By a Newsnet reporter

The ancient city of Perth is a city once again after being awarded the status to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.  Perth was the only town in Scotland to enter the UK wide competition for city status, which was launched in December 2010. 

Perth’s campaign was supported by the councils of Scotland’s other cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, and Stirling, and by the leaders of all Scotland’s main political parties.

The English town of Chelmsford in Essex and the historic Welsh town of St Asaph in North Wales were also awarded city status in today’s announcement.   

Perth was historically considered a city, and had been known as “the Fair City” since the publication in 1828 of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Sir Walter Scott, however it was demoted to town status after local government reorganisation in 1975.  

Perth was already considered an ecclesiastical city as it is home to an ancient cathedral, but possessing a cathedral is by itself no longer considered the mark of a city. 

Historically, Perth was regarded as a major Scottish city, with the country’s first capital at nearby Scone since the reign of Kenneth Macalpine in the 9th century.  The Scottish royal court was frequently in residence, and the king of Scots was crowned at Scone Abbey until the reign of Alexander III (1249-86).

Today’s announcement restores city status to one of Scotland’s oldest and most important urban settlements.  Civic leaders and politicians have welcomed the announcement which they hope will give a boost to economic development in the area.

Dr John Hulbert, provost of Perth & Kinross Council, said:

“I am delighted that official city status has been restored to Perth. Everyone in the council shares my excitement at the prospect of a glorious new chapter in Perth’s long history.

“The City and Royal Burgh of Perth was the capital of Scotland from the 9th century until 1437, and then officially the second city of Scotland until 1975.

“Even although city status was summarily removed when local government was reorganised, Perth has continued to be known as the ‘Fair City’.  Full restoration of its ancient dignity is long overdue.

“This decision reflects the fact that Perth is at the forefront of Scottish life: a modern, dynamic, international city, offering unrivalled business, artistic, educational, cultural and sporting opportunities to its citizens and visitors.”

First Minister Alex Salmond congratulated Perth on regaining its city status, saying:  “This is fantastic news for the City of Perth and indeed for the whole of Scotland. To have the title of City restored rightly to this ancient  capital is entirely fitting during this Diamond Jubilee Year.

“Praise is due to the people who have worked hard to make Perth’s case, in particular the Provost John Hulbert and Lord Lieutenant Mel Jamieson.  Their dedication has resulted in a celebration for the Fair City’s people and a recognition of what Perth means to Scotland.

“Now we can look forward to an exciting future building on an already dynamic city which will deliver further success economically to the local community and more widely. Well done to the Fair City.”

The SNP’s Roseanna Cunningham, MSP for Perthshire South & Kinross-shire, also gave a warm welcome to the announcement.

Ms Cunningham said:

“This is brilliant news and a great victory for Perth and for the whole of Scotland.

“The case for Perth’s city status was an incredibly strong one.  Historically, Perth was already a city – the Fair City.  Today, it is a wonderful place to live and to do business and it has the potential to grow and really flourish as a modern city at the heart of the new Scotland we are building.

“That case was widely recognised throughout Scotland and across Scottish society, and I would like to pay tribute to the Provost and the rest of the team at Perth & Kinross Council who have worked so hard to ensure our positive message got across.

“There may have been debate throughout the rest of the UK over which town would be the most suitable recipient but it was quite clear that Perth was Scotland’s choice; the sole Scottish nominee and an application that was supported by the First Minister and the leaders of all of Scotland major political parties.

“I am delighted for Perth and I extend my congratulations to Chelmsford, St Asaph and to Armagh who have also been named as cities.”


2012-03-14 19:04

Perth is a fabulous city set in its Highland Gateway scenery. A short drive in any direction from the city centre will get you into the countryside.

It’s also enormously important politically and will play a major role in the winning of the Independence Referendum. VOTE YES
Hing em high
2012-03-14 19:05

They have condescendingly given back what it always had. I had the cowk bag out when they announced this on the news. More shameless Brit Royalist lies and propaganda!
2012-03-16 21:42

My initial thoughts exactly HEM. Where do they ever get off thinking it’s their right to grant that title. It’s a city if we (or the people of Perth) want it that way and certainly not from some Royalist posting during something called her jubilee. Enough already!!!

2012-03-14 19:17

Yes congratulations to Perth, I would like to think Paisley would be at the top of the list next time.?
edinburgh quine
2012-03-14 21:25

And Elgin too. On the basis that it’s got a cathedral, albeight burnt doon by the Wolf of Badenoch, but still. AND it’s fitba team is cawed Elgin City – I think.

2012-03-14 20:08

Order restored.

Next up, nation status for Scotland.
2012-03-14 20:30

Well said Chicmac, I`m bemused that it ever lost City status in the first place. Hing em high, I agree also. Oh how gratefull we scots should be to recieve such a gift from the very top of the British establishment. We should have gone ahead and restored its city status ourselves and made it awkward for the UK to explain why it took it away in the first place or kept demanding our ancient capital be restored to what it had been a thousand years ago. Long before the UK got it`s grubby hands on 35 odd years ago. Whats the bet it had a labour council at the time sitting on its hands looking the other way instead of saying NOOOO, [Edited – NNS Mod Team], NOOOO WAY MAN.
2012-03-14 21:30

I don’t think you know much about the old Perth & Kinross Joint County Council, or Perth Burgh Council when they were abolished in 1975!

Whatever their membership was in those days – it certainly wasn’t Labour!

2012-03-14 21:47

Bruce liberated Perth from English control in January 1313, so the 700th (Hepcentennial?) anniversary is coming up soon.

French chroniclers watching the event were astonished when Bruce, around 40 years of age, was first into the moat and with the water up to his neck at one point was second man on to the ramparts.

That was not the normal behaviour for medieval kings.

What chance a celebration for that?
2012-03-14 21:59

As nice as this story is, does anyone know why there is nothing on Scotland’s escalating employment on the sight tonight?
2012-03-14 23:03

I’m sure this will appear shortly re: Scotland’s rising unemployment – think you may find it has something to do with the Recession we are all in, this is the norm in a Recession as far as I’m aware.
May also be down to the UK Government’s handling of this current Recession- outwith the control of the Scottish Government
call me dave
2012-03-14 23:18

# gfaetheblock:

Ok fair comment!
However we all knew that this was coming and some here were wary of making too much of figures that showed, earlier on, that Scotland was doing marginally better, comparatively, than most of the UK .
I am disappointed that there are 1 in 4 younger Scots looking for employment but I am sure that the present SG is doing as well as it can in the circumstances. Remember that the SG have limited resources and only a few golf clubs to play a hard course. ‘Call me Dave’ has the full set and they are not doing any better beyond the border but that’s no relief either.
Offering a living wage (aye right it’s not that much) is fine and to promise no redundancies for workers where the SG does have some control is good as well. Also bringing some spending forward from 2012 to 2011 were decent enough initiatives but it was obvious that the bad times were coming to our door.
Independence won’t immediately magic away our problems but realistically it’s the only way I see an improvement in the situation.
I’ve retired and gone back to work twice in the last two years as I enjoy what I do so maybe I’m part of the problem too as young folk need jobs.
Your maybe entitled to have a dig but what would you do different? No government wants to piss off their population and if it was easy ‘call me Dave’ and ‘The First Eck’ would all do the right thing but we just repeat history.

PS: heard this one!
New Bridge – – – Yes

‘The Jubilee Bridge’

Darkened Room now.

2012-03-14 22:26

On congratulating a work colleague tonight on being from the great City of Perth he thought I was stupid. It turned out that he wasn’t aware that Perth wasn’t a city and that the sign on entering the place says The City of Perth ? Anybody out there know for sure or are the people in charge of Perth in denial ?
2012-03-15 07:51

The city status was lost during reorganisation. Then in 1999 the council thought about applying during the millenium city comp. and asked the locals – when most of them said they already thought it was the “fair city” they decided to save money by dropping the campaign and just ordered up new signs

2012-03-14 22:56

Given that Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg Gotha and virtually all the crown heads of Europe would not be alive today but for the skill of a monk from Paisley Abbey delivering the first Stewart king , Robert II by Caesarian section as his mother Princess Marjory breathed her last why does she treat Paisley, Scotland’s largest town for over a century, so shabbily?

Sir William Wallace was educated in the Abbey and Bruce received Papal absolution before the high altar
2012-03-14 23:30

If we’re going into the history, then “city” wasn’t an officially recognised term in Scotland till 1889. Only then did the Queen allocate that term to Dundee.
call me dave
2012-03-14 23:32

Well I should have been reading more Scottish history when I was younger seriously!

P J Wodehouse :Bertie Wooster and
Jerome K Jerome: three Men in Boat were OK
R L Stevenson
J Wyndham
Zane Grey etal. were more my style.

Reading more stuff now though on Scotland and really appreciate all the comments and little gems from those who are more educated than me regarding things Scottish. Thanks to this site.
2012-03-15 00:27

Three Men in a Boat was one of my childhood favourites! My brothers and I could lie in bed at night and quote screeds of it from memory.

I’m in favour of people reading anything they can from good writers. How else are we to understand the world?

2012-03-15 05:03

The answer is in the article, MacSenex – Perth was the only town in Scotland that applied. So it’s not Elizabeth I that’s treating Paisley shabbily, but the representatives of Paisley.

2012-03-14 23:50

I read about this in the Courier this morning. Few may know that this paper is very right wing, supports everything Conservative and attacks the SNP….sort of a mini version of the Scotsman. The front page article highlighted that the Corier had supported Perrth bis and that Ruth Davidson has asked Mr Cameron and also written to him seeking his backing. No mention at all about all the hard work put in buy a great many people none more so than the Lord Provist. Course he is an SNP councillor.

Sad really.
2012-03-15 01:59

Erm,.. when you say ‘mini’, you do realise The Courier has a much larger circulation than the Hootsmon don’t you?

Indeed almost as large as the Hootsmon and Herald combined.

Agree re the C in every other respect.

Re the Tories, I noted on EBC Distorting Scotland that Mundell the Mundane was grinning inanely in the backdrop of the photo op. in Perth – a long way from Dumfries.
2012-03-15 15:54

Quoting chicmac:

Erm,.. when you say ‘mini’, you do realise The Courier has a much larger circulation than the Hootsmon don’t you?

Indeed almost as large as the Hootsmon and Herald combined.

Agree re the C in every other respect.

Re the Tories, I noted on EBC Distorting Scotland that Mundell the Mundane was grinning inanely in the backdrop of the photo op. in Perth – a long way from Dumfries.

Yes, like you, I too was annoyed to see Mundell’s puddin’ face grinning in the background of the photoshoot. This absurd wee man talks Scotland down at every opportunity he gets, whether in Westminster or in media interviews, yet travels up from his Dumfries constituency to shove his face in camera shot. Barf!!!


Edna Caine
2012-03-14 23:52

Does this mean that St Johnstone FC will now have to change their name?

St Johnsitty??
2012-03-15 05:27

Perth was called St. John’s Town since time immemorial, so I see no need to change this historic name.

2012-03-15 09:01

Perth, Scotland, and Roskilde, Denmark.

Perth was capital of Scotland (present pop. approx. 5.2 million) from the 9th century until 1437.

Roskilde was capital of Denmark (present pop. approx. 5.6 million) from the 11th century until 1443.

A truly astonishing parallel coincidence, with the two places leading their respective countries at the same time.

Both cities now have a population of above 45,000.

Suggestion … that the two cities be twinned.
Does anyone know how to go about getting a twinning arrangement put into effect?
2012-03-15 09:32

Congratulations to Perth, it certainly has the history. Though I have to say in terms of a city-like feel and energy Glasgow is the only proper city in Scotland.

The Roskilde twinning is a fantastic idea!
2012-03-15 20:27

I suppose some will accuse me of being ‘picky’ but Scone, and by inference Perth, was the crowning capital of Scotland for several centuries before the 9th century. ”Scone of the High Shields” was the poetic title by which it was known. The reason for the confusion is that the people were originally known as Picts and they later became known as ‘Scots’ for reasons that are not at all clear. Kenneth MacAlpin wasn’t the first king to unite the Dalriadans and the Picts. That title had already been taken by king Constantine and before him king Onuist Mac Fheagais (Angus Ferguson) in the 8th century. Indeed MacAlpin was crowned as Rex Pictorum. We go back a lot further than most people are aware of. And yes, I live in Perth and am very pleased that the City has been given its recognition again.
2012-03-16 21:52

Excuse my ignorance, but can anyone tell me what the practical significance is of ‘city status’? Is there any? Or is it just so people in the city can feel good about their home town? I have no idea. If it’s the latter, then it seems to me Perth HAS been a city all along, as that’s how local residents have viewed it. I’m somewhat confused here.
2012-03-19 12:54

I have read, but cannot remember exactly where, I read a lot of history, that Perth was the first town in Scotland to have recognised suburbs, whether that meant it was the largest at that time I am not sure.

The particular thing about city status and Perth is I think more to do with recent history.

The three towns on the central spine of the A9 (not counting the bit that veers off to the West coast after Perth) Inverness, Perth and Stirling are all pretty much similar in size. When Perth lost its city status in ’75 it was the largest of the three and the other two were not cities. Since then, those other two have been made cities and Inverness has overtaken Perth in population.

Hence a double whammy re the loss of city status for Perthites.

I have also seen that Perth (and its surrounding commuter area) is expected to increase in population faster than anywhere else in Scotland (30% over the next couple of decades) and that was before the restoration of city status.

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