Delight as Perth’s city status restored

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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.

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.”