As Dundee’s jute industry ground to a halt, Taybank Works stood alone as the last vestige of the once globally-renowned industry, not just locally but across the UK.
But now demolition work has begun at the UK’s last jute mill, on Morgan Street, Stobswell, and the site is being re-purposed to provide affordable homes.
Work on the Caledonia Housing Association project to create 37 houses at the site was halted during lockdown but has now restarted.
The development will consist of one and two-bedroom flats, six of which are earmarked for supported living accommodation.
There will also be a number of bungalows, of varying sizes, which are adapted for wheelchair users.
Andrew Kilpatrick, director of assets at Caledonia Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to be moving forward on our Morgan Street development to provide 37 new affordable homes for rent to Dundee.
“Like other developers, our plans for 2020 were interrupted by the pandemic but, with careful planning to ensure the safety of our workforce and general public, we are now progressing well with this and other new housing developments.
“Everyone we are working with – local authorities, contractors and consultants – is doing their utmost to help.
“This development at Morgan Street, as well as meeting the need for affordable housing, will help boost the local economy through job creation.
“The properties, which will be a mix of flats and family houses, will all be available to rent, and will be built to Caledonia’s usual high quality and energy efficiency standards.”
Taybank Works was built in 1870 by Pearce Brothers engineers, who also built Wallace Craigie Works, Wellfield Works and a number of jute mills in India.
It became renowned as a jute spinning mill, but has its roots in weaving.
The site was expanded in the 1940s with a distinctive corner entrance, which is now the Lilybank Mews housing development.
It was the last working jute mill in Dundee and the UK as a whole to close when its shutters came down in 1999.
The developer is currently out to tender for a firm to build the new homes and it is expected construction will begin in January, and is likely to take around 18 months.
The houses will be two-storey with three bedrooms and include a mix of detached,
semi-detached and terraced properties.
A three-storey block will contain two-bedroom flats for people with learning disabilities and a one-bedroom flat for staff.
Large swathes of the existing building – until recently home to a number of businesses – will be demolished to create vehicle access into the area.
However, several aspects of the building are listed and will be retained, including the old calendar – the large spools through which material is fed – and gable ends facing out onto Morgan Street.
Caledonia Housing Association’s bid to demolish Taybank Works and build homes on the site was approved in 2017.
The council said the need for local housing outweighed concerns about preserving historically significant buildings.
At the outset the housing association placed a value of £300,000 on the work.