The Creation of Water’s Edge

Dundee entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl will join us in May. In addition to his role as chairman of 4J Studios (developers of Minecraft), Chris co-owns Water’s Edge at Camperdown Dock. The transformation of these previously run-down transit sheds to a high-quality commercial development will be at the centre of his talk. Members may remember that Water’s Edge was one of the winners in the 2019 Dundee Civic Trust Awards.

Thursday 19 May 2022, 7.00pm

Dundee Art Society Gallery, 17 Roseangle, Dundee, DD1 4LP

The Dundee and Arbroath Railway: from Pioneering Line to Trunk Route

When the Dundee and Arbroath Railway opened in 1838, few could have imagined it to be anything other than a local transport enterprise. The concept of a national rail network had scarcely formed; but in little more than ten years the ‘D&A’ was to become established as a strategically important main line.

Civic Trust member Neale Elder has worked on the railways for 35 years and takes a keen interest in the history of his industry. He will tell the story of the ‘D&A’ from its inauguration as an independent operation, through nearly 70 years’ stewardship by a joint board of two rival companies, to the ‘ups and downs’ of the late twentieth century.

Today, with improvements to the rail route between Aberdeen and the Central Belt in the course of development, this once pioneering railway has a promising future.

Thursday 17 March 2022, 7.00pm

Dundee Art Society Gallery, 17 Roseangle, Dundee, DD1 4LP

Eagle Mills plans

We note a recent application (22/00078/LBC) for listed building consent to convert the western half of the former Eagle Jute Mills to 34 apartments, an internal courtyard, a commercial unit and a basement apparently to be used for plant research. This is Phase 2 of redevelopment of this extensive site enclosed by Dens Road, Lyon Street, Brown Constable Street and Victoria Street. Phase 1 (covering the eastern half) was approved in 2018, but work does not seem to have started.

The oldest part of the complex (now Category B listed) dates from 1864 and was originally Baxter Brothers’ engineering works, where mill machinery was manufactured. In 1930 the site was converted to a jute spinning mill for Low and Bonar. The ‘eagle’ name seems to date from this time, although the familiar wooden aquiline effigy once a feature of the Dens Road/Victoria Street corner was a much later addition.

Many examples of Dundee’s industrial heritage have been rescued through a remarkably successful series of restoration projects since the early 1980s. Upper Dens, Camperdown Works, Tay Works, the Coffin Mill and, most recently, the hotel/apartment development at Lower Dens all have their place here. After the recent sad loss of Wallace Craigie Works, let us hope a secure future can be found for the Eagle Mills.