A trip down memory lane for those who remember the Cosy Tearoom

The rockin’ 60s and early ’70s were brought back to life when a group of around 70 nostalgic former and current Dundonians reunited in Dundee to call back the ‘good old days’ of the legendary Cosy Tearoom, The reunion was based at Battlefields Country Lodge three weeks ago.
Former Dundee resident and ‘amateur Dundee historian’, Rob Marshall (now living in Ermelo), recalls that the Cosy Tearoom was bought by Trevor Krause in the late 1950s. It soon became an institution with the town’s youngsters.
“The Cosy was on Victoria Street – between the old Standard Bank (now Canos Fashion Shop) and Boundary Road. The old Dundee Chemist was next door,” Rob told the Courier.
“Back then there were two cafes in Dundee – the Cosy and the Central Café about 150 metres down the road. Each café attracted its own set of people – the Central was a hangout for ‘Ducktails’ with the jukebox blaring out Elvis Presley and other rock n roll music of the time.
The younger set gravitated towards Cosy Tearoom where the jukebox played 60s music.

 

Two old pals from yesteryear – Robin Lowe and Leigh Soden catching up on lost time!

“Generally the two groups got on well and tolerated each other’s presence,” Rob laughed.
“Most of Dundee’s ducktails were working guys who owned big motorbikes (known as ‘boneys’) and hot cars and hung out at the Central. They enjoyed roaring around and also scaring the Cosy members with madcap antics such as riding their bikes flat out on the pavement and racing down past the movie house or Cosy regardless of the queues or groups of people on the pavement. – we just had to learn to jump! But that is just how we rolled in those days!”
Trevor Krause sold the Tearoom in around 1974 but two years later it burnt down along with three other nearby shops. The idea of a Tearoom reunion began when Lourens and Nan Roos of Battlefields Country Lodge attended the funeral of Roy Kirkness – an ex-Dundee High School teacher and renowned Dundee sportsman of the early 1960s, in Pietermaritzburg.

Nan and Lourens Roos of Battlefields Country Lodge who hosted the memorable Cosy Tea Room reunion.

How it all started
During the service they met up with Lynette Cousins (née Levensohn) who is also an old Dundee girl and during their conversation, Lourens mentioned that “before more people pass away I’d like to arrange a reunion and call it the ‘Cosy Tearoom Reunion’ in honour of one of the popular hang-outs of our era.”
Lynette didn’t need any more encouragement and set the ball rolling by immediately gathering the names of all the people of their era that she and her friends could think of and so began the reunion weekend!
Friday evening saw the early birds gather around steaming stir-fry trays placed over hot coals and guests had the opportunity to choose their favourite stir-fry food from a magnificent selection of tasty bowls and fry their food according to taste. Recorded music was provided by our 1960s ‘music man’, Allan Dawson, who has a collection of over 20, 000 songs on a computer! Commented Rob: “Allan’s musical CV stretches back to the 1960s, when he was a member of the popular Dundee Band, The Apaches, he was definitely the right man for this job!”

 

Two old pals from yesteryear – Robin Lowe and Leigh Soden catching up on lost time!

Saturday dawned crisp and sunny – perfect for the various activities that Lourens and Nan planned for the day. A large number of guests opted for the Battlefield tour under the able direction of Bevin Shirley, an old Dundee boy from the 1960s. There was golf which Mike Norton, Peter Rogers, Trevor Lauf and Nan Roos all enjoyed.
Some of the guests, like Leigh Soden, tried their luck at some fishing spots on the estate but it seems as if the fish were forewarned!
In the evening, there was a tasty dinner with a band from Newcastle playing specific hits from the years the guests could identify with.

 

Dundee’s music man of the 1960s (and still going strong) Allan and Shona Dawson.

“Allan Dawson added to the wonderful sound by showing videos on a large backing screen of the original bands playing the same songs. Before long, the dance floor was revving with all ages from septuagenarians to ‘youngsters’ in their 50s rocking and rolling to music that we readily understood,” said Rob.
“It was quite evident that even the oldest guests had never lost any of their dancing styles as they vigorously ripped up the floor, dancing to the music that we made popular for later generations to enjoy.”
In conclusion, Rob remembered one of the many anecdotes told on the night from ‘dem days’…

 

The popular Dundee group, The Apaches, with Allan Dawson, far left, performing at the then Royal Hotel in the 1960s.

“Bevin Shirley and Stuart Clark kept horses at their homes and often rode their horses to town to do small shopping chores or just visit their friends which meant popping into the Cosy. One Saturday morning all was well – their horses were tethered outside the tearoom when the owner, Trevor Krause came tearing in and told them in no uncertain terms that a horse had dumped a huge ‘visiting card’ on the entrance to his tearoom and they better clean it up immediately or else!

“That was our town with plenty ups and downs and a bucketful of good stories to tell many years later.”

  AUTHOR
Terry Worley
Editor

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