Record

CodeNA10362
Dates1888-
Person NameDundee Social Union; 1888-
ActivityThe Dundee Social Union was instituted in 1888 to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of Dundee. This was to be achieved by improving the condition of the poor, providing opportunities for 'healthy enjoyments' and by any other means which the Union chose. In 1888 a Sanitary Committee was appointed to look into the poor condition of housing in Dundee. They undertook a questionnaire of inhabitants and met the Dundee Police Commission in 1882 to pass on their information. In 1890 the committee for Art and Recreation was founded and began to organise simple entertainments in the Drawing Room of the Young Women's Christian Association in Tay Street. It also built a small hall in Carnegie Street where various clubs met for sewing, singing, musical classes and other activities. From 1902 lectures were given with the object of rousing interest in social work. A Reading Club was also begun at which social questions were discussed. The Brabazon Scheme was founded in 1912 to improve the lives of people in the Poor House through instruction in carving, leather work and dress-making, the products of which could be sold. In 1904 a committee for social enquiry was formed which set about investigating the medical and housing conditions of artisans and operatives in Dundee. A groundbreaking restaurant was opened in 1906 at West Port, and another subsequently at Temple Lane, at which breakfast and dinner were supplied to any nursing mother in order to encourage breastfeeding, discourage married women's work and to provide a centre for educational work among mothers. Members of the Maternity Benefit Club were fed for free. Once a week the restaurant was attended by a maternity nurse from the Royal Infirmary. In 1914 baby clinics were opened in connection with such restaurants under the management of the Infant Welfare Committee. In 1902 the Cripple Children's Aid Association was formed and undertook the education of these children in classrooms and in their own homes. Money to fund an omnibus to carry these children to and from school was subscribed entirely by the children of Dundee. In 1907 the Country Holiday and Recreation Committee was formed. The Union also opened a Penny Savings Bank in 1905 and a Nursery School during the war.Grey Lodge, Hilltown, belonged to Miss Mary L. Walker, pioneer of the Social Union. Grey Lodge Settlement was formally constituted by Miss Walkers' Trustees in 1916 and St Margaret's Hostel adjoining Grey Lodge was also acquired for club premises in 1920. Marfield, Blairgowrie was purchased in 1919 and opened as a Country Holiday Home for Dundee children. The Town Council took over many of the Social Union's bodies, although the Union continues to concentrate on educative work.
Corporate NameDundee Social Union
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