Dundee, Scotland

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Date: July, 2014
Location: Dundee, Dundee City, Scotland, United Kingdom



Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland by population and has the second highest population density of any Scottish city.

The town developed into a burgh in Medieval times, and expanded rapidly in the 19th century largely due to the jute industry and was known as the city of “jute, jam and journalism”.

Today, Dundee is promoted as ‘One City, Many Discoveries’ in honor of Dundee’s history of scientific activities and of the RRS Discovery, Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic exploration vessel, which was built in Dundee and is now docked in the city harbor as a museum. Biomedical and technological industries have prospered since the 1980s, and the city now accounts for 10% of the United Kingdom’s digital-entertainment industry.

The Dundee Law, which may take its name from the Gaelic word for mound or more likely, from Anglo-Saxon hlāw meaning a (grave-)mound, is an extinct volcano. Subsequent ice movements further eroded the hill and deposited more debris around the base. The shallow gradient of the slopes on the north and eastern sides of the law suggest a north easterly movement of ice flows. The hill’s summit is over 500 feet above sea level.

Archaeological evidence of burials suggest that the law may have been used by human settlers 3500 years ago. During the Iron Age it was the site of a Pictish settlement. Roman pottery has been found on the law, suggesting that the Romans may have used it as a lookout post in the first century. On 13 April 1689 Viscount Dundee raised the Stuart Royal Standard on the Law, which marked the beginning of the first Jacobite rising.

The Law has a tunnel which runs through it. It used to be used for the railway to Newtyle. A war memorial to the fallen in both world wars was constructed atop the summit. The memorial is lit with a large flame at its top on a number of significant days: 25 September (in memory of the Battle of Loos – in which many members of the local Black Watch regiment lost their lives), 24 October (United Nations Day), 11 November (Armistice Day) and Remembrance Sunday.

The famous Tay Bridge disaster occurred during a violent storm on 28 December 1879 when the original Tay Rail Bridge collapsed while a train was passing over it from Wormit to Dundee, killing all aboard. The bridge, designed by Sir Thomas Bouch, used lattice girders supported by iron piers, with cast iron columns and wrought iron cross-bracing. The piers were narrower and their cross-bracing was less extensive and more robust than on previous similar designs by Bouch. However, he had made no explicit allowance for wind loading in the design amd there were other flaws in detailed design, maintenance, and in quality control of castings, all of which were in part, Bouch’s responsibility. Bouch died within the year, with his reputation as an engineer ruined. Future British bridge designs had to allow for wind loading of up to 56 pounds per square foot. Bouch’s design for the Forth Bridge was not used as a direct result of the tragedy.

A new double-track bridge was designed by William Henry Barlow and built 59 ft upstream of, and parallel to, the original bridge. Construction involved 25,000 metric tons (28,000 short tons) of iron and steel, 70,000 metric tons (77,000 short tons) of concrete, ten million bricks (weighing 37,500 metric tons (41,300 short tons)) and three million rivets. Fourteen men lost their lives during its construction, most by drowning.

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