Dundee is Famous for the 3Js, Jute, Jam & Journalism

Published: 04th June 2007
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Dundee flourished between 1700 and 1900 primarily because of the jute industry. At one time it was said that there were more millionaires per head of population in Dundee then anywhere else in the world!

At one point, jute employed more people in Dundee then all the other industries combined. Then due to competition from Asia the jute industry slowly died a death. Now there are only a few people employed in the jute industry in Dundee.

Verdant Works is a restored working museum where jute is still produced today. You can see for yourself how jute was manufactured and learn more about the rise and decline of the jute industry. At its peak over 500 people were employed at Verdant Works. Conditions must have been tough for the workers because the factory is not that large!

It has been said that marmalade was invented by Janet Keillor. They had ordered Oranges from Seville which arrived late sometime around 1700 and were very bitter. Janet Keillor managed to make the original recipe for marmalade. Her son then developed the recipe further and made Keillor's jams and marmalades famous throughout the world.

This story is probably not one hundred percent true as some types of marmalade were probably being eaten in Spain and Portugal before this late shipment of bitter oranges arrived in Dundee. Marmalade is a sweet sticky condiment that tastes great on toast at breakfast time. It is not to everybody's liking though with many people and especially children who find it unpalatable.

Although Dundee was famous for its jams the number of people employed in the industry was small compared to jute and journalism. As competition grew in the late 1900s the factory struggled to make any profits. The Keillor factory was bought by the Okhai family in the 1980s but they were unable to make the business profitable and it eventually closed down.

Journalism still thrives in Dundee today. The business owned by the DC Thomson family created many famous characters including Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan, Billy Whiz and the Bash Street Kids. They publish The Courier newspaper, Sunday Post, Scots Magazine, Weekly News as well as the Beano, Dandy. According to their own figures they publish over 200 million newspapers and magazines each year.

Dundee at its peak had over two hundred thousand people living and working in the city. As the industry has slowly died younger people and especially graduates are leaving to work in the larger cities. Now it has a population of around a hundred and forty thousand.

Dundee is a beautiful place to live sitting on "the Banks of the Bonny Bay." The Law is at the centre of Dundee and was at on point an active volcano. Now you can drive up to the top and from this vantage point see all the four corners of Dundee.

Dundee is a great place to visit if you want to see Scotland. Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow are all within an hours reach. Perth and St Andrews (the home of golf) are both within twenty minutes drive.

Chris Fawcett
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