- Perth, Scotland
Perth Scottish Gaelic: Peairt Scots: Pairth St John's Toun (old name)
The Fair City (nickname)
Images of Perth
Perth shown within Perth and Kinross
Population 44,820  OS grid reference Council area Perth and Kinross Lieutenancy area Perth and Kinross Country Scotland Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town PERTH Postcode district PH1-PH3; PH14 Dialling code 01738 Police Tayside Fire Tayside Ambulance Scottish EU Parliament Scotland UK Parliament Ochil and South Perthshire Perth and North Perthshire Scottish Parliament Perthshire North Perthshire South and Kinross-shire Mid Scotland and Fife List of places: UK • Scotland •
Perth (Scots: Pairth, Scottish Gaelic: Peairt) is a town and former city and royal burgh in central Scotland. Located on the banks of the River Tay, it is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council area and the historic county town of Perthshire. According to a 2008 estimate, Perth has a population of 44,820. Perth has been known as The Fair City since the publication of the story Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott in 1828. During the medieval period the town was also called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun, by its Scots-speaking inhabitants in reference to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist.
The name Perth comes a Pictish word for wood or copse. There has been a settlement at Perth since prehistoric times, on a natural mound raised slightly above the flood plain of the Tay, where the river could be crossed at low tide. The area surrounding the modern town is known to have been occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers since their arrival more than 8000 years ago. Nearby Neolithic standing stones and circles also exist, dating from about 4000 BC, following the introduction of farming in the area.
The presence of Scone Abbey, home of the Stone of Destiny where the King of Scots was crowned, enhanced the early importance of the town. Perth became known as a 'capital' of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court. Royal Burgh status was soon given to the town by King William The Lion in the early 12th century. The town became one of the richest burghs in the country, doing trade with France, the Low Countries and Baltic Countries for goods such as Spanish silk and French wine.
The Scottish Reformation also played a big role in the town with the sacking of the Houses of the Greyfriars and Blackfriars, after a sermon given by John Knox in St John's Kirk in 1559. The Act of settlement later brought about Jacobite uprisings. The town was occupied by Jacobite supporters on three occasions (1689, 1715 and 1745). The founding of Perth Academy in 1760, helped to bring major industries to the town, such as linen, leather, bleach and whisky. Given its location, Perth was perfectly placed to become a key transport centre with the coming of the railways, and its first station was built in 1848.
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. Until well into the 19th century maps only refer to the town as "St. Johnstone", and "Perth" is very specifically the wide area known now as "Perthshire". In documents it was often referred to as the "town of Perth", but this appears to be in the sense of "the town in the Perth area". Only since the late 19th century has the name of the town itself been fixed as Perth.
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 4000 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.
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), enhanced Perth's early importance. Perth was considered the effective 'capital' of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court.Royal Burgh status was soon awarded to the town from King William the Lion in the early 12th century. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Perth was one of the richest trading burghs in the kingdom (along with such places as North 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. 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 brought his armies to Perth in 1296 and with only a ditch for defence and little fortification, the town 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. 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 stone defensive walls, towers and fortified gates around the town in 1336. These defences were the strongest of any town in Scotland in the Middle Ages.
By 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. 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. That same year Oliver Cromwell came to Perth, fresh from victory in the English Civil War, and established a fortified citadel on the South Inch, one of five built around Scotland. The restoration of Charles II was not without incident, and with the Act of settlement in 1701, came the Jacobite uprisings. The town was occupied by Jacobite soldiers in 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. 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 carriages became popular in the 1890s; they were quickly replaced by electric trams. Despite being a garrison town and undergoing major social and industrial developments during the First World War, Perth remained relatively unchanged.
Today, Perth serves as a retail centre for the surrounding area. This includes a main shopping centre along with a pedestrianised high street and many independent and specialist shops. Main employers in the town now include Aviva, Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish and Southern Energy.
Perth forms part of the county constituencies of Perth and North Perthshire and Ochil and South Perthshire, electing one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom by the first past the post system for each constituency. Peter Wishart (SNP) is the MP for Perth and North Perthshire, and Gordon Banks (Labour) for Ochil and South Perthshire.
For the purposes of the Scottish Parliament, Perth forms part of the constituencies of Perthshire North and Perthshire South and Kinross-shire. These two constituencies were created in 2011 as two of the nine constituencies 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. Perthshire North is currently represented by Roseanna Cunningham (SNP) and Perthshire South and Kinross-shire is currently represented by John Swinney (SNP).
At EU level, Perth is part of the pan-Scotland European Parliament constituency which elects seven Members of the European Parliament (MEP)s using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation. Currently, Scotland returns two Labour MEPs, two Conservative MEPs, two SNP MEPs and one Liberal Democrat MEP, to the European Parliament.
The classic definition of Perth has been as a city, and traditional documentation confirms that this has been true since time immemorial. In the late 1990s, Her Majesty's 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", like Brechin and Elgin.
Current road-signs around the borders state "The City of Perth", and directional signs within 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 local authority, Perth and Kinross, stated that the 800th Anniversary of the city in 2009 should create "a foundation for Perth to bid for formal city status".
Perth, Scotland compared according to UK Census 2001 Perth,Scotland Perth & Kinross Scotland Total population 43,450 97,824 5,062,011 Foreign born 3.06% 3.57% 3.35% Over 75 years old 8.16% 8.56% 7.09% Unemployed 1,045 2,730 148,082
According to the 2001 census, Perth, Scotland had had a total population of 43,450. A more recent population estimate of the town has been recorded as 44,820 in 2008. The demographic make-up of the population is much in line with the rest of Scotland. The age group from 30 to 44 forms the largest portion of the population (22%). The median age of males and females living in Perth was 37 and 40 years respectively, compared to 37 and 39 years for those in the whole of Scotland.
The place of birth of the town's residents was 95.42% United Kingdom (including 87.80% from Scotland), 0.52% Republic of Ireland, 1.18% from other European Union countries, and 1.88% from elsewhere in the world. The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 57.10% in full-time employment, 12.90% in part-time employment, 6.08% self-employed, 3.29% unemployed, 2.37% students with jobs, 2.84% students without jobs, 14.75% retired, 4.93% looking after home or family, 5.94% permanently sick or disabled, and 4.07% economically inactive for other reasons. Compared with the average demography of Scotland, Perth has low proportions of people born outside the European Union, but has both higher proportions born within the European Union and those over 75 years old.
As with the rest of the British Isles and Scotland, Perth experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters.
Climate data for Perth 23m asl, 1951-1980 Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) 14.5
Average high °C (°F) 5.7
12.2 Average low °C (°F) −0.6
4.5 Record low °C (°F) −14.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 70
Sunshine hours 43.4 65.0 99.2 153.0 176.7 180.0 170.5 139.5 111.0 83.7 54.0 34.1 1,310.1 Source: Weatherbase 
The strength of Perth's economy lies in its diversity, with a balance of large companies, the public sector, a broad range of small and medium sized enterprises and many self-employed business people. The development in renewable energy, insurance, manufacturing, leisure, health and transport are stimulating employment. The largest employer in the city is Perth and Kinross Council who employ 6,000. Other main employers include NHS Tayside, Scottish and Southern Energy, Aviva and Perth College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands). The leading international transportation company, Stagecoach Group also have their global headquarters in the town.
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 on 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. A £3 million pound project for the High Street and King Edward Street provided new seating, lighting and the laying of natural stone in 2010.  A retail park, constructed in 1988, exists to the north-west of the town centre around St Catherine's Road, and provides eight purpose built units.
Perth Museum and Art Gallery 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, constructed in 1900 is one of Scotland's oldest and most historic repertory theatres. The theatre is undergoing a £10 million redevelopment into an arts complex to house new studio space, a youth theatre, construction workshop and a series of front of house performance areas in addition to the main focus of the conservation and restoration of the historic Edwardian auditorium. This is to include a new main entrance to the building on Mill Street; demolition of all extensions to the east of the original theatre and the creation of a foyer space to link all existing and new facilities. Perth Concert Hall which opened in 2005, was built on the site of the former Horsecross Market and largely funded from Britain's 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 charts, would be their biggest hit, and Perth's biggest to date. 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 Britain'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 "British Station of the Year" in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2007.
The Category A listed 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 12th century, the church was allowed to fall into 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). Equally remarkably, the collection of medieval bells is the largest to have survived in Great Britain.
The spire of Category B listed 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. 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 Category A listed Fair Maid's House on North Port is the oldest surviving secular building in Perth. Built on the foundations of previous buildings, parts of the structure date back from 1475. Purchased by the Glovers Association in 1693 for use as a meeting house, the house was reconstructed in 1893 to its current appearance. This was used as the home of Catherine Glover in the novel, The Fair Maid of Perth which was written by Sir Walter Scott in 1828. In 2010, the house was converted by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) into a visitor and educational centre reflecting the history of Perth. The work also included the extension of a building between the Fair Maid's House and the neighbouring Lord John Murray's House from which the RSGS have operated their headquarters, when it moved to Perth in 2008. The Scottish Government awarded funding of £450,000 to aid the project, while the other £350,000 was provided by the RSGS themselves. The sensitive conversion of the building was recognised by the Perth Civic Trust, winning its restoration and renovation award in 2011.
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 Category A listed Lower Mills which date from 1805 were used for barley and oatmeal, while the Category A listed  Upper Mills of 1792 consisted of two wheat mills connected to a granary. The Category A listed former Perth Waterworks completed in 1832, serve as the main focus point on the southern end of the city centre. The waterworks which have been converted into a gallery dedicated to the works of J.D. Fergusson in 1992, is one of the very few early surviving examples of a cast iron structure.
Sport and recreation
St. Johnstone is the town's professional football club. The team play in the Scottish Premier League at their home ground, McDiarmid Park. There are also two junior clubs based in Perth – Jeanfield Swifts and Kinnoull. The senior rugby team, Perthshire Rugby Football Club play their games at North Inch in the Scottish Premiership Division Three. 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 Britain. 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 is also home to two main parks, namely the North Inch and South Inch. The Inches were given to the city in 1377 by King Robert III. 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.
Further and higher education – including a range of degrees – is available through Perth College UHI, one of the largest partners in the University of the Highlands and Islands. It runs a network of learning centres across the area, in Blairgowrie, Crieff, Kinross and Pathways in Perth. It also owns AST (Air Service Training) which delivers a range of aircraft engineering courses. It is part of Scotland's newest university, the University of the Highlands and Islands and brings economic and social benefits to the area.
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 (and ultimately Oban), the A93 to Blairgowrie and Braemar, 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 East Coast (train operating company) to King's Cross (from Inverness), while the Caledonian Sleeper runs overnight to Euston.
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 20 minutes drive from Perth, offers flights to London City Airport, Belfast, and Birmingham as well as charter, engineering and training facilities.
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- ^ "Lower City Mills, Perth – Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/hsstart?P_HBNUM=39578. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- ^ "Upper City Mills, Perth – Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/hsstart?P_HBNUM=39577. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- ^ "Former Perth Waterworks, Perth – Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/hsstart?P_HBNUM=39341. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- ^ "Clubs in the Scottish Premier League". BBC Sport. 19 January 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/default.stm.
- ^ "list of Scottish Junior football teams A-K". Scottish Football Junior Football Association. http://www.footballcentral.org/sfa/associations/scottish-junior-football-association/club-directory-a-k.cfm. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
- ^ "Results and Fixtures in Scottish Premiership and National Leagues". Scottish Rugby. 11 August 2011. http://www.scottishrugby.org/community/index.php?option=com_joomleague&func=showResultsRank&p=336&Itemid=789.
- ^ Smith, Gavin & Ruth (2000). Perth in Old Photographs. Sutton Publishing Limited. p. 105.
- ^ North Inch Golf Course
- ^ "Scotland's newest university created". BBC news site. 2 February 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-12323053. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- ^ a b Graham-Campbell Perth: The Fair City 1994, p. 139.
- Perth City
- Perth history
- Perth College UHI
- Perth and Kinross Council
- Perthshire Tourist Board
- North Inch Golf Course
- Perth Festival of the Arts
- Welcome to Perth
- Perth (Scotland) travel guide from Wikitravel
- St Johns Academy
- Our lady of Lourdes
- St John's Kirk
- St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Perth
- St John's Shopping Centre
- St. Matthew's Church of Scotland
- University of the Highlands and Islands
- Carpow Roman Fort
- Google Map showing many of the places mentioned in this article
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