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About Dundee

Dundee is strategically located on the River Tay with direct access to the North Sea. From the end of the 18th century textile mills needing a constant supply of water became established along the river. In the Victorian era the jute industry primarily engaging in rope making and the manufacture of rough cloth, emerged, capitalising on the skills of the local textile workers and lubrication products from the local whaling industry. This led to a large influx of labour, mainly from Ireland, escaping the potato famine. The immediate and necessary accommodation of these workers lead to very poor quality housing developments in the city, with large areas of insanitary properties which were often without windows, spreading uncontrollably across the city. Over time it was found to be more lucrative to move the jute industry to the Indian sub continent and Dundee is now known more for the production of marmalade and the publication of the Dandy and Beano Comics.

Jute production finally ceased in 1999, but the landmarks of its hey-day, in the form of some of the industry’s imposing buildings still remain. Cox’s was the largest of the jute manufacturers and to highlight their importance to the area, Cox’s Stack, an Italian Campanile style factory chimney, 85 m high, with its distinctive decorative brickwork still dominates west Dundee at Lochee. The chimney features corbels and pillasters of yellow brick and stands on a tapered sided ashlar block base has been preserved along with another small section of the factory.

In the 1920's a much needed slum clearance programme was implemented. The new 'Logie housing' development was characterised by the construction of two storey maisonettes, displaying simple and effective brickwork, each with their own front door, allotments, garden fences and gates and all connected to a unique district heating system. Interestingly, these properties are still occupied and the area has since become a Conservation Area. This strongly suggests that this slum clearance programme was more successful than its successor in the 1960's, which resulted in high rise blocks of flats which have already been demolished.

Dundee, with the help of funding, has experienced a number of major conservation projects in recent years and has also embarked on a Master Plan to regenerate and reconnect the waterfront, which has been so important to its historical heritage, to the modern city centre.