January 1939

First Footers Went Taxi Mad

Dundee experienced its first cheap rate taxis Hogmanay! The taxi-drivers are still trying to get their breath back.

All records were broken in a night and day rush which lasted for nearly four days, when every available vehicle in the city was called into service.

Hundreds of phone calls poured into the various taxi hirers, and for hours at a time the telephone bells went incessantly.

The hours before and after midnight on Hogmanay were the peak period. Dundee’s taxi fleet of about 120 vehicles found it impossible to cope with the rush and at one point it would have required over 500 cars to have served the needs of all those wanting taxis.

First-footing by taxi was more popular this year than every before. But in between the house-to-house visits of the revellers “no waiting” was the rule of at least one firm, so many bookings were there.

According to one hirer first-footers were using taxis to go from one end of the street to the other!

By the early hours of New Year’s Eve one firm of hirers was fully booked up for four hours in advance.

But the New Year spirit prevailed, and at several garages and depots people waited for several hours for a taxi.

Even at outside phone kiosks small groups waited their turn to phone for a taxi.

On New Year’s Day and on Monday the rush continued and 1939 was several days old before taxi-drivers brought in a belated but truly traditional New Year.

Dundee Woman Wrote Song for Gracie Fields

A young Dundee woman, who has composed a song for Gracie Fields, famous stage star, is shortly leaving the city to try her fortune down south.

She is Miss Rita Farmer, for 12 years a waitress at Tay Bridge Station refreshments rooms, and composing music – organ, orchestral and jazz is her hobby.

Modest of her musical accomplishments, Miss Farmer admitted that she has been “fairly successful” with her compositions.

Both in this country and in America and Canada she has had several of her works published, including dance tunes, an operetta and an organ voluntary.

Miss Farmer, who was educated at Wallacetown School, never had a music lesson in her life. Besides composing, she plays several instruments including piano, violin and organ.

“Ever since I was at school music seemed to be second nature to me” said Miss Farmer “I have been writing pieces for a long time now”

“It was not until recently, however, that I had any success”.

“Although I haven’t managed to write a hit number yet, I hope to do better when I go to London. For one thing, I’ll have more time to devote to my music.”

“Organ music, jazz and songs – they all come easy to me when I get the inspiration. Perhaps it’s this environment that’s wrong. After all, a railway station is hardly the ideal place for getting ideas for musical compositions.

It was after Gracie Fields had heard one of Miss Farmer’s numbers that she got in touch with the Dundee woman, who wrote a new song for the star.

Other prominent artistes have also “taken up” songs written by Miss Farmer.

Taught For Year Under Hitler

A Dundee student, who for nearly a year has been a teacher under the Nazi regime at Dusseldorf, returned home this week.

He is Mr David Cowan, 31, Westfield Place.

Mr Cowan has brought with him a host of pleasant memories from Hitler’s Germany. But he has also brought several huge boxes of books and a permanent appetite for eggs and butter!

The former because, although he was earning a salary sufficient for him to save on, he was only allowed to bring 6s out of Germany. He spent all his spare money on books.

The latter, because these delicacies are practically unknown in Germany.

Mr Cowan was one of five English teachers at an adult school in Dusseldorf. While he was there he made a close study of the Nazi regime, saw Herr Hitler once, joined up as a member of the Labour Front Movement, and has come back very much impressed with the efficiency of the German people.

Mr Cowan was full of praise for the Germans during the recent crisis. “They really felt something was going to happen” he told me “yet they remained quite calm. They have great faith in their leader and believe that everything that he does is for their good.”

“Life is hard for many of them, food often short, especially in the winter. They are forced to do many things by the Government which ordinarily they would not do, such as taking part in a host of Nazi organisations, doing severe compulsory training and so on”.

“They do it all in the spirit of nationalism which Hitler’s rule demands. But despite all this they are happy and healthy”.

“The ordinary people have no grudge against their country, but everywhere one hears the colonies question discussed. All German’s believe this will be Hitler’s next big move.”

Mr Cowan has not decided yet whether he will return to Germany or not. If he does, it will probably be in a business capacity. He is not particularly keen on continuing teaching there.

A pupil of Morgan Academy, Mr Cowan went to London University after leaving school and took up the study of Arabic.

He also studies at Al-Azhar University, Egypt, and later took his B.A. degree at London with honours in Arabic.

He is also proficient in German and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish, Italian, Persian and Hindustani.

His mother is a teacher in Rosebank School, Dundee.

The Big Topic – Bellman’s Budget

The distribution of the national service booklet gave Dundee something new to talk about this week. Already it has resulted in many offers of service from all classes of the community. Most of them have their own pet unit’s to which they would like to be attached, but many have come forward ready to play their part in whatever capacity the authorities think they will be able to give best service. A man’s occupation in civil life influences to great extent the role which he will fulfil if and when the call comes. This was one of the lessons learned in the Great War, when the ranks were filled with men highly specialised in occupations which would have made them invaluable in other work behind the lines. Intending applicants can save those in charge a great deal of trouble by studying the national service booklet carefully before presenting themselves for possible enrolment.

Corporation of Dundee Electricity Department

Now is the time to fit up that
Electric Lighting Installation
Do Not Delay
You can make immediate arrangements
With the Aid of the
Assisted Wiring Schemes
Of the Corporation
Call and get full information at the
Electricity Showrooms
95, Commercial Street.

Stop That Headache!

Influenza and Feverish Colds also vanish in no time with Fenco – The Magic cure.
Keep Fenco handy – just in case.
Powders 1½d each; boxes of 12, 1/3, also 3/-.; Tablets, 1/3.
From all chemists and stores, or post free from:
Fenco Co.
150, Ann St, Dundee.

G.L. Wilson

Now Proceeding
In the
Mantle and Millinery
G.L. Wilson, “The Corner,” Dundee.

What’s On at Dundee Cinemas & Theatres Next Week

Broadway – All week – The famous illusionist, Merlin, in the world’s wonder show, and full supporting cast. Book now. Phone 82292.

Kinnaird – The Ritz Bros. In “Three Men and a Girl” (U), with Tony Martin and Marjorie Weaver; also Emlyn Williams in “Night Alone” (A).

Playhouse – All Week –  Lewis Stone and Mickey Rooney in “Love Finds Andy Hardy” (U); and complete supporting programme.

New Attractions at Art Galleries

“The Gundy Man”
In addition to the large collection of original drawings by lining “Punch” artists, which is proving a great attraction in Dundee Corporation Art Galleries, there is now exhibited the fine “story” picture by the late R. Gemmell Hutchison, R.S.A., entitled “The Gundy Man”, which was presented to the city by Mrs Hutchison, Edinburgh wife of the artist.

It depicts the “gundy” man on his rounds with barrow, balloons, &c surrounded by a group of happy and expectant children, and is a typical example of the artist’s delineation of child life.

Sir William Burrell, Berwick-on-Tweed, who, during the last three years has lent many valuable pictures, has forwarded an additional five examples by famous artists. These are:- “Chrysanthemums” by Fantin Latour; “At Scheveningen” by Bosboom; “Pearl Fisheries” by Muhrman; and “Beggars”, by F. Goya. These make 21 pictures at present on loam from this generous collector.

Plan to Extend Police H.Q.

The question of extending the police headquarters in Bell Street was discussed yesterday afternoon at a meeting of Dundee Town Council Police Sub-Committee.

In view of the limited accommodation in Bell Street it has been necessary to look further afield for a site on which to extend. A site which the sub-committee have in mind is in Moncur Crescent.

The sub-committee came to no decision yesterday, and the matter will be brought up again at the meeting of the full Police Committee on Tuesday.