Monday, 25 April 2011


I wonder how many of you kept these wee books?
They were called The Handy Handbook and were given away free with the Evening Telegraph.
As well as the calendar inside, they also had bits & pieces of general information about Dundee such as local services, holiday dates, football fixtures and so on, with an occasional household hint thrown in.
Each one also had a view of the city on the back page, a variety of which are on display above.
The books in shot date from the 2nd half of the 50's, right through to 1969. I'm not too sure if this was the end of the line or if they kept it going in the 70's, but they do make for a very nice collection when grouped together.
Big thanks to Bridie.


  1. I'm embarrassed to admit I had never heard of this publication. You always learn something new on Retro Dundee! What strange contents - it looks like Dundee in 1968 was a city racked by constant thunderstorms, causing everybody's fuses to blow, or something like that.

  2. DC Thomson continued to make something very similar in the 70's and 80's but they were only given to staff members.

  3. Compare the stats with current day:
    Population: 182K/140K (affected by boundary changes)
    Schoolchildren: 35K/20K (smaller families, as well as pop.changes)
    Rateable value: £5.8M/£47M (domestic rates - not really equivalent)
    Rates: Not sure how it worked out, but I'll take a guess at an average £103 per house/ current Band D £1,604
    Houses: 64,102/47,000 (Band D equivalents)
    Council houses: 28,686/7,310 (Shelter Scotland)

    I don't remember these books, though we did get the Tele regularly. I imagine its own circulation has changed quite a bit.

    More valuable were the Burns and Harris city directories, which at one time listed all properties with householders' occupations. Do you have any copies, RETRO?


  4. Yes I have a 1970 and 1974 Dundee Directory, and a few pages from a 1966 one.
    They've been dipped into quite a lot for Retro use!

  5. I've 24 Burns and Harris Dundee Directories, the oldest one being 1929.
    Fascinating reading.

  6. Lucky you Bridie! Thought I was doing well with 18 going back to 1936.

  7. Most of the occupations they listed are gone now, or at least totally transformed. I guess it was the Google of its day. Other cities must have had them, but I don't remember ever seeing one with the street listings.

    There's one at Amazon at the moment for £45! Plus a CD version of the 1929/30 issue for only £11. B&H could be missing a trick here. The original proofs would have been destroyed, but they must have some pristine copies that could be scanned and issued on CD - an ideal present for someone's birth year.