In early 2022 we were engaged to carry out some work at The High School of Dundee where an area of the floor in one of the classrooms needed to be repaired.
When the existing floor was removed, it revealed below what looked to be cobble stones. They were in fact were timber setts. Timber setts were used in the late 19th century instead of cobble stones and were known in Dundee as ‘cassies’.
In the 1800’s when horses and carts were used, timber setts were laid instead of the more common cobble stones, as a “health and safety” measure to stop horses hooves sparking and setting fire to flammable goods, such as jute. However, timber setts were also installed to reduce noise and to create a smoother surface.
These timber setts were used all over Dundee, including Victoria Street, Dock Street, Bank Street and as we have recently discovered, The High School of Dundee.
They were initially found during resurfacing work on Whitehall Crescent and Whitehall Street in Dundee city centre, in 2011. Around 10,000 of the blocks were discovered at that time.
It is thought that moisture drawn up from the ground underneath the setts many have initiated the recent occurrence at The High School of Dundee, causing the wooden floorboards and supporting floor timbers to deteriorate.
Our technicians lifted the existing floor in the affected area, carefully removed the wooden setts, treated the surrounding timbers with a preventative treatment and prepared the area for concrete to be laid to support the new flooring incorporating a Damp Proof Membrane underneath.
Once this work had been carried out the carpet tiles were then re-laid ensuring that the pupils had a safe floor to walk on in the classroom on their return from their half-term break.
We thank The High School of Dundee for giving us the opportunity to carry out this work and unearth another piece of Dundee’s history.