The strange case of jute
in Scotland, empire and decolonisation in the twentieth century
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The case of jute provides some unexpected insights into the impact of the end of empire on Scotland. The strange case of jute brings out some paradoxical dimensions to Scotland's relationship with England and the empire in the twentieth century. For the jute industry owes its inception to Dundee, and for those capitalists engaged in Bengal to make possible, by their subscription, the completion of the Institution where jute workers are trained would be a peculiarly graceful and appropriate act. The Scottish workers who went out to the Calcutta mills were enmeshed in the empire. The twin impact of the Depression and increased output in Calcutta put enormous pressure on the Scottish manufacturers. The Dundee jute industry was like the canary in the coal mine, its death showed what would happen when British manufacturers were faced with Asian competition.


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