Another in our occasional series from Archive Services looking at how the city and University has changed. The Ewing Building on the corner of Small’s Wynd and Small’s Lane is a familiar sight on campus. While today it is very much in the middle of the campus, when work on it began in 1950 it marked a significant expansion to the north.
Prior to this time Small’s Wynd to the north of the University College campus had been a residential and industrial area. Even when the Ewing Building opened it was still surrounded by non-University buildings, with the Regal Cinema facing it across Small’s Wynd.
The Ewing Building‘s opening on 12th February 1954 was a significant event for what was then University College. It was the first major new building to be erected on its campus since the early years of the twentieth century and it foreshadowed a time of great expansion for what was soon to be renamed Queen’s College Dundee.
The first tenants of the building were the departments of Botany and Electrical Engineering. It was appropriate that it should be named after Sir James Alfred Ewing, as he had been one of the College’s original professors when teaching started in 1883, when he was aged 28. Born in Dundee, he had returned to the city to take the Chair of Engineering & Drawing at UCD after working at the University of Tokyo. His father, the Reverend James Ewing, was a well-known Dundee minister.
The opening was performed by the Duke of Hamilton, chancellor of the University of St Andrews. Other guests included Dr Alfred, W. Ewing, the son of Sir James Alfred Ewing, and Dr Arthur Geddes, the son of Professor Patrick Geddes who had been the original holder of the Botany Chair.
Next to the Ewing Building was the converted stable block which was used by the Biochemistry staff and students.
It was from here that Dr R. P. Cook built up Biochemestry from a small part of the Physiology Department into one of the most successful departments in what would become the University of Dundee. Cook’s success led to Biochemistry moving to a purpose-built home in the Medical Sciences Institute which work started on 1967. The old Biochemistry building later became known as the Ewing Annex and was latterly home to Disability Services. The building was demolished in 2013.
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