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The Invergordon Archive

New House in Gordon Terrace
The Invergordon Archive
New House in Gordon Terrace

Child: Ishbell Adams?, Mrs Mitchell, Jean Adams, Ena Geddes,? Jock Mitchell.
This picture may be of particular interest as it was taken outside one of the partially completed "Swedish" houses. These are the wooden prefabricated houses which were the first to be built in Gordon Terrace. The houses were shipped to Invergordon in kit form and put together on site. It looks as if the picture was taken as a celebration of this house being allocated - my mother is holding a cake. It is not the one we moved into as that was a brick built house at number 19.
The "Swedish" and "Norwegian" houses on the east side of Gordon Terrace were the first houses to be built on what was then known as "The Bulls Hill". People were a bit envious of the first residents and the development was known as "Snob Hill" for a period of time.
Picture added on 07 October 2006
Of particular interest indeed, Billy, as we moved into one of these brand new Swedish houses (no.24)in 1950. There were only the ten of them. I remember the brick ones on "your" side of the street being built later.
Added by Rod Bell on 07 October 2006
Bill, Is your Mum the Ena Geddes that lived at the bottom end (nearest Invergordon Academy) before moving away to Dundee? My granny used to live beside her, if it is the same Ena Geddes.
Anonymous comment added on 07 October 2006
I wonder if these houses could be No.40 and No.38 Gordon Terrace. No.40 is where I lived with my parents, Isobel and Alex Urquhart and No.38 was Mr & Mrs John Ross. Mr Ross was a school teacher in the Academy. Looking at the top of the picture you can see trees - there were always trees at the side of No. 40 until the rest of the council houses were built.
Added by John Urquhart on 08 October 2006
These prefabricated houses were brought by ship from Sweden and were known as "the Swedish houses". I think they were the first houses that went up in Gordon Terrace. Presumably they were quick fix housing built to cope with the post war housing shortage. I can remember sailors from the Swedish ship visiting my family and giving us big boxes of matches which we had never seen before but are now commonplace. There were 2 styles of houses of this type built. I think the others were referred to as "the Norweigan houses", presumably for the obvious reason. To whoever asked..yes the Ena Geddes you refer to was my mother. She died in Dundee about 5 years ago.
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 May 2008
I can vaguely remember (being only about 7 at the time!) being one of the first families "up there" ... we lived in No 4, the very first house on the right. I can remember playing hide and seek in the foundations and partially built houses with all the other kids - no health and safety then!
Added by George Brownhill on 05 January 2009
Hi George, I remember your family, lots of boys I seem to recall? When Gordon Terrace was first built it was known as "Snob Hill" and those of us who lived there were sneered at a bit by people down in the old town (but in a humorous way). Apart from the few Prefabs dotted about, Snob Hill was the first new housing since before the war. For a long time there was only the one street of houses with no road exit to the east, only the old path which went from the Castle Road over to the Bulls Hill, a popular walk for town folks on Sundays. So Gordon Terrace was effectively a cul-de-sac. At the end of the Terrace was a huge stand of old trees which housed a large colony of rooks. They provided a permanent background racket of cawing. I too ran amock among the building works when I wasn’t chopping down trees in the "Beech woodie" to the west of the houses. When people moved into the houses there were no fences provided so the entire population used to trudge up and down from the wood pulling young trees they had felled to make what was referred to as "rustic fences". On a Saturday it could get quite crowded in that wood with people hacking and sawing all over the place. Even at the time I used to wonder why the owner did not object as the entire plantation was nearly wiped out!
Added by Bill Geddes on 06 January 2009
Can you remember, when it was just the one row of houses, when there were just fields opposite and we got hold of an empty 45 gallon drum? We rolled it all over the tall grain creating tracks. We would then have races with the older ones running "against the grain" and us younger ones running "with the grain".
I vaguely remember a gypsy camp over the fields as well ... all the older boys (we weren't allowed!) used to run up and taunt the gypsy boys, then run like hell back to Gordon Terrace!
Added by George Brownhill on 07 January 2009
The "gypsies" you mention were probably the people who lived in "bender" huts by the side of the Black Ditch. It seems hardly credible that people lived in such conditions during my lifetime. There was certainly a MacPhee family as Donald and Maggie MacPhee were in school when I was there and they lived at the camp. I think there were also the Williamsons. These people were social outcasts and were given a wide berth when seen in town. I wonder now what their history was and what happened to them. There must have been a reasonable degree of tolerance in those days because nowadays there would be a furore if "rough people" set up a permanent camp in the country. They must have been as tough as old boots to live in home-made shelters through Highland winters.
I believe that historically the MacPhees were an outcast clan who lost their territory due to some feud or dispute. It would be staggering to think that this affected them up to as recently as the mid 1950s?
Added by Bill Geddes on 08 January 2009
I remember the trees Billy refers too at the end of the street - always came away covered in resin from climbing in them. Cutting trees in the Beech or Birch wood was common too, but we did it to build forts and have all-out fights chucking stumps over to the other fort. It's a wonder no-one got hurt - you learned to duck in a hurry. The gypsies George refers to would be the Tinkers. A few school teachers lived up there, Leekie for one.
Added by Harry O'neill on 08 January 2009
Harry, I am sure you were involved in lots of "War" games where we threw stones and sticks at each other. I remember having a big lump on my forehead from time to time, goodness knows how nothing serious ever happened. In those days our parents seemed to talk about little else but the war (I guess many people enjoyed the "pulling together" aspect). There seems little doubt that there was a positive aspect to life in war time as folks were more united.
Some of the Gordon Terrace houses were reserved as Police or Teacher’s houses, apart from the Leakies, Tubby Matheson (Maths) and Mr Cooney (French) who also lived in the Terrace. It shows there is nothing new under the sun as recent Governments have touted the idea of "affordable" housing for public sector workers as something they invented. It was certainly a good policy as it ensured that Council Estates had mixed residents rather than just the poorest and deprived people which is certainly the case in England.
Added by Bill Geddes on 09 January 2009
I can only remember the green wooden huts beside the black ditch which were, I believe, quite tidy and lived in by the two Williamson families who were later re-housed in Alness when the huts were demolished. Both families had children who attended the local school and a couple of the girls I can remember have done well and are married locally with grown up families of their own.
Added by Liz Adam nee Askew on 09 January 2009
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