Step back in time to official opening of Rosendael: 3 May 1933
Scottish Veterans Residences is celebrating a notable milestone in its rich history, as the charity marks the 90th anniversary of the official opening day of Rosendael in Dundee: 3 May 1933.
Distinguished guests, including the Lord Provost of Dundee, gathered at the elegant property in Broughty Ferry that day to formally recognise the official opening of Rosendael, which then provided a home to 56 Veterans of the armed forces, accommodated across 16 dormitories.
It was the second residence opened by SVR, following the charity's formation in 1910 and the opening of its original residence, Whitefoord House in Edinburgh, in 1911.
Rosendael, built in 1850, had been generously gifted to SVR by Mrs J.C. Gibson and dedicated to the memory of her brother, the Dundee jute manufacturer John Normansell Kyd, as a residence for veteran sailors, soldiers and airmen; Frances Baillie Kyd (1847-1923); and Lieutenant Frank Proctor Kyd, 11th Battalion the East Surrey Regiment, killed in action at The Somme, August 1916, aged 28 years.
Rosendael welcomed its first ever residents on 12 February 1933, and within three months - to great cheers from the first intake of veterans - the official opening ceremony took place on Wednesday, 3 May 1933.
SVR's annual report of 1932-33 recorded the occasion and the speeches, and while so much has changed in the 90 years since that day, many of the sentiments expressed that day truly have stood the test of time.
Here - straight from the archive - are some extracts from our report published in 1933...
A large and representative company gathered at Rosendael on Wednesday, 3 May 1933, for the formal opening as a residence for veteran sailors, soldiers and airmen.
The guests were received by Mrs Addison-Smith and were assembled in a marquee which had been erected in the paddock. The Platform party consisting of Rear-Admiral The Hon WS Leveson-Gower; Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald R Cameron; The Lord Provost of Dundee; Mr William Ingram KC (representing Mrs JC Gibson); Lt-Colonel Chilton L Addison-Smith. Chairman of the Council; and Mrs Addison-Smith, proceeded to the marquee, and as they took their seats the red-coated veterans who lined the marquee raised a hearty cheer.
Colonel Addison-Smith moved that the Lord Provost take the Chair. The formal proceedings then commenced.
Lt-Colonel Chilton Lind Addison-Smith:
“We found that there was a real necessity for such an Institution in Edinburgh, when we established Whitefoord House 22 years ago. Since it was opened, 70,000 men have sought and received benefits which we there extend to them. My Council trust that in a smaller degree the same use will be made of Rosendael.
“We make a charge of 11/- per week for the men who live here, and have an arrangement, under the authority of the War Office, with the Paymasters throughout the Country whereby the men’s pensions are payable through the Council, who collect them, deduct the sum due for board, and at the end of the quarter hand the balance over to the pensioners. 11s per week does not, of course, meet the cost of keeping a man, and we will require to appeal to the public for subscriptions to enable us to make ends meet.
“I think it is right to mention that my wife has entirely supervised the reconditioning and furnishing of Rosendael and I would like to take this opportunity of publicly thanking all those for the enthusiastic and capable way they have performed the work entrusted to them.
“The opening of Rosendael today will serve to mark to all the appreciation which this National Institution is designed to show of the great deeds and noble services rendered by our sailors, soldiers and airmen.”
Lord Provost of the Burgh of Dundee, William Huntley Buist
“It is 15 years or so since the Great War finished and our memories are sometimes said to be short, but in opening this Home this afternoon we again remember the debt which this Nation owes to those who took part in the great fight, and in former fights, whereby the freedom of the Empire was preserved.
“In the opening of this Home, we see an effort to repay in some little degree the debt which we owe to many who took part in warfare on our behalf, and I have therefore pleasure, on behalf of the City of Dundee, in saying that we appreciate very highly their coming into our midst, and we can assure [them] that they will get a very hearty welcome indeed.”
Rear-Admiral The Hon WS Leveson-Gower
“I think it is very nice that this, the first addition to the ‘Scottish Chelsea’ should be on the shores of your famous mercantile harbour. Knowing what a success Whitefoord House of Edinburgh has been, I am perfectly certain that Rosendael will be equally successful. On behalf of the Navy and myself, I wish the happiness to all future residents in this charming home.”
General Officer, Commanding-in-Chief, Scottish Command, Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald R Cameron.
“These veterans who will make their home in Rosendael deserve well of their Country. They have served it well, and when I say that they have served it well I do not necessarily mean in battles and campaigns. The comparative recent finish to the Great War naturally means that for the next few years men who come here will presumably be men who have fought in some campaign or another, but in the future there is no reason why we should not find a pensioner who has never been under fire, but nevertheless will have done good service to his Country.
“The British Army is found all over the world, and very often the mere presence of a detachment of British soldiers has helped keep the peace and preserve law and order, where otherwise chaos would exist. So long as our armed forces are about, the credit and repute of this Country will stand high in any part of the world they may be. [CHEERS].
“Now those veterans – and I speak especially of the infantryman who bears the brunt of the trouble in war and forms the larger proportion in peace – those veterans are at some disadvantage when they come to civil life at the age of 40 or so, because they have not been able to learn a trade. Certain positions of responsibility they are very well fitted to hold, but these positions are not very numerous, and therefore very often a man who has served in the Army will find it difficult to get a good job in civil life, with the result that as he gets older, perhaps for various domestic reasons, he has no home of a satisfactory nature to live in. To a man like that, this Institution will be an enormous boon.”
Mr William Ingram KC, representing the Kyd family.
“Mrs Gibson regrets that she cannot be here today, but she asks me to say to say to the Council who have undertaken the care of the Institution that if it is any joy to them to receive the gift, it has been an equal joy to give it.
“This house has been the home of Mrs Gibson for many years, and it must have been a satisfaction that she handed it over for the purpose to which it has been put, and that Mrs Gibson has done so with a liberal mind. She has remembered King David’s text, ‘Shall I offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing?’
“She looks forward to this being a very successful home. It is a public benefit that no-one can over-estimate; she gives her thanks to the Council, who have undertaken the care and unceasing watchfulness which will be necessary in order to make this place a success.”
The party then proceeded to the House, where The General unveiled a memorial plaque in the hall in memory of Mr John Normansell Kyd.