On this day – Dundee’s Royal Arch Demolished

Dundee’s Royal Arch was erected in 1853 to commemorate the Royal visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1844, the first visit to the city by a monarch since the 17th century. The Queen often visited Dundee which was on her way to Balmoral. The Arch was commonly known as Victoria Arch to Dundonians, and sat between King William IV Dock and Earl Grey Dock on the south side of Dock Street between the junctions of Castle Street, and Whitehall Crescent. At over 80ft wide it was an imposing landmark on the waterfront and the grand structure was loved by locals and visitors alike.

aerial photograph of dundee's royal arch in 1933


In the 1960s, it was decided the Arch should be demolished to make way for the new road bridge slip roads, and finally on 16th March 1964 the Arch came down.The arch was dynamited, and the rubble thrown into both the King William IV and the Earl Grey Docks. Afterwards, the docks were land-filled to accommodate the slip roads for the new road bridge. In the opinion of many dundonians this was one of the worst decisions in Dundee’s planning history, and there have been many.

The Arch still resonates today, and the recent discovery of some large slabs during work on the waterfront development, and the work of the McManus museum staff in locating the original stones may well lead to the restoration of the Arch, or at least some of it. If you want the Arch reinstated support the petition by Lost Dundee and see the comments on the petition page for just how strongly Dundonians remember and want to see the Arch back again.

5 thoughts on “On this day – Dundee’s Royal Arch Demolished

  • March 16, 2015 at 9:05 am

    THE ark was a lovely building why it was given to the yanks i will never know what had they to do with queen victoria or prince albert….

  • March 16, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    To demolish an Adam townhouse and replace it with the Caird Hall showed the arrogance of the city fathers back in the day.
    The destruction of whole communities such a Lochee, by the council was a worse decision than knocking down an arch.

    and hey, it was only a few years old when they knocked it down and royal at that…no problem there.

  • April 27, 2015 at 1:41 am

    I do not think the Arch should have come down. I’m sure it was not beyond the wit of man to incorporate into the road bridge environs. It seems that the easy option was taken much to our shame like the Original Overgate, Westport and Wellgate among others.

  • September 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    I live just down from where the Royal Arch once stood and it’s still a great loss to Dundee. The structure should have been protected for its cultural and historic significance. Now we are seeing several new roads on the reclaimed land that turn Dundee Docks into Riverside. This had been a green conservation area until the Riverside development.

  • December 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Back in the late 50s and 60s the Dundee corporation seemed to be on a mission to destroy Dundee and in particular lochee it knocked the heart out of lochee which was a very close knit community at that time and they are still making it worse than it ever was, not just lochee they built the slum Whitfield, mill I mains, and all the mulltis which was another blunder

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