The Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, set up in 1990 and maintained by Historic Environment Scotland, presents information about listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas that are empty and falling into disrepair. The Register lists around 40 properties in Dundee although planning permission has been granted for redevelopment of some of these, and redevelopment is underway on others. Recent success stories include the restoration of the High Mill at Verdant Works and conversion of the former Lower Dens Works, now occupied by Hotel Indigo.
Buildings at Risk are important for a variety of reasons; they may be of historical significance; exemplify a particular architectural style or tradition; reflect shared memories; or offer exciting and sustainable re-development opportunities. Collectively, they make an important contribution to Dundee’s urban landscape, helping to shape its unique identity. It is essential, therefore, that they are maintained well and brought into positive use.
The Trust works to raise the profile of the buildings on the Register and supports appropriate regeneration proposals.
You can access the register at: https://buildingsatrisk.org.uk
The villa is described by John Clifford in The Buildings of Scotland: Angus and Dundee as follows:
“Designed c1815-20 by David Neave for David Martin, a merchant. Two storeys above a high basement. At the street front, faced with stugged ashlar, corniced and aproned windows flank a pedimented mid 19 century porch which projects from the Greek Doric columns of the original doorpiece. At the rear an advanced and pedimented centre. A slated cupola, lighting the stair inside, was added to the roof in 1880 by Leslie Ower who also added an oriel window at the rear.”
A Youtube video from 2017 revealed the poor internal state of the building. Since then the wooden west bay window at the rear has fallen down and the east one could follow suit. Windows are open and there is apparently vandalism to the interior. As a key landmark on Roseangle and an example of the work of two of Dundee’s most accomplished architects, it is clear that this building is in urgent need of rescue.
East Mill, Blackness
At first glance, this modest industrial building looks of no consequence. In fact, it was what the Buildings at Risk Register (Scotland) describes as ‘The first successful steam powered flax mill in Scotland’. It is also claimed to be one of the oldest steam driven mills in the world. It is small, and now in very poor repair; nevertheless, as such it is the father of all the massive cathedrals of industry that were built by the Victorian jute magnates of the following century.
This historic building started life as a purpose-build, cutting-edge factory for one of Dundee’s oldest traditional industries – the tanning trade. It was built and first owned in 1792 by a small group of Dundee entrepreneurs including James Wright Junior, who was in a few years to gain national recognition as a pre-eminent designer of the commercial coinage of the 18th century and was thus arguably Dundee’s first industrial designer.
The Kings Theatre is a major landmark building at the eastern end of Dundee’s central shopping area. Designed by architect Frank Thomson, it opened in 1908 as the King’s Theatre and Hippodrome. The four-storey building’s main façade, including the entrance with its suspended canopy for queues, faces onto Cowgate. There is a long, largely blank wall as the structure turns into St Andrew’s Street. The building became a cinema in the nineteen twenty’s and this conversion, together with subsequent demolition and alterations, unfortunately damaged many of its original lavish interior features.
The Register records that in 2010 there was evidence of extensive damp, greening of the masonry with vegetation visible on the roof. The King’s Theatre Trust, whose aim is ‘to advance the cultural heritage of Dundee through providing a venue for substantial theatre events’, is seeking ways to restore the building to its former use.