Establishing global links by sea and air
Busy ports create cities with strong international connections. This panel looks at how Dundee has made its mark across the globe, the vessels that have docked here, the trade routes sailed, and how a history in shipping has influenced local industries and street names. The panel also shows the words ‘My Home’ translated into several different languages.
1. International Dundee
Dundee has been a trading port since medieval times, importing and exporting a diverse list of goods – from salt, iron and timber, to sugar, fish, wine and textiles.
Dundee was once a centre for shipbuilding. The trade began with small wooden fishing vessels and, in the 19th century, the city became synonymous with iron-built ships – including sturdy whaling vessels that could cope with ice-floes.
3. Navigational compass
In the 19th century, the introduction of iron and steel in the hull and engines of ships affected the accuracy of the traditional magnetic compass.
4. Trade routes
Initially, the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Europe were important connections, but in the 19th century Dundee’s transatlantic trade really took off. The port became an indispensible contributor to the city’s economy, and profitable trade routes were established to India, USA and Jamaica.
5. Space software
Bright Ascension, a global space software engineering company, is based in Dundee.
6. Rotary in Dundee
As well as local fellowship and charitable work at home, Rotary in Dundee contributes to and supports international initiatives.
7. Cruise shipping industry
Various cruise lines, including Ambassador and Azamara, now visit the Port of Dundee.
8. Bessie Maxwell
Bessie was born in Dundee to a family of journalists. Her great-grandfather was the first editor of The Peoples’ Friend, her father had been an editor, and her sister Annie worked at D.C. Thomson for 40 years. So it was no surprise when Bessie joined the company, too. Her big break came when, aged 23, she was sent on a year-long trip with fellow journalist Marie Imandt to report on women’s lives all over the world.
9. Marie Imandt
Marie had been working at D.C. Thomson for seven years when she and Bessie Maxwell began globe-trotting. The two women wrote two weekly reports, complete with sketches, for Dundee Courier and Weekly News which were often picked up by the London press. The duo explored Europe, before travelling much further afield. Their destinations included factories, women’s prisons and temples, before returning to Dundee in February 1895.
10. Mercury seaplane
In 1938, a small seaplane called Mercury was involved in a world-record attempt, flying 6,370 miles from Dundee to Cape Town. Bad weather scuppered Mercury’s distance record, but it did achieve the record for the longest non-stop seaplane flight.
11. North Carr Lightship
Weighing almost 270 tons, the North Carr lightship was once located off Fife Ness, where its bright light and loud foghorn protected sailing ships from dangerous rocks. The lightship was decommissioned in 1975.
12. Minecraft ‘Creeper’
One of Dundee’s gaming success stories was the ‘porting’ of Minecraft (originally a PC game) to consoles and handheld platforms by local games developer, 4J Studios. For millions of players worldwide, these hostile characters called ‘Creepers’ are a familiar sight.