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The Stone Tenements of Dundee Corporation

by Neale Elder

Morgan Place

The advent of the Housing, Town Planning, &c Act 1919 (also known as the 'Addison Act'), initiated the provision of public housing by local authorities in the UK. In Dundee, this was embraced with great zeal by the celebrated City Engineer and Architect, James Thomson. His early housing schemes - Logie, Stirling Park, Taybank and others - were based on the concept of the garden city, primarily utilising 'four-in-a-block' dwellings in formal street plan patterns.

Thomson retired in 1924 - his career reaching a controversial end amid administrative upheaval - and he died three years later. By the end of the decade the housing policy of Dundee Corporation had begun to take a new direction.

The provision of subsidised council housing was revived by the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1924, popularly known as the 'Wheatley Act'. The housing constructed by Dundee Corporation after this date was to move away from the garden city concept and back towards the traditional Scottish form of the tenement.

Hundreds of such tenement blocks, of between two and four storeys, were to become the mainstay of public housing in Dundee in the inter-war years. In the 1930s they almost exclusively represented new housing provision by Dundee Corporation.

Most of these buildings resembled their contemporaries in other Scottish towns and cities. Some featured the customary rendered brick while others, for example in Caird Avenue, had façades and gable walls of concrete blocks.

However, one section of this housing stock - the stone tenements - stands out as having particular local value and interest. Those at Morgan Place (above) are an example.

More detail of these stone tenements is available as a pdf document - The Stone Tenements of Dundee Corporation [PDF-818Kb]