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Experts to essay reasons for decline of Jute sector

28
Mar '08
The long decline of Dundee's jute industry and the reasons for it will be examined in a major new research project at the University of Dundee.

The Leverhulme Trust has granted £128,000 in research funding to Professor Jim Tomlinson and Dr Carlo Morelli for their project `Jute and Dundee: The management of industrial decline'.

The jute industry was one of the cornerstones - alongside jam and journalism - of Dundee's economic landscape through the Victorian age and into the 20th century, with the city at the centre of a worldwide trade.

The size of the jute industry ensured it had a unique impact on the history of Dundee and its population. Unfortunately the 20th century saw a long decline in the industry and the last mill in the city closed in 1998.

This project seeks to capture this uniqueness and at the same time relate jute's decline to the wider industrial changes taking place across the UK.

Professor Tomlinson and Dr Morelli will examine the reasons for that decline, how it was managed and the impact it had on the local area.

"The term we will look at is really the whole of the 20th century - jute in Dundee peaked around 1908 and the last jute mill closed in 1998, so the decline of the industry really does cover the entire century," said Professor Tomlinson, Bonar Professor of Modern History and Head of Research in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the University.

"Jute is a pioneer of the decline of old local industry - others like shipbuilding and coal in other parts of Britain came later. Dundee was one of the most globalised cities in the world in the early 1900s, certainly more so than it is now.


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