Known as a major industrial centre, the city of Dundee has a long and eventful history. Following the development of a small trading port in the eleventh century, by the fourteenth century Dundee had grown to be one of the most important towns in Scotland. The city was also a significant religious centre, with the distinctive Dominican monks - known as the Black Friars due to their robes - choosing to mingle with the people of Dundee to share their preaching, despite the danger this could present in these difficult days. Dundee also has a darker and often forgotten past. The city was attacked and extensively damaged by invading English forces, following which defensive walls were constructed, only to be demolished again when the city was further attacked by Parliamentarian forces. A number of women were accused, tortured and executed during the witch hunts, and general living conditions at one point became so poor that the average life expectancy for a man was just thirty-three years old. With epidemics such as the plague also hitting, a large area of ground was given to the burgh to be used as a burial ground in 1564, and it is now considered to have one of the most important collections of gravestones in Scotland.
Scotland's fourth city has many secrets just waiting to be discovered. In Secret Dundee, author Gregor Stewart peers into the past to reveal the forgotten, the strange and the unlikely.
Gregor was born and raised in St Andrews, Fife, where he first became interested in history. He initially started out writing books about the paranormal, however, for Gregor, saying a place was haunted was not enough; he wanted to delve into the history behind the haunting. The levels of research carried out inevitably uncovered many other stories and facts, which were not related to the supernatural, that lead Gregor to start to write local history books. Having worked in Dundee for around two decades, Gregor welcomed the opportunity to research the industrial past of the city and explore how this has helped shape the city.