Verdant Works

hello folks … just came across this invitation, for those to whom it applies.

Verdant Works

“Please share this with anyone 60+ who might be interested!

We would like to welcome anyone over the age of 60 to join us for a cup of tea and a chat. We’ll provide photos and themed objects from our archive to inspire trips down memory lane.

We hope this informal ‘taster’ session will help to shape a series of reminiscence sessions taking place when we open the High Mill this autumn.

Wednesday 13th May, 10:30 am
Free, at Verdant Works
No need to book, just turn up!

Telephone Anna, 01382 309089 for additional information.”

Three Chimneys and Verdant Works

Three Chimneys Book



Found this absolutely brilliant site that has a Chef Masterclass video by Executive Chef Michael Smith from the renown Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye.  He is making a Shellfish Risotto and not only does he show you how to make the risotto but all the recipes needed are included in the article.  So if you’ve ever wanted to tackle Hake and Shellfish Risotto, Mussel and Syboe (spring onion) Pakora with Spiced Shellfish Oil, here is everything you need.



Shellfish Risotto
Shellfish Risotto
Michael Smith
Michael Smith















Doreen Meek is a self-taught artist who uses texture and color in her artwork. Oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic ink and collage are methods she uses to express herself in her paintings.

Verdant Works Gallery in Dundee is showcasing Doreen’s work until April 7th. Admission is free and you could also check out the Jute Museum while you are there.

Warp and Weft of Life


Celebrating the 500th anniversary of Dundee’s weaving industry, Dundee Heritage Trust is having a temporary exhibition at Verdant Works from May 5th to November 2nd.  It is a free event held at Verdant Works, West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The show will highlight the importance of weaving to the city’s history with themes covered including engineering, training, woven products and the lives of the workers. It will feature a selection of striking framed images from the Trust’s rich historic photograph collection including local factories and mills, weaving machinery and Dundee’s weavers at work. There will also be showcases of previously unseen objects, photographs and archives from the collections including model looms, wooden patterns used to make the machines, a variety of weaver’s tools and woven jute products including hessian wallpaper and a number of original historic photographs of weaving factories.” (website)



In weaving terms, the “weft” (or “woof”) is used to describe the yarn drawn through the “warp” yarns to create cloth.  Warp is the longitudinal thread in a roll and the weft is the opposite thread.

Originally, hand looms were used to thread the weft through the warp, with the shuttle being threaded through alternately raised warps by hand.  The weft is a thread of spun fibre.  Although man-made fibres are now used, the original fibre was wool, flax or cotton.   The weft does not need to be as strong as the warp, as it isn’t stretched on a loom like the warp is.

“Weft and warp” can also be used metaphorically for “fabric” as in the “weft and warp of life”.  Also, a “weft” can be a hairdressing term for temporary hair extensions.



I listened to an informative talk by Neil Oliver put on by the Open University.  “A Walk around Dundee” is an audio clip as he strolls around the Blackness area of Dundee, talking about the jute industry.

Verdant Works

courtesy of BBC


Jute is one the most versatile natural fibres known to man and in 1820, the first twenty bales arrived on the Dundee docks.  During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it became well-known for its strength, low cost and versatility and therefore very important for making sacking, ropes, boot linings, aprons, tents, satchels and tapestries among other necessities. 

Three vital parts of Dundee’s jute industry were weaving, whaling and shipbuilding.  As far back as the 16th century, weaving was an important industry in Dundee so the skills for adaptation to jute processing were already in place and the local whaling fleet provided the whale oil that softened the jute, which made it easier to work with.  Dundee’s shipbuilding industry constructed the big ships that brought the jute from India.

Verdant Works was built in 1833 and then other buildings were added, completing the site in 1870.   Originally, it was a flax mill of 50,000 square feet with 500 workers making coarse linen for sacks and baling cloth for cotton.  They ran three steam engines driving 70 power looms and 2,800 spindles. Verdant Works got the name from its building being in an area surrounded by green fields and with the nearness of The Scouring Burn, a ready supply of water, it made for a perfect mill location.

Most of the workforce was women and the working conditions were ruthless.  They outnumbered men three to one in the mills, creating a tough, independent breed of women who were the main providers for the family.  Everyone was covered in dust, clogging up eyes, mouths and noses, as well as the ever-present, very loud noise of the machinery which caused many workers to go deaf.  Children also worked in the mills and from under the age of nine, they would work as “pickers”, clearing out the dust from beneath the machines. Requiring only a low wage and their smallness meaning they could pack the machines closer together made them ideal employees.    “Mill fever”, a condition caused from the heat, grease and oil fumes would lead to respiratory diseases like bronchitis.

Fastforwarding to the late 20th century, there were a lot of derelict mills in the city and in 1985, Dundee Heritage Trust was formed.  In 1991, the Verdant building was purchased and by 1996, the first phase of the museum was opened with the second phase opening a year later.  In 1991, the Dundee Heritage Trust restored 25,000 square feet of the jute mill, taking a total of six years to finish.  Many of the original features remained hidden under the floor and as much as possible, historic materials and techniques were used to restore the building.

There is a specially commissioned film “A Common Thread” now showing in the Indian Gallery at Verdant Works, covering the links between Dundee and India and includes some incredible footage of jute mills in India today.

There used to be around 100 mills in the Dundee area but roughly half of these were demolished.  Some mill buildings are still intact today and have been made into social clubs, offices and housing.

The information and photos here have been obtained from the Verdant Works site and from the BBC site