Giant ‘Beanotown’ sign unveiled over Dundee to mark city’s comic heritage

Council bosses in Dundee have taken inspiration from Hollywood by installing a giant Beanotown sign on a hill over the city.

With Dundee famous as the home of the comic, officials hope the new sign – which measures in at six metres high by 38 metres long – will put a smile on the faces of both locals and visitors.

After being kept under wraps for six months, the sign was erected on Dundee Law as part of a festival which celebrates the city’s comic book heritage.

Preparations have been going on in the background, with Dundee City Council events officer Claire Dow revealing only a few people knew about the sign.

“It was one of these lovely, lovely crossovers the stars just lined up for it,” she said.

“It’s something that has been kicking about for a while. We thought: ‘wouldn’t it be hilarious to do a sign that said Beanotown?'”

The idea came from Mike Stirling, the Beano’s creative director.

“This amazing opportunity to do the stunt that Mike had always wanted to do up the Law has really just captured everybody’s imagination. Everybody was like ‘man, that would be fun’.”

Dennis the Menace stands in front of a giant sign erected at Dundee Law renaming the city of Dundee to Beanotown to mark the start of the Dundee Bash Street Festival, which celebrates the city's comic book heritage. Designers have taken their inspiration from the famous Hollywood sign, the sign is six-metres high by 38-metres long and will be seen from around the city and across the Tay for the duration of the festival. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022.

Ms Dow said phone calls about the project were often made up of just six people.

“We’d left it very last minute,” she revealed. “Until something is real, and they’re seeing it in front of them, folk are very good at keeping secrets.

“If you say ‘look, we don’t really want folks to know’, then they’re very good at just keeping it quiet. So, it’s a combination of a really small, tight team, leaving things as late as we could.”

Work started on positioning the sign on Thursday.

The giant sign erected at Dundee Law renaming the city of Dundee to Beanotown to mark the start of the Dundee Bash Street Festival, which celebrates the city's comic book heritage. Designers have taken their inspiration from the famous Hollywood sign, the sign is six-metres high by 38-metres long and will be seen from around the city and across the Tay for the duration of the festival. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022.

Those travelling to Dundee via car across the Tay Road bridge from Fife will be able to see it, with the rail bridge giving glimpses of it, but Ms Dow said part of the excitement was not knowing for sure where on Dundee Law it would be situated.

“The excitement of it is we still couldn’t tell you exactly where the best place to see it is,” she added.

“It’s not until it’s up that we’re going to be like: here’s the place you want to go and stand.

“But until it’s up we really just don’t know. That’s part of the fun as well.”

The Beanotown sign is just one of many events to mark the Dundee Summer (Bash) Streets Festival which celebrates the city’s comic and publishing heritage, with two of the city’s most famous residents – Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher – lending a hand to build it.

Families will be able to enjoy comic workshops, live music, exhibitions and lectures as well as seeing Oor Wullie’s bucket statues around the city once again.

Ms Dow hailed the impact that Beano publisher DC Thomson has had on the city through the generations.

“DC Thomson are a massive company in town. Everybody knows somebody who used to draw some of the comics or who used to paint pictures or used to write for them or work there.

“It’s a nod to Dundee. We’re quite irreverent. You know, we don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re a town with a sense of humour.”

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