|Scottish Gaelic: Peairt|
|Scots: Perth (archaically St John's Toun)|
|The Fair City |
Eastern outskirts of Perth viewed from Craigie Hill
Perth shown within Scotland
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||Perth and Kinross|
|Lieutenancy area||Perth and Kinross|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||PH1-PH3; PH14|
|UK Parliament||Ochil and South Perthshire|
|Perth and North Perthshire|
|Mid Scotland and Fife|
|List of places: UK • Scotland •|
Perth (Scottish Gaelic: Peairt) is a town and former royal burgh in central Scotland. Sitting on the banks of the River Tay, it is the administrative headquarters of Perth and Kinross council area. According to the 2001 census, its population is 43,450. Perth was a large burgh prior to 1975, and the county town of the county of Perthshire.
The name Perth has hence been used for a number of other settlements around the world. The most notable of these is Perth, Western Australia — named such at the wish of Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, who was born in Perth. Perth is popularly referred to as The Fair City, although per a redefinition of city status in the United Kingdom (see below), it is no longer officially classed as a city, one of only three places in the UK to have been declassified as a city.
The name Perth derives from a Pictish-Gaelic word for wood or copse. During much of the later medieval period it was known colloquially by its English-speaking inhabitants as "St. John's Toun" or "Saint Johnstoun" because the church at the centre of the parish was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Perth's Pictish name, and some archaeological evidence, indicate that there must have been a settlement here from earlier times, probably at a point where a river crossing or crossings coincided with a slightly raised natural mound on the west bank of the Tay (which at Perth flows north-south), thus giving some protection for settlement from the frequent flooding.
Finds in and around Perth show that it was occupied by the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers who arrived in the area more than 8,000 years ago. Nearby Neolithic standing stones and circles followed the introduction of farming from about 4,000 BC, and a remarkably well preserved Bronze age log boat dated to around 1000 BC was found in the mudflats of the River Tay at Carpow to the east of Perth. Carpow was also the site of a Roman legionary fortress. Immediately to the north of modern Perth, at the confluence of the rivers Almond and Tay stood the Roman fort of Bertha.
The presence of Scone two miles (3 km) northeast, the main royal centre of the Kingdom of Alba from at least the reign of Kenneth I mac Ailpín (843-58), later the site of the major Augustinian abbey of the same name founded by Alexander I (1107–24), will have enhanced Perth's early importance. It was for long the effective 'capital' of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court.
King William the Lion granted it burgh status in the early 12th century, and documents from this time refer to the status of the Kirk there. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Perth was one of the richest trading burghs in the kingdom (along with such places as Berwick, Aberdeen and Roxburgh), residence of numerous craftsmen, organised into guilds (e.g. the Hammermen [metalworkers] or Glovers). Perth also carried out an extensive trade with France, The Low Countries and the Baltic Countries with luxury goods being brought back in return, such as Spanish silk and French pottery and wine. Medieval crafts are still remembered in some of the town's old street names, e.g., Skinnergate, Cutlog Vennel - one of two Scottish places to have a "vennel". The royal castle (on or near the site of the present multi-storey car park adjacent to the new council offices), was destroyed by a flood of the Tay in 1209, one of many that have afflicted Perth over the centuries.
King Edward I of England brought his armies to Perth in 1296 where it, with only a ditch for defence and little fortification, fell quickly. Stronger fortifications were quickly implemented by the English, and plans to wall the town took shape in 1304. They remained standing until Robert the Bruce's recapture of Perth in 1312. He ordered the defences destroyed. As part of a plan to make Perth a permanent English base within Scotland, Edward III forced six monasteries in Perthshire and Fife to pay for the construction of massive stone defensive walls, towers and fortified gates around the town around 1336. These followed roughly the lines of present day Albert Close, Mill Street, South Methven Street, Charterhouse Lane and Canal Street (these streets evolved from a lane around the inside of the walls). The walls were pierced by several ports or gates, whose names are still remembered: the Red Brig Port (end of Skinnergate), Turret Brig Port (end of High Street), Southgait Port (end of South Street) and the Spey Port (end of Speygate). There was probably also a minor gate leading to Curfew Row. These defences were the strongest of any town in Scotland in the Middle Ages. While political and religious strife engulfed England in the mid-16th century, John Knox began the Scottish Reformation from grass-roots level with a sermon against 'idolatry' in the burgh kirk of St. John the Baptist in 1559. An inflamed mob quickly destroyed the altars in the Kirk, and then attacked the Houses of the Greyfriars and Blackfriars, and the Carthusian Priory. Scone Abbey was sacked shortly afterwards. The regent of infant Mary, Queen of Scots, her mother Marie de Guise, was successful in quelling the rioting but Presbyterianism in Perth remained strong.
Charles II was crowned at Scone, traditional site of the investiture of Kings of Scots, in 1651. When Oliver Cromwell came to Perth, fresh from victory in the English Civil War, he established a fortified citadel on the South Inch, one of five built around Scotland. Perth's hospital, bridge and several dozen houses were demolished to provide building materials for this fort. The restoration of Charles II was not without incident, and with the Act of settlement, came the Jacobite uprisings, to which Perth was supportive. The town was occupied by Jacobite supporters thrice in total (1689, 1715 and 1745).
In 1760, Perth Academy was founded, and major industry came to the town, now with a population of 15,000. Linen, leather, bleached products and whisky were its major exports, although the town had been a key port for centuries. In 1804, Thomas Dick received an invitation from local patrons to act as teacher in the Secession school at Methven that led to a ten year's residence there for him. The school was distinguished by efforts on his part towards popular improvement, including a zealous promotion of the study of science, the foundation of a people's library, and what was substantially a mechanic's institute. The Perth Royal Infirmary was built in 1838, although this was soon relocated due to cramped conditions by 1914 - making the hospital one of the first in Scotland to deal with X-rays. Given its location, Perth was perfectly placed to become a key transport centre with the coming of the railways. The first railway station in Perth was built in 1848. Horse-drawn carriage became popular in the 1890s although they were quickly replaced by electric trams. Despite being a garrison town and major developments, social and industrial, during the First World War, Perth remained relatively unchanged.
Today, Perth serves as a popular retail centre for the surrounding area. This includes a main shopping centre along with a pedestrianised high street and many independent and specialist shops on offer. Main employers in the town now include the likes of Aviva, Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish and Southern Energy.
Perth remains a key transport hub for journeys by road and rail throughout Scotland. The M90 motorway runs south from the town to Edinburgh; the A9 road connects it to Stirling and Glasgow in the south west and Inverness in the north. Other major roads in the town include the A85 to Crieff and Crianlarich, the A93 to Blairgowrie, the A94 to Coupar Angus and Forfar and the A90 to Dundee and Aberdeen.
The town itself was bypassed to the South and East by the M90 in the 1970s and to the west by the A9 in the 1980s. The M90, A9 and A93 all meet at Broxden Junction, one of the busiest and most important road junctions in Scotland. Uniquely, all of Scotland's six cities are signposted from here: Glasgow and Stirling via the A9 southbound, Dundee and Aberdeen via the A90, Edinburgh via the M90, and Inverness via the A9 northbound. The final part of the M90 included the construction of the Friarton Bridge in 1978 to facilitate travel to Dundee and Aberdeen to the east of the town, finally removing inter-city traffic from the town centre. The bridge is the most northerly piece of the motorway network in the United Kingdom.
Perth railway station has regular services to Fife, Edinburgh Waverley via the Forth Bridge, east to Dundee and Aberdeen, and south to Glasgow Queen Street. There are two direct trains per day to London, one operated by NXEC to King's Cross (from Inverness), while the Caledonian Sleeper runs overnight to Euston.
The station currently has seven platforms; it once boasted more in the past to serve the smaller branch lines running throughout Perthshire. Perth Station is located on Glasgow Road, close to St Catherines Road.
Bus travel is plentiful in the town. Local buses are run by Stagecoach Group; and Perth is also the home of the bus group. Inter-city bus travel is made from Leonard Street bus station and connects to most major destinations in Scotland. The budget Megabus service is centred on Broxden Junction (2.2 miles/3.5 km outside the town centre) and runs direct buses to Scotland's largest cities plus Manchester and London. In addition, there is a park and ride service from the services at Broxden to the town centre.
Perth has a small airport. Perth Airport is located at New Scone, 7 km north east of Perth. There are no commercial flights out of this airport, but it is used by private aircraft and for pilot training. The nearest major commercial airport is Edinburgh Airport or Aberdeen Airport, although Dundee Airport, which is only 20 minutes drive from Perth, offers flights to London City Airport, Belfast, and Birmingham as well as charter, engineering and training facilities.
There are four bridges that cross the River Tay in Perth. The northernmost structure is Smeaton's Bridge (also known as Perth Bridge and, locally, the Old Bridge), completed in 1771 and widened in 1869, which carries the automotive and pedestrian traffic of West Bridge Street (the A85). Eastbound vehicles are not permitted to make a right turn onto Bridgend's Gowrie Street.
Next, some five hundred yards downstream, is Queen's Bridge, which also carries vehicle and pedestrian traffic, this time of South Street and Tay Street. Queen's Bridge was completed in 1960, replacing the old Victoria Bridge (1902–1960), and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in October of that year.
The third bridge in the centre of Perth is a railway bridge, carrying trains to and from the railway station, half a mile to the north-west. It was completed in 1863. There is also a pedestrian walkway on its northern side (from where this image was taken).
Finally, the southernmost crossing of the Tay inside Perth's boundary is Friarton Bridge. It is part of the M90 motorway, and forms part of the east coast road corridor between Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.
A fifth bridge is to be added farther upstream (north) from the existing bridges. It is part of the Sustrans Connect2 successful bid for funds from The People's £50 Million Lottery competition. Locals and visitors alike will benefit from this project. When completed cyclists and pedestrians will be able to cross the Tay without the associated risks to safety, health and environment of being close up to other vehicles on Smeaton's Bridge.
The Perth area supports three multi-member wards with forty-one councillors sitting on the committee of Perth and Kinross Council. Perth Council Chambers are home to the administrative headquarters of Perth and Kinross Council. Several other council departments within the city are based at the Burgh Chambers, Pullar House and Perth Museum and Art Gallery.
Perth is within the Perth and Kinross council area, the Perth Scottish Parliament constituency, the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region of the Scottish Parliament (at Holyrood), and the Perth and North Perthshire United Kingdom Parliament constituency (at Westminster).
The Perth Scottish Parliament (or Holyrood) constituency is one of nine within the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional members to produce a form of proportional representation.
The Perth and North Perthshire United Kingdom Parliament (or Westminster) constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom by the first past the post system.
The Holyrood constituency was created in 1999, for the first election to the Scottish Parliament, with the boundaries of the Perth Westminster constituency. The Perth Westminster constituency was abolished in 2005, when a new set of Westminster constituencies, including Perth and North Perthshire, was introduced.
The classic definition of Perth has been as a city, and traditional documentation confirms that this has been true since time immemorial. However, in the late 1990s, the UK government and the Scottish Executive re-examined the definition of a city and produced a list of approved cities, from which Perth was omitted. It is now considered to be a "former city", a similar definition to that of Brechin or Elgin. Current road-signs around the borders now call it "The Perfect Centre" instead of "The Fair City", although directional signs within still indicate "City Centre". In June, 2007, Alex Salmond, the first Minister of Scotland backed a campaign to confer city status on Perth, saying it should be granted "at the next commemorative opportunity". The architectural writer John Gifford has said that Perth is a city "to its inhabitants and most outsiders, but not all bureaucrats."
Despite the downfall of the whisky distilleries, which have long since been sold off and moved away from Perth (although the town's name still appears on the labels), Perth has remained a centre for doing business. New high-tech industry has moved in, and the commercial impact has remained as major services, including insurance and banking, have come to the town. Today, the largest employers in the city are Aviva, the Bank of Scotland and Scottish and Southern Energy.
Perth's city centre is situated to the west of the banks of the River Tay. The pedestrianised high street which runs from the junction of Tay Street to South Street is the main focus of the shopping area. The centre has a variety of major and independent retailers. The major retailers are largely based around the High Street, St John Street and the St John's Centre. Independent retailers can be found within George Street, the old High Street and Princes Street.
Perth Museum and Art Gallery which is located at the top end of George Street is recognised as one of the oldest provincial museums in Scotland. Another museum known as The Fergusson Gallery is in the former Perth Waterworks building on Tay Street. This contains the major collection of the works of the artist, J.D. Fergusson.
Perth is also home to two theatres – Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall. Perth Theatre is located on Perth's pedestrianised High Street. Perth Concert Hall which opened in 2005, was built on the site of the former Horsecross Market and largely funded from the UK millennium celebrations. The New Wave band Fiction Factory had some success with their hit "(Feels Like) Heaven" in 1984. The song, which reached number six in the UK charts, would be their biggest hit, and Perth's biggest to date, Another musical group from Perth are Alestorm they are a pirate metal band and are currently on tour in the United States along with playing venues across Europe, They have released two albums Captain Morgans Revenge and Black Sails at midnight. The Perth Festival of the Arts is an annual collection of art, theatre, opera and classical music events in the town. The annual event lasts for a couple of weeks and is usually held in May. In recent years, the festival has broadened its appeal by adding comedy, rock and popular music acts to the bill. Perth also has a number of twin towns around the world. These are: Aschaffenburg in Germany, Bydgoszcz in Poland, Haikou, Hainan in China, Perth, Ontario in Canada, Pskov in Russia and Cognac in France.
The sole newspaper based in the town is the Perthshire Advertiser owned by Trinity Mirror. Editorial, advertising sales, etc still have their offices in the Watergate but the newspaper is printed in Blantyre. There is also one local radio in the town known as Perth FM, which broadcasts 24 hours a day to the local area from its base in the town. This was launched in November 2008, following the award of a 12-year licence from Ofcom. One of the UK's most successful radio stations, Hospital Radio Perth broadcasts to Perth Royal Infirmary and Murray Royal Hospital. The Hospital Broadcasting Association have awarded Hospital Radio Perth the title of UK Station of the Year in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2007.
St John's Kirk on South St John's Place is architecturally and historically the most significant building in Perth. The settlement of the original church dates back to the 12th century. During the middle of the 15th century, the church deliberately fell in disrepair, when most of the revenues were used by David I to fund Dunfermline Abbey. The majority of the present church was constructed between 1440 and 1500. Though much altered, its tower and lead-clad spire continue to dominate the Perth skyline. The Church has lost its medieval south porch and sacristy, and the north transept was shortened during the course of the 19th century during street-widening. Another rare treasure, a unique survival in Scotland, is a 15th century brass candelabrum, imported from the Low Countries. The survival of this object is all the more remarkable as it includes a statuette of the Virgin Mary. St. John's Kirk also had the finest collection of post-Reformation church plate in Scotland (now housed permanently in Perth Museum and Art Gallery).
The spire of St Paul's Church which was completed in 1807 is a major focus point around St Paul's Square at the junction of Old High Street and North Methven Street. The development of the church led to an expansion of the city to the west. Other important buildings in the area include Pullar House, Fair Maid's House and the City Mills Complex. Pullar House on Mill Street was once used by Pullar's dyeworks, the largest industry in Perth at one time and has since been converted into office use for Perth and Kinross Council in 2000. The 15th Century Fair Maid's House on North Port is the oldest house in Perth. Purchased by the Glovers Association in 1693 for use as a meeting house, the house has since been largely reconstructed in 1893. This was used as the home of Catherine Glover in the poem, The Fair Maid of Perth which was written by Sir Walter Scott in 1828. In Mill Wynd, Hal O'The Wynd House which was built in the 18th century, was used as the home of the suitor of Catherine Glover. The nearby City Mills built to serve the lade from the River Almond was once the site of industry until the early 19th century. Only the Upper and Lower Mills survive to this day. The Lower Mills which date from 1805 were used for barley and oatmeal, while the Upper Mills of 1792 consisted of two wheat mills connected to a granary.
Two Historic Scotland properties within a short distance of the town are Huntingtower Castle, former seat of the Earls of Gowrie (open all year; entrance charge), and Elcho Castle, former seat of the Wemyss family (open in summer; entrance charge). Both are excellent examples of late medieval Scottish tower-houses, and are popular sites for weddings.
St. Johnstone is the town's professional football club. The team play their matches at McDiarmid Park in the Tulloch area of the city. There are also two junior based in Perth – Jeanfield Swifts and Kinnoull. Perthshire Rugby Football Club is the town's rugby union side, and it is based at the North Inch next to Bell's Sports Centre, described below. They currently play in the Division Three of the rugby union Scottish Premiership. Between 1995 and 1998 the professional Caledonia Reds played some of their home matches in Perth at McDiarmid Park before they merged with Glasgow Warriors.
Perth Leisure Pool, to the west of the railway station on the Glasgow Road, is the town's swimming centre. The modern leisure pool complex was built in the mid 1980s to replace the traditional public swimming baths (established 1887) which used to sit just off the Dunkeld Road.
There is a large sports complex, Bell's Sports Centre, to the northwest of the town centre, at the western edge of the North Inch. Prior to the building of the Greenwich Dome, it was the largest domed building in the UK. An identical structure exists at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA. Perth hosts Scotland's largest volleyball event every May - the Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament. There is a highly-competitive indoor competition held inside Bell's Sports Centre alongside both a competitive and fun outdoor event played on the town's North Inch. Teams competing traditionally camp alongside the outdoor courts with the campsite being administered by local cadets. The Scottish Volleyball Association's annual general meeting is also held at the same time as tournament.
The Dewar's Centre, which includes an eight-lane ice rink, has long been a main centre of curling in Scotland. Many top teams compete in this arena and many major events are held here each year. Curling is available from September to April annually. There is an indoor bowling hall, hosting major competitions. Historically Perth had a successful ice hockey team, Perth Panthers, who played at the old ice rink on Dunkeld Road. The rink at Dewars is the wrong shape for ice hockey, so when the team reformed in 2000 for two seasons they played their home games at Dundee Ice Arena.
Perth Leisure Pool is one of the country's most popular aquatic attractions. Overall, there are six pools in the leisure centre, as well as two flumes, a wild water channel, whirlpools and poolside bubble beds. There is also a shallow pool for under 5s called The Kiddies and The Outdoor Lagoon used in summer and winter. The building also has other facilities, such as a fitness gym, café aqua, children's Crèche, and a health suite containing a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and needle shower. Outside there is a picnic area and a play park used in the summer.
The North Inch is located directly to the north of the city centre. It is bordered to the south by Charlotte Street and Atholl Street and to the southwest by Rose Terrace. Its western perimeter consists of part of the exercise path that circumnavigates the entire park. The River Tay bounds it to the east. A little farther to the north is the Inch's eponymous golf course 
Situated half a mile south of the North Inch, directly across the city centre, is the South Inch. The Inches are linked by Tay Street, which runs along the western banks of the Tay. The South Inch is bordered to the north by Marshall Place and Kings Place; to the east by Shore Road; to the south by South Inch View; and to the west by St Leonards Bridge. The Edinburgh Road passes through its eastern third. The South Inch offers various activities, including bowling, an adventure playground, a skate park, and, in the summer, a bouncy castle. The Perth Show takes place annually on the section of the Inch between the Edinburgh Road and Shore Road.
Other public gardens such as Branklyn, Norie-Miller Riverside Walk and Cherrybank also exist. The Branklyn gardens - a National Trust for Scotland site - are located to the east of the River Tay consisting of 2 acres (8,100 m2) of private gardens, predominantly featuring collections from China, Tibet, Bhutan and the Himalayas. Its centrepiece is its collection of Himalayan blue poppies. Norie-Miller, Riverside Walk is situated between Perth Bridge and Queen's Bridge and known locally as the "Middle Inch", the Norie-Miller Riverside Walk features a sculpture trail. The walk ends close to Branklyn Garden. The Cherrybank Gardens are home to Europe's largest collections of heathers, known as "The Bell's National Heather Collection". The gardens are sponsored by the Bell's Scotch Whisky brand.
Further and higher education - including a range of degrees - is available through Perth College, one of the largest partners in the UHI Millennium Institute.
Perth College runs a network of learning centres across the area, in Blairgowrie, Crieff (a joint project with Perth & Kinross Council), Kinross, Pitlochry, and Pathways in Perth. It also owns AST (Air Service Training) which delivers a range of aeronautical engineering courses.
="">See Perth (disambiguation) for articles sharing the title Perth.
PERTH, a city, and royal, municipal and police burgh, and county town of Perthshire, Scotland, 32 m. N. by W. of Edinburgh direct, and 474 m. by the North British railway, via the Forth Bridge and Kinross Junction. Pop. (1901), 33,566. It is situated on the right bank of the Tay, between the meadows of the North Inch (98 acres) and those of the South Inch (72 acres), both laid out as public parks. The river is crossed by St John's Bridge of nine arches, completed in 1772 from the designs of John Smeaton and widened a century later; by Victoria Bridge, a modern structure connecting South Street with Dundee Road; and farther south (at the end of Tay Street) by a footway alongside of the viaduct belonging to the Caledonian railway. Of earlier bridges one, which crossed at High Street, was swept away by the flood of 1621, and another, constructed by General Wade in 1723-1733, was apparently the predecessor of Smeaton's bridge. On the left bank of the river lie the suburb of Bridgend and Kinnoull Hill (729 ft.). To the south are the wood-clad heights of Moncrieffe Hill (725 ft.), Magdalenes Hill (596 ft.), Kirkton Hill (540 ft.) and Craigie Wood (407) ft. In the river are Friarton or Moncrieffe Island and the Stanners.
Notwithstanding the importance of Perth in former times, almost the sole relic of the past is the church of St John the Baptist, a large Decorated cruciform building surmounted by a massive square central tower 155 ft. high. The original edifice is believed to have been erected in the time of Columba, but the transept and nave of the existing structure date from the early part of the 13th century, the choir from the 15th. The church was restored in 1891, and is now divided into the East, Middle and West churches. The silver-gilt communion cup used in the Middle Church is said to have been presented by Queen Mary. In May 1559 John Knox preached in St John's his famous sermon in denunciation of idolatry. The Dominican or Blackfriars' monastery, founded by Alexander II. in 1231, occupied a site near the west end of St John's Bridge; in what is now King Street stood the Carthusian monastery, founded by James I. in 1425; the Franciscan or Greyfriars' monastery, founded in 1460 by Laurance, first Lord Oliphant, stood on the present Greyfriars' cemetery; the Carmelite or Whitefriars' monastery, founded in 1260, stood west of the town. The tombstone of James I. and his queen, who were buried in the Charterhouse, was afterwards removed to St John's East Church. During the period between the beginning of the 12th century and the assassination of James I. in 1437, many of the Scottish parliaments were held in Perth. The building in which they met stood off High Street and was only cleared away in. 1818, its site being occupied by the Freemasons' Hall. The earl of Gowrie's palace, built in 1520, stood in spacious grounds near the river and was removed in 1805 to provide room for the county buildings. The castle of Perth stood on the north of High Street, not far from St John's. It was probably built about 860 and demolished about 1400. The Spey or Spy tower, the most important fortress on the city wall, guarded the south gate close to the river, but it was taken down early in the 19th century. The market cross, erected in High Street in 1669 to replace the older cross which Cromwell destroyed, was removed in 1765 as an obstruction. The huge fortress, 466 ft. square, which Cromwell erected in 1651 on the South Inch, close to the river and the Greyfriars' burying-ground, was demolished in 1663. The house of Catherine Glover, the "Fair Maid of Perth," still stands in Curfew Row. James VI.'s Hospital, founded in 1569, occupies the site of the Carthusian monastery, the original structure having been pulled down by Cromwell's orders. The pensioners now live out and the hospital has been converted into artisans' dwellings. Among modern public buildings the principal are St Ninian's Episcopal Cathedral, in the Early Middle Pointed style, an important example (completed 1890) of the work of William Butterfield (1814-1900); the municipal buildings (1881); the city-hall; the Marshall Memorial Hall (1823), housing the public library and the museum of the Perth Literary and Antiquarian Society; the Perthshire natural history museum; the Sandeman public library (1898), founded by a bequest of Professor Sandeman of Owens College, Manchester. The general prison for Scotland, south of the South Inch, was originally erected in 1812 as a depat for French prisoners, but was remodelled as a convict prison in 1840 and afterwards enlarged. North-west of the city are the military barracks built in 1 7931 794. Besides the regular elementary schools there are the Perth Academy (1807) with which was subsequently amalgamated the Burgh Grammar. School, an institution supposed to date from, the 12th century; Sharp's institute (1860); the Stewart's free school, an industrial school for girls, and the Fechney industrial school. The charitable institutions comprise the royal infirmary,, in the Italian style, considerably enlarged since its foundation in 1836; the Murray royal lunatic asylum in Bridgend; the Hillside House in Kinnoull and the small-pox hospital.
From the south the city is entered by the North British railway and the Caledonian railway (which also runs west to St Fillans, east to Dundee and north-west to Aberdeen); and from the north by the Highland railway, the three systems utilizing a general station in the south-west of the town. During the season there is communication with Dundee and other river ports by steamer. The navigation of the stream is considerably obstructed by sandbanks, but vessels of 200 tons can unload at the quays, which, with the town and Friarton harbours, lie below the South Inch. The greatest tidal rise is 13 ft. The chief imports are Baltic timber, coal, salt and manure; and the exports, manufactured goods, grain, potatoes and slates. Perth has long been famous for its dyeing and bleaching, the bleach-fields being mostly situated outside of the city, in convenient proximity to the Tay and Almond. The other leading industries include manufactures of gauge-glasses, ink, muslins, India shawls, jute goods, woollens and winceys, floorcloth, and boots and shoes. There are iron foundries, breweries, distilleries, rope and sail works, coachbuilding yards, steam joinery works, and brick and tile works. The salmon fisheries of the Tay yield a substantial revenue. Perth is under the jurisdiction of a town council, with a lord provost and bailies, and returns one member to parliament.
During the time that it was occupied by the Romans, a period estimated at 320 years, the city was called Victoria; but shortly after their withdrawal it seems to have borne the Celtic appellation of Aber-tha ("at the mouth of the Tay"). The transition to the latinized form Bertha and later to Perth (the Gaelic name being Pearl) appears obvious. On the conversion of the original Pictish inhabitants and the dedication of the first church to St John the Baptist, the town was designated St Johnstoun, and it continued to be known indifferently by this name and that of Perth down to the 17th century. Roman remains have often been found in excavations carried out within the existing boundaries, which suggests that the Roman settlement was at least twenty feet below the present surface. The obscurity of the early annals of the town is explained by the circumstance that Edward I. caused the records to be removed. Perth is stated to have been a burgh in 1106 and was made a royal burgh by William the Lion in 1210. During the Scottish wars of the Independence its fortifications were strengthened by Edward I. (1298). Robert Bruce several times ineffectually attempted to seize it, but in 1311 he succeeded in scaling the walls during a night attack. This was the fourth and most brilliant of the seven sieges which the city has sustained. Taken by Edward III. in 1335, it was recaptured in 1339. In 1396 the combat between the Clan Chattan and the Clan Quhele, described in Scott's Fair Maid of Perth, took place on the North Inch in presence of Robert III. and his queen, Annabella Drummond. The Blackfriars' monastery was the scene of the murder of James I. by Walter, earl of Atholl, in 1437. In consequence Perth lost its status as capital, in which it had succeeded to Scone, and the Parliament Courts were transferred to Edinburgh in 1482. Gowrie Palace was the scene of the mysterious "Gowrie" conspiracy against James VI. in 1600. The town was taken by Montrose in 1644, by Cromwell in 1651, and was occupied by Viscount Dundee in 1689. In 1715 the Old Pretender was proclaimed king at the Mercat Cross (Sept. 16), and the chevalier himself appeared in the city in the following January, only to leave it precipitately on the approach of the earl of Argyll. Prince Charles Edward spent a few days in Perth from the 3rd of September 1745. In both rebellions the magistrates took the side of the Crown and were supported by the townsfolk generally, the Jacobites drawing their strength mainly from the county noblemen and gentry with their retainers. Since then the city has devoted itself to the pursuits of trade and commerce. Perth was visited by plague in 1512, 1585-1587, 1608 and 1645; by cholera in 1832; and the floods of 1210, 1621, 1740, 1 773 and 1814 were exceptionally severe.
- Maidment, The Chronicle of Perth from 1210 to 1668 (1831); Penney, Traditions of Perth (1836); Lawson, The Book of Perth (1847); Peacock, Perth, its Annals and Archives (1849); Samuel Cowen, The Ancient Capital of Scotland (1904).
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