West Ward Works set to house £17.5 million comic museum and cultural hub

© DC ThomsonThe West Ward Works.
The West Ward Works.

West Ward Works in Dundee could be set for a £17.5 million transformation into a cultural hub and comics museum.

The former printworks, owned by DC Thomson and Co Ltd, has previously hosted the Dundee Design Festival.

Work on the project, which would “complement” the V&A, could begin within months if the ambitious project secures funding through the Tay Cities Deal.

The long-awaited Tay Cities Deal would see around £1 billion invested in Dundee, Tayisde and north east Fife over the decade.

It is believed the Tay Cities Deal funding could lead to the creation of 15,000 jobs.

The West Ward Works development would provide workshops and studios for artists and others working in the creative industries.

Space would also be given over to a museum celebrating the UK’s – and Dundee’s – comics heritage.

Plans for a comics museum had originally been mooted for the waterfront but West Ward Works is now the preferred location for it.

It is hoped the development would lead to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs – 300 directly in the cultural hub – and deliver a £50 million boost for the Dundee economy.

Other public spaces in the development would include a civic square, a cafe-bar and sculptures.

It would also be capable of hosting live music events.

Work on the transformation of West Ward Works could begin within months of the Tay Cities Deal being agreed.

Project director David Cook said: “The V&A is fantastic and has already had a huge impact on Dundee, but it’s the start, not the end of a process.

“This is really about what happens next and we hope it will be very much seen as something complementary to the V&A.

“The comic centre would explore Dundee’s role in the story of the comic book, including the titles produced in the city and the people who worked on them.”

West Ward Works used to produce tens of thousands of DC Thomson’s annuals each year.

Blair Thomson, chair of the West Ward Works Trust, said: “Everything seems to fit in terms of creating a comic museum in West Ward Works. It has a very strong heritage link, it’s the right size for the project and it’s very close to Verdant Works.”

Dundee West SNP MP Chris Law said the plans show the need to agree the Tay Cities Deal sooner rather than later.

He said: “Many projects across the city are ready to get the ball rolling and it is incredibly important to Dundee now more than ever that the investment promised from the Tay Cities Deal be secured, to capitalise on the ongoing and increasing confidence in the city.

“I have written to the Prime Minister along with my SNP colleagues across Tayside to demand a final date be announced, and that all promised UK Government funding is delivered in full.”