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Dundee 1939 (clip 1)

The city of Dundee and its industries: jute, jam manufacturing and journalism. This clip details jute manufacturing

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A coal train crosses the railway bridge. A group of people sit and talk with a visiting Englishman about the jute industry. We see shots of bales of jute being unloaded from the docks and taken on horse-drawn carts to the factory where the men feed it through the machines. Women work the looms as the jute spins out, turning the weave into cloth. There is detail of the women at work on the production line, and the loom machinery. There are also distance shots of the town and factory, and the chimneys smoking, with a panning shot across rooftops to the south side of the Firth.

Questions & Activities


  • What is jute, where does it come from, and what is it used for?
  • Who worked in the factories? Where are the men?
  • What did you notice about the way the voiceovers are spoken?


Social History: Research the history of Dundee docks, where the jutes came in.

Social History / Technology: Research the development and decline of the jute industry in Dundee and its connection to the linonleum industry in Kirkcaldy.

Social History / Geography: Research the other two Js of Dundee (Jam and Journalism).

English: Create a time-line out of information given in the film.

English & Literacy: Research Scottish dialects then and now.

Social History: Visit the Verdant Works in Dundee.

Music / Social History: Research and listen to 'The Jute Workers Song'.

Geography: Compare this picture of life on the Tay with the picture of life on another Scottish river (e.g Clyde) or in another country.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-203-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1061
Date 1939
Genre Documentary, Sponsored
School Subject Geography, Science, Technologies, English, Social History, Music
Who Donald Alexander (director), Films of Scotland Committee (sponsor), Scottish Film Productions (production company)
Where Dundee, Tay Bridge
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 2:17
Film Length 20:00