‘Mourners’ gather to remember Dundee jute mill demolished without permission

Mourners at the memorial event for Halley's Mill which was demolished without proper planning permission in May last year. They laid a wreath constructed from cardboard and hand-sewn burlap jute flowers.
Mourners at the memorial event for Halley's Mill which was demolished without proper planning permission in May last year. They laid a wreath constructed from cardboard and hand-sewn burlap jute flowers.

A memorial event with a difference was held at the weekend, as “mourners” gathered to commemorate the demolition of a derelict jute mill.

Fans of the city’s architectural history gathered by the rubble of the once mighty Halley’s Mill, which was pulled down “without permission” in May last year.

Its destruction caused an uproar at the time and last June the city’s councillors unanimously agreed to report owners Craigie Estates Ltd to the procurator fiscal.

The investigation into the circumstances of the demolition are ongoing.

The mill was built by William Halley, a flax manufacturer who became part owner of Wallace Craigie Works spinning mill.

It was built in 1836.

Saturday’s gathering was organised by fine art student Stevie Murdoch, who set up the event bringing people from different backgrounds together via social media.

They gathered at the site of the former mill to lay a large hand-made wreath, which had been constructed from cardboard and hand-sewn burlap jute flowers.

The memorial was also covered with spray paint and read: rest in paint.

It was written in a Georgia font, the same typeface which once featured on the iconic sign which adorned the front of the building before it was demolished.

The wreath will be displayed at the Dundee University art and design degree show, which takes place on May 17.

Stevie said: “Last May we lost a piece of our industrial heritage and a segment of Dundee’s subcultural history.

“Its iconic yellow signage was abruptly torn to the ground by demolition contractors with shockingly, no attempt to salvage it for display in Dundee’s Verdant Works museum – an organisation that celebrates the city’s previously booming textile production.”

When it was brought down, Craigie Estates maintained it was right to demolish the building as a matter of public safety. It said there had been a number of break-ins and the building’s derelict state meant people’s safety was threatened.

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