Site 6 – Public Consultation Update

The public consultation event in connection with the latest proposals for Central Waterfront Site 6 will take place at 3 pm on Tuesday 31 May 2022 at Dundee House. For those unable to attend, the display boards may also be viewed on the Cooper Cromar website here.

A further event has been scheduled for Tuesday 21 June, also at Dundee House.

Stirrings on Site 6

Following abandonment of plans to establish a Marriott Hotel on Central Waterfront Site 6, a new Proposal of Application Notice has been lodged for the vacant part of the site to the east of Agnes Husband House (Dundee City Council reference 22/00251/PAN).

The applicant is Robertson Construction Tayside, in association with Cooper Cromar Architects of Glasgow. The proposal is described as a major development comprising phased development to deliver office accommodation and residential units, along with other commercial uses (Use Classes 1, 2 and 3), access and parking.

As part of the public consultation, more detailed plans are expected to be revealed at two events (dates to be confirmed) at Dundee House. There will also be an online exhibition. Members of the public are encouraged to participate and give their views.

Agnes Husband House is the controversial office block, now occupied by Social Security Scotland, which stands opposite the V&A and Dundee station. The Trust objected to this development on grounds of its height and indifferent design qualities, amongst other things. We hope the visual standard of the new elevations on the site may be more pleasing to the eye than Agnes Husband House, although admittedly that is not a high bar to clear.

Annual General Meeting, followed by The Howff: The Dead Centre of Dundee

Our Annual General Meeting will be followed (at 7.40 pm) by a talk by retired City Archivist Iain Flett, who is well known to many of our members.

Iain will outline the history of the ancient central burial ground, the Howff, which dates back to the sixteenth century.

Note this talk replaces our previously-billed event ‘A Menace in the Archives’, which has been postponed.

Thursday 21 April 2022, 7.00pm

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

Will Willison House find a new use?

The Category B listed Willison House at 56 Barrack Street dates back to 1934. This distinctive Art-Deco building was erected in the shadow of the massive Ward Mills and served as the retail premises of John L Robertson Ltd, house furnishers, until its abandonment about ten years ago.

After at least one false start, fresh plans involving the retention of the Barrack Street and Willison Street faience facades have been made. Edinburgh-based property firm KR Developments seeks to use the site for purpose-built student accommodation. You can view and participate in the public consultation (which closes on 21 April 2022) here.

Our planning group is examining the proposals, which appear to involve the addition of a tall masonry extension and ‘glass box’, similar to the nearby Dundee House.

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.

The Commonwealth War Graves

Patricia Keppie, one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s regional coordinators, will be accompanied by a local Dundee volunteer to outline the important work of the Commission and its educational charity, the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation.

This will cover the history of the CWGC and its ongoing work, including its early challenges, and will also take a look at the unique CWGC architecture and its conservation with an emphasis on our Dundee graves.

This will be our annual joint meeting with the Friends of Dundee Heritage Trust.

Thursday 17 February 2022, 7.00pm

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

City Scene 2021

2020-2021 Issue

Our new edition is available for £5.00 plus £1.50 postage and packing. Please contact us to place an order.


  • Comment – from the Chairman
  • COVID – a Year in Pictures
  • Dundee: Vision for 2040 – the Trust’s aspirations for the City
  • The 20-Minute Neighbourhood – the possible merits of this sustainable policy
  • Dundee Port – Adapting to the Future
  • The Case for Wider Boundaries – a view on expansion of the City’s administrative area
  • The Pioneering History of Public Art in Dundee
  • The East Mill – Scotland’s first successful steam powered flax mill
  • Civic Trust Student Awards – the Trust’s first student awards, in 2020 and 2021
  • DC Thomson Buildings – the impressive built estate of the City’s main publisher
  • Dundee’s Cold War – Royal Observer Corps
  • Dundee’s Cold War – The Maps
  • Dundee’s Cold War – Royal Naval Reserve

HMS Unicorn and the Dawn of Modern Naval Architecture

The second of Dundee Civic Trust’s popular series of winter evening talks will take place on Thursday 18 November 2021 at our usual venue of the Dundee Art Society gallery, 17 Roseangle.

HMS Unicorn is well-known to Dundonians as the old ‘wooden wall’ in Dundee docks but her true international importance is still very little understood.  She is the oldest British-built ship still afloat but, far more importantly, the ship also illustrates an extraordinary story of the dawn of marine engineering which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

Unicorn is the only survivor of the very first system of shipbuilding to integrate iron and wood structurally within a ship’s hull, a system invented by Sir Robert Seppings who can be thought of as the Royal Navy’s ‘Brunel’.

Roderick Stewart has been associated with Unicorn his entire life and will describe the ship’s design background as a warship and explain her important place in the history of marine engineering and naval architecture.