Blackness was once regarded as one of the most unsightly parts of Dundee with its mills and workers' tenements packed so closely together. Few areas in Dundee can equal the industrial and social significance of Blackness however, and despite drastic clearance programmes, many fine mills still survive. These, together with the narrow cobbled streets between them, are an accurate reminder of an age now gone. The unique industrial character of this area makes it as worthy of preservation as any of the city's Conservation Areas.
The factories of Blackness developed along the "Scouring Burn", a natural source of water to power the mills. The burn cannot now be seen, but it still runs underground on a line from Polepark to Guthrie Street.
Blackness developed as a prime industrial area in the 19th century when Dundee
monopolised the world's jute industry. This area, between Lochee Road and Hawkhill, had the greatest single concentration of mills and industrial buildings in Dundee. The area was one of the cornerstones upon which the prosperity of the city was built.
In the 20th century foreign competition put the textile industry into irreversible decline. Mills and tenements became vacant and underused and many were demolished. In the last decade or so, however, Blackness has revived as an industrial area and it had also been the site for the city's first Public Arts Scheme. More recently there has been pressure for residential conversion of many of the large industrial buildings within the area, alongside contemporary housing development.
Other nearby Conservation areas: