Dundee Heritage Trust Collections




The collections of Dundee Heritage Trust broadly relate to the history of RRS Discovery and Dundee’s textile industries. The collections primarily fall within the fields of industrial history, archives and photography with smaller numbers of social history, numismatics, costume, fine art, arms & armour and natural history objects. Acquisitions to the collections are made by donations, bequests and purchases. Understandably collections growth is most active in the area of Dundee’s textile history with regular donations of material by the public, reflecting the huge number of people who worked in the industry.


The collections relating to RRS Discovery continue to grow but with many fewer potential objects, the growth rate is much slower. Due to the interest of private collectors, adding to this area of the collections does often involve the need to purchase items, either privately or at auction.


The collections have two distinct strands – the Royal Research Ship Discovery and its associated collections and the industrial textile collections based in Verdant Works, a 19th century flax and jute mill.


The Antarctic scientific research vessel RRS Discovery is part of the UK’s Core Collection of historic ships. She was one of the last wooden three-masted sailing ships to be built in Britain, modelled on the lines of traditional Scottish whaling ships and built in Dundee because of the city’s special expertise in constructing such strong vessels. The associated collections relate to the history of the ship and the men who served on her. These cover the fields of costume, numismatics, fine art, arms & armour, archives, science, photographs and social history. Items within the collections vary from navigational instruments, scientific specimens collected on the ship’s expeditions to personal objects which vividly represent daily life for polar explorers of the period.


The textile collections relate to the history of Dundee’s textile industries – primarily jute but also flax, polypropylene and non-wovens. Much of the collection of historic jute processing machinery was made in Dundee and surrounding towns and is therefore representative of the area’s engineering heritage. Some of the machinery has been restored to working order to demonstrate the processing of jute from raw fibre through to finished woven cloth.


As well as the large machinery objects, the collections cover the fields of industrial history, social history, fine art, archives/business papers, photographs, costume and numismatics. The collections cover the entire history of the history and include topics such as research and development, textile products, textile engineering, the industry’s Indian connections and the lives of the workers.


For further information please contact the STICK representative at Dundee Heritage Trust, Louisa Attaheri, Curator, email: collections@dundeeheritage.co.uk or visit the website www.rrsdiscovery.com