Site of the Curfew Bell - Lower Victoria Street
In April 1957 the Dundee Town Council decided to implement the proclamation of 1931, “by which no unexempted native male or female shall be in any public place in the urban area of Dundee unless he or she is in possession of a written permit signed by his or her employer or a person authorised by the Borough Corporation of Dundee.”
The curfew bell was rung at 10:00 pm each evening.
This was part of the “apartheid years” means of control and racial segregation. This was the signal that all African people had to be off the streets and in their homes for the night.
Most African urban dwellers had to live in townships on a city’s perimeter. Any African persons on the streets after this time, without correct documentation allowing for them to be on the streets, were arrested.
Times have moved on, “apartheid” or its correct name “separate development” has become history with the national elections in 1994, but the curfew bell is part of our history – but how many people remember about this, what it meant and where this bell stood in Dundee.
A plaque on the wall of the current building on the site marks the site where this bell once stood.