£18m creative complex plan for historic Dundee printworks

West Ward Works DundeeA 19th-century mill in Dundee is set to be transformed into one of Britain’s largest creative spaces under an £18 million blueprint for the building.

Originally constructed as Dundee’s first fireproof mill in 1806, West Ward Works was bought by DC Thomson, the publisher behind children’s comic Beano, in the 1950s and turned into a printing press.

At its height, more than five million books were printed every year, but the press closed in 2010 and the building lay empty until the inaugural Dundee Design Festival in May 2016.

During the festival, the 200,000 sq ft building was transformed into three galleries, a cinema, a café and a 400-seat auditorium. The building will host the second edition of the festival in May this year before work begins to turn it into a permanent creative hub.

A charitable trust will be established to manage the project, which will be delivered in phases.

Its future configuration is yet to be confirmed, but possibilities include incorporating business incubators and an innovation centre, following research by Bryan Beattie of Creative Services.

Fundraising is underway and the project has already been accepted into the £1.84 billion Tay Cities Deal Programme.

“This exciting project will build on Dundee’s incredible track record of design-led regeneration,” said David Cook, the project’s recently-appointed director.

“The next phase of its development will demonstrate the demand for this venture and the potential economic, social and cultural impacts for the city and beyond.”

Share icon
Share this article: