Discovery Walk update

Last August, I mentioned the excellent Discovery Walk proposal, which has now moved forward a long way.   I’ve been pleased to take part in the committee progressing this and very grateful to the other members of the committee who have put a lot of effort into progressing this excellent proposal.
The Discovery Walk will comprise of nine plaques set into the paved area of the Green Space at the heart of the city’s huge new waterfront development to celebrate these contributions in a highly visible and permanent way.  Bronze plaques in the pavement will tell the fascinating stories behind these individuals and their discoveries and inventions.
You have until 24th June to be involved by helping to select the first nine plaques to be placed in Discovery Walk.  On the shortlist are 14 people whose contributions deserve celebration and from the following criteria you can let us know by completing the short survey your top three or whether there are others that should be considered instead.
The Nominees for the walk are Mary Ann Baxter, James Chalmers, Geofrey Dutton, Alfred Ewing, Margaret Fairlie, James Bowan Lindsay, R D Low, George Lowdon, Thomas McLagan, George A Pirie, James F Riley, Walter Spear, D’Arcy Thompson and Mary Lily Walker.  You can check out their stories on the Discovery Walk Facebook page 
The criteria :
1.  The person or people being commemorated must be deceased.
2.  The person or people must either have been born and/or educated in Dundee, or have spent a considerable part of their life in Dundee.  
3.  The person or people nominated must have either a notable/influential discovery of some kind or be noted for some form of exploration – scientific, geographic or cultural.  
4.  Their achievement has happened in Dundee or be rooted or industry specific to the city.  
5.  The discovery can be a group of people.  
6.  Where there are two equally valid subjects, Discovery Walk should favour the one that is less well-celebrated elsewhere.   
Please complete the survey by 24th June by clicking here.

Monday meetings @WEndChristmas

Yesterday, I participated in a very useful meeting with Dundee Museum of Transport, who are kindly undertaking a vintage car cavalcade in the West End as part of the opening events of West End Christmas Fortnight on Saturday 22nd November.   The photo – right – was taken at the museum yesterday – it is well worth a visit!
Last night, I also participated a productive meeting at Dundee Contemporary Arts at which the excellent Discovery Walk proposal was discussed in detail.     The project is making good progress and will be an excellent addition to the city’s waterfront.

Recognition of the Royal Arch planned

The Royal Arch in 1935
I have welcomed an assurance that Dundee’s former Royal Arch will gain proper recognition as part of the Dundee Waterfront project.
Constituents have asked me if there would be proper recognition of the historic arch, that was erected in Dundee between 1849 and 1853 to commemorate a visit to the city by Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, in 1844.  It was demolished on 16 March 1964, as part of the land reclamation scheme, and to make way for the construction of the Tay Road Bridge.
Many constituents regret the demolition of the Royal Arch.   It seems inconceivable that nowadays such a demolition would take place of a historic structure that was an iconic part of the City of Dundee and it is important that the new waterfront recognises its place in Dundee’s history.
In response, Dundee Waterfront Project Co-ordinator has advised me,

I can confirm that we propose to mark the location of the Royal Arch by planting four substantial trees on its site.

By sheer coincidence the line of the proposed trees along the southern section of the Northern Boulevard, opposite the Caird Hall, line up with the location of the Royal Arch foundations that were recently uncovered. The tree spacing will also fall remarkably close to the footings of the arch. 

The present concept we are working on is to plant four very distinctive trees on the actual placements of the four footings. The trees suggested are to have a reddish leaf and different form to the standard trees being placed around them.

At the foot of each of the trees, the thought is to place a large granite slab with an image engraved into its surface. These slabs will be joined by a line of slabs with the name ‘Royal Arch’ probably in the middle with some historical notes. The four images will show the stages of the life of the arch from the wooden arch to the demolition of the stone arch,

The drawings for the above concept are presently being prepared. However the detailed images needed for the slabs still require to be properly researched.

I am pleased that the Royal Arch’s important role in the city’s history will be recognised in the new waterfront and feedback from constituents to what is being proposed is positive.

Progress with the ‘Discovery Walk’ proposal

Last year, I highlighted the excellent proposal by local resident Kelly Marr for “Discovery Walk” in the new Waterfront area, a series of manhole covers that would depict some of the great Dundonians who have made a real contribution to the city in the field of discovery.    The concept is based around the Sydney Writers’ Walk – here’s me (below) at the Writers’ Walk in Sydney :
There has been progress with regard to the project with aims and objectives having been produced (to quote) :
• To publicly acknowledge the numerous contributions that the city of Dundee has made in a range areas (not simply literary figures like the “Writer’s Walk” in Circular Quay Sydney).
• To educate the public on perhaps the lesser known but extremely valuable discoveries that can be traced to Dundee.   This is a concerted effort to step away from the “Jute, Jam and Journalism” that Dundee is already famous for and celebrate the more recent developments in the areas of medicine and academia that are often overlooked. 
• To have the facility to download an app that can provide a greater context on the individual being acknowledge in each manhole cover, that in the longer term can be linked with other projects and attractions in other parts of Dundee, (for instance, Admiral Duncan could be linked with Camperdown House).
There are several advantages to the installation of personalised manhole covers as opposed to other forms public tributes :
• As demonstrated by the examples in this proposal, the ground plaques can tastefully work with a variety of pavement designs and therefore successfully link the new developments on Dundee’s waterfront with pavements that have already been established.
• From a future planning point of view it simply requires the installation of the plaques in place of manhole covers which from an historical point of view acknowledge the history of the waterfront. 
• When there is an addition made to Discovery Walk it can be an excellent PR opportunity and help sustain a greater awareness of contributions and developments that are taking place in the city. 
Do please contact me if you wish further details of this excellent initiative.

Discovery Walk proposal – an update

Last month, I mentioned the excellent proposal by local resident Kelly Marr for “Discovery Walk” in the new Waterfront area, for a series of manhole covers that depict some of the great Dundonians who have made a real contribution to the city in the field of discovery.    The concept is based around the Sydney Writers’ Walk – an example of a cover from Sydney is shown (right).
Yesterday, a group of us met with Kelly at the University of Dundee to move the idea forward.   Apart from university and City Council representatives, other organisations were represented including Dundee Contemporary Arts and the Abertay Historical Society.     We are now aiming to form a steering committee and are keen to involve local people in deciding who should be honoured in Discovery Walk.
If any resident is interested in this really worthwhile project, please contact me at

‘Discovery Walk’ Proposal

I was recently contacted by local resident Kelly Marr who has made what is, in my view, an excellent proposal for Dundee Waterfront.
To quote Kelly:
“My suggestion for the development of Dundee’s Waterfront is a sequence of manhole covers that can be referred to as “Discovery Walk”, similar to the “Writers’ Walk” in Sydney’s Circular Quay.
The main difference with Discovery Walk is that rather than focusing on writers, it would be acknowledging famous Dundonians and Dundee’s contributions in the Arts, Sciences, Literature, Politics, and so forth. Obvious suggestions could be Brian Cox, Admiral Duncan, and Mary Slessor.
While I am by no means technically minded, my understanding is that it is also possible to have microchips in or near the manhole covers that allow for one to download an App, giving them more detailed information on the person as they walk over the manhole cover.
From a planning point of view, it is simply a case of having a lengthy series of standard manhole covers that one by one will be replaced with personalised dedications, which means that it does not require that costly process of digging up pavements when an addition is made.
As an Australian who has lived in Dundee for 17 years, I often find the Dundee sometimes fails to publicly acknowledge the vast contributions that the city has made, and feel that Discovery Walk would go a long way to remedying this.”
Having visited Sydney’s ‘Writers’ Walk”, I am very impressed with this idea for our city along the lines Kelly suggests – a photo of a plaque from Sydney is pictured (above right).   Kelly and I have met with the City Council’s Public Art Officer, who is supportive of the idea.
Kelly has now arranged a meeting at the University of Dundee with a number of stakeholders.   This will take place next month and if any resident is interested in attending, or has any views about this proposal, please contact me at