Writing Prompt Story Starter: Demolition


Demolition in progress. To some, this is a scene of great sadness, for the building was part of Dundee’s industrial heritage.

Dundee was long famed as the city of Jute, Jam & Journalism. The Three Js. This building was a landmark in the first of those three great industries.

It’s a B-listed former flax and jute mill, over 150 years old. In the early 1900s, it was just one of over 100 mills in the city which collectively employed thousands upon thousands of workers.

The sadness is therefore two-fold. One, that such a fine building was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that there was no alternative to demolition. And two, that its disrepair was symbolic of that lost industry, and all those lost livelihoods.

Looking forward

And every post-industrial city has the same sad story to tell. Lost steelworks, foundries, shipyards, cotton mills, potteries. More than I can list. Every city has its areas of wasteland where great factories used to reign.

But, in Dundee, we have new developing industries, which are growing and expanding to fill these gaping sores. Businesses like the computer games industry. We’re becoming a world leader in that. And, rather nicely, some of them work out of business suites within the old mill buildings, repurposed for the modern era.

And it’ll be the same in other cities across the country. It’s true that nature abhors a vacuum. There’s always something new coming along.

But also sometimes it’s just that the old learns to adapt. Let’s go back to Dundee’s famed three Js. The third of those, Journalism, is still going strong. DC Thomson’s traditional print newspapers and magazines have been joined by modern media like websites and TV shows, computer games and online communities.

So while the Story Starter image is, at first glance, about demolition and the past, it could be about building a future, too. Over to you…

For more bright story ideas, try these inspiring Story Starters.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.

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