologies for this blatant commercial but the book may be of interest to the younger posters. For details see www.alexmabon.co.uk

    I recall Dan Dyce  and the 1945 street parties. There were a number of families of ill repute scattered throughout the Ferry. I lived at No 12 South Drive. Most of the characters from my "Ferry Books" are based on real people. In particular there was a young lad (I remember his name well) who stalked cats with a machete.

    Charles - I left Inverness to join the RAF in 1957 and the Dalneigh development was almost complete by then - apart from the church and school. The original church was a wooden hut which also served as the youth club.

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not sure of the year, but remember my Grandad and my mum telling me that our side of the street in Hawthorn Drive was 'newer' than the other as they built one side first and then the other a year or two later .....

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Absent Friend. I was in the 4th Lifeboys and there were a number of Ferry lads there. The meetings were on a Thursday night in the Old High hall in Academy Street. I suspect with the creation of Dalneigh  the Ferry lads who moved to Dalneigh joined the 12th BB in preference to the 4th BB.

  You may recall David Rooney from the 4th.  I dreaded playing football against the 4th as they were a very physical team. The top BB companies at the time - mid fifties - were the 5th and 4th. I have a faint recollection of the 6th being good but I cannot think where they were based.

      I met Peter Home briefly when I was in Inverness two years ago. I believe he is the official archive holder for Inverness Batttalion BB.

     

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Sandy... are you sure Dalneigh School wasn't complete in 1957? I went into P1 there in August 1958 and I had always been under the impression that the school was new but not split new.

If the Church wasn't complete in 57, does anyone know when the Rev MacIntyre came to Dalneigh? He was certainly in the Manse when we moved into St. Andrew Drive, which backed on to his garden (and apple trees) late in 1958. And did the Rooneys move to Dalneigh by the 50s. I remember a Mary Rooney in may class in Dalneigh.

Scotty... might it be the Swedish houses between Caledonian Road and Limetree Ave that were newer than the rest of Hawthorn Drive?

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Scotty... might it be the Swedish houses between Caledonian Road and Limetree Ave that were newer than the rest of Hawthorn Drive?

Pretty sure my mum and grandad said the 'odd numbers' were built a year or two ahead of the 'even numbers' .... wasnt around to verify it though  :015:

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Guest Jock Watt

     I recall Dan Dyce  and the 1945 street parties. There were a number of families of ill repute scattered throughout the Ferry. I lived at No 12 South Drive. Most of the characters from my "Ferry Books" are based on real people. In particular there was a young lad (I remember his name well) who stalked cats with a machete.

    Charles - I left Inverness to join the RAF in 1957 and the Dalneigh development was almost complete by then - apart from the church and school. The original church was a wooden hut which also served as the youth club.

Sandykent - You must be maybe a year younger than me, but you must remember me?  In addition to being centre-forward for Dalneigh United I was secretary of the Youth Club, living at 65 Laurel Avenue?

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Jock Watt -

I remember yourself and the Dalneigh Utd team well. I used to stand on the touchline with my elder brother Don. I was in the Youth Club briefly in 1955/6. My family lived at 49 Laurel Avenue.

    Charles. You are correct on all of your points. I now recall the wind blowing through the fence surrounding the new primary school in the mid fifties. In the middle of the night the sound was terrifying (especially if you had`just seen one of the La Scala horror films.)

    The Rooneys moved into 55 Laurel Avenue in 1949.

      Hamish MacIntyre was at the church in the mid fifties. He officiated when I got married in the brick church in 1960. I seem to recall the brick church replacing the wooden hut about the same time as the primary school was built.

   

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Sandy! Now there's a memory! The sound of the wind in the Dalneigh school fence. It used to travel for a long way and could certainly be heard clearly in St. Andrew Drive about quarter of a mile away. It was, indeed, quite scary at night.

Certainly when we moved into Dalneigh from Kenneth Street late in 1958 the school was complete and up to P7 and the Church was there. I don't remember a hut at all. Presumably Hamish MacIntyre was the first Minister. I only remember one person ever claiming to have seen him without that (not very natural looking) "rug" on his head. He used to come into our class every week to pick up the kids with polio and take them to the baths.

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I believe you are correct Scotty as it is the same with St Valery Ave - we even have a couple of numbers missing from our side (even numbers nearest canal) of the street for some strange reason.

I think it was 1954 my grandparents moved in here and they were the first tenants.

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Caley D.... where about on the canal (even) side are these numbers missing in St. Valery? St. Valery, like Hawthorn Drive, also has Swedish houses along part of one side. In St. V, they are part of a mini Swedish "estate" also comprising St. Mungo, St. Ninian and St. Andrew. I have had the impression (wrongly perhaps) that these Swedish houses are a little newer than the stone ones beside them. Was it the St. V stone houses or the Swedish houses or both which went up in 1954. We went into a Swedish house in St. Andrew in 1958 but weren't the first tenants. I remember that because of the complete tip the place was when we inherited it!

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I'm not entirely sure about the build date of the Swedish houses and would have to go check which numbers are missing on the Even side of the street.  My brother owns one of the Swedish houses in St Fergus (cul-de-sac).

The house we are in is one of the Concrete poured T-Beam's which originally had flat roofs topped of with a fake corrugated iron style structure.  That was until the storms a few years back when they were blown off and subsequently replaced with proper roofing.  Those storms were something else - I remember seeing beams flying across the street like matchsticks and one sheets of corrugated iron bumping and sparking down the street.  A double decker bus had just passed moments before our roof came off, if it had been any later I would hate to think what would have happened to the poor occupants.  How nobody was seriously injured that night I have no idea.

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Though I have never had it said that the two sides of Hawthorn Drive were built at separate time if you look at the houses on each side they are of quite a different style.

Why was such a large space left behind Hawthorn Drive / St Valery Avenue and the canal? Was that in the interests of safety or to leave space for pitches and allotments?

One of the things that strikes me about Dalneigh, even today, is the sense of space.  Big gardens, huge grassy spaces on Hawthorn Drive, Caledonian Road and other streets too.  Some of the so-called executive houses built today don't have half the space.  Laurel Avenue was probably the first dual carriageway ever seen in the Highlands and still seems a bit OTT and fewer people would have had cars in the 50s .    Even Hilton, built around the same time, appears much more cramped.

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Goodness me, this thread started with memories of Eastgate but it's now producing some cracking reminiscences of old Dalneigh!

I don't know if the waste land behind St. Valery etc was for safety reasons or not but what we used to call "The Back of Kavvies" (ie the area behind Brian Kavanagh's house in St. Valery) played a huge part in my early development.

It was there that I discovered that I was no good at ball games - cricket or football - but the hours and hours spent running about attempting to play the latter probably epitomise the fitness gulf between my generation and the current one.

Then there were games of "war" in the undergrowth where we liberated either Western Europe or Burma in battles where everyone had a machine gun (ur!, ur!, ur!, ur!, ur!, ur!..... yer dead!... No ah'm no.. yah missed!) Or if it wasn't war it was Hide and Seek.

These games of War remind me of Commando comics which were so good at illustrating the seriously limited vocabulary of the Wehrmacht.... "Gott in Himmell", "Achtung Englander",  "Donner und Blitzen", "Schweinhund", "Dumkopf".... and not much more. The Japs were worse. All they seemed to manage was "Banzai" .... and occasionally "Aieeee" if they got shot. (Strangely Germans didn't seem to utter "Aieeee" when they got the bullet which, in Commando comics, they did frequently).

But I digress and to return to the "Back of Kavvies".... climbing up on the of the "Garages" and jumping from one to another was also a favourite pastime and of course as you wandered about the undergrowth you did, from time to time, happen across the odd abandoned copy of Parade.

It was also there that we built our bonfire and "guarded" it for nights on end in case intruders from the Ferry or Laurel Avenue had ideas of premature combustion. Then, on bonfire night itself, everyone brought their fireworks (or at least the ones that hadn't been chucked into unsuspecting residents' gardens) for a wonderful, communal display of Roman Candles, Catherine Wheels, Squibs and Rockets.

A long time ago now, though.....

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I believe Laurel Ave is Dual Carriageway as it was intended at one point that it was was going to be the bypass running from the now Friars Bridge through to Glenurquhart Road and out over the Canal.

Plans for that were shelved (I believe) due to the need to replace the Bridge which crosses from Young Street to Bridge Street (what is the official name of that bridge?).

St Valery and Hawthorn Drive have so much space behind them due to issues of seepage from the canal (enter Johndo and his aquifiers) - and test holes are still dug regularly in the field behind me to test water table levels.  Whether these checks are being done to ensure no risk to existing houses or whether they have ideas of building on the land at some point I do not know.  Interestingly enough if you dig down about 3 meters you get water, but as the soil is quite clay-like it doesn't seem to have posed any subsidence issues with the houses.  As kids we would often dig in to the bank looking for clay to build models (and shot for catapults) from.

Games of war/football/rounders/rugby or whatever else could be dreamed up were not uncommon when I was a kid either, and it was not unusual for half the street (parents and kids) to be out enjoying themselves where football involved teams of 20 on each side and a game of rounders involved so many people it was more a case of hitting the ball towards someone who couldn't catch as opposed to hitting it in to a space - something you never witness these days.

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These comments stir some memories ......

We used to play at the back of Hawthorn Drive and the trees and waste ground were our playground along with climbing up the chain beside the wall to the canal bank and also crawling under the 'pier' to the hut underneath .... or cycling through all the laneways that could take you from Hawthorn Drive to the cemetary without having to spend virtually any time on a 'real' road.

I also remember seeing my first colour TV at No 8 - where Tony Wood stayed ... it seemed to be the first colour in the street as his dad worked for Radio Rentals !!! - can remember it was for the 1974 world cup .... I was 8 !!!I believe myself, Willie Hogg, and Kerr Campbell (who sells the 50-50 tickets at the stadium) watched in awe  :015: :015:

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Willie Hogg - there's a name I'd forgotten!

I learned to fish in the canal.  I suppose it was pretty dangerous for kids to be fishing in the locks because if you fell in you were unlikely to come out alive.  Remember the first fish I ever caught.  I didn't know what to do with it and ran home with it still on the end of the line.

Remember the day they demolished the Dalneigh Pavilion - must have been around 1973.  We had a grandstand view from Room 16 in Dalneigh.  I recall it as having been a fairly cavernous round building with bench seats around the walls.  Outside was a swing park.  I think it had only been up for a few years but it was going to wreck and ruin with all sorts of high jinks going on there in the wee small hours.

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I remember when they built the "Pav" in the early/ mid 60s. It was a memorial to somebody but never seemed to be used very much. I could never see the point in this empty, and as DJS says, "cavernous" structure. I suppose it was inevitable that it had to go.

I'm trying to remember who taught in R16 in Dalneigh school, at least when I was there in the early 60s (that was the one on the upper floor at the end of the building, wasn't it?). MacLeod the Deputy was in 15 wasn't he?

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Macleod was indeed in 15 and still there in my time.    I spent P6 & 7 in Room 16 with a Mrs Davidson who had just arrived at Dalneigh.  She was there for many years thereafter till she retired and now lives on Canal Road.

I have the vague memory that there was a plaque of some sorts in the pav saying it was built in 64 which would tie in with CB's suggestion.  Funny how you remember these things and can't remember what you had for tea last night.

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I definitely remeber it being built when I was in my latter years at Dalneigh School (I left in 65). I remember the building site. there was also a play park there with swings and a roundabout. I'm just trying to think WHOSE Memorial Pavilion it was.. McBean.. Morrison... MacDonald?

John MacLeod used to live in the Moyness Hotel at the bottom of Bruce Gardens. He was partial to a dram or several. My only contact with him in school was when he took the Gaelic Choir (DON'T ask me how on earth I got into it!) The thing was, he wouldn't tell us what the phonetics we were singing from meant.

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