Perth in old picture postcards volume 1

Perth in old picture postcards volume 1

Auteur
:   Norman Watson
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Perth and Kinross
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-5758-2
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2-3 weken (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.

   


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Perth in old picture postcards volume 1'

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INTRODUCTION

For a city so rich in history , Perth has few surviving historical buildings. Yet, for 20 golden years at the turn of the century, pioneering photographers recorded the life and times of the city on picture postcards.

Yet, this legacy is merely a timewarp in a proud history which spans not 20 years, but 2,000.

Most of Perth's early records have long been lost, destroyed or plundered, leaving historians only to wonder at the extent of the settlement's early size and influence. In his discussion on the early medieval history of Perth, set out in the transactions of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science (1974), Professor A.A.M. Duncan suggests that a flourishing community existed in the High Street and Watergate during the early part of the 12th century.

Perth certainly prospered. By the middle of the 12th century, the town's revenue yield - income mostly from customs on goods passing through its harbour - was more than any other Scottish burgh's. By the year 1180, the town boasted two principal gates, High Street port and South Street port. It had a perimeter wall, a castIe and a mighty kirk. By then, streets such as the Watergate, Kirkgate, Speygate and Skinnergate were probably established.

lt is worth dwelling on this early period, for Perth retained much of its medieval, walled shape until the construction of

its Georgian suburbs around 1800. Between times, it became a royal burgh, Scotland's ancient capital and her seat of government. Kings were crowned at nearby Scone and made their home in Perth. On its Inches - peerless gemswitches were burned and feuds settled. lts great river opened up trade with the four corners of the globe and spawned the tewn's great fishing and dyeing traditions. But Perth could not live in the past. Guided by civic visionaries, such as Lord Provost Thomas Hay Marshall, the town began to shake off its medieval appearance in the 18th century. Under his guidance, the North Inch doubled in size and a new bridge was proposed. The old council chambers, a new post-office and the first of many new streets were planned.

The Scottish enlightenment, however, projected Perth in other directions, notably in business and commerce. And, by the mid-19th century, the foundations for Perth's future prosperity were laid when its key industries of dyeing, whisky blending and insurance were founded. A well-worn tale surrounds the contemporary founders of Perth's two biggest-selling whiskies, Dewar's and Bell's. Finding themselves too early for a church meeting, John Dewar and Arthur Bell decided to have a little refreshment. 'What will you have?' asked Bell. 'A Bell's,' replied Dewar. 'It would

not do to go into the meeting smelling of whisky.'

Fine public buildings were created in this century of stunning achievement - the new academy in 1804, the sheriff court in 1819, the museum in 1822, the county infirmary in 1836 and the magnificent Bank of Scotland office in St. John Street in 1848. Later came impressive ecclesiastical buildings, including St. Matthew's Church (1871) and St. Leonard's in the Fields (1885).

The 20th century brought Edwardian elegance, but it also led to important social change. Two kings were crowned. Motor cars arrived. Aeroplanes took off. The Irish rebelled, as did women. National Insurance was adopted, the Titanic sunk and, of course, the Great War affected every home in the country.

These events were captured for posterity by Britain's leading postcard publishers. Cards were a cheap and cheery novelty which, almost ovemight, allowed the great majority of the adult population to communicate a few words in writing.

As the nation changed, so Perth changed. While the reign of Queen Victoria had added splendour in the shape of impressive buildings, the priority in the new century was to expand the city's boundaries. Soon the new suburbs of Letham, Muirton and Moncriefe were under construction.

They paved the way for developments at HilIyland, Burghmuir, North Muirton and, latterly, the Western Edge. None, however, compromised the city's wonderful setting. Nestling amid a glittering panorama of mountains, Perth has retained its unique character and charm, while working hard to maxirnise its popularity. lts annual arts festival, agricultural show and highland games attract thousands of visitors. First class leisure facilities, such as the swimming and leisure complex, the indoor ice and bowling rinks, McDiarmid Park football stadium and the Gannochy sports arena, form a sporting jigsaw unmatched in Scotland. In recent years, Perth has been voted the best district in Britain in which to live, best twin town in Britain and winner of the best town category in the Britain in BIoom competition.

These are events which, 90 years ago, would have been eertain to feature on commemorative postcards. Not now. Cards today remain the preserve of the tourist. Curiously, the most popular scenes among modern postcards are remarkably similar to those published 90 years ago - Kinnoull Hili, the Fair Maid's House, Perth Bridge and St. John's Kirk.

In some ways, time DOES stand still.

1. The expansion of Perth's medieval boundaries and the creation of its Georgian 'new town' towards the end of the 19th century, led to the construction of elegant new streets such as Atholl Place and Rose Terrace. Note the iron railings around the perimeter of the North Inch in this postcard of 1913. They were subsequently removed to aid the war effort.

High Street.

Perth.

2. This view of Perth High Street, near the theatre, was taken in 1903, the year in which the Scone and Perth Omnibus Company, launched in 1894, became Perth Corporation Tramways. Coincidentally, the Perth-bound and Scone-bound horse-drawn trams pass each other in this scene. As the horse era drew to a close, with the coming of electricity to the tramways in 1905, temporary stables were erected at Bridgend, at a site still known by some as 'Cuddies' Grave'.

3. The 'electric cars' were launched in Perth on 31st October 1905 and were instantly popular. Some 25,000 passengers were carried in their first month of operation. An ornate and impressive Victorian lamp standard appears in the foreground. Wouldn't it look weIl with a modern-day hanging basket?

4. Remaining in the High Street, we now see the theatre area with more evidence of costume outside than in! Doubtless down-town promenading was as popular then as now!

5. Buses arrived in Perth in the inter-war years, signalling the end of the tram in 1929. In another view of the High Street, the Craigie bus uplifts passengers outside the old post office building, now demolished. lust as time - and progress - has taken us from horsedrawn to electric trams, and then to motor buses, so too can we see how Perth High St reet has developed from two-way traffic in this scene, to one-way in the 1960s, to pedestrianisation today.

6. The sparse cottages which existed in Barnhill mushroomed into a small community when the new Perth to Dundee turnpike road was opened in 1829. Although it has recently lost its post office and shop, Barnhill retains its character and its links with the past. A few metres beyond this turn-of-the-century view the old toll house remains, complete with its archaic table of charges.

7. The foundation stone for Smeaton's Bridge was laid by the Earl of Kinnoull in October 1776, en ding a span of 150 years when faith in bridges had 'dried up' because of flood damage, and townsfolk had relied on ferries to ply across the Tay. Perth Bridge, as it is more commonly known, was opened to the publicfive years later in October 1781, at a total cast of f26,631.

Tay t. :l{.w.&Co.,.E.

8. This official North British Railway souvenir postcard of 1904 looks from the railway bridge towards Tay Street. Prominent in the centre are the distinctive Doric pillars of Perth's sheriff court, built in Greek Revival style in 1819-1820. Sheep graze peacefully on Moncrieffe Island in the foreground!

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