Collated by Lorna Black.
Dundee is the fourth largest city in Scotland and lies on the north bank of the River Tay. Dundee is famous for three Js: Jute, Jam and Journalism. During the peak of jute production the city was nicknamed Juteolopis. It is also known for the Tay Bridge Disaster and RSS Discovery. In recent times the city is renowned as the birthplace of the Scottish gaming industry and home to the V&A Dundee.
Where to find local collections:
Local History Centre, Central Library, Dundee
Dundee Register 1783 [reproduced by the Tay Valley Family History Society]
Dundee textile industry by P Carmichael & E Gauldie, 1969 [In Scottish History Society Publications]
The compt buik of David Wedderburne, merchant of Dundee, 1587-1630 Together with the shipping lists of Dundee, 1580-1618 by A Millar, 1898 [In Scottish History Society Publications] https://digital.nls.uk/125651962
Dundee, directed by Donald Alexander1939. [The premier screening was abandoned part way through due to the declaration of World War 2]
Dundee jute, filmed by J.R.L. Halley, 1948.
Prompt scripts of three plays, “McGonagall, McDonagall“, “The Mask” and “The Tay Bridge Disaster“, produced at Dundee Repertory Theatre, 1968-69 [available in the Library]
Nine letters of John Grahame, Viscount Dundee, to George Livingston, Earl of Linlithgow, 1678-1679. [available in the Library].
Some maps of the city of Dundee:
The prospect of ye town of Dundee from ye east by John Slezer, 1693. [From Slezer’s Scotland web resource].
Plan of the town of Dundee, with the improvements now in progress, 1846.
Exploration of the Antarctic: launch of the Discovery, 22nd March 1901.The Scotsman, page 5. [from the Scotsman Digital Archive, 1817-1950] [To access the Newspaper e-resources you need to be a member of the Library]
Slaters Royal National Commercial Directory 1886
Dundee’s whale fishing industry [Scottish Post Office Directories]
Williamina Fleming in [Science and Technology, women Scientists]
Sweet Dundee, circa 1860.
Plans of Dudhope Castle, Dundee … (Plan of Basement Floor) ,1891. https://maps.nls.uk/view/216443654
Although now a unitary authority, Dundee was historically a part of Forfarshire. The Statistical Accounts of Scotland are publications which cover life, history and geography in Scotland in the 18th, 19th and 20th Century.
Dundee has a number of links to dragons. There are dragons in Dundee’s coat of arms, a dragon on atop the spire of St Andrew’s Church and a dragon statue in the Murraygate. The dragon connection may be connected to this story Popular Rhymes of Scotland, (pages 57-58) by Robert Chambers, 1858. https://digital.nls.uk/early-gaelic-book-collections/archive/81375374
Application to register the name ‘Dundee Cake’ as a protected geographical indication (PGI) under the EU protected food name scheme, 2014. [Dundee cake is a fruit cake originally made with sultanas, currants, and fruit peels. It has a decorative arrangement of blanched almonds on the top and is named after the city where it was first made.]
Tay Bridge Disaster –Enquiry, commissioned by John Trayner on behalf of the Board of Trade, 1879. [In Scottish Bridges Digital Gallery] 91 black-and-white photographs of the wrecked piers of the Tay Bridge, which collapsed because of high winds on 28 December 1879. They show destroyed piers and girders, wreckage of steam locomotive and other train parts salvaged from the Tay.
Further Reading (in the Library)
The Beano, 1938-
Dundee Memories, Dundee Courier, 2019
Across the great divide : a history of professional football in Dundee by Jim Wilkie, 2000
Dundee : a very peculiar history : with added jute, jam and journalism by Fiona MacDonald, 2015