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The Counting House

This is a pub with a history of banking, amongst a city deeply involved in the heritage of comics.

67–71 Reform Street, Dundee, Dundee City, DD1 1SP

This pub was once a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, having first opened as a bank in 1856. This impressive building was originally designed by George Angus and modified by William Scott. It was reconstructed by Robert Gibson in the 1930s and then described as a notable example of modern banking architecture. Customers entered his new-look bank via a revolving door, crossed a terrazzo marble floor and were served at handsome mahogany counters topped with shiny bronze grilles.

A photograph of the Cowgate, Dundee, c1914.

A photograph of South Union Street, Dundee, c1910.

Prints and text about comics originating from Dundee.

The text reads: Dundee is home to DC Thomson and Co., Scotland’s biggest home-grown newspaper and magazine publishing house.

In 1906, the Thomson family bought up the city’s established publishing empire founded by the late Sir John Leng. The 23 year old David Cooper Thomson took charge of their new business concern. He expanded the company’s output to include a variety of newspapers, women’s magazines and children’s comics.

Dundee’s Courier and Advertiser, The Sunday Post, The Scots Magazine, People’s Friend, My Weekly, Secrets and Jackie have all come from the DC Thomson stable of publications.

Comics coming off the presses have included Hotspur, Dandy and Beano (launched in the 1930s), Topper, Bunty, Twinkle and Victor (launched over the following three decades). The likes of Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minx and Dennis the Menace were all created in Dundee, many at the hands of comic artist Dudley Dexter Watkins.

Other careers launched through the company have included that of campaigning journalist James Camerson, who got his first break on the Thomson’s Manchester Weekly News before he worked on publications in Dundee and Glasgow.

A print and text about James Chalmers.

The text reads: A bookseller and newspaper publisher in Dundee, James Chalmers is buried and commemorated in the Howff.

Born in 1782, Chalmers made a crucial contribution to the postal service by devising the adhesive postage stamp. It was this advance that enabled the penny postage scheme of 1840 to get off the ground, and become viable, turning a good idea that seemed about to collapse in to an unqualified success. Chalmers’ invention has since been taken up by postal services all over the globe.

His shop was originally in Castle Street. The printing press on which his first stamps were printed can be seen in the McManus Galleries opposite this pub.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk