Location:- Perth Time:- 1500ish 1.04.10
I was off of work and the sun had finally managed to peek through the clouds so I decided to have another wee solo mission and get some shots of the urban glory of the city (well not actually a city) of Perth.
Quick history Lesson. Perth in now 800 years old and has never been given city status. There are a few theories why this is one is that after the assassination of king James the 1st of Scotland at Scone palace (on the outskirts of Perth) on 21st February 1437 that the official royal line which later on became the modern day royal family got a little annoyed at Perth as they felt that it’s lords, in particular Sir Robert Graham were to blame for the whole business. So after all the extra executions of the secondary royal line which could of had a claim to the throne they decided to never give Perth City status as some kind of punishment. Another theory is that as all the Scottish kings were crowned at Scone Palace, that when the royal family merged with England the English ancestors felt that they should not give Perth city status so that those pesky Scottish relatives wouldn’t get ideas of being important and try and take the crown. Also they took our stone of destiny which originally sat at the chapel at scone which is built on a mound that is said to be made from handfuls of soil from all over Scotland as all the lords brought soil from their fiefdom to honour the 1st king of Scotland. Got all that?
Anyway this year is the 800 year anniversary and Perth is pushing for city status, even though everyone thinks it is a city anyway and has been called the “fair city” for years, and we don’t really care. But all in all it did inspire me to go out and find glimpses of Perth’s past. I started with me own close (that’s a part of a tenement building for those non-Scottish amongst you) This building was built in about 1888 and has been modernised through the years but the exterior still has a lot of the original tenement in it. I couldn’t be bothered with a big heavy bag so just took the wide angled lens on the camera. On full wide this gave me a good shot of the plettie (dundonian for communal landing) which really has not changed over the years, apart from the toilet block no longer have toilets in them, just our junk! I was lucky enough to capture the sun sneaking into the dark stairwell and stood for a while on the stairs trying to get the exposure right with the bright sun against the dark stairs and wall, but think I got it in the end.
After exploring my courtyard which again hasn’t changed much since 1888, apart from the big bins and the bricking up of the old gateway through to the inns courtyard, I headed in to the city (sorry town) itself. I wandered through the Whitefriars graveyard which I think is the oldest one in Perth and down to Tay, but found nothing that moved me. I daundered around the oldest tenements built by the church, but a lot of this was being worked on so was just covered with scaffolding which was not very pretty. I walked back into town and although there are a lot of lovely buildings the place was so busy with people and cars everywhere, it was school run time. Why can’t people walk with their children or get the bus instead of polluting the place with their big 4×4 cars?! almost fed up with the city I headed to the new concert hall and the fair maids house which is the oldest building in Perth and used to sit just outside the city walls. This fair maid was legendised by Sir Walter Scott who wrote the “fair maid of Perth” novel after being inspired by the story of the battle of the clans which took place on the North Inch in Perth in 1396. The flag stone for one of the clans flag can still be found under an oak tree beside the practice green on the Inch. Anyway the house built in 1393 is still standing proud and is a tourist attraction though must admit I have never been in it, but then again I’ve never seen it open. This was perfect for the wide angled though as the road runs pretty close to it and as much as I wanted to stand a little further back, the cars seemed to complain at this! The street is still cobbled and I found getting low gave a great perspective with the cobbles in the foreground. However looking one way I couldn’t help but get the ugly new multi-story car park in the shot. How annoying! only good thing about that car park is that it is on Curfew Lane which is such a cool name for the little vennel (ally or lane between buildings).
Once I had got a few shots of the old house I headed down the South Inch (Inch by the way means low lying marshy flood plain- in Perth the 2 inches have been made into parks and were gifted to the town by the Mercer family a few generations ago). Although the sun was out the Inch was a bit boring as the trees were still bare and only the bravest of flowers had attempted to bloom. I did wander down to the back of the Ice Factory night club which used to be the premiere club in Perth (yes we have more than one!) until it closed on Halloween last year. Now it just looks sad and manky, another bit of Urban degradation brought on by the credit crunch. It did photograph well though. It was originally a cold storage warehouse and slaughter yard, but guess ‘The Slaughter House’ didn’t have the same ring to it for a night club!! By this point the temperature was dropping again and it was pretty chilly out of the sun, I was also well annoyed by the busyness of Perth so I headed home, which fortunately was just around the corner.
Not a bad little trip and it did remind me that Perth has a lot of lovely buildings and history, they’re just not easy to see behind all the people and cars. Somewhere along the line people stopped looking around themselves and forgot about everything but the rush to be somewhere else. May try to photo Perth again but take someone with me to move everyone out the way! My very own photo bouncer, fabulous!!!