is often quoted, but Dundee is famous
for much more.
It was probably first
chartered over eight hundred years ago, making it one of Scotland's most ancient
burghs. As Dundee's merchants traded extensively in northern Europe and
the Baltic countries, so its scholars followed in their footsteps and were among
the first to bring back the ideas of Martin Luther and John Calvin, earning Dundee
the epithet "the second Geneva."
Whaling, and the specialised
shipbuilding techniques associated with it, were vital industries for centuries
and at one time, Dundee's whaling fleet was among the largest and most
technologically advanced in the
This led Captain
Scott and his Antarctic exploration team to commission the RRS Discovery from
the Dundee Shipbuilders Company. Their historic expedition set off from
the city, before a huge and cheering crowd, in March of 1901. Nine years
later, the Terra Nova, also built in Dundee, carried the Captain and his famous
team on their final, tragic voyage.
Dundee wove flax long
before its mills began to process jute but it was in the nineteenth century that
the city became jute capital of the world and earned the name "Juteopolis". Dundee cloth covered American settlers' wagons, tented soldiers in
the Crimean and American Civil Wars and sheltered the men and animals who
built the great Western railroads. Her mills and factories could barely
keep up with demand for sailcloth and sacking, tarpaulins and tent fabric, horse
blankets and nosebags. War and enterprise were grist to Dundee's mills.
Jam and Journalism pre-date the
arrival of jute in Dundee. In 1797 James Keillor established his jam and marmalade factory.
His products became internationally known, not just for their quality but also
for the distinctive stoneware jars in which they were sold.
In 1801 the Dundee Advertiser was
launched, followed by the Dundee Courier. Sir John Leng, owner of the
former, was reputed to be the first to illustrate a newspaper. He
developed a considerable publishing empire which later attracted William Thomson, a
shipping magnate, who bought the Dundee Courier in 1886. His sons founded the
hugely-successful D. C. Thomson, who still publish not only The Courier, but
also many of Britain's best-loved weekly magazines and comics.
But Dundee was printing more than
just news. James Chalmers, born in 1782, owned a small print shop in the
town and is credited with the invention of the postage stamp. Valentines, card
able to boast of colour postcard sales numbering millions to the US alone in the first
decade of the twentieth century.
Today Dundee is famous
internationally for its bio-chemical industries, computer software companies
and, of course, the ground-breaking medical research undertaken at Ninewells Hospital and Medical
School. Over 20,000 students study at its two universities and its theatre and
concert hall regularly stage outstanding music and drama.
Dundee sits at the mouth of the River Tay,
surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in
Scotland. Golfers worldwide discover the city as they fly into the
local airport before making the short journey to play the Old Course at St.
Andrews or the notoriously challenging links at Carnoustie.
It is within easy
reach of Aberdeen, centre of the Scottish oil industry, Edinburgh, home of the world-renowned Edinburgh
Festival and Glasgow, with its treasure trove of art, culture and history.
In recent years Dundee has become
known as "City of Discovery". A third and fitting epithet for a
vibrant and attractive city.