The City of Discovery


That is what Dundee calls itself, "The City of Discovery" (at least according to the tourist board and the City Council).

You can see it everywhere in these cheesy tourist announcements they put up (left) in this hideous font. I don't know if it's Comic Sans, but it's close enough.

Mostly I've heard people outside of DD1 (The Dundee post code. Yep. I'm down) refer to the town as "Scumdee" or "Not so Fundee".

That's because, once upon a time, Dundee was in a pretty bad shape.

How bad? Imagine if you took Detroit and moved it to Scotland.

The major employer in Dundee, up to around the First World War was the jute industry. Around the turn of the century about 50,000 people were working in mills in Dundee. The mill owners would import jute from India, a type of plant fiber, into Dundee, where there was a skilled labor force (due to the linen mills in the area) and a healthy supply of whale blubber, for lubricating the jute and the machinery.

Then, the mill owners, looking to cut costs, had a brilliant idea - "Wait a minute, instead of

shipping the jute up to Dundee, where it's cold and rainy, why don't we move the factories down to India. Where we can pay people even LESS!!"

And that's exactly what they did.

Now it's marginally better, but it's still the teen-pregnancy capital of Great Britain.

So why is Dundee called the "City of Discovery"? Because this is where the Polar exploration ship RRS Discovery was built and now has a home.