Dundee Verdant Works project nears completion

The building restoration phase of the £2.9 million Verdant Works High Mill Open Gallery Project is nearing completion.

Dundee Heritage Trust opened the doors today to allow a sneak preview of the finishing stages happening on site.

The three storey High Mill and adjoining single-storey Glazed Alley now have new roofs and windows , making the site wind and watertight for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The elaborate Gothic cast iron roof trusses and columns have been restored to their former glory, re-painted in historic colours confirmed by paint scrape analysis.

The removal of the floors has created a full height cathedral-like space revealing the skeleton of the building and the monumental scale of the architecture with viewing platforms at first and second floor level providing amazing views.

Dundee Heritage Trust was very keen that the rough industrial character of the buildings and their history be retained so original features and finishes have been kept wherever possible, even down to old light switches and rusty doors. This is then contrasted with some very modern interventions such as large glass panels and the ‘Red Box’ learning and activity pod.

The main contract to restore the building has been undertaken by George Martin Builders of Dundee.

Managing director, David Maxwell, said: “Our company is very proud to be working on this building which relates to such an important part of Dundee’s history. As an ‘A’ listed structure we have used historic techniques, materials and craftsmanship, guided by the conservation architect, and are very pleased with the result.”

The project almost doubles the size of the existing museum at Verdant Works and will include displays on new themes such as power and engineering as well as allowing more historic objects to be displayed.

The centrepiece exhibit is the 1802 Boulton & Watt beam engine which is coming on loan from Dundee City Council through a partnership between Leisure & Culture Dundee and Dundee Heritage Trust.

The massive object stands over 7 metres tall and it is hoped that it will provide visitors with the ‘wow’ factor, particularly on the days when it is working.

The installation of the interpretation and the engine will begin in mid-July, immediately after the building works are complete. It is hoped that the new developments will open to the public late August.

Gill Poulter, Heritage Director for Dundee Heritage Trust said: “This project has been many years in the planning so to now see it nearing completion is fantastic. The architecture is stunning and it will provide a wonderful backdrop for events and for the objects and displays soon be installed. As well as improving the visitor experience, the development also offers fantastic new opportunities for learning and community involvement which together we hope will attract more people to the museum, both locals and from farther afield.”

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