The decline of manufacturing wasn’t kind to DUNDEE, but regeneration is very much the buzzword today. The city’s heyday was in the 1800s, when its train and harbour links made it a major centre for shipbuilding, whaling and the manufacture of jute, the world’s most important vegetable fibre after cotton. However, this, along with jam and journalism – the three Js which famously defined the city – has all but disappeared. Only local publishing giant D.C. Thomson, publisher of the ever-popular Beano and Dandy, among other publications, still play a meaningful role in the city.
Immediately west of the city centre, High Street becomes Nethergate and passes into what has been dubbed, with some justification, Dundee’s “Cultural Quarter”. As well as the university and the highly respected Rep Theatre, the area is also home to the best concentration of pubs and cafés in the city.
The hip and exciting DCA, or Dundee Contemporary Arts, is a stunningly designed five-floor complex which incorporates galleries, a print studio, a classy design shop and an airy café-bar. The centre, opened in 1999, was designed by Richard Murphy, who converted an old brick garage and car showroom into an inspiring new space, given energy and confidence by its bright, sleek interior and distinctive ship-like exterior. It’s worth visiting for the stimulating temporary and touring exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an eclectic programme of art-house films and cult classics.