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Annual General Meeting 2022 / ‘Bridgescapes’ talk

The Annual General Meeting of Dundee Civic Trust is restored to its usual March date in the calendar after the disruption of the pandemic.

Our guest speaker to round off the evening is author Bruce Keith, who will discuss his book ‘Bridgescapes’. This is a personal journey through history, celebrating Scotland’s bridge-building heritage.

The book is also amply illustrated by a young Scottish photographer, Lewis Matheson, supplemented by archive material.

Thursday 17 March 2022, 7.00pm

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

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

Thursday 20 January 2022 – Event Cancelled

In connection with the ongoing concern surrounding the Omicron variant, the Trust has taken the decision to postpone this month’s scheduled talk, due to be held on Thursday 20 January.

The talk was to be given by Chris van der Kuyl, focussing on the successful transformation of a run-down transit shed, situated in the Port of Dundee, to a high quality commercial development known as Water’s Edge.

The talk will be re-scheduled for a later date.

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.

Plans for solar energy at James Hutton Institute

An application has been submitted by the Dundee Renewable Energy Society for an array of solar panels on a 6.25 ha site north of the A90 opposite Bullionfield to supply power to the James Hutton Institute, estimated at over 25 per cent of their considerable energy use. The plans involve changes to access from the A90, under which the cables would pass, and removal of a considerable amount of woodland. The applicants propose some replanting and state that the visual impression will remain of a wooded site, as a strip of trees alongside the A90 would be retained.

Our planning group will be examining the proposals in more detail.

The application reference is 21/00670/FULL.

20-Minute Neighbourhoods

A talk by Dr Husam AlWaer

Dundee Art Society Gallery, 17 Roseangle

After the loss of the 2020-21 season, we plan to resume our programme of evening talks on Thursday 21 October 2021.

Dr Husam AlWaer’s presentation will challenge us to consider the benefits of living locally and will examine the need to redesign how we live, in the face of climate crisis and in the wake of Covid. Can you easily get everything you need within 20 minutes of where you live? The concept of the 20-minute neighbourhood is a way to radically reconsider space; and the idea offers many solutions.

Dr AlWaer is an architect, planner, urbanist and award winning author. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee and has a focused interest in the past and future of sustainable places, neighbourhoods and cities.



Proposals for central corner site

Dundee City Council has received an application for the conversion and change of use of the six-storey former Royal Insurance building at the corner of Whitehall Crescent and Crichton Street.

This is a very prominent – and potentially prestigious – city centre location. The existing building, designed by the Parr architectural practice, was erected in the early 1970s on a site which had been left unfinished under the Improvement Act a century earlier. Here once stood the Old Custom House.

The new proposals, to designs by Jon Frullani Architect, involve conversion of the upper floors to form fourteen flats. The existing fenestration and curtain walling would be removed and the building re-clad in masonry with new window openings.

The Trust supports the principle of residential use here, as it will help support city centre businesses and services. The appearance of the building will be the major factor in our consideration of the application. The application can be viewed on the Dundee City Council website under planning reference 21/00636/FULL.

Dundee Civic Trust Student Awards 2021

The Civic Trust’s second annual Student Award, run in association with the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Dundee University, gives recognition to three top students from the Department.

The winner of the Award is Evan McColl, who is a member of the Hilltown Collective – Sustainable Urban Community group. Evan produced an excellent, comprehensive and well-thought-out blueprint for transforming the Hilltown area.

After extensive research into the different critical elements operating against the Hilltown functioning as a ‘great space’, Evan’s work shows how the southern part of the district could be transformed into a fully formed neighbourhood. The vision comes complete with an urban farm and mixed-use core incorporating a number of uses. These include a library and café, residential units with workshops and gallery space, multi-generational housing, food hall, plaza area with outdoor seating, theatre and cinema. The plan also includes a pedestrian and cycle skyway link and envisages the roof spaces of the existing Dallfield multis being adapted to form roof gardens and games courts.

Evan’s submission also provides drawings and diagrams of environmental benefits, including a biomass boiler providing underfloor heating to public areas; air source heat pumps with underfloor heating for residential areas; photovoltaic arrays on roofs; and green walls providing vertical garden space within housing.

The runners up are Sean Noon, with an exciting design for a new central sports centre for the city; and Nguyenova Thao Vi, who envisaged extending the University campus towards the River Tay, with a new Library built partly over the water.

The entries were examined by a judging panel from Dundee Civic Trust. Our Chairman, Donald Gordon, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to support, encourage and reward the excellent work being done in the Department by our future architects and planners.  How the city will look in the years to come may depend to some extent on the learning and inspiration that they acquire as students.’

Cameron Wilson, the Head of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Dundee, commented: ‘The prize winners will be pleased and honoured to be announced as recipients of the Dundee Civic Trust Student Award. A “thank you” to the Civic Trust for your energies and continuing to support this award for our students.”

The awards will be presented to the students at a later date.

East End Eden

Details of the long-awaited proposals to bring the Eden Project to Dundee were revealed in the local press on 21 May. Following a feasibility study, the extensive site of the former gas works between East Dock Street and Broughty Ferry Road has been identified as the preferred location.

Two hundred years ago, this was where the waters of the Tay estuary met the shore below the eastern ‘sea braes’. The site affords much creative potential. Eden Project’s plans envisage a repurposed gasholder dominating the skyline, a massive walled garden and a bridge spanning East Dock Street and the railway, providing a link with City Quay.

The visitor experience will be organised around a series of nine ‘Guilds’, inviting alternative ways of perceiving the world. This is an echo of the city’s familiar Nine Incorporated Trades.

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed with the owners of the gas works site. After a further three to four months of design work, Eden Project Dundee intends to release further details.

Dundee Civic Trust has been very supportive of the plan to establish Scotland’s Eden Project in the city. We look forward to the development of this addition to our growing number of visitor attractions.