1902 Encyclopedia > Dundee, Scotland


DUNDEE, a royal and parliamentary burgh and sea-port, is situated on the east coast of Scotland, in the county of Forfar, on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, twelve miles from the confluence of that estuary with the German Ocean. It is the third town in Scotland as regards population, and the second in commercial importance. Its latitude is 56° 27'N, its longitude 2° 58'W.; it is distant from Edinburgh 42 miles N.N.E., from Perth 22 miles E., and from Forfar, the county-town, 14 miles S. It extends nearly three miles along the shores of the Tay, and varies in breadth from half a mile to a mile; and the ground gradually rises towards the hill of Balgay and Dundee Law, the summit of the latter being 535 feet above the sea-level. Its general appearance is pleasing and picturesque, and the surround-ing scenery very beautiful.

Dundee is the chief seat of the linen manufacture in Britain, and from a very early time appears to have had a special reputation in this branch of industry. Hector Boece, a native of the town, in his History and Croniklis of Scotland, thus quaintly refers to it : " Dunde, the toun quhair we wer born ; quhair mony virtewus and lauborius pepill ar in, making of claith." It was not, however, till the introduction of steam power, in the beginning of the present century, that there was any remarkable development of flax-spinning in Dundee. The first work of importance was the Bell Mill (which is still extant), built in 1806 ; and the first power-loom factory was erected in 1836. Side by side with the extension of the linen trade has been that of jute spinning and weaving. Large cargoes of this material are imported into Dundee direct from India, and it is manipulated on an enormous scale. In fact, the manufacture of flax, hemp, and jute fabrics constitutes the staple trade of the town, and supports, directly or indirectly, the great bulk of the inhabitants. There are upwards of seventy steam spinning-mills and power-loom factories, employing above 50,000 persons. Some of these buildings are of great size and considerable architectural elegance, those of Messrs Baxter, Messrs Cox, and Messrs Gilroy being especially conspicuous. These three afford employment to above 12,000 hands. The principal textile productions are osnaburgs, dowlas, canvas, sheetings, bagging, jute carpeting, <fcc.; and the total value of these fabrics annually produced has been estimated at upwards of ¿£7,000,000. Among the other industries of Dundee may be mentioned ship-building, engineering, tanning, and leather manufactures (including shoemaking by machinery), all of which are conducted on a large scale. There are also considerable foundries, breweries, corn and flour mills, and confectionery and fruits preserving works—Messrs Keiller <fe Son's " Dundee marmalade" having a most extensive reputation. The prosperity of Dundee is in a large measure due to its commodious harbour and its magnificent docks. The harbour works extend about two miles along the river side, and the docks, five in number, cover an area of 35 acres. Although they cannot compare in extent with those of London or Liverpool, they are probably unsurpassed in the kingdom for stability and convenience. They have cost, from 1815, when the works were begun, to May 1877, £800,000 ; and the harbour revenue amounted in 1876 to £50,751. The principal imports for year ending May 1876 were

Jute 106,727 „
Coals 146,399 „
Timber 46,256 loads.
"Whale and seal blubber 1,694 tons.
Breadstuff's 6,808 „
The principal exports were
Linen and jute manufactures—first six months 346,472 pieces.
second ,, 19,117 tons.
Bags and sacks first „ 12,001,032.
second ,, 8,853 tons.
Yarns 8,630 „
Grain 3,506 ,,

There were built at Dundee, in 1876, 32 vessels with a tonnage of 18,794, and at the end of that year the shipping belonging to the port consisted of

156 sailing vessels tonnage 68,314
38 steamers 17,078
Totall94 tonnage 85,392

Eleven of the steamers are in the seal and whale fishing trade, each making two voyages yearly to the Arctic Seas.

The principal public buildings are the following :—The Town-House, designed by " the elder Adam," and erected in 1734, a plain but pleasing structure; the Custom-House; the Post-Office ; the Town Churches, an imposing group, surmounted by a noble old tower ; St Paul's Free Church, with spire 167 feet high; St Paul's Episcopalian Church, designed by Sir G. G. Scott, with spire 211 feet high; the High School, a fine specimen of Grecian Doric, designed by Angus; Morgan (Hospital, erected and endowed by bequest (amounting to nearly ¿£80,000) of the late Mr John Morgan, a native of Dundee, for the board and education of a hundred boys; the Eoyal Infirmary, a magnificent structure in the Tudor style, designed by Coe and Godwin, and costing about ¿£15,000; the Lunatic Asylum; the New Orphan Institution; the Industrial Schools; the Convalescent Hospital; the Asylum for Imbecile Children; the Deaf and Dumb Institution, the Royal Exchange; the Clydesdale Bank; the court-house and police buildings, with a fine bold portico ; the Eastern Club, designed by Pilkington and Bell; the Christian Young Men's Association Buildings; the Theatre Royal, drill hall, newspaper offices, and public baths. To these may be added as deserving of notice the Boyal Arch, designed by Mr Bochead, and commemorating Her Majesty's visit to Dundee in 1844, and the Albert Institute, a Gothic building in memory of the late Prince Consort (mainly designed by Sir G. Gilbert Scott), and erected, at a cost of upwards of £20,000, on a site purchased for £8000. Bronze statues of George Kinloch, the first M.P. for Dundee in the Reformed Parliament, and James Carmichael, the engineer, have been erected in Albert Square.

The most notable of the few antiquities of Dundee is the "Old Steeple" (dating from the 14th century), 156 feet high, which has been recently restored, under the direction of Sir G. Gilbert Scott, B.A., at a cost of £7000. Dudhope Castle, the old seat of the Scrym-seoures, hereditary constables of the burgh, and granted by James II. to Viscount Dundee, is now used as bar-racks. The old custom-house, in the Green Market, is a quaint building of the 16th century. The East Port, the sole relic of the ancient walls, is allowed to stand in commemoration of George Wishart the martyr, who, according to tradition, preached from it during the plague in 1544. The pillar of the old town cross, bearing date 1586, has been re-erected. In High Street, Vault, Castle Court, and Fish Street there still remain a few buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries. But the castle, the mint, and the numerous convents have entirely dis-appeared, the last of the monastic buildings, once ocoupied by the nuns of St Clare, having been demolished only a few years ago. The old burying-ground (or " Howff "), now closed, contains many interesting monuments and epitaphs.

Three spacious suburban burying-grounds have taken its place—the Western Cemetery, the Eastern Necropolis, and the Balgay Cemetery. Till the middle of the present century, or even later, many of the streets were narrow and irregular, and many of the buildings unhealthy and unsightly; but of late a great change for the better has taken place. Under the Improvement Act of 1871, the narrow gorge of the Murraygate has been swept away; the ugly and tortuous Bucklemaker Wynd has been transformed into the spacious Victoria Boad, with the Victoria Bridge at its upper end ; and a dense and dingy mass of buildings between Meadowside and Seagate has been replaced by Commercial Street, which, when completed, will be one of the finest civic thoroughfares in Britain. Many improve-ments still remain to be accomplished, and although the total cost will probably amount to £400,000, it is expected that there will be ultimately a profit on the street improvements. By the aid of local building societies a large number of working men's houses have recently been erected; and a double line of tramways has been laid from the post-office to the west end of the town.

IMAGE: Arms of Dundee.

Dundee is well supplied with recreation grounds. The Baxter Park, 35 acres in extent, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was presented by Sir David Baxter to the com-munity in 1863 ; the pavilion contains a marble statue of the donor by Sir John Steell, erected by public subscription. The Balgay Park, a picturesque wooded hill commanding fine prospects on every side, was secured by the police commissioners and opened to the public in 1871. Besides these there are the Magdalen Green, the Barrack Park, the Bleaching Green, and Dundee Law. A magnificent pro-menade along the river side between Magdalen Point and the Craig Pier has lately been opened. It is called the Es-planade, and incloses a space of 54 acres, which when filled up will give ample station and traffic accommodation for the Caledonian and North British railways, and leave the public a clear carriage-way and foot-path by the river side. The expense of the undertaking (about £40,000) is borne in nearly equal proportions by the two railway companies and the Harbour Trustees. An extensive abattoir and cattle market have recently been constructed by the police commis-sioners at the east end of the town. Dundee has regular and frequent steam-boat traffic with London, Hull, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leith, and Botterdam. To render communica-tion with the south more direct, the North British Bail-way Company designed the Tay Bridge, a colossal work, completed in 1877 (see BRIDGES, vol. iv. p. 340).

The water supply of Dundee is copious and excellent. Thirty years ago works were established at Monikie, but in time the quantity (about 2J million gallons per day) proved insufficient, while the quality deteriorated. The loch of Lintrathen, 20 miles distant, with necessary grounds, was accordingly purchased for £33,108. The surface of the loch, originally 180 acres, has been raised 20 feet, and is now 405 acres in extent; the storage capacity is 257,000,000 cubic feet; the drainage area, 19,000 acres. The main pipe from Lintrathen, 27inches in diameter, transmitting 8 million gallons per day, conveys the water to Clatto reservoir, four miles from the town, which has an area of 21 acres, and holds 80 million gallons; two pipes from Clatto lead to the service reservoirs. The total cost of the works exceed? £305.000.

Dundee possesses a large number of benevolent institu-tions, as well as " mortifications " (dating from 1656 downwards) for charitable or educational purposes.

Among eminent men who were natives of Dundee may be named Hector Boece or Boethius, historian, born about 1465 ; John and Bobert Wedderburn, authors or collectors of the book of Gude and Godlie Ballatis published 1578 ; Sir George Mackenzie, the celebrated lawyer, bom in 1636; Bev. John Willison, author of The Afflicted Man's Com-panion, born 1680 ; Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, born 1731; James Ivory, an eminent mathematician, born 1765; and Dr Dick, author of The Christian Philosopher, born 1774. The father of Thomas Hood, author of The Song of the Shirt, was a native of the town, and Hood's first literary production appeared in the Dundee Advertiser, about 1816. Bobert Nicoll, "Scotland's second Burns," at one time kept a circulating library in Castle Street, and William Thorn, the Inverury poet, rests in the Western Cemetery, where a monument was erected by public subscription over his grave.

Statistics.—The terrible havoc resulting from the siege of 1651 greatly checked the progress of Dundee, but the following century witnessed the beginning of that rapid and healthy growth which of late years has been so marked. The following figures show the population at successive periods of 30 years since 1755 :—

== TABLE ==

In 1876 the births numbered 5231, deaths 3076, marriages 1222. The birth-rate was 37 and the death-rate 22 per 1000.

The rainfall in Dundee for 1876 was 43'12 inches, which is con-siderably above the average, in fact, the highest of any recorded year except 1872, when it was 43 '70. The number of "wet days" in 1876 was 230, being 50 above the average. The prevailing winds are westerly.

Previous to 1832, Dundee was grouped with Forfar, Perth, Cupar, and St Andrews in returning a member to Parliament; the Reform Act gave it the privilege of a member for itself, and the Act of 1868 added another. For municipal purposes the town is divided into nine wards, the third of which includes the populous and thriving suburb of Lochee. The town council is composed of the provost, dean of guild, 6 bailies, and 20 councillors ; these are also the police and water commissioners. Part of the town being in the parish of Dundee, and part in the united parishes of Liff and ienvie, there are two parochial boards. "When the Education Act came into operation (1873) there was class-room accommodation within the burgh for 17,719 pupils, and since then the school board has built or enlarged 10 schools. In 1877 there was accommoda-tion for 20,615 pupils, and the number of children in the town of school age, that is from 5 to 13 years, was estimated at 21,000. The principal educational institution is the high school, where an excel-lent curriculum is available; and since 1875 classes, taught by professors from St Andrews, have been opened for the study of chemistry, geology, physiology, and literature.

In 1866 the ratepayers cordially adopted the Free Libraries' Act, and advantage has been largely taken of the privileges thus afforded. The library premises are centrically situated in Albert Square, and include a lending library, reference library, museum, and picture gallery, admission being free. In the lending library there are 25,000 volumes, in the reference library 5500. A fine arts exhibition is occasionally held within the free library buildings, and an Art Union for Dundee has just been sanctioned by the Board of Trade.

There are 78 places of worship in the town, which may be classi-fied as follows :—In connection with the Established Church, 16; Free Church, 20; U. P. Church, 11; Congregationalist, 6 ; Episco-palian, 5 ; Roman Catholic, 4 ; Baptist, 3 ; other denominations, 13.

Lochee, a suburb of Dundee, forming part of the municipality, is situated about two Miles to the north by the Coupar-Angus road. Till within recent years only a small country village, it has now a population of 15,000. It contains several flax and jute factories,—_ by far the largest and most comprehensive in the whole district being the Camperdown Linen Works, belonging to Messrs Cox Brothers and Co. They cover an area of 25 acres, and employ up-wards of 5000 persons. The most striking external feature, and one of the prominent landmarks in the district, is the stately chimney-stalk (282 feet high) in the style cf the Italian campaniles, built of parti-coloured bricks, with stone cornices.

Broughty Ferry, three miles distant, towards the mouth of the Firth of Tay, may also be considered as a suburb of Dundee. The name originally Bruch-tay, is believed to be Pietish, and refers to the castle or fortress, which is mentioned repeatedly during the wars of the 16th century. Its picturesque ruins continued till about 1857, when they were removed to make way for the present fort, which is intended as a defence for the Tay, and which mounts 9 guns, and can accommodate 60 men. Broughty Ferry is a burgh under the General Police Act, which was adopted in 1864, and is partly in the parish of Dundee partly in that of Monifieth. Some thirty years ago it was only a fishing village, although designed and partly laid out with a degree of breadth and regularity in the streets which fishing-villages rarely display. The population in 1861 was 3513, in 1871 it was 5707, and now (1877) it is estimated at 8000. There are nine churches of various denominations, the finest, in an architectural point of view, being the East Free and the Episcopalian, the latter designed by Sir G. G. Scott. Some of the villas on and around Fort Hill, occupied by Dundee mer-chants, are exceedingly handsome. Reres Hill and the Castle Green have been acquired by the commissioners of police as recreation grounds for the use of the public.

History.—Dundee is said to have been at one time called Alectum, but of this assertion there is no explicit documentary evidence. The earliest authentic mention of the town is in a deed of gift by David earl of Huntingdon, dated about 1200, which distinctly designated it "Dunde." The origin of the name is disputed,—some absurdly tracing it to the Latin Donmn Dei. "the gift of God," others to the Celtic Dun Dhia, the Hill of God, others to Dun taw, the hill or fort on the Tay ; the last named derivation is the most probable. Dundee was erected into a royal burgh by William the Lion, and has always been a place of considerable importance, figuring con- spicuously in the early history of Scotland, especially about the time when Bruce and Baliol were contending for the crown. It was here that Wallace was educated; and here he struck the first blow against the English domination. In the great Reformation movement of the 16th century the inhabitants took such a leading and active part as to earn for the town the appellation of '' the Scottish Geneva." Few places have been subjected to more frequent or serious cala- mities. It was twice taken by the English in the reign of Edward I., again in that of Richard II., and a fourth time in that of Edward VI. The marquis of Montrose took it by assault, and set part of it on fire in 1645 ; and in 1651 it was besieged by General Monk, and, after an obstinate resistance, was taken by storm, and given up to plunder and massacre. It was then probably the most opulent, and was certainly the best fortified town in Scotland, and many people of note from Edinburgh and elsewhere had found refuge within its walls. More than one-sixth of the inhabitants and garrison, including the brave governor Lumsden, were put to the sword ; while the plunder was so great as to fill 60 vessels which were seized in the harbour ; but, says Gumble in his life of Monk, "the ships were cast away within sight of the town, and that great wealth perished." Notwithstanding fhe number of burnings and plunderings to which Dundee has been subjected, the collection of charters, council-records, and other ancient documents preserved in the archives of the Town House is remarkably interesting and complete. There are characteristic despatches from Edward 1. and Edward II., the original charter of King Robert Bruce, dated 1327, a papal order from Leo X., and a letter from Queen Mary, dated 1564, providing for extra-mural interments. (C. C. M.)

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