Dudhope Castle – Changing Roles

Dudhope Castle, one of Dundee's oldest buildings has a magnificent location on an escarpment overlooking the city on the southern face of the Dundee Law. The original house was built in the 13th Century as home of the Scrimageour family who were appointed Hereditary Constables of Dundee by William Wallace.

The original building was replaced around 1460 and then further extended in 1580 to its current L-plan structure. There were additional circular “angle” towers though these were later demolished in the 18th century. It was extended as a 17th century courtyard castle, from the 16th century tower house. In 1683, John Graham of Claverhouse, known as Bonnie Dundee, acquired both the castle and the office of Hereditary Constable. He led the Jacobites to victory at Killiecrankie in 1689, but died in battle.

The castle was converted to be used as a woolen mill in 1792 but the scheme never really took off. In1795 the castle and park were leased to the Ordinance Office for 95 years. The castle was used as a barracks between 1796 and 1881 but in 1881 the stores moved to Perth and the Castle was abandoned. Town Council of Dundee took the decision to create a public recreation ground of the Park and obtained a sub-lease from the Ordnance Office in 1854 for 35 ½ years. The Earl of Home wanted to develop the grounds as terraced housing. This was prevented when Dudhope Park was acquired for the people by Dundee Town Council and opened as a public park in 1895.

Dudhope Castle was taken over by the Ministry of Works and later by the Corporation of Dundee, who had plans of demolishing the castle in 1958. Fortunately this did not happen and between 1985 and 1988 the castle was redeveloped and restored. The castle has since been used for various cultural and community purposes such as classes for teaching handicraft, the Hospital for Deaf and Dumb pupils, and the Officer’s Quarters for a Technological Museum in connection with the Albert Institute. It now houses the Dundee Business School of the University of Abertay.

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