Dundee

''For other uses see Dundee (disambiguation)

Dundee, Scotland's fourth largest city, with population of approximately 145,000 people, is situated on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, the estuary of the River Tay.

Dundee Law, or Law Hill, the highest point in the city of Dundee, 174m (571 feet), takes its name from an old Scots word for a hill. An Iron Age hill fort once occupied the site on which now stands a memorial to the dead of World War I, erected in 1923. Indeed, the town's name derives from the Gaelic words 'dun' meaning hill or fort and 'daig' thought to be an early chieftan.


High Street

Traditionally, Dundee has been famous for the three J's: Jute, Jam and Journalism. However, in the early 20th century, the local Jute industry suffered greatly due to fierce competition from India. Ironically, it was local businesses themselves, by investing in the Indian jute industry, that brought about the demise of jute in Dundee. More recently, traditional marmalade production has fallen victim to corporate takeovers. The only J left is Journalism; the city still supports a major firm (DC Thomson) which produces a wide spectrum of publications including newspapers, children's comics and magazines.

Dundee's link with jam stems from Janet Keiller's 1797 recipe for marmalade made from Seville oranges. Her son, James Keiller, was responsible for industrialising the process.

Dundee's jute mills began to produce jute in the 1830s, initially to supplement linen production, although large numbers continued to be employed until they began to decline in the 1920s. The town now has a Museum of Dundee Textile Industries to commemorate the industry.

Journalism is still important in the city, as represented by DC Thomson, publishers of the Sunday Post, The Courier and the childhood favourites, the Beano and Dandy.

History

Early beginnings

By 1180 the town was well established on the north bank of the Tay here, and in the 1200s a small harbour was built.

Dundee's importance was recognised by King William the Lion in 1191, when he granted it the status of Royal Burgh - thereby permitting the town's people to have their own local government and court. This and the town's importance as a trading port attracted the interest of Scots and English alike.

William Wallace

In 1239 the Abbot of Lindores established Dundee Grammar School, attended by William Wallace. The school later became part of an amalgamation of schools, Dundee Public Seminaries, which went on to change its name under Royal Charter to High School of Dundee in 1859.

In December 1291, Wallace was involved in an incident in Dundee that resulted in Wallace slaying a young Englishman named Selby, the son of an English overlord, during the city's occupation by Edward I. Thus he became outlawed and forced to flee south to Kilspindie.

Robert Bruce

In 1296 and 1303, Edward I visited Dundee with hostile intent. Edward is said to have removed the town's charter. The cause of the first occupation was John Balliol's renunciation of Edward's authority in 1295. Subsequently, Wallace returned in 1297 to capture Dundee Castle, built on Black Rock. The castle was repaired by Edward I, only to be completely destroyed by Robert the Bruce in 1312.

In 1309, Robert the Bruce was proclaimed King of Scots here.

Later, in 1327, Bruce re-affirmed the town's royal status.

Richard II

In 1385, during the Hundred years war, hostilities between England and France were renewed once again - the French King Charles VI brought the Scots into the war under the terms of the Auld Alliance. In response, Richard II marched into Scotland, and reduced Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee to ashes.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Following the treaties of Greenwich, signed 1543 which promised Mary, Queen of Scots to be married to Henry VIII's son Edward, the Scottish parliament, however, decided to pursue an alliance with France rather than England.

In May 1544, Henry began a period of "rough wooing"; English armies invaded Edinburgh. The following year, in 1545, walls were built around Dundee to protect the town.

In 1546 Mary granted the Howff Burial Ground to the people of Dundee.

On 31 July 1547, French naval forces bombard St Andrews Castle in support of Mary and capture the Protestant rebels, amongst them, John Knox.

On 10 September 1547, a large English army met and soundly beat the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie. The English army moved on to occupy Edinburgh; the English navy bombard Dundee, destroying much of it.

Charles I

The Great Charter of Charles I, dated 14 September 1641, once more confirmed the town's royal status.

English Civil War

In April 1645 Dundee suffered once more when the Marquis of Montrose and his Royalist forces besieged it.

On 1 September 1651 during the Civil War General Monck, commanding Cromwell's forces in Scotland, captured Dundee. His troops pillaged the town, destroying much of it and killing up to 2,000 of the 12,000 inhabitants.

In 1689, after the overthrow of King James, Viscount Dundee became an fervent supporter of the Stuart cause. He raised his standard on Dundee Law in support of the Jacobite cause.

Dundee Reinvented

By 1801 the population of Dundee stood at 26,000, by the standards of the day it was a large and important town.

By 1835 a sizable porportion of the 40,000 population was employed in Dundee's 36 flax spinning mills. As a result of heavy pollution, life expectancy had dropped to 32 years, 16 years less than the Scottish average.

In 1861 the population had risen to over 90,000, in part caused by Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. By the 1870s the figure had soared to over 130,000.

In 1878, the Tay Rail Bridge collapsed while carrying train full of passengers, which later inspired William McGonagall's infamous poem, The Tay Bridge Disaster - a classic case of horrible poetry. The bridge was replaced in 1887.

On 26 January 1889, Queen Victoria granted the burgh of Dundee the status of city by Royal Charter.

Between 1899 and 1902 electric trams replaced the horse drawn ones. Victoria Park opened in 1906.

Winston Churchill

Between 1908 and 1922, the city was represented by Winston Churchill, then a Liberal. Churchill's ministerial responsibilities meant that he was away from his constituency for much of the time. This and the glaring differences in lifestyle and background did not endear him to Dundonians. At the time of the 1922 General Election, the Labour party's support was growing and local newspapers had become increasingly hostile to him. Unable to participate in his election campaign due to an ill-timed appendicitis his wife, Clementine, spoke for him instead, but was spat on for wearing pearls. He was later ousted by ED Morel, Labour, and the 'Labour Prohibitionist' Edwin Scrymgeour (at the time, Dundee was a single constituency which elected two MPs). Churchill left Dundee, short of an appenidix, seat and party, never to return.

In 1943 Churchill was offered Freedom of the City but refused to accept.

Dundee's jute industry began to decline from 1914 due to cheaper production in India, coming to an end in the 1960s. The shipbuilding industry also closed in 1961.

Maritime Heritage

Shipbuilding and whaling also contributed to the town's prosperity. Over 2,000 ships were built in Dundee between 1871-81. In 1857 the whaling ship Tay was fitted with steam engines. By 1872 Dundee had become the premier whaling port of the British Isles.

Launched in 1884, the last whaling ship to be built at Dundee was the Terra Nova.

Captain Scott of the Antarctic's ship RRS Discovery, was built here, in 1901. The ship returned to its birthplace and was turned into a museum. It can be seen on the waterfront, along with information about her voyages.

Modern Dundee

Museums in the city include: the McManus Galleries, offering fine art and local and natural history displays; the 15th century Broughty Castle Museum; and Britain's only full-time public observatory, the Mills Observatory. The city also has many parks, and several busy shopping centres. In particular, Camperdown Park offers the attractions of a wildlife centre, and the Sensation Science Centre has many interactive science exhibits.

Dundee's two major football teams are, unsurprisingly, called Dundee FC and Dundee United FC.

External Links


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