Perth wins Diamond Jubilee contest to be named seventh Scottish city

Perth Perth's city status was removed in 1975 during local government reform

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Perth will become Scotland's seventh city after winning a UK competition marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The town based its bid on Perth's long history as a city. The status was removed in 1975 as part of a local government shake-up.

Perth was one of 25 towns across the UK which applied for the civic honour in the jubilee competition.

Two other UK towns, Chelmsford in England and St Asaph in Wales, will also become cities.

Before the announcement there were 66 cities in the UK - 50 in England, five in Wales, six in Scotland and five in Northern Ireland.

Scotland's other cities are Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.

Dr John Hulbert, provost of Perth and 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.

Analysis

On the banks of the bubbling River Tay they are celebrating the righting of a wrong.

Perth was stripped of city status in 1975 but it never dropped the sobriquet, The Fair City, defiantly proclaiming it on road signs and shopfronts.

The Provost of Perth and Kinross, Dr John Hulbert, says the decision "has been resented in Perth all that time, 37 years".

It is a place with a rich and romantic history, Scotland's capital until 1437, home to monarchs, with a cathedral, a court and a nearby palace.

Now locals hope the restoration of city status will bring investment and help Perth escape the shadow of Dundee.

Strolling along the riverbank on Tay Street, retired teacher Paul Breslin and his wife Clair are thrilled.

"I'm absolutely delighted." says Mrs Breslin, "I think it's richly deserved."

"Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful." agrees her husband, who sums up the feelings of many here when he says: "I think Perth is a city, always has been a city and I think it's only right that it should be reinstated as a city."

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"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."

Local MSPs and MPs also welcomed the announcement that Perth had been one of the three towns to win the competition.

Perth and North Perthshire SNP MP Pete Wishart praised the success of a "brilliant campaign".

"This is fantastic news for the fair city. Perth and the whole community will be celebrating news that we have regained our city status," he said.

"It is great to have secured this official recognition from the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations - Perth is a jewel in the crown."

And the Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, said Perth's new status would benefit the whole of Perth and Kinross.

He said: "It is welcome news for the whole of Scotland that Perth has gained city status.

"Perth can rightly call itself the City of Perth and it has a bright future as one of Scotland's seven cities."

Golden charter

Perth and Kinross Council made a 50-page submission to the UK government, detailing Perth's ambition to be a "truly dynamic international city", with messages of support from First Minister Alex Salmond and other prominent leaders in Scotland.

Perth, which celebrated its 800th anniversary last year, was an "ecclesiastical city" because it had a cathedral but was legally considered a town.

Perth and Kinross Council launched a claim for formal city status in 2005 after a search of its archives uncovered the "Golden Charter" of 1600 to back its claim.

City status is a reserved matter and is granted by the Queen under royal prerogative on advice from ministers.

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