Broughty Ferry

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Broughty Ferry
Broughty Ferry Beach.JPG
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Broughty Ferry
Location within the City of Dundee
OS grid reference NO465309
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DUNDEE
Postcode district DD5
Dialling code 01382
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
56°28′02″N2°52′12″W / 56.46718°N 2.86991°W / 56.46718; -2.86991 Coordinates: 56°28′02″N2°52′12″W / 56.46718°N 2.86991°W / 56.46718; -2.86991

Broughty Ferry ( /ˈbrɒti/ ; Scottish Gaelic: Bruach Tatha; Scots: Brochtie) is a suburb in Dundee, Scotland. [2] It is situated four miles east of the city centre on the north bank of the Firth of Tay. The area was a separate burgh from 1864 until 1913, when it was incorporated into Dundee.


Formerly a prosperous fishing and whaling village, in the 19th century Broughty Ferry became a haven for wealthy jute barons, who built their luxury villas in the suburb. As a result, Broughty Ferry was referred to at the time as the "richest square mile in Europe".

It is administered as part of the Dundee City council ward. At a national level, it is represented by both the UK Parliamentary constituency of Dundee East and the Scottish Parliamentary constituency of Dundee City East.

Several road and rail routes are located within the area; Broughty Ferry railway station is situated in the center of the suburb, and the A930 road skirts its main retail area. Broughty Ferry is also linked by several bus routes to its neighbouring suburbs and to central Dundee.


The name Broughty Ferry may derive from Bruach Tatha meaning "Taybank" in Scottish Gaelic. A piece of folk etymology holds that the name derives from the Lowland Scots broch, meaning some form of fortification, with the 'ty' being a shortening of the name of the River Tay, and Ferry being added later in recognition of the town's role as a ferry port. However, this is unlikely, as the word order would probably be "Tay Broch", rather than "Broch Tay".


Broughty Castle, 2011 Broughty Ferry Castle, Broughty Ferry, Scotland, 2011.jpg
Broughty Castle, 2011

Evidence exists of a human settlement in pre-historic times, later developing into a prosperous fishing and whaling village, before becoming home to 19th-century jute barons who had their factories in Dundee. [3] At this time it was known as the 'richest square mile in Europe'. [4]

In 1495 Broughty Castle was built and remained in use as a major defensive structure until 1932, playing a role in the Anglo-Scottish Wars and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The castle stands on a shallow tip projecting into the Firth, alongside two beaches, one of sand, the other of pebbles.

Additionally an English fort was located on what is now known as Forthill. Fortified around 1548 and demolished in 1550, no trace of this now survives due to the development of later buildings and gardens. However it was recorded in 1845 that less than 60 years earlier some of the walls still stood. [5] The castle was bought by the government and restored during 1860–1861. [3]

The area has two Category A listed churches, St Stephen's Church (the parish church of the West Ferry) and St Luke's Church built in the 19th century. St Stephen's has exceptionally fine Victorian windows thought to be the best collection of Edward Burne-Jones stained glass in Scotland. Broughty Ferry railway station is also A-listed, and the buildings from 1838 are still in use, making it the oldest railway station in Scotland still in operation.

Prior to the construction of the first Tay Rail Bridge in 1878, a roll-on/roll-off railway ferry linked the Edinburgh to Aberdeen railway line between Tayport and Broughty Ferry, until the construction of the rail bridge made it redundant.

Broughty Ferry was incorporated into the City of Dundee in 1913. [6]

On 2 December 1943, a pigeon from Broughty Ferry called Winkie was awarded the Dickin Medal for "delivering a message under exceptional difficulties and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in February 1942".

On 8 December 1959 the town's lifeboat, the RNLB Mona, was lost with all hands attempting to rescue a foundering lightship.


Dundee built its fame on the three industries of "Jute, Jam & Journalism" - a phrase synonymous with all those who love Dundee. The economic drive from these industries - particularly the jute - was led by the jute barons. These captains of industry built their mansions and superior villas on the slopes at the 'West End' - above the city of Dundee - and on the raised slopes of Broughty Ferry: the suburb which found itself transformed from fishing village to fashionable "Brighton of the North". In their book "Dundee: an illustrated architectural guide [7] ", McKean & Walker describe Broughty Ferry as "once one of the richest suburbs in Europe". "This mid to late-Victorian suburb remains private on its plateau high above the shore: few main roads, minor ones framed by stone walls and mature trees". Dundee architect, Charles Soutar, is reported to have lived at Harecraig House [8] (built 1835) between 1928 and 1947, having designed it as a “dowar house” (residence of a widow). Despite "one of the best views in the Ferry, right across the Tay into Fife”, nine bedrooms and B-listing it has come into disrepair. Declining numbers of residents requiring such palatial houses, mean most of these beautiful buildings have, over the years, been converted into hotels and care homes or divided into flats as happened to another of Soutar's designs: Aystree House [9] (26 Victoria Rd, DD5 1BJ). The original owner, Colonel Smith, was clearly an influential director of the High School of Dundee as one of their four houses is named Aystree, after his house. [10] It is said that "the Liberty of London wood panelling in the entrance hall looks as impressive today as it would have done when the Edwardian mansion was built" over a century ago in 1903; Soutar clearly had a loose budget on this project.


There are three primary schools in Broughty Ferry. Eastern Primary School [11] , Forthill Primary School [12] and Barnhill Primary School [13] .

Eastern Primary School's original, grand Victorian building on purpose-built site at the foot of Whinnie Brae was converted to flats in 2009. [14] The primary school children are now taught within the old Grove building. Grove Academy (high school) [15] was rebuilt; the new building opened in 2009 to accommodate its very large intake - the primary schools are feeder schools for Grove Academy; formerly, pupils who live in the Barnhill area had the option to attend the Angus school, Monifieth High School, although the option was later withdrawn, in 1 January 2009.


Broughty Ferry continues to be a popular destination and benefits from a large degree of free parking by the beachfront. [16] The sandy blue flag beach (FEE, Foundation for Environmental Education) maintains the bathing [17] water quality (SEPA, Scottish Environment Protection Agency). [18] It is staffed by lifeguards during summer months, attracting large crowds. Dolphins can often be seen in the Tay from the beach. [19]

Also at the beachfront is the very popular Castle Green park. [20] The playpark itself was recently renovated with new climbing frames in the maritime theme. The paddling pool and water features are always popular in warmer weather. The children's go-karts and crazy golf are very well situated. The highlight of the well-designed golf course is the last hole where the ball rolls along a model of the Tay Bridge.

The harbor, sheltered by Broughty Castle is home to Scotland's oldest and most popular "New Year's Dook"; the tradition of swimming between the piers on New Year's Day to mark the new year.

A limited, but increasingly more popular service stops at the railway station. with easy links to Dundee and Edinburgh, or northwards to Arbroath, Carnoustie and Aberdeen.


"New Year's Day Dook"

History of the Dook

The "dook" is a longstanding tradition, now organized by Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association (YAABA). [21] The tradition is said to date back to 1891 handed down by the fisher folk (as recorded in the first official minutes), some of whom bathed in the waters of the Tay every a morning except on the Sabbath. The 1st of January was special, as it heralded in Neer' Day i.e. the first day of the New Year, when the community congregated to celebrate together. The Dook has never been cancelled no matter the weather; the harbor waters needed to be broken with pick axes in 1989.

The Modern Dook

The Dook is the first annual event in Broughty Ferry and Dundee and can boast being the largest in Scotland of the New Year Dooks that take place across eastern Scotland. [22] Participation in the Dook has increased dramatically over the years and now attracts over 300 Dookers to brave the icy cold waters of the harbour in front of around 3,000 spectators. [23] To celebrate the Millennium a relay team of club members swam from Tayport to Broughty Ferry on 1 January when the temperature that day was 2 °C but has been recorded lower at minus -3 °C in previous years. The relay was the first ever crossing attempted on a New Year's Day and most of the team could only tolerate the cold water for three minutes at a time. The recorded time for the crossing was 45 minutes.


The lively character, Bob Servant, of the self-named books and BBC radio and television [24] series written by Neil Forsyth lives in the town.


Both of the bowls clubs, Broughty BC and Broughty Castle BC, are open all year round; their outdoor bowling season runs from April to September.

The majority of sporting activity takes place in Dawson Park which boasts a number of fields and facilities. The park has five football pitches, a rugby union pitch, an American football pitch, multiple tennis courts and several athletics facilities. Dundee's two professional football teams, Dundee F.C. and Dundee United, occasionally use the pitches here to train. In 2006, the new all-weather pitch with floodlights was opened, and is used by the nearby Grove Academy.

Broughty Athletic F.C. play at Whitton Park, Arbroath Road, adjacent to Douglas Sports Centre (opposite Claypotts Castle). The club plays in the ACA Sports East Region Premier League; many opposition teams are based in Fife and the Lothians.

The Forthill Community Sports Club has a large site on Fintry Place. The ground was purchased in 1880 by a group of city merchants led by George M. Cox and is now home to:

Cadet Forces

Air Training Corps

1232 (City of Dundee) [27] Squadron is based in Gardyne Place, Broughty Ferry, next to Craigebarns Primary School. It is a successful, active squadron which benefits from close proximity to RAF Leuchars for basic powered flying training (currently using Grob Tutor), RM Condor (Viking Glider) in Arbroath for winch-launched glider flying and the Barry Buddon Army base in Monifeith for field exercises and fullbore shooting competitions. The squadron makes use of the small-bore range in Forfar. The active group of cadets parade twice weekly on weekday evenings as well as being successful in a range of weekend competitions and camps across the UK.

Army Cadet Force

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) is a youth organisation almost 150 years old. Broughty Ferry was formerly home to Grove Black Watch, part of Cambrai company in the Angus and Dundee Battalion. The detachment has since relocated to nearby Monifieth.

Notable residents

Sportspeople that have associations with Broughty Ferry include international footballers Frank Munro and Peter Lorimer and the former Scottish international rugby union captain Sir George Cunningham. Other notable individuals with connections to Broughty Ferry include the minister and scientist Thomas Dick, the Victoria Cross recipient Hugh Malcolm, and the cartoonist Dudley D. Watkins.

Related Research Articles

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Broughty Castle is a historic castle on the banks of the river Tay in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland. It was completed around 1495, although the site was earlier fortified in 1454 when George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus received permission to build on the site. His son Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus was coerced into ceding the castle to the crown. The main tower house forming the centre of the castle with four floors was built by Andrew, 2nd Lord Gray who was granted the castle in 1490.

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Barnhill, Dundee

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Broughty Athletic F.C.

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  1. Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
  2. Media, MTC. "Welcome to Broughty Ferry | Come to Broughty". Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  3. 1 2 Francis H Groome, ed. (1885). Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical. Thomas C. Jack.
  4. Dolman, Hannah (4 March 2016). "Bid to make Broughty Ferry into a tourist hotspot". Evening Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  5. "Broughty Ferry, Fort Hill". Canmore. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  6. "Broughty Ferry: Overview". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  7. McKean, Charles; Walker, David (1993). Dundee: an illustrated architectural guide. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. ISBN   1-873190-09-3.
  8. Dingwall, Blair (13 November 2018). "Remarkable' 19th-century Dundee home, boasting its own ballroom, on market with low price tag". The Courier, DC Thompson.
  9. Drury, Paul (13 November 2016). "High Living for Kings of the Hill". Scottish Mail on Sunday.
  10. "Pastoral - the house system". High School of Dundee.
  24. BBC 4: Bob Servant: Independent
  27. "1232 (Dundee)". RAF Air Cadets. Retrieved 18 December 2018.