In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Dundee like this:
Dundee, parl. and royal burgh, manufacturing and market town, seaport, and par., Forfarshire, at foot of the Law (571 ft.), on N. side of Firth of Tay, 21¾ miles E. of Perth by rail, 42 N. of Edinburgh, 84 NE. of Glasgow, and 441 NW. of London - par., 4349 ac., pop. 100,598; parl. and royal burgh, pop. 140,063; town, pop. 140,239; 9 Banks, 5 newspapers. Market-days, Tues. and Fri. Dundee is in population the third town in Scotland. It is the first port in Britain for the seal and whale fishery, and the chief seat of the linen and jute mfrs. ...
The principal textile productions are Osnaburghs, dowlas, canvas, sheetings, bagging, and jute carpeting. The annual value of these fabrics is estimated at nearly #8,000,000. Among the other industries are shipbuilding, engineering, tanning, and shoemaking by machinery. There are also considerable foundries, breweries, corn and flour mills, and confectionery and fruit-preserving (the celebrated Dundee marmalade) works. The harbour works extend about 2 miles along the river side; the docks, 5 in number, cover an area of 35 ac. On middle and E. piers, and at Camperdown Dock, are fixed lights (Dundee Harbour) seen 7 and 3 miles. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) There is regular steamboat communication with Leith, Newcastle, Hull, London, Liverpool, and Rotterdam. A steam service was arranged between Dundee and Antwerp in 1884. Communication with the south was rendered more direct by the Tay Bridge, opened in May 1878, and blown down in December 1879. Steps were almost immediately taken to have it rebuilt, and the work was begun in the spring of 1882. Dundee has a College (1882), with an endowment of £140,000, and chairs for natural history and mathematics, chemistry, classics and history, and English literature and language; it has also a Free Library, an Esplanade, extending along the river side between Magdalen Point and Craig Pier, and several public parks, the most notable of which is the Baxter Park (38 ac.), presented to the community by Sir David Baxter. Its most remarkable antiquities are -- the "Old Steeple" (14th century), and the East Port, the sole relic of the ancient walls, allowed to stand in commemoration of Wishart the Martyr, who preached from it during the plague in 1544. Dundee was early a town of considerable note. It was made a royal burgh by William the Lion, and was twice taken possession of by the English during the War of Independence. In the reign of the Stuarts it was ranked the third town in Scotland after Edinburgh. In the 16th century it was the first Scottish town to renounce Popery; in 1645 it was pillaged by Montrose, and again by General Monk in 1651; it long suffered from these calamities, but in the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries it rapidly recovered even more than its former comparative importance. The burgh returns 2 members to Parliament.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Dundee has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Dundee. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Dundee and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Dundee in Scotland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd May 2013
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