Cox's Stack

Cox's Stack, Lochee
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Cox's Stack, Lochee

A prominent landmark and remarkable monument to Victorian engineering, Cox's Stack now stands as a folly isolated in the Stack Leisure Park in Lochee, 1¼ miles (2 km) northwest of Dundee city centre. Said to be the best industrial chimney in Scotland, it has been A-listed since 1965 and is on the Buildings-at-Risk Register. The Stack was built in 1865-66 for Camperdown Works, an enormous model jute factory constructed by the Cox Brothers from 1849. Designed by the youngest of the brothers, George Addison Cox (d.1899) who was an engineer, with architectural assistance from James Maclaren, the Stack stands 86.2m (282 feet 10 inches) in height and comprises a square tower with an upper section, above a corbelled-out cornice, being narrower and octagonal. Inside is a tubular chimney, 3.7m (12 feet) in diameter. The structure has more of the appearance of an enormous Italian campanile than a chimney, comprising multi-coloured brickwork trimmed with stonework decoration, on a masonry base. Horizontal bands of red and yellow bricks detail its corners, with patterns reaching up to high arches on the sides. However, the principal aim was neither aesthetic nor indeed just to make a statement about the Cox's industrial might. The Stack replaced several existing chimneys and the smoke from 58 furnaces and several forges was brought to it by means of underground tunnels and blown high into the atmosphere, greatly improving the air quality around the plant. More than a million of bricks were used in its construction, which cost around £6000, a remarkable sum at the time for a chimney. The demand for jute and linen brought great prosperity to Dundee due to the lack of cotton during the American Civil War and several of the mill owners invested in modernised plant and new buildings.

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