Harbour Chambers and Custom House, Dundee, Scotland

Harbour Chambers and Custom House were the headquarters of the Dundee Port Authority. The Grade A listed building is now disused.

Harbour Chambers and Custom House, Dundee
 

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Harbour Chambers and Custom House is a unique Grade A listed landmark building located in the heart of the waterfront between City Quay and the Central Waterfront zones. Formerly the Dundee Port Authority headquarters, this late Georgian mansion style building has recently been purchased by Apex Hotels who own the adjacent Apex City Quay Hotel.

Construction to the plans of architects John Taylor and James Leslie commenced in 1842 and took around one year. An extension was added to the rear in 1884 including ground floor level vaults.

Custom House and Harbour Chambers frontage on Dock Street, Dundee

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Custom House and Harbour Chambers frontage on Dock Street, Dundee

The building, one of the largest port authority headquarters in the country, is a reminder of the importance of the city as a sea-port in the 19th century and the wealth of the trade passing though the harbour.

Custom House has been completely stripped out, and unfortunately not much of interest remains inside. Harbour Chambers, on the other hand, although empty of furniture still contains many of the original features and 1940s embellishments which proved to be quite interesting. The attic was a real treasure trove of history, with may documents dating back to the 1940s and 50s, showing the comings and goings of ships and their cargo, staff wages, purchases, etc. There were even some records and newspaper clippings from World War II.

Custom House

Sadly completely stripped out, just a staircase and some empty rooms really…

The entrance to Custom House

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The entrance to Custom House

Custom House Doorway

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Custom House Doorway

Custom House Staircase

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Custom House Staircase

One of the stripped out rooms in Custom House

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One of the stripped out rooms in Custom House

 

Harbour Chambers

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Lettering above front entrance

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Lettering above front entrance

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Behind the closed door

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Behind the closed door

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Revolving Door

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Revolving Door

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The entrance lobby had seen better days

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The entrance lobby had seen better days

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The building's side entrance looked a bit better

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The building’s side entrance looked a bit better

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The first floor featured some nice tiles

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The first floor featured some nice tiles

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - And some nice old brass signs

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – And some nice old brass signs

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The Harbour Clerk's office featured Dundee Port Authority carpet!

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The Harbour Clerk’s office featured Dundee Port Authority carpet!

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - From the Harbour Clerk's office these doors lead into a grand boardroom

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – From the Harbour Clerk’s office these doors lead into a grand boardroom

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The boardroom

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The boardroom

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The boardroom

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The boardroom

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Crest of the Dundee Port Authority carved into the fireplace The clock says "Ritchie & Sons, Edinburgh. 1884"

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Crest of the Dundee Port Authority carved into the fireplace. The clock says “Ritchie & Sons, Edinburgh. 1884”

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The fireplace

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The fireplace

 

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Old sign on the old lift

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Old sign on the old lift

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Lift machinery

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Lift machinery

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Date of installation: 1949

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Date of installation: 1949

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The Harbourmaster's Office with some retro light fittings

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The Harbourmaster’s Office with some retro light fittings

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - One of the many offices on the third floor

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – One of the many offices on the third floor

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Cooker in the staff canteen

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Cooker in the staff canteen

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - 41 sex change operations on the NHS - that's surprising for a newspaper dated 1969

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – 41 sex change operations on the NHS – that’s surprising for a newspaper dated 1969

1842 Extension

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - One of the rooms in the extension

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – One of the rooms in the extension

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Port Authority logo carving on a fireplace

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Port Authority logo carving on a fireplace

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - The vaults

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – The vaults

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Ratner makers plate emblem

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Ratner makers plate emblem

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Ratner plaque inside vault

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Ratner plaque inside vault

The Attic

Heading up into the attic, we find documents dating back to the 1940s

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Shelves of paperwork in the attic

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Shelves of paperwork in the attic

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Shelves of paperwork in the attic

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Shelves of paperwork in the attic

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Old telephone and a Port of Dundee Official Handbook from 1952

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Old telephone and a Port of Dundee Official Handbook from 1952

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Wages records

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Wages records

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Pilotage day book, 1972

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Pilotage day book, 1972

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Tay Ferries wages record, 1948

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Tay Ferries wages record, 1948

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - A pile of ticket machines at the end of the attic

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – A pile of ticket machines at the end of the attic

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Ultimatic ticket machine

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Ultimatic ticket machine

Harbour Chambers, Dundee - Newspaper cutting of various war updates, dated 10 May 1945

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Harbour Chambers, Dundee – Newspaper cutting of various war updates, dated 10 May 1945

Harbour Chambers to the left, and Customs House central to right.

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Harbour Chambers to the left, and Customs House central to right.

Harbour Chambers, scanned from the 1952 Port of Dundee Official Handbook​

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Harbour Chambers, scanned from the 1952 Port of Dundee Official Handbook​

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