Ward Road Gym History
Origin of the Gym (1891)
“The Gymnasium was erected by private subscription in 1891 (at a cost of £2500) by a few of the leading citizens of Dundee, who conceived that a need existed for providing an institution where physical training on the most approved principles could be efficiently given…….
Opening of the Gym
The Dundee Yearbook of 1891 covered the opening of the new Gymnasium
NEWSPAPER REPORT: FIRE (14th April 1921)
Two disastrous fires occurred almost simultaneously in Dundee early this morning. The Gymnasium, in Ward Road, was burnt to the ground; and a block of buildings off Bell Street, together with a large quantity of goods, was extensively damaged……..
NEWSPAPER REPORT: FIRE (15th April 1921)
Crowds assembled in the vicinity of Ward Road, Dundee, yesterday to gaze upon all that is left of the Gymnasium – burnt out in the early hours of the morning……..
NEWSPAPER REPORT: 4 MEN ARRESTED (28th April 1921)
The four men arrested by the Dundee police in connection with the recent fire in the Ward Road Gymnasium, when the building was completely gutted, appeared before Baillie Allan at Dundee Police Court yesterday……..
NEWSPAPER REPORT: ACCUSED ON TRIAL (15th May 1921)
Considerable public interest was evinced at the resumed sitting of the High Court at Dundee yesterday, when James Weir, 105 Hilltown, Dundee appeared before Lord Ormidale charged with fire-raising……
THE TRIAL OUTCOME
No documentation available !!.
Any information relating to the outcome of this willful fire-raising charge would be welcome .
GYM RE-OPENS (1st MARCH 1927)
The Gym was re-built (minus the rooftop symbolic statue) and re-opened its doors to the public on 1st March 1927…….
DUNDEE CORPORATION TAKES OVER GYM (30th APRIL 1942)
The Sub-Committee was reminded that, in terms of a letter dated 14th June 1938 addressed to the Town Clerk by their Secretaries, the present Trustees of Ward Road Gym had indicated that as the Corporation had opportunities of carrying on the gymnasium to better advantage than themselves, they were prepared to assume representatives of the Corporation as Trustees and thereafter themselves to resign office……..
In 1998, due to Council spending cuts, the Education department no longer had the budget to provide transport to get pupils down to Ward Road. School gym facilities across the City had been improved to the extent that there was no longer a real need to bus children into this city centre gym………
The Pediment (Facade)
The pediment (facade) above the doorway depicts the reclining figure of mythical “Mother Dundee”. The two principal reclining males, left with dumbbell and right with Indian clubs are in Victorian clothes and illustrate the importance of gymnastics in Dundee during during the late 19th Century. The pot of Madonna lilies in the foreground is the shield of Dundee.