Commerce

Skinnergate

In medieval times Skinnergate was the main thoroughfare into Perth from the North. Many of the crafts and trades associated with Perth were established there just inside the burgh walls. An information board entitled Perth – A Craftis Toun can be found on Mill Street at the north end of Skinnergate.

The Old Ship Inn

A notice board suggests an Old Ship Inn has been on this site in the Skinnergate since Medieval times. The present building is described by Gifford as late-Victorian.

The building displays a series of boards showing mock newspaper headlines relating to events occurring within the life-time of the pub.

Old Mercat Cross High Street and the Markets of Perth

A Plaque in the roadway marks the site of the Old Mercat Cross.

A modern information board close-by describes the various markets held over the centuries. This is Panel 6 of the Perth Medieval Trail which replaced an earlier board (also pictured). Further details of markets and trades are recorded on Panel 8 at St John’s Kirk which replaced an earlier information board.

The original cross was demolished by Cromwell’s engineers  to provide stones for his citadel. It was re-instated in 1669 and this replacement demolished in 1765. The design of present Mercat Cross in King Edward Street is closely based on that of the original. (Duncan. J., Perth, A City Again, 2012, p299)

St. John’s Kirk

On the East Wall in St John Street is a plaque recording that King David granted the Church of St. John the Baptist in Perth to Dunfermline Abbey in 1126 under whose auspices Perth fell at that time.

Outside the Kirk are two modern information boards. Earlier versions pictured here were initiated and funded by Perth Partnership, but these were replaced in 2021 by Panels 7 and 8 of the new Perth Medieval Trail created by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust in conjunction with Perth and Kinross Council.

Panel 7, entitled St John’s Town, deals with the history of the Kirk, explaining its environs in the Middle Ages and later. It describes the Kirk’s place in Scottish history from its founding, through the Reformation and into the modern period.

Panel 8, entitled Trades of Perth, explains the medieval origins of Perth’s manufacturing industries.

West Port

At the junction of High Street and Methven Street was the old West Port, one of the many entrances to the city in medieval times. Traders would enter her to go to the many markets held within the walls. A modern information board entitled Going to Market (Panel 9 of the Perth Medieval Trail) can be found beside the newly redeveloped St Paul’s Church open-air space.

The Harbours of Perth

A modern board describing the harbours of Perth from its earliest time. The board contains details of ship building in Perth, the last ship believed to be the Ballinbriech Castle launched in 1878.

The importance to Perth of retaining a port is demonstrated by the importance the Council of Perth attached to ensuring the Tay Bridge at Dundee would allow shipping to pass beneath it and make their way up-river. Prior to the passing of the 1881 Act, to authorise the building of the bridge, Perth Town Council sent representatives to lobby the Westminster government directly. They wished to ensure that the design of the bridge would allow sea-going vessels to pass under the bridge and be able to sail on to Perth harbour in order to safeguard its use as a viable enterprise.

Marshall has a reference of Alexander I (1078-1124) granting the custom duties collected from English ships at the port of Scone being given to the monasteries. (Marshall T. H., The History of Perth: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, 1849 p309)

Watergate

There is a modern information board which gives a detailed account of the Watergate, one of the most important streets in historic Perth.

The present buildings were largely built in the 18th century.

The building dated 1725 was occupied by the Wright Incorporation of Perth. The Wright Incorporation of Perth was one of a number of Guilds which were given monopoly rights to trade within the city, goods relating to their particular craft.

The Incorporations were empowered to decide who should be admitted to the Guild and to set rules and standards to which members were required to adhere.

The Wright Incorporation looked after the interests of masons, weavers, glaziers, barbers, carpenters and bookbinders. In 1833 they lost their authority to control trade and became charitable organisations.

This building may also have been used by masons.

Guildhall

A series of images relating to various aspects of the Guildhall.

On the actual building a plaque giving the date of the construction of the original Guildhall in 1722 and rebuilding in 1907.

In the pediment the figures of Commerce and Industry support the coat of arms of the city of Perth under the Scottish crown.

A plaque commemorating the opening of the new Guildhall in 1907, also a roll of honour for Guild members who fell in World War I is held in the Guildhall Office in George Street

Pullars of Perth

A plaque commemorating the Jubilee in 1898 of the service of Sir Robert Pullar, son of the founder of the business. The business was founded in Burt Close in 1824.

A second plaque records those employees who lost their lives in the two wars. This is another example of businesses recording the names of fallen colleagues as also did for example, Avia, the Co-Operative and the Railways.

A second building in Mill Street is dated 1865, suggesting this might have been an earlier building than the main entrance on Kinnoull Street.

A further building dated 1901 is probably an extension. There was a further extension in the 1950s which caused much controversy but has no date on it. This extension is now Café Kisa.

Perth Railway Station 

The station designed by Sir William Tite opened in 1848. The original front of the station is now the main building on platform 4. The station was extended in 1884-1886 to accommodate an increase in traffic and to form the platforms serving the Dundee line.

 A series of plaques set out features of Perth Railway Station

The railway bridge over King’s Place is dated 1849 which is also the date of first wooden bridge over the Tay allowing the completion of the line to Dundee.

A large destination board  dating from 1855, showing “Perth” as you enter the station from the north.

Award Plaques – there are two plaques recording the awards given to the station for the high standard of work achieved in its restoration and upgrading.

Clocks on platforms 4 and 5. These are the original clocks made by J.A. Ritchie of Edinburgh who was also responsible for the floral clock in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.

War Memorial The memorial records those employees of the railway who perished in the World Wars.

At the southern end of Dundee platform there was previously a sign, now lost, marking the room used as a mortuary for those wounded servicemen of World War 1 who died while in transit to hospitals further north.  

William Downie’s retiral plaque is on platform 5. He is described as being the last of the “time served locking fitters” showing how the skills needed by railway employees had changed.

Perth Station even has a Secret Garden located to the left of the main entrance. It is run by the volunteers of Perth Station Garden Club – see their Facebook page.

The Station Hotel, designed by Andrew Heiton was opened in 1890. On its wall it bears the Coat of Arms of Perth.

Adjacent Railway Bridges

King Street bridge gives details of the formation of Highland Railways.

Princes Street bridge gives details of the Caledonian Railway Company and a short history of some of its locomotives.

On Tay Street almost under the railway bridge is a modern board giving details of the story of the railways in Perth.

Capital Asset in Tay Street (Former Trustees Saving Bank)

The building, built in 1874 to a design by Andrew Heiton Jnr is now occupied by the Capital Asset, a Wetherspoon pub.

The presence of the City of Perth Coat of Arms on the wall outside is a reminder of the local  nature of the early bank, before various amalgamations resulted in it becoming part of a nationwide organisation.

Trustee Saving Banks were set up on democratic and philanthropic principles and overseen by trustees appointed from the locality. Due to a number of bank failures, after 1871 Trustee Savings Banks were regulated by the Savings Bank Act. The structure of the Trustee Savings Banks was primarily designed to safeguard domestic depositors, these safeguards restricted their activities.

In 1926 at the suggestion of W.A.Barclay of the Perth Saving Bank, cheques were introduced. There followed an increasing number of initiatives which changed the character of the bank until it was privatised in 1986.

The Old General Accident Building (now part of Aviva)

The plaque on Tay Street shows the birthplace of the company in 1885.

The company moved its offices to 2 High Street in 1899. It moved to Pitheavlis in 1984

Mathew Gloag Building

Inscription to establish date of build, 1907.

The business of William B. Gloag actually began in 1814. (Hunter, T., Perth Weaving and Weavers, 1936)

A second inscription of a bunch of grapes confirms that Gloag was a wine merchant, which must reflect on the wealth of the city at that time.

Gloags later became famous for Grouse Whisky

Another example of the considerable building taking place in Perth at the turn of the century.

New Mercat Cross

The New Mercat Cross which was erected in 1913 in memory of Edward VI, was said to be an exact copy of Old Mercat Cross.

It is embellished with the crests of 13 town guilds, but there is no information to say which guild each of the crests represent.

The Cross stands in King Edward Street which was created in 1901-1902. (Duncan. J., Perth, A City Again, 2012, p299)

Hammerman Incorporation

A plaque in High Street just west of the entrance to Perth Theatre is a plaque marking where the Hammerman Incorporation met until 1895. They were one of the craft guilds of Perth which date back to the 15th century.