Place Names (V) The Valley - Victoria Street
Valley, the, Renton
Nickname for the Tontine Housing Estate in Renton. The reference is to the Happy Valley set in Kenya, infamous for their rich, indolent and immoral life styles as captured in the film White Mischief. They were at the height of their infamy in the 1930's just after Tontine opened, which was a sustained period of unemployment, poverty and hardship in Renton. The nickname is, of course, a sarcastic comparison.
This council three-storey, six-in-a-block tenement dating from the 1930's is located in Back Street Renton. It got its nickname because of the fact that all of the 6 original occupants were Catholics.
Veir Place is in Middleton Street, Alexandria. It is the last red-sandstone tenement on the east side of the street at its southern end, and is easy to identify because its original red-sandstone plaque is still on the upper storey. It was built in the 1870’s by the well-known and prolific Vale builder, William Barlas and he named it Veir after his wife. She was originally Veir Forrest and was a descendant of Meikle the headmaster of Burn Street School in Bonhill who is perhaps best remembered for locking misbehaving pupils in the school bunker. Barlas built many new tenements in Dumbarton, and he named a whole street after her in Dumbarton - Veir Terrace at Levengrove.
When Veir Place was built it, like much of the rest of Middleton Street, housed the foremen and small businessmen of the Vale. In the late 1870’s the Secretaries of the Vale of Leven Cricket Club and of the Football Club both lived in Veir Place, as did John Gillies, who went on to have a very successful joinery business. Like all of the rest of Barlas’s buildings which didn’t fall victim to manic developers, Veir Place has stood the test of time well.
Victoria Grove, Alexandria
After a gap of 40 years, Victoria Street is being built on - a very welcome development. The builder is Turnberry Homes who have built a number of private housing estates in the Vale, including Ferry Fields and Levenbank. Since 2006, they have been building a mixture of terraced and semi-detached houses on the west side of Victoria Street and they have named them Victoria Grove. Owners started moving in by early 2007 and already the area has come alive again.
Victoria Street, Alexandria
This Street, just to the south of Alexandria town centre, and which is in the process of being revived by the building of Victoria Grove (2006 - 07), was originally laid out in the 1850's and 60's. It consisted of red sandstone 2 storey tenements, similar to the ones on that part of Main Street to which it is joined by Arthur Street and Albert Street. These were demolished in the redevelopment of the early 1970's and were much missed. Obviously called after Queen Victoria.