Boat Road

Cars Queue for the Ferry on Boat Road 1950s
Postcard of Ferry Arriving at Boat Road Pier, c. 1920
Drawing of old Newport Post Office
Boat Road 1900s
J T Young's garage on Boat Road
Boat Road

When the ferry service operated to Dundee, Boat Road was probably the busiest road in the village. It was of course two-way for traffic, so serious bottle-necks developed with cars, buses and lorries all heading to and from the ferry. Fortunately the police had an office in the pier buildings, so there was always help on hand for traffic calming. And of course every time a ferry arrived, hordes of passengers made their way up Boat Road, often with scant regard for safety.

Early days

Boat Road now shows little resemblance to the photographs of a century ago. In the early 1900s a cluster of buildings was a reminder of an earlier period. The old post office building was immediately opposite the pier, then there was the mission hall, from the 1960s a vacant piece of ground. This had originally been the granary for St Fort Estate, but latterly was used as a public hall. Next came the water wheel and the pier smiddy. In earlier times the water wheel would give power to the old Seamills, and then to the smiddy. Until 2018 a round hole in the stone wall showed the position of the wheel: sadly the wall was accidentally demolished in 2018. The smiddy closed in the 1940s, the last tenants being the Don family.  Beyond the smiddy, at the start of the 20th century, much of the ground was taken up by one of the original Seamills. This would soon be demolished to make way for the expanding empire of J T Young’s garage. Finally, next to Trinity Church, was the Chapel House. In the early 1800s a much smaller building here had been extended by members of the Congregational Church, who used it for worship and gave it this name.

J T Young’s garage

As the 20th century progressed Boat Road was changing. The biggest change came with J T Young’s garage. By 1896 John had established a successful cycle repair business on the High Road. The new century however brought huge expansion as he embraced the new motor industry, and in the early 1900s he expanded down to Boat Road with the building of his first garage there. Soon he was acknowledged as the local motoring expert, and after further rapid expansion on Boat Road the whole area below his cycle shed on the High Road would be occupied by his garage, workshop and showroom. Nearer the pier, the building that eventually housed the Brig o’ Tay, was home to the Tayside tearooms from the 1930s until the 1960s.

Further change

From the 1980s Boat Road saw further change with the demolition of J T Young’s garage in 1984 and the building of Scotscraig apartments.

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Comments about this page

  • Does anyone remember the Miss Cunninghams and the parrots at the bottom of Boat Brae?

    By Steven (07 August 2022)

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