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Historic purveyor of the three J's


Verdant Works
Discovery Point
Mills Observatory
Dundee is Scotland's fourth city, after Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. It's famous for the three J's: Jutes, Jam and Journalism.
Jute is a natural thread that's nearly as cheap and versatile as cotton. In the 1800s it was imported by the boatload from Asia, and processed in one of many gigantic mills. The last of these factories closed around 2001, but some managed to live on as apartments or offices. The names of successful jute businessmen are also remembered, in building and places names. For example the city's main concert venue, Caird Hall, is named after its rich, textile-trading benefactor.
One of the biggest jute mills was converted into a museum called the Verdant Works. It's generally agreed to be among the best industrial museums in Europe. It covers the entire history of jute production, from its discovery, to its 19th-century status as the employer of half of Dundee.
The second J is Jam. The city's association with the stuff supposedly comes from the time one of its residents had a surplus of Spanish Seville oranges - so she invented marmalade. Her name was Mrs Keiller and - whether she really was the first to invent the product or not - it started to sell like hot cakes. Jars of Keiller's marmalade can still be bought today.
The last of the three Js is Journalism. Plenty of famous authors and poets either lived or studied here, like Frankenstein's creator Mary Shelley. The city runs an annual book prize, with £10,000 going to the winner.
The main publisher is DC Thomson, which is responsible for newspapers, magazines and, most famously, the Dandy and Beano comics, which have been appearing regularly since before World War II. Their characters are immortalised here in Dundee city centre, with statues of both Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx.
Dundee's past success in the jute industry was largely down to the facilities it could offer as a harbour. The best-known ship to have sailed its waters is the RRS Discovery, a vessel that completed a successful voyage to Antarctica in the early 20th century. It's now berthed permanently inside the purpose-built "Discovery Point" visitor attraction, which tells all the stories of the ship's many adventures.
Over the next couple of decades, the waterfront will change beyond recognition. This is thanks to a £300 million redevelopment project, which will see shops, homes and businesses installed in their hundreds.
Another landmark is the Mills Observatory. It's the only one in Britain that's open to the public full-time. Its unusual dome is - uniquely - made from papier-mâché. The building itself is a sandstone structure from the 1930s, but its main telescope is an even older Victorian instrument. In the winter you can see stars, and in the summer you can see sun spots. The attached shop sells stones and fossils that are millions of years old.

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