A profile of the history, geography, features and facilities of the largest town in Perthshire, Scotland, United Kingdom, after the city of Perth. Presented in a manner other local and regional websites don't mention. Having a good community hospital, shopping, education and relevant related services and facilities nearby and being only eighteen miles from Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee are major relocation advantages for all potential newcomers to the area. Written especially to offer practical assistance to tourists, business visitors, employers, employees, newcomers, researchers, retirees, scholars.
By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes email@example.com. Both disabled, they live in Rattray, Blairgowrie, Perthshire and write, administer and webmaster this website for the Blairgowrie Disability Association. It is not in competition with any other website. Keith is a member of The Society of Authors.
|Blair town profile|
|Blair Links, mentions||Blair Disability Concerns||After independence referendum|
Photo above by and copyright this website's author
Blairgowrie Plan by Perth and Kinross Council (local administrative and tax authority. See http://www.pkc.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=25419&p=0.
Blairgowrie, in central east Scotland, UK, is now the biggest town in Perthshire following the elevation of Perth, 18 miles away, to city status. In summer (on June 21) it does not get dark until after 10:30 pm and has daylight by 7 am. In winter (on December 21) it gets dark from shortly after 3 pm until about 8:30 am. Blairgowrie is in the British Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone. At 7 am (0700 hours) here it is 8 am (0800 hours) in most of Europe, 3 am (0300 hours) in the Caribbean and Bermuda; and 2 am (0200 hours) in Ottawa (Canada); New York and Boston (USA). Visitors who bring laptops or tablets or smartphones, etc and who stay with friends residing locally should ask whether or not the latter have WIFI or wired Internet. If not, bringing their own MIFI is a suggested option. Visitors who, in their countries, may be used to spending a great deal of time on their cell (mobile) phones, should bring their own, after checking with their service provider about any roaming charges here in the UK. This is particularly important because most local residents do not have free telephone calls to Europe or the USA or Canada or beyond, even when they have Internet services. Because such calls are expensive, considerate visitors should either use their own cell (mobile) phones or, if they have brought their own laptops or similar, use Skype or similar to contact their friends or family abroad. Don't do what one visitor to Blairgowrie recently did, stayed up until after midnight almost every night specifically to make 12 non-urgent phone calls in 14 days to USA family and friends in their 5 hours earlier time zones.
Summary of distances from Blairgowrie by car. Note that petrol (gasoline) is about £1.30 a litre. At that extremely high price (compared to the Canada and the USA) it won't be surprising that many local residents who use their own cars don't want to venture too far from Blairgowrie. Visitors who want to go from Blairgowrie to England should instead either rent a car or go by bus or train. Perth is the nearest place to rent a car or take a bus or train going north or south. Visitors who have their own valid driving licenses may drive a local resident's car with permission providing it is not a Motability or similar leased vehicle which prohibits, with no exceptions, anyone else other than a stipulated local resident from driving.
Aberdeen, 69 miles
Aberfeldy, 30 miles
Alyth, 5 miles, 20 minutes
Balmoral, 44 miles
Braemar, 33 miles
Coupar Angus, 5 miles, 20 minutes
Crieff, 34 miles
Dornoch, Sutherland. 3.5 hours north, along the tiresome A9
Dundee, 19 miles, 35 minutes
Edinburgh, 60 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes.
Forfar, Angus, 25 miles, 30 minutes
Glamis, Angus. 30 miles, 40 minutes
Glasgow, 76 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes.
Glenshee (for skiing) 18 miles
Inverness, 112 miles (along A9, often slow, lorry-bound and usually one lane each way, tiresome). 2.5 hours.
Kirriemuir, Angus, 20 miles, 40 minutes
London, England, 450 miles, 10-12 hours by car. If arriving by rail, Perth is the nearest rail station. Change in Edinburgh.
Perth, 18 miles, 40 minutes
Pitlochry, 25 miles, 50 minutes.
St. Andrews, 32 miles, 1 hour
Scone Palace, 15 miles, 25 minutes
Sterling, 49 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes.
Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, 59 Miles (for annual Lonach Highland Games)
All, except Inverness and further north, less than a 90-minute drive away. Around 90% of Scotland's population live within a 90-minute drive of Blairgowrie and East Perthshire.
Blairgowrie Town Centre, May 2010 photos by the author. For an ancient history of the town see http://archive.org/stream/historyofblairgo00macduoft/historyofblairgo00macduoft_djvu.txt.
Twinned with Fergus, Ontario, Canada http://www.fergus-ontario.com and Pleasanton, California, USA http://www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/. Other places with the name of Blairgowrie - but unlike Fergus and Pleasanton not twinned with the town, no one has yet thought to initiate it - include Blairgowrie, Randburg, South Africa, 7 km from Johannesburg, west of Sandton. See Blairgowrie Gauteng at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blairgowrie,_Gauteng. Also see http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsga/blairgowrie.php; Blairgowrie Drive, Blairgowrie, Gauteng, South Africa 2194; Blairgowrie, Victoria, Australia, http://www.whereis.com/VIC/Blairgowrie#session=MTA= and Blairgowrie, Middlesbrough, UK. Also see "A Place Called Blair" at Blair Society http://www.blairsociety.org/blplace.html. There is also a Blairgowrie Drive in Henderson, Nevada NV89044, USA.
Hometown or birthplace of notables including George Anton, actor (films include K-19, The Widowmaker, many more); Andy Clyde, actor. Born: March 25, 1892 in Blairgowrie. Died: May 18, 1967 in Hollywood, California. Active: 1920s to 1950s. Major Genres: Western, Action. Career Highlights: Three Men from Texas, Roughly Speaking, Hoppy Serves a Writ. First Major Screen Credit: Water Wagons (1925). There's a memorial to him in Blairgowrie; David Clyde, actor (Scarlet Claw, etc). http://www.answers.com/topic/david-clyde-1; Andrew Clark, actor (The DaVinci Code, etc); Jake Findlay, professional footballer in England); Hamish Henderson, actor (Play Me Something, etc); Tommy Newcomen. Blairgowrie accordionist and entertainer whose 2009 DVD is entitled "Music From The Mists Of Time"; Andy Stewart, singer and guitarist; Belle Stewart, singer, 1920s era. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Stewart.
Blairgowrie and Rattray is today an interesting town with many shops. Because of its peculiar traffic flow and where traffic lights are situated there are often traffic jams in the Wellmeadow area and nearby, especially in summer. The town is centrally situated in Scotland for visitors for all over the Eastern, Western and Northern Scottish Highlands, with good facilities for skiers going to Braemar and beyond. Travelling south on the A9 main road, Blairgowrie and Rattray are accessed from Pitlochry via a scenic route or from Dunkeld, also scenic and somewhat more direct, or via Perth and Scone. They are about 1 1/2 hours north from Edinburgh, 30 minutes north from Perth and Dundee, one hour south west of Aberdeen and 2 1/2 hours south of Inverness. They are close to the main north-south artery road routes of the A9 to Inverness and the A90 to Aberdeen, and the spectacular A93, Deeside National Tourist Route, runs through our area to the dramatic mountain scenery of Glenshee and onto Royal Deeside. There are busy mainline train stations at nearby Perth, Pitlochry and Dundee, with an additional railway stop at Dunkeld on the Dunkeld to Blairgowrie Road. There are regular bus services in areas including Blairgowrie and Rattray from Perth and Dundee. Bus routes 57 and 59 take about an hour to get to Dundee from Rattray. Major airports are 60 miles away at Edinburgh, somewhat further but still within easy distance from Glasgow and Aberdeen, with a much smaller air service from Dundee and with Scotland's European ferry port at Rosyth about an hour away by car.
Area of town and vicinity (former parish, now postal area of Blairgowrie); about 11 miles from north to south and about 8 miles east and west.
Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council (BRCC). P. O. Box 6636, Blairgowrie PH10 7WQ. Met 20 March 2014 to appoint a chairperson, vice chair, secretary, treasurer and other positions on the community council , constitution, code of conduct and other topics. Previously, it had stopped operating in mid 2013 from lack of interest. Community Councils have several key roles as voluntary bodies established within a regulatory framework. They are to represent the views of the community to (in this case) The Perth and Kinross Council and other public bodies operating in their area; act to further the interests of their communities; to be consulted on planning applications within their area (The Town & Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Scotland) Amendment Order 1996); to consider exercising their powers to object to the granting, renewal or transfer of liquor licenses. (The Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976). Minutes of monthly meetings of BRCC are posted at the local library.
Blairgowrie Registrar. For couples getting married, etc. Miss Ruth Ingham, Council Buildings, 46 Leslie Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6AW. 01250 877002. Fax 01250 976029. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
EU Parliament: Scotland.
Electricity Emergency: Scottish Hydro Electric at 0800 300999: Scottish Power 0845 2727999
Fire: Tayside Fire and Rescue Service at http://www.taysidefire.gov.uk/
Gas Emergency: Transco, call 0800 111999
Latitude and longitude. Between north latitude 56 degrees, 25 minutes, 6 seconds and 56 degrees, 35 minutes and 44 seconds; and between west longitude 3 degrees, 20 minutes and 3 degrees, 20 minutes and 45 seconds.
Lieutenancy and county: Perth and Kinross (see below) of which the county capital and nearest major town/city is Perth (18 miles south). See http://www.perthshire.co.uk.
Local authority (Council area) is Perth and Kinross Council, at http://www.pkc.gov.uk. Enquiries at email email@example.com. Blairgowrie and Rattray are in Ward 3 (top right of graphic below), referred to as "Blairgowrie and the Glens." See http://www.pkc.gov.uk/tcrfblairgowrie. Ward 3 has Councillor Bob Ellis (SNP), email firstname.lastname@example.org; Councillor Elizabeth Grant (SNP), email email@example.com; and Councillor Caroline Shiers (CON), email firstname.lastname@example.org. Two of Ward 2 (Strathmore) Councillors also live in Blairgowrie.
Perth and Kinross Council area.
Neighbourhood Watch: East Perthshire Neighbourhood Watch Association at http://www.epnwa.org.uk.
Newspapers: See Blair.
Ordnance Survey grid reference: NO 178452
Police and emergency: Tayside Police at http://www.tayside.police.uk/. Emergency calls 999. Non-emergency 0300 111 2222.
Population: estimated at 8,090
Postcodes: PH10 (for Blairgowrie and Rattray): PH13 for Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie.
Post Office: Back of Somerfield, Wellmeadow Garage, Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie PH10 6NQ. Phone 01250 872766. (No longer at 66-68 High Street). Open Monday to Friday 0900 to 1730, Saturday 0900 to 1230.
Post town: Blairgowrie
Public Transport: how to get here and back. National Rail Enquiries. phone 08457 484950. Or Traveline 0870 6082608. By bus, see bus route numbers and times in http://www.blairgowrieandrattray.org.uk/Blair.htm. No train service to Blairgowrie (stopped in 1965 after running since 1855). However, there is train service from the majority of places in the UK - see East Coast train service route map at http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/Documents/PDFs/ECRouteMap.new.pdf - to Dundee or Perth (both 18 miles away, both with many services including car hire and periodic buses) and Dunkeld (no care hire service locally, only an infrequent bus).
Scottish European Election 22 May 2014. Full list of candidates and their political parties at http://www.falkirk.gov.uk/services/chief_executive/governance/business_and_member_services/elections/pdf/2014/notice_of_poll.pdf.
Scottish Member of UK Parliament: Perth and North Perthshire. Pete Wishart, Scottish National Party. Although he was one of those clamoring constantly for Independence for Scotland in the Scottish Referendum of September 18, 2014, Perthshire recorded a solid anti-Independence majority. A constant anti-English critic of the UK Parliament in which he sits.
Present Perth and North Perthshire constituency.
Scottish Parliament Member: North Tayside. Hon John Swinney, MSP Scottish National Party. Constituency Office at 35 Perth Street, Blairgowrie PH10 6DL. Phone 01250 876576. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Swinney. Deputy First Minister since October 2014. Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government. Although he was one of those clamoring for Independence for Scotland in the Scottish Referendum of September 18, 2014, Perthshire recorded a solid anti-Independence majority. North Tayside is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood). It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the plurality (first past the post) method of election. Also, however, it is one of nine constituencies in the Mid Scotland and Fife electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to nine constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole.
Tayside North constituency
Scottish Parliament Regional List MSPs. Blairgowrie is in the Mid Scotland and Fife area. Murdo Frazer, MSP (Conservative), phone 01738 553990, c/o Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, Perthshire PH2 6PL and Jayne Baxter, MSP, Labour (appointed 10 December 2012) replaced John Park.
Sheriff's Court: Perth
Telephone Directory Area: Dundee and Perth. Blairgowrie code is 01250.
Telephone dialing: 01250 for Blairgowrie national calls, 1250 from international areas
Tourist Office: Visit Scotland. Locally staffed, 26 Wellmeadow, Blairgowrie PH10 6AS. Phone 01250 972960.
Town improvements in 2013 and current situation. £900,000 was spent by the Scottish Government's Town Centre Regeneration Fund and Perth and Kinross Council on renovations in Wellmeadow and Riverside. These improvements, and simultaneous road renovation of Rattray's High Street resulted in much-improved conditions. But a frequent traffic pileup from the latter street caused in part by cars parked on and thereby obstructing it contributes greatly to frequent slowness in crossing the bridge between Rattray and Blairgowrie, causing irritation.
TV Region: STV North.
Water Emergency: Government-owned Scottish Water, 0845 6018855.
|A||Adams Way; Allan Street (named after Colonel Allan Macpherson, Superior of the town in 1800); Altamount Road; Alyth Road; Ann Street; Ardblair Cottages; Ardblair Road; Ardblair Terrace; Arthur Court; Arthur Street; Arthur Wynd; Ashgrove Court; Ashgrove Gardens; Ashgrove Road; Ashgrove Terrace; Athole Street.|
|B||Back Row; Back Wynd; Balmoral Lane; Balmoral Place; Balmoral Road; Balmoral View; Bank Street (formerly Constable Lane, changed when the Bank of Scotland built a branch here); Beeches Road; Berrydale Avenue; Berrydale Road; Birch Crescent; Blairgowrie House Road; Blairmore Drive; Boat Brae; Bonnington Road; Braes Road; Brand Pass; Brown Street (named after John Brown of Marlee, born in a house on the site of the present-day Royal Hotel); Brucefield Road; Buchanan House; Burnhead Road.|
|C||Cargill Place; Castle Street; Cedar Avenue; Charles Court; Chimney Path; Clova Avenue; Cluny Court; Clunymore Drive; Commercial Street; Coralbank; Coralbank Crescent; Coralbank Terrace; Cottershade; Coupar Angus Road; Craighall Place; Croft Court; Croft Lane.|
|D||David Street; Davie Park Place; Drummond Road; Dunkeld Road.|
|E||Elm Drive; Emma Street; Emma Terrace; Ericht Court; Essendy Road; Ewan Street.|
|F||Ferguson Park; Ferguson Park Road; Fern Grove; Forebank Road; Forrest Way.|
|G||Gallowbank; Gallowbank Road; Gas Brae; Gean Grove; George Street (named after George Drummond of Newton); Glenalmond Road; Glendevon Court; Glenisla Court; Glenshee Drive; Glenshieling Drive; Golf Course Road; Gowan Brae; Grant Court; Grant Crescent; Grant Road; Green Road; Greenbank Street.|
|H||Harriet Row; Hatton Place; Hatton Road; Haugh Road; Hawthorn Place; Hazel Place; Hazelwood Road; Heather Drive; High Street; High Street (Rattray); Hill Church; Hill O'Blair; Hill Street; Holly Crescent; Honeyberry Crescent; Honeyberry Drive.|
|J||James Street (named after James Geddes, local mason); Jessie Street; John Street (named after John Brown).|
|K.||Keay Street (named after Miss Keay, a feuar there); Kingarth Drive; Kinloch Court; Kirk Wynd; Kirkton Park; Kirkton Road.|
|L||Larch Avenue; Leslie Street (named after James Leslie, proprietor of the Leslie Feus); Little Blair Drive; Littlewood Gardens; Lochinblair Gardens; Lochy Street; Lochy Terrace; Lornty Road; Lower Mill Street.|
|M||MacDonald Crescent; Manorbank; Manor Court; Manor Gardens; Manse Court; Maple Place; McClaven Park; Middle Road; Mill Street (named after the road leading to the mill); Mitchell Square (named after Thomas Mitchell of Greenfield); Mount Ericht Road; Moyness Park Crescent; Moyness Park Drive; Myrtle Park; Mullion Way.|
|N||New Road; Newton Castle; Newton Lane; Newton Street; Newton Terrace (latter three leading to Newton Castle); Ninian's Court.|
|O||Old Military Road; Old Mill Road.|
|P||Park Drive; Park Lane; Park Neuk; Parkhead Road; Park Hill Road; Patterson Drive; Perth Road; Perth Street; Petersgarth Lane; Poplar Avenue; Provost Road.|
|Q||Queen's Avenue; Queen's Road.|
|R||Railway Road; Railway School; Reform Street; Riverside Court; Riverside Drive; Riverside Road; Riverside Walk; River Walk; Rosebank Lane; Rosebank Road; Rosemount Gardens; Rosemount Park; Rowan Avenue; Ruby Place.|
|S||Seton Close; Shaw Street; Shawfield Lane; Sheila Road; Sidlaw Road; Signal Box Road; Skirmie Bus Park; Smithfield Avenue; Smithfield Crescent; Smithfield Way; South Castle Street; South Street; Station Brae; Step Row; Strathardle Crescent.|
|T||Tannage Street (named after a tannery once there); Terminus Street (named after the railway terminus once there); The Coupar Park; The Croft; The Davie Park; The Loon Braes.|
|U||Union Street; Upper Allan Street; Upper Mill Street.|
|V||Victoria Place; Victoria Street.|
|W||Walnut Grove; Wee Course Lane; Wellmeadow; Welton Road; West Altamount Lane; West George Street; West Park Road; Whiteloch Avenue (Carsie); William Street: Willow Place; Woodlands Grange; Woodlands Meadow; Woodlands Park; Woodlands Road; Woodlands Stables.|
|Y||Yard Road; Yeoman Street.|
Newcomers to Blairgowrie hoping to seek the economic benefits of downsizing should know they will pay far more Council Tax than in England. The Scottish Government and Perth and Kinross Council local authority between them have determined that Perth and Kinross Council (and other Scottish local authorities) Tax Bands for homes with 8 rooms or less and with a present or estimated market price of £150,000 or less must pay a higher Council Tax than 775-room Buckingham Palace in London, 400 miles away, worth about £980 million. Bungalows in Blairgowrie and region are especially badly affected.
Buckingham Palace, London, worth 980 billion, Council Tax Band H annual cost is £1369.04. Compare this to here in Perth and Kinross where for a property worth £150,000, the Council Tax Band E cost is £1,415.33. Since 1998, The Scottish Parliament alone, not Westminster, governs Council Taxes in Scotland.
Perth and Kinross Council Tax bands and charges for 2015/2016.
For this financial year there is once again no increase in Council Tax but there has been an increase in Water and Wastewater Charges.
|Total Combined Charge (£)|
How these costs compare with other parts of the world. The Council Tax Charges (excluding Water and Waste Water) details shown above. have not increased in the past few years but in other parts of the world they have decreased democratically to reflect the lower market-value prices in their economically depressed areas, unlike in Scotland. The Council is not responsible for setting water and wastewater charges but is required by law to include in its bill the charges made by (Scottish Government-owned) Scottish Water for Water and Wastewater Services. The level of the charges is set by Scottish Water and is subject to scrutiny by the Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland and The Scottish Government. It has twice increased its charges in recent years, most recently by 2.8% in 2013/2014 and again in 2015/2016. In Perth and Kinross and elsewhere in Scotland, there has been no revision of Council Tax Banding since April 1991, unlike in USA, Canadian and other jurisdictions where re-evaluations must by law be made no later than every five years. Consequently, the "Upper Limit" shown in the banding which suggests the market value of the house is nowadays completely wrong. Here, Council Tax banding charges are based on two people owning and/or living in a property, with a 25% reduction applying only if there is only one person. Additional charges apply for more than two people unless they qualify for exemption. In other jurisdictions such as the USA and Canada, all occupants are included in the basic tax rate. Also, there unlike here, water charges are not based on the locally tax-banded value of the house but on a much fairer uniformly-applied system. There, the cost of water and waste water are far less expensive than here (in the USA in 2013 the average annual cost for both per home is $400). And, including in England, they all have either have water meters or can apply for one at no cost. Here in Scotland, if you wish to try to reduce the outrageously high Scottish Water-affixed rate applicable to your home you cannot get a water meter at no cost, nor can you get it supplied by an independent supplier at a cost, you have to rent it from the Scottish Water monopoly and pay an extortionate price for it.
River Ericht view from bridge, photo by the author
From the town area of the River Ericht able-bodied residents and visitors can follow five unique walking paths, the Knockie Path shown below in red, the Ardblair Trail shown in light blue and the River Ericht path shown in green. For those more adventurous, beyond town there are the Bluebell Wood and Drimmie Woods walking paths.
Weir at River Ericht. It divides Blairgowrie and Rattray. May 2010 photo by the author
The twinned town but separate communities of Blairgowrie and Rattray are in the Strathmore Valley, on opposite banks of the River Ericht which flows into the River Isla and then the River Tay. Blairgowrie is on the west bank and Rattray is on the east bank. The fairly modern bridge over the river joins them (the original bridge was built in 1777 to replace the rowing boat ferry service between Blairgowrie and Rattray). They are about one mile from each other. They get their names from Blar Ghobharaidh in Scots Gaelic, or Blairgowrie in Scots, once an 18th century village of 400 or so and Raitear in Scots Gaelic. There are various renditions of the name in early written records; Rathtreff in 1160, Rotref inb 1291, Ratref in 1296, Rothtref in 1205, there are also various other renditions of the name including Rattra. (W. F. H Nicolaisen, 1976, Scottish Place-Names, E. T. Batsford Ltd., London) and Raitear in Scots Gaelic which was taken to mean Fort of the Hunter. The ruins of Glasclune Castle, former home of a cadet branch of the Balthayock Blairs, is located in the hamlet of Kinloch, 3 miles Northwest of Blairgowrie.
The name Rattray is composed of two parts, the first derived from the word Rath, from both Gaelic and Cymric (modern Welsh or ancient British) meaning fortification; the second part Tref or Treb, Tray, from the Cymric (British) meaning settlement. It is not widely known that British (similar to modern Welsh) was spoken in the area until the tenth century. The name means a fortified settlement and became associated with the family, the Rattrays of Rattray, who once held sway over the fortification and the area. The fortification was built on a snake shaped mound, which was in pre-Christian times associated with some form of serpent worship. The Rattray coat of arms are supported by serpents. Perhaps significantly the weather vane on Old Rattray Church (Kirk), in the centre of this village, is also in the shape of a serpent.
The Rattrays of Rattray claim to be of royal descent. Patrick Rattray (1400-1461) married a daughter of James Stewart, son of Alexander Stewart (Wolf of Badenoch) who was Robert II of Scotland’s natural son. Patrick’s children were technically 2nd cousins of James IV.
There is also a Rattray in Aberdeenshire, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattray,_Aberdeenshire.
Wellmeadow, in the centre of the town, is the most prominent local landmark. There were once several springs or wells on the flat ground known by that name. There was also a marsh. Wellmeadow took its name from St. Ninian's Well there, named after this Christian Celtic missionary who once pitched his camp there and drank from the well. It became a public park through which nomadic drovers and shepherds pastured their flocks.
Blairgowrie and Rattray expanded significantly in the 19th century around the many (12) jute and flax mills (still there, in a picturesque setting with a lovely walk on the opposite side of the river all the way into town) on the banks of the river Ericht. The mills, for both jute and linen, harnessed the river's strong flow to drive their spinning machines and processed the raw jute grown in India and locally-grown flax. While Dundee downriver was the main jute centre not only for Scotland but the whole of the United Kingdom, Blairgowrie too had an important role at that time. With the jute industry gone by the early 1950s when most of the Dundonians and folk from Blairgowrie repatriated back from India, Blairgowrie and Rattray languished appreciably for a while but later became the market town for the area and a centre for visitors and holidaymakers. With their population of about 8,090 Blairgowrie and Rattray combined and became the second-largest town in Perth and Kinross.
River Ericht Blairgowrie. 2012 photos by the author. The river, which once had dozens of jute and flax mills powered by its waters, created much industry and employment.
Sculpture of a salmon on the River Ericht walk
Many Rattray residents work in Blairgowrie or nearby, while others work in Perth or Dundee.
Berry Treasured Memories. By Jim Niven and after his death in 2008 by his daughter. Published by the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Local History Trust. 2013. Charts 100 years of raspberry growing from 1885 to 1985. A personal account of the Niven family's involvement.
Blairgowrie and Rattray, A Century of Music 1850-1950. James Sloggie, 2001.
Blairgowrie and Rattray War Memorial: Behind the Names. Mark Duffy.
Blairgowrie, Stormont and Strathmore, Henry Dryeere, 1903.
More Old Blairgowrie and Rattray" 2003. Maurice Fleming, for many years a popular writer with The Scotsman newspaper. He described Blairgowrie as a "garden-embowered town." He noted the fine gardens on the slopes of the Hill 0'Blair, along the Perth Road and elsewhere, often with houses and shops in summer adorned with hanging baskets, turning the town info a floral delight.
Old Blairgowrie and Rattray 1997. Maurice Fleming.
Rattray and its Folk.
Reminiscences of the Blairgowrie and Rattray Choral Society. A Chalmers, 1904.
The History of Blairgowrie. John A. R. Macdonald, 1899.
The History of the Perthshire and Kinross-shire Constabularies (2011. Willie MacFarlane).
The Old Mills on the Ericht in Blairgowrie and Rattray. Extracts from an Account of the Growth and Decline of Flax Cultivation in the Blairgowrie Area and the Associated Spinning Industry Utilising Power from the River Ericht. Peter S. Dawson 1950 and August 2010. (A copy of the latter was kindly given by Mr. Dawson on 7th August 2014 to this author).
The Mills on the Ericht. Margaret Laing.
1606. Coupar Angus Abbey remnants were turned into a secular lordship for James Elphinstone, by parliament and by royal charter in 1607. Today, there are almost no remains of the abbey, much of it being burned by the Protestant reformers. A collection of its charters has survived. There are some remnants of a gatehouse, and some fine fragmentary stonework from the Abbey (notably a number of tombs) are preserved in the parish church, which stands on or near the site of the medieval building. Other fragments are built into walls throughout the modern town.
1634. July 9. During the first visit to Scotland of King Charles I, he granted a charter dated July 9th 1634 to George Drummond of Blair, then proprietor of the estate of Blairgowrie, creating the Barony of Blairgowrie. Blairgowrie thus became a burgh of Barony by charter from that king. This historical Blairgowrie document measures nearly 10 feet in length, 10 inches in width and written throughout in Latin, is preserved in the Register House, Edinburgh. The granting of the charter empowered the Baron to hold courts"for the trial of thieves and other characters disgraceful to Society." A Barony Court was established, the site according to tradition being in the manse grounds of the parish church. The place of execution was the"Gallows Knowe"- now called Gallowbank, where miscreants who had been condemned at the Barony Court were brought here to be hanged.
1660. Local man Donald Cargill was the son of a bonnet laird who owned the small estate of the Hatton. He became a minister gratefully admired for his preaching, but he refused to accept the laws which Charles II had promulgated on his return to the Throne. Cargill became one of the leaders of the Covenanters who refused to accept bishops in the Scottish Presbyterian Church. He was outlawed and spent years preaching at conventicles - illegal kirk services held in the open air - with a price on his head before he was betrayed and martyred in Edinburgh. The scene of his daring escape is in Blairgowrie.
1679. The famous Rattray Covenanter Donald Gargill, while on a visit to his father and mother at the Hatton of Rattray, was pursued by dragoons and only escaped by leaping the Keith above Blairgowrie.
1726. John Erskine of Blairgowrie was unsuccessful in his bid to represent Perthshire in Parliament.
1745. Newton Castle was occupied by Royalist troops. Earlier, it was sacked by Oliver Cromwell and Montrose. It had earlier been the birthplace of George Drummond, six times Lord Provost of Edinburgh and founder of its Royal Infirmary.
1746. Spring. The beech hedge of Meikleour was planted.
1766. Death in Edinburgh of George Drummond, six times Lord Provost of Edinburgh and founder of its Royal Infirmary.
1771. The manse of the parish church was built.
1774. A Freemason's Lodge was established in Blairgowrie.
1777. New Rattray, in Blairgowrie, was established after the Brig o' Blair was built as new turnpike roads emerged (that original bridge was built in 1777 to replace the rowing boat ferry service between Blairgowrie and Rattray). They are about one mile from each other.
1788. 20th September. The estate of Blairgowrie was purchased by a predecessor of Colonel Allan MacPherson, from Thomas Graham.
1779. February 12. Birth in Blairgowrie of Major General Sir Archibald Galloway, son of James Galloway of Coupar Grange Estate.
1790 (circa). Blairgowrie House (part of it, on Coupar Angus Road still survives, hemmed in by more modern homes) was built by Colonel Allan Macpherson.
Circa 1796. The earliest known spinning machinery in the region was established in a lint mill in Rattray.
1798. Meikle Mill. new and purpose-built, was established, just above the Bridge of Blair.
1810. James Scott was elected the first Baillie of the town, under the Charter of 1809.
1810. The first Craighall Bridge was built across the River Ericht.
1814. Lornty Mill was built, fed by the Lornty Burn, a tributary of River Ericht. It was built by Mr. David Grimond, originally a millwright, one of the founders of the linen trade in Blairgowrie, on the site formerly occupied by a snuff mill.
1824. The custom began of holding fairs and markets at the Wellmeadow, including the famous Fair O' Blair, which became an annual event in July and lasted for many years.
1824. The parish church on the Hill of Blair was built on the old mercait gate, then public bowling green of earlier times. The foundation stone of the facility, built to hold 800 souls, was laid by William MacPherson of Blairgowrie.
1829. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Instrumental Band was established, with clarinets, key bugles, flutes, French horn, serpent, trombone and bass drum, under leader William Scrimgeour. The band had a uniform of white trousers, blue jacket with scarlet facings and a blue bonnet with red band surmounted by a bunch of feathers.
1829. The Associate-Antiburgher Secession Church was built, at the corner of Brown Street and George Street.
1830. A new generation of more sophisticated and reliable spinning machinery became available, which led to seven new mills built on the River Ericht between 1830 and 1845.
1831. Old Keathbank Mill was recorded.
1831. A stage coach named Baron Clerk Rattray began a twice weekly service between Blairgowrie and Coupar Angus. It continued for many years.
1832. 17th August. The Western Bank of Scotland was the first bank to open a branch in Blairgowrie, initially at the Cross, then instead at Leslie Street and later yet, High Street. One was opened in Coupar Angus too but soon closed from lack of business.
1832. September. The Commercial Bank opened a branch in Blairgowrie.
1833. Adam Fergusson, originally from the Bridge of Cally, Blairgowrie, founded the town of Fergus, Ontario, Canada.
1833. Blairgowrie residents adopted part of the Police Act III and IV, William IV, cap 46, by which certain powers were vested in the Chief Magistrate and four Commissioners for the management and regulation of the Police Department of the town. Also, the jurisdiction of the Chief Magistrate in criminal matters was extended.
1833. Bramblebank Mill was established.
1834. The Gas Works building was completed and the town was lit up with gas.
1834. Craigmill was built.
1835. Establishment of Rattray's Mount Ericht United Free Church. Later, the first local company of the Boys Brigade was formed here.
1835. Thomas Bisset constructed the Bisset Binder at his Greenbank Works, Dunkeld Road.
1836. 5th August. The Blairgowrie Deposit Company was established. It lasted until 1849.
1836. Ashbank Mill was established.
1837. October. The Associate-Antiburgher Secession Church, built in 1829 at the corner of Brown Street and George Street, was sold to the congregation of the parish church.
1838. The first printing press arrived in Blairgowrie.
1838.The manse of the parish church, originally built in 1771, was taken down and rebuilt.
1838. The Blairgowrie branch of the Western Bank of Scotland was one of those absorbed by the Bank of Scotland.
1838. Westfield Mill was established on the River Ericht.
1838. A & R Robertson and Black was established in Blairgowrie as a legal firm. Later, it also had offices in Alyth and Coupar Angus.
1839. 14th October. The Blairgowrie and Rattray branch of the National Security Savings Bank of Perth was established.
1839. October 23. A most severe earthquake was experienced in the town.
1842. The town was visited by Queen Victoria, en route to Balmoral. At Glenericht estate, owned by General Chalmers, she created him a knight, Sir William Chalmers of Glenericht.
1842. James McIntosh, Violin Maker, Blairgowrie, advertised his wares in the town. He was the grand-nephew of Robert McIntosh (1745-1807), the Edinburgh violinist and composer.
1842. St. Catherine's Episcopal Church finished construction.
1843. The disruption of the Scottish churches occurred, including in Blairgowrie. Construction began of the First Free Church.
1843. Brooklinn Mill, on the bank of the River Ericht but near the mouth of and fed by the Lornty Burn, a tributary of the River Ericht, was built by Mr. David Grimond, son of the founder of the Lornty Mill built in 1814.
1846. Appointment of Major General Sir Archibald Galloway, Blairgowrie-born in 1779 and son of James Galloway of Coupar Grange Estate, as a director of the East India Company.
1847. A great storm threw down two arches of the old Brig (bridge), originally built in 1777. But the bridge was repaired later.
1848. At the outset of the second French Revolution, the Militia Act was enacted which gave the justices of the peace in Blairgowrie the power and authority, which they attempted to exercise, to conscript eligible local young men. But great crowds collected and made prisoners of Colonel MacPherson, Sir William Ramsay of Bamff and other worthies assembled to make the call-up. The crowd attempted to get the Justices to sign a document stopping them from their duty. The Justices signed but tricked the local yokels. The Justices contacted a unit of the Sutherland Fencibles who arrived in force and seized the rioters. The terms of the Act were carried out in the town with the troublemakers and others duly embodied.
1851. 11th November. The Perth Banking Company opened a branch in Blairgowrie.
1852. The Royal Hotel was built, on the site of an earlier townhouse. It occupied a commanding position at the Cross, looking along the length of High Street. It was owned by the Fairs family.
1853. Formation of the Working Men's Library (which later developed into the Mechanics Institute and Working Men's Club).
1855. 21 April. The first newspaper in the town was established by Messrs Ross and Son and was printed by that press. It was Ross's Compendium of the Week's News, owned and published by the Ross family. It was a single sheet of paper printed on both sides. It cost half a penny, was a single sheet of paper printed on both sides by a hand press. It was later sold to Dron and Christie who renamed it the Blairgowrie Advertiser. Mr David Christie then owned it for many years, during which time he also bought out a Blairgowrie printing business that published the short-lived Blairgowrie News newspaper.
1855. 28th July. The Blairgowrie Railway Station was opened, initially known as the Blairgowrie Branch of the Scottish Midland Junction Railway. It had long been eagerly anticipated and immediately became a huge boost to the town. Until then all cartage of goods had to be done by road from Coupar Angus or from Perth and Dundee. At about the same time Rosemount Station was also built. The train ran between Blairgowrie and Coupar Angus, as a branch line of the latter and the Rosemount Station was en route. The train began transporting raspberries, strawberries and other soft fruit grown locally all the way to Covent Garden in London.
1857. 29th August. Queen Victoria and party again passed through Blairgowrie, on their way to Balmoral. This time the Royal party came by train to Blairgowrie Station. There , a company of soldiers from the 1st and 21st Royals were waiting and presented arms. The queen was received by local principal officials and farmers.
1857. The Perth Banking Company, including its branch in Blairgowrie, was bought out by the Union Bank of Scotland.
1857. The Royal Bank of Scotland opened its Blairgowrie branch in Millbank House, until it moved to Allan Street in 1872.
1857. Formation of the Horticultural Society.
1858. Establishment of Blairgowrie's South United Free Church.
1859. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Instrumental Band, still under William Scrimgeour, took part in celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Robert Burns. The band was in the hall of the Royal Hotel for a Burns Supper and performed splendidly.
1859. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Instrumental Band joined a volunteer force, the Blairgowrie Rifles, then being established and became its official band.
1859. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Instrumental Band played at the laying of the foundation stone of the Public Hall by the Duke of Atholl. The Duke's Flute Band also played.
1859. Formation of Edinburgh Blairgowrie Club.
1859. Freemason's Lodge of St. John in Blairgowrie was resurrected from it's 1774 start.
1860. 7th August. Blairgowrie Rifle Corps members were among the groups on parade in Edinburgh when the Scottish Volunteers units were reviewed by Queen Victoria.
1860. 20th October. Foundation stone of the Public Hall was laid by the Duke of Athole, Grandmaster Mason of Scotland. It was followed by a grand banquet at the Queen's (Macdonald's) Hotel. 100 gentlemen were present and music was supplied in turn by the Duke of Athole's Flute Band and Blairgowrie Brass Band.
1862. Church choirs in Blairgowrie re-emerged, with those in the First Free and South Free churches formed.
1863. 10th March. Blairgowrie celebrated its loyalty to the Crown on this date of the marriage of the Heir Apparent. Flags waved from house tops, bells pealed from the churches, processions occurred and night illuminations sparkled.
1863. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Instrumental Band played with much pomp and ceremony for the arrival of the Right Honorable John, Earl Russell, one of the Government's principal Secretaries of State, when he arrived to take up residence in Meiklour
1864. The new Keathbank Mill, replacing a much earlier one nearby was built.
1867. 19th January. A. Chalmers as "Musicus" suggested a Choral Society in Blairgowrie.
1867. 26th January. J. S. Baxter as a "Lover of Music" agreed with "Musicus."
1867. 9th February. William Robinson as "Son" agreed with "Musicus" and "Lover of Music."
1867. 29th March. Formation of the Blairgowrie Choral Society at Brown Street Chapel.
1867. Ericht Linen Works was established.
1868. 29th January. First concert of the Blairgowrie and Rattray Choral Society, formed in 1867, at Brown Street Chapel, led by conductor John Smith and featured contralto Helen Kirk.
1868. 29th May. Second concert of the Choral Society.
1869. 29th January. Third concert of the Choral Society.
1869. May. Fourth concert of the Choral Society, with Mr. Smith as conductor.
1870. Mechanic's Institute and Working Man's Club was erected, at a cost of £800.
1870. 22nd December. Formation of Dundee Blairgowrie and District Association, at Lamb's Hotel.
1870. 5th November. Blairgowrie switched on a new and better supply of fresh water, this time from Loch Benacally, at the head of the Lornty Burn, seven miles to the north west of the town.
1871. 16th March. The Choral Society sang the "Creation" with soloists Margaret Smyth, a leading Scottish soprano of the time, Mr. Young as tenor and Mr. Allan as bass.
1871. The business of James Dick, coal, potato, manure and forage merchant, was established in Blairgowrie.
1871. John and Jane Howe established their saddlery business in Blairgowrie at 30 Reform Street. It is now a house furnisher.
1873. Death of James McIntosh, Violin Maker, Blairgowrie, who had advertised his wares in the town and was a skilful violinist as well as a violin maker. He was the grand-nephew of Robert McIntosh (1745-1807), the Edinburgh violinist and composer. Altogether he made 204 fine violins, 10 violas and 35 violoncellos, with the last having whole backs of well-marked maple and fitted with pegs and tail pieces of his own making.
1873. 10th September. Under a charter granted by the Superior of the Burgh, the burgesses' privileges were extended and they became empowered to elect 12 instead of 5 Councillors with 3 Bailees instead of one. But because the powers of local government were still deemed to be unsatisfactory, the general Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 was adopted.
1873. Renovations, much needed, were carried out on the bridge over the River Ericht connecting Blairgowrie with Rattray.
1975. Re-formation of Dundee Blairgowrie and District Association which by then had diminished.
1876. Revival of the Horticultural Society.
1876. Sale of the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper, by Mr. David Christie's son, to Mr. Alexander Allen.
1876-77. After the town was thoroughly drained, all its sewage, until 1893, despite complaints, was allowed to flow unfiltered into the River Ericht via two outlets, one under the Bridge of Blair, the other opposite the railway station.
By the 1870s, after textile mills on the River Ericht had been established over the years, Blairgowrie had changed from a largely rural village of handloom weavers into an industrial town. By then there were 10 mills along the river, employing nearly 2,000 men, women and children between them. The mills processed flax, later jute, which came from India. The mills included the Plash Mill, Muckle Mill and Meal Mill.
1879. Original Blairgowrie Parish School, built in 1841, architect Edward Welby Pugin, tall single storey, 8-bay, rectangular-plan, piend-roofed classical school with pedimented portico. Ashlar with some droved margins. Deep base course, eaves course. Principal windows margined, lying 16-pane glazing pattern, 4-, 8-pane and plate glass glazing patterns elsewhere (except to rear), all in timber sash and case windows, some double-glazed. Grey slates. Cavetto-coped brick stack with cans; ashlar-coped skews. INTERIOR: some boarded dadoes and picture rails. BOUNDARY WALLS, GATEPIERS AND GATES: semicircular-coped rubble boundary walls with flat-coped square-section ashlar gatepiers and 2-leaf ironwork gates, was sold to the Roman Catholic Church and became St. Stephen's RC Primary School.
1879. 19th August. Old church denominational schools were closed and new public schools were opened for the first time including what was then called Blairgowrie High School, later the Hill Primary School (when Blairgowrie High School became a separate entity and moved elsewhere). The school, which commenced construction in 1878 was opened by Mr Alan Macpherson, chairman of the school board, on 19th August, 1879. It was built, at a cost of £6000, on glebe land belonging to the established church. It was enlarged in 1909. It began life as a single and 2-storey, 8-bay gothic-detailed school. Squared and snecked red sandstone rubble with contrasting ashlar dressings, some stugged. Base course. Roll-moulded doorways. Pointed-arch traceried and shoulder-arched windows. 2-stage saw tooth-coped buttresses. Hood moulds, some with label stops; relieving arches; raked cills; stone transoms and mullions; stop-chamfered arises. SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrically-fenestrated elevation with 8-light transomed windows to ground and to 2 centre bays at 1st floor, bipartites to remaining bays. Flagpole to centre flanked by gabled bays with centre and flanking buttresses, hood moulds framing relief-carved detail over shoulder-arched windows and panels in gable heads. Lower gabled outer bays, gable to right with paired hoodmoulded traceried tripartite windows and hood moulded louvered triangular opening in gable head; gable to left with 6-light transomed window with moulded window heads and raised centre hoodmould incorporating floreate detail, triangular opening as above in gable head. Inner returns each with crenellated porch with modern door and flanking narrow lights, and further window on inner return. NE ELEVATION: buttressed centre gable with decoratively-detailed transomed window and triangular opening, flanking smaller gables with 4-light transomed windows, single window to outer left bay and bipartite to right. SW ELEVATION: mirrors NE elevation. NW (REAR) ELEVATION: symmetrically-fenestrated elevation with variety of elements including 3 2-storey gables to centre and tall single storey gables with transomed windows to outer bays. Later low projections at ground. Multi-pane glazing patterns to top- and bottom-hopper timber windows. Grey slates. Stepped ashlar-coped skews with gablet skew putts. Cast-iron down pipes with decorative rainwater hoppers; decorative cast-iron finials and air vents. INTERIOR: plain cornices, paneled and part-glazed timber doors; some boarded dadoes and cast-iron radiators. Centre hall and flanking top-lit stone dog-leg staircases with ironwork balusters and timber handrails; small mezzanines. WAR MEMORIAL: renovated 2000. Marble obelisk WWI war memorial dedicated 'TO THE MEMORY OF THE OLD BOYS WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR' surmounting polygonal plinth, stepped square base and basin for water fountain. ANCILLARY BUILDINGS: gabled piend-and-platform-roofed ancillary with similar detailing to main building, and smaller piend-roofed ancillary with horizontal roof lights. BOUNDARY WALLS, RAILINGS AND GATES: semicircular-coped rubble boundary walls, some low with inset cast-iron railings and ball-finialled cast-iron gate piers and gates.
First Blairgowrie High School, later Hill Primary School, large building centre left, on 1.92 acres
1880. Craigmill ended, a victim of the declining use of mills along the River Ericht.
1881. A gas-powered press replaced the older and unreliable machine used to print the Blairgowrie Advertiser on Reform Street.
1882. In his The Gazetteer of Scotland of that year, the Rev. John Wilson wrote: "BLAIRGOWRIE, town and parish in north-east of Perthshire. The town stands on river Ericht, at terminus of branch railway, amid charming environs, 241/2 miles north-east of Perth; was only a mean village at commencement of present century, is now a flourishing seat of textile manufacturers; publishes 2 weekly newspapers, has a head post office with all departments, 4 banking offices, 7 hotels, a town hall, 2 established churches, 2 Free churches, Congregational, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic churches, and a public school with about 687 scholars, and includes practically the suburbs of New Rattray and Old Rattray. Pop. of the town proper, 4537; of the town and suburbs, 7070. - The parish contains Lornty village; is intersected for about 2 miles by other parishes, and measures, exclusive of the intersection, about 9 miles in length. Acres, 15,303."
1882. A photograph was taken of the circle of standing stones on Essendy Road, all in their original sockets. They were said to be the only group of standing stones in Scotland with a road running through them. They date from the Bronze Age or earlier.
1882. Commercial Street was opened. It went through what used to be the garden of the Station Hotel. It led from the front entrance of the Station Buildings to the Wellmeadow and heart of the town.
1882. The North of Scotland Bank opened its Blairgowrie branch in Bleaton House, Leslie Street.
1885. St. Mary's Parish Church on Reform Street was opened.
1885. February. Residents of Blairgowrie and Rattray discovered to their amazement that prominent local resident David Borrie had willed most of his money for the building of a Methodist church in the town. This was all the more surprising as all his life Mr Borrie had been involved with the Established Church of Scotland, then the Free Church, of which he was an elder, and had attended communion there a few days before his death.
1885. Formation of the Blairgowrie Parish Church Literary Association.
1887. The Methodist Church in Rattray was built, from an unexpected legacy (see 1885) left specifically for that purpose by David Borrie, a member of another congregation. Rev. Edward Brailsford became the first Wesleyan minister. Between 1885 and 1887, services were held at the Mechanics' Institute or, when the weather made it possible, in the open air of Wellmeadow.
1889. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 was enacted, which provided for the establishment of a Perthshire County Council. Blairgowrie, by reason of population, was entitled to elect two members. Blairgowrie was divided into two wards or divisions.
1890. Harper's was founded, as a blacksmith and general engineer. It expanded to become a local pioneer of motoring.
1890. St. Stephen's Catholic Union was established. Its regular meetings included concerts and dramatic entertainments.
1890. 23 July. After many years of the traditional Fair o'Blair at Wellmeadow, then an open space, on this exact date of the year, the event was changed to the last Tuesday of July.
1890. Raspberries were first grown commercially in Blairgowrie. A steam engine on the railway line came to collect them and took them to Blairgowrie Railway Station for onward transit to markets in England.
1890. Formation of St. Stephen's Catholic Union.
1891. Raw sewage, hitherto allowed since 1876 to flow unfiltered into the River Ericht despite complaints, was finally dealt with. 100 yards from the railway station. the sewage was filtered.
1891. Coupar Angus (Gaelic: Cùbar Aonghais), a small town now in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, situated eight kilometres south of Blairgowrie, was transferred from the county of Angus to Perthshire, but retained its traditional name. The name Coupar Angus serves to differentiate the town from Cupar, Fife. It is located on the A94 Perth-Forfar road, although the town centre itself is now bypassed.
1891. 6th November. Death in Blairgowrie of Allan Macpherson, aged 73.
1891. 16th November. Formation in Blairgowrie of The Constitutional Club.
1892. Formation of the Young Woman's Literary Association.
1892. 26th March. A special committee met to consider a proposal for a public park in Blairgowrie, made possible by the purchase of land of 11 acres for £700 from William Davie and his sister Mrs. Nicoll.
1892. 28th April. At a further meeting of a special committee, what later became Davie Park progressed, with additional land of about 9 acres bought from James Thom for £650, to supplement the land bought from William Davie and his sister Mrs. Nicoll.
1893. 15th May. The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act 1892 came into operation, under which Blairgowrie's Senior Magistrate became a Provost.
1893. 8th May. The Macpherson Memorial Fountain on the south east corner of the Wellmeadow, opposite the Bridge, was gifted to the town by the Macpherson family of Blairgowrie House, in memory of Allan Macpherson who, after serving on the legislative council of New South Wales in Australia (which includes the city of Sydney) returned home to Blairgowrie and devoted himself to local government. He was the local laird and Deputy Lieutenant of Perthshire. It was an impressive sculpture, with the base and basin of red Aberdeenshire granite and the superstructure of fine red freestone from Dumfries, nearly 18 feet high. It was richly decorated with gablets, crockets, gargoyles and other architectural devices. The upper part was in the form of a spire surmounted by a cross with a lightning conductor attached. The work was carried out by the firm of Hicks and Charlewood, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Various inscriptions were added. Later, the edifice was badly damaged in a traffic accident, was never properly repaired and today only the base survives, on a new site but nearby).
1893. The water requirements of the district had increased so rapidly that a new reservoir, with four times the capacity of the old one, was built.
1893. Mrs. McHardie's Post Office & Stationer was established in Blairgowrie.
1893. Establishment of the Blairgowrie Fruit Growers Association, then mainly concerned with raspberries and strawberries.
1893. 16th September. The UK's Liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was a guest at Blackcraig Castle, Strathardle and was photographed at a picnic with locals.
1894. At a Burns Day concert James Ogilvie conducted an orchestra of 19 players, a 6-member juvenile orchestra and a ladies orchestra of four violins, a cello and piano.
1894. 13th February. Formation of Blairgowrie and District Photographic Association.
1896. 14th March. Birth in Blairgowrie of Nora Isobel Calderwood. Her father, Daniel Scott Calderwood was headmaster of Blairgowrie Public School. The family moved to Edinburgh when Daniel Calderwood was appointed as headmaster of the Church of Scotland Normal School in Edinburgh, and all Nora's education was in Edinburgh. She later became a famous scholar.
1896. 7th and 8th December. Visit to the town by Lord Wolseley, Commander-in-Chief, British Army. He was a guest at Craighall Castle, seat of Lieutenant General Sir James Clerk Rattray. He was en route to the North Inch at Perth to commemorate the deeds of the 90th (Perthshire) Regiment raised in 1796 by Thomas Graham of Newton, later Lord Lynedoch.
1896. A full report on the entire local and district water system was commissioned from George Baxter of Dundee.
1889. The Lansdowne Golf Club was founded at Rosemount, Blairgowrie.
1899. Debut of Blairgowrie and Rattray Orchestral Society, under James Ogilvie.
1894. The Rev. Thomas Tully, MA, became minister of the Rattray United Free Church (demolished early in the 20th century).
1894. St. Stephen's Amateur Dramatic Society of Blairgowrie produced the opera "Dora."
1897. William Kirkwood, ironmonger and seedsman, was one of the local businesses at the Cross. He succeeded William Davie and was the predecessor of J. B. McGibbon.
1899. Blairgowrie Merchants Association was formed, one of the oldest of its type in Scotland. Originally nicknamed the "Plate Glass Company" as it was set up to address the problem of windows being broken in Blairgowrie and Rattray! In consequence, the first committee was asked to draft rules for the Association and to explore the formation of the local Plate Glass Insurance scheme. In addition, committee members were also instructed to consider a bad debt blacklist, holiday dates and business opening hours.
1901. 30th May. Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital was established, then as Blairgowrie and Rattray Districts Cottage Hospital still extant today with a slight name change. It began as a simple structure, later with extensions and additions, half a mile from the town centre at Perth Road, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH10 6EE. Phone 01250 874466. A Minor Injuries Unit. Also referred to as Blairgowrie Cottage Hospital, as it started as such. The idea of a hospital at Blairgowrie had been initiated by Mrs Clerk-Rattray in 1882, and on whose death bequeathed £25 for 'such an institution should it ever be founded.' Several attempts were made to get subscriptions going over the following years - all failed. Then Mrs Macpherson of Newton Castle, Blairgowrie, gifted the site and that was followed by subscriptions ranging from donations of £1000 downwards. The architect, Lake Falconer of L and J Falconer, architects, Blairgowrie, gave his services free, while things like furnishing, landscaping was also donated. The description of the hospital when it opened said it had two large wards with room for three female and three male beds, plus a couple more if needed.
1901. A photograph of staff outside Blairgowrie Post Office at 1 High Street near the Royal Hotel shows 29 staff including counter staff, postmen and telegraph boys
1902. Essendy Fruit Farm in Blairgowrie began marketing fruit. It soon became responsible for much of Blairgowrie's total crop. It was said that over 1,000 souls entered the town from throughout Scotland to live in the Tin City - so named from the tin huts established on the farm as their sleeping quarters.
1902. Ericht Linen Works, established in 1867, ended. The site is now a block of flats.
1903. The General Post Office opened on Blairgowrie's High Street.
1904. Lornty Mill closed, following the death of owner A. D. Grimond, whose great grandfather first built the mill in 1814.
1904. Booklynn Mill, another Grimond Mill which stayed open, begin working with Ashbank Mill, further down the River Ericht.
1905. July. When Chipperfield's Circus visited Blairgowrie's Wellmeadow, a lioness escaped. Shops closed and everyone panicked and sought shelter. The lioness was killed, shot through the heart as it tried to enter a confectioner's shop. Two people were earlier injured by stray bullets. A circus attendant was shot in the ankle and a Mrs. Thorn was hit by a bullet that went through the door of the ship in which she was hiding.
1906. Paul's high class store on Allan Street opened, next to the D. E. shoe shop. The lion's carcass was taken to the back of a nearby building where it was skinned and the body cut up for disposal. The hide was tanned. Cufflinks were made from the lion's claws.
1906. Rattray's Mount Ericht Church closed and its congregation moved across the river to the South Church.
1906. 19th December. A goods train jumped points as it passed the signal box at Blairgowrie Railway Station. Ten wagons were derailed, with two almost totally wrecked, but no one was hurt.
1908. April. The snow had to be cleared from the Blairgowrie Bowling Green before the annual opening match could begin.
1908. September. King Edward VII visited Blairgowrie and Rattray, which resulted in much local attention to local buildings.
1909. February. A group of 19 Canadian curlers arrived, in hopes of taking on local teams including the Ardblair Curling Club. They were guests of Strathmore Curling Province. Their arrival at Blairgowrie Railway Station was greeted by large crowds. They entered locally-owned motor cars. They were wined and dined and all enjoyed their visit. But it was not cold enough for them to do any curling.
1909. A second storey was added to Blairgowrie High School (later known as Hill Primary).
1910. August. Spectators lined the Brig all day to watch as debris - trees, bushes, sheds and farmyard equipment and animals including chickens - were swept downstream by the River Ericht from a night of violent rainfall. Half of the wooden croy which diverted water from the mill lade above the bridge was washed away. From the Alyth Road in Rattray the strath had the appearance of a huge lock, with thousands of acres under water.
1912. October 17. Rattray Free Church on Balmoral Road began construction. Local contractor Mr. Baillie Hill used Dunfriesshire red stone throughout, except for Forfarshire stone for the steps to the main door. The architect was Mr. L. Falconer.
1913. August 7. Rattray Free Church on Balmoral Road finished construction. Funds for the building were raised largely through the proceeds arising from the sale of a book "Reminiscences of Rattray Free Church" and a grand 3-day bazaar.
1913. Quinn's Cinema in Blairgowrie opened. It remained in operation until the movie Annie in 1983.
1913. Sale again of the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper, by Mr. Alexander Allen, to the Monair family.
1911. Debut of Blairgowrie Orchestral Society as a separate entity.
1916. Death from wounds received in the Great War of Private James Moran of Blairgowrie, aged 20.
1916. April 22. Private Daniel Smith of Blairgowrie and the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 2nd Battalion, aged 19, was killed in action during the Great War, in the Persian Gulf.
1916. June 20. Private Charles Forbes, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) 2nd Battalion, 19 years old, one of seven children of Blairgowrie-born Charles and Margaret Forbes, was killed in action near Arras, France.
1916. July 1. Lieutenant Colonel Philip Laurence Blair Oliphant, 50, of Blairgowrie and the Royal Irish Rifles (11/13 Battalion), was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for valor during the Great War.
1918. April 8. Death in France of Lieutenant Colonel Philip Laurence Blair Oliphant, 50, of Blairgowrie and the Royal Irish Rifles (11/13 Battalion) from wounds received in the Great War.
1918. Ashbank Mill, established in 1836, was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Other repercussions from the fire caused the closure of the Brooklinn Mill.
1919. Formation of Meigle Scottish Woman's Rural Institute.
1920. One of the shops on Allan Street was the barber shop operated by Alex Steven at number 16.
1921. Blairgowrie's War Memorial, commemorating those from the town who died in action in the Great War of 1914-18, was formally dedicated at the Wellmeadow, sculpted by Alexander Carrick. It was paid for by public subscription.
1920s. Wellmeadow was an area of trees and bollards. There was a drinking trough for horses, also a town weigh-house - a hut - where loads of farm and other products were weighed by a workman operating a horizontal bar and weights.
1925. Quinn's Cinema, established in Blairgowrie in 1913, moved to Reform Street in a purpose-built building. It's first film here was The Great White Silence.
1926. Outside his Davidson's chemists shop at Wellmeadow Walter Davidson was photographed when running for election to the Blairgowrie Town Council. He was elected and was the last provost before Blairgowrie and Rattray were joined in 1928.
1926. A photograph shows three of Blairgowrie's River Ericht textile mills. They were Westfield, Brooklinn and Ashbank. Westfield Terrace was known as the Promised Land when constructed. Its 48 houses were occupied by mill workers and their families.
1928. Blairgowrie and Rattray were united into a single burgh.
1927. A new generating plant to print the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper was introduced on Reform Street.
1928. Ogilvy's Brewery was in business at the time.
1929. Members of the Ardblair Curling Club were photographed on the ice-bound pond at Muirton Wood.
1929. By Act of Parliament the formerly two distinct burghs of Blairgowrie and Rattray, both with their own councils and provosts, were joined into one town.
1929. An operetta was performed in the South Church Hall. It was produced by Mrs. More, wife of church minister Rev. James More.
1929. Rev. James Leithead became the minister at St. Mary's Church. His ministry lasted there until 1967.
1930. The Brewery on Allan Street was in full operation, thanks to a spring of high quality water nearby.
1930. Formation of Blairgowrie and Rattray Pipe Band.
1931. The fishmonger at 31-33 Leslie Street was operated by William Stewart Ltd.
1930s. Local boy scouts on their way to church marched from the Malt barns at the top of Kirk Wynd to the South church on Reform Street. They were accompanied by their newly established pipe band.
1930s. Hugh Grant and his Blairgowrie Cooperative Society Ltd van, phone 113, was a familiar sight on Blairgowrie roads.
1931. When mains electricity was brought to the town, one of the first customers, if not the very first, was the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper.
1934. Westfield Mill, established in 1838 on the River Ericht, ended.
1935. Blairgowrie and Rattray contributed to King George V Jubilee celebrations, including a parade passing through town and over the bridge at Rattray Common.
1935. Perth Aerodrome, on a site 400 feet above sea level near Scone, was established. It initially had two main functions. It provided flight training for Royal Air Force and associated personnel. It also became a major source of transport for residents of Blairgowrie and nearby areas, as well a new method of arriving here for visitors, with the service provided by North Eastern Airways.
1937. May. The coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was celebrated locally with a big procession including a royal float showing local ladies.
1937. 16th July. The Minutes of the Blairgowrie Town Council showed that the Blairgowrie and Rattray Municipal Band was suspended for an indefinite period because of poor attendance at rehearsals.
1938. The Regal Cinema was built, as a rival to Quinn's Picture House on Reform Street. The opening ceremony was performed by Sir Douglas Ramsay of Banff. He was heard to compliment the management of the cinema for "not having a piece of foreign workmanship in the whole building." The first film shown there was (the foreign) The Singing Marine starring Dick Powell. Later, over 200 locals in the audience were guests of the management at a dinner at the Queen's Hotel. Later, the Regal became a bingo hall (and in the mid 1990s was demolished and replaced by the building of flats).
1930s and 40s. Failure of the Blairgowrie and area raspberry crop. But it had one positive effect. As a direct result of the failure, the Scottish Crop Research Institute was founded at Invergowrie. It was primarily concerned with local produce such as soft fruit and potatoes. As well as researching crop diseases it developed new varieties of fruits and vegetables. One significant result was the emergence of the tayberry, a hybrid of the raspberry and blackberry and both bigger and tastier than either.
1940 to 1941. During the years of World War 2, Blairgowrie and Rattray, with the neighbouring areas of Coupar Angus and Alyth, both of which share a Blairgowrie post-code, hosted units of Polish military units. Blairgowrie was the command base area for the 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments, collectively over 1200 men. A good number married local girls. Craighall Castle was converted to a hospital and convalescent centre for the Polish 3rd Armoured Regiment, the Guards and Military Police. Poles in those units met and married local girls. Many Poles stayed in the area after the war when the Soviets ran Poland with an iron fist. As the great majority of the Poles were Catholic, a Catholic priest from St. Stephen's Church conducted regular services from the steps of St. Stephen's RC School for the benefit of the massed soldiers outside the school.
1942. A Blairgowrie Home Guard unit provided key local defence duties
1944-45. War Savings Campaigns in Blairgowrie were duly commemorated. (See pictures below).
Photos taken by the author in Blairgowrie Town Hall, May 2010 of commemorative events.
1947. Formation of Blairgowrie Light Orchestra.
1948. Establishment of Hope Park House, Balmoral Road, Rattray, run by a charitable trust. It's a retirement home, now also with a dementia unit.
1949. R. Doig and Sons was established as a woman's clothing shop.
1952. End of Blairgowrie and Rattray Pipe Band, formed in 1930.
1951. A photograph of the Wellmeadow area shows the Commercial Bank of Scotland in operation.
1953. Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Old Peoples Welfare Committee first met in the town. Since then, they have worked for the benefit of the town's older generation, including giving coal vouchers, hampers and meals on wheels.
1954. Instruments once used by the by-then-long-defunct Blairgowrie Municipal Band were loaned by the Blairgowrie Town Council to the Black Watch Regiment in Perth.
1954. Extensive alterations were announced to improve the Brig 0' Blair over the River Ericht connecting Blairgowrie with Rattray. The work lasted for nine months until 1995. The interiors of the imposing stone piers were excavated of their sand and gravel filling and replaced with bearer walls of re-enforced concrete. Lengthwise along these bearer walls were laid long pre-stressed concrete beams to carry the widened deck of the bridge (first built in the 1770s) and its extended pavements. The construction of these bearer walls meant that the bases of the piers - the cut-waters - would be the only parts of the old bridge continuing to play a key role in carrying the widened bridge. Accommodated under the new pavements were two water mains, a gas main, an electricity cable with provision for another and two telephone cables, the latter covered in sand and with concrete slabs on top to facilitate future access. At 22 feet wide, the new carriageway, at a moderately higher level than before, is wider by six feet. The pavements, at six feet four inches, are each two feet wider than the originals. The plaque recording the works of 1873 was retained and later attached to the new railings. The work was engineered by F A MacDonand & Partners as consulting structural and civil engineers, Glasgow, and carried out by W J Anderson Ltd, Aberdeen.
1950s. Folksong collectors in Blairgowrie discovered a wealth of Scots songs, presumed long lost.
1955. A town photograph shows, next to the Royal Hotel, the eating place known as Keiller's Restaurant. It also shows the Post Office almost adjacent.
1955. 100th anniversary of the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper, still owned by the Monair family, still printed locally by their press.
1960s. The town hosted the first festivals organized by the then-newly-formed Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, a body that continues to promote, nurture and preserve the indigenous music of the country. Unfortunately, the Blairgowrie Folk Festival died.
1963. Bramblebank Mill ended.
1960s. Mid. The former Rattray Free Church on Balmoral Road was converted to Rattray Hall. It later became a community hall.
1966. Fire ravaged the Spittal Hotel at Glenshee. The Grant family had made this a favourite watering hole. It was later rebuilt.
1968. The last service at St. Mary's Church occurred and the congregation was united with the South Church along that street.
1970. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Pipe Band was reborn, after a chance meeting between two pipers and a drummer at a local hotel. Earlier, uniforms and many instruments had been purchased second-hand. New ones were issued. Clan MacPherson bonnet badges, Glengarry badges and kilt pins and the Ancient Red MacPherson tartan were issued, by kind permission of Sir William MacPherson of Culty. Since the early 1980s the band has had two uniforms, a full dress and a second dress.
1971. January. The brutally battered body of hotelier Mr. James Keltie was found in a garage at the Muirton House Hotel near the Essendy Road. He was dressed in only a string vest and underpants. It resulted in a nationwide search, fruitless.
1973. St. Mary's Parish Church was demolished and replaced by the St. Mary's Court development.
1973. Community Councils were introduced through the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
1977. 5th April. First meeting of Blairgowrie & Rattray Community Council which like other Community Councils in Scotland, is a statutory organization, made up of volunteers who give time to, and have a genuine interest in, the well-being of the Blairgowrie & Rattray community. Community Council members are residents of the area who act on behalf of local people to help to make local authorities and other public bodies aware of the opinions, needs and preferences of the communities that they represent. They try and preserve those aspects of the community that the community believes are worth retaining, while also encouraging developments which will benefit the community and ensure that it will continue to thrive. The council's first Constitution was ratified by Perth & Kinross District Council on 25th August 1977. The Community Council consists of 15 members together with various ex-officio members including our local Councillors. Unlike Perth and Kinross Council Councillors and MSP's, Community Councillors are elected or co-opted for their three-year term as individuals, without bias towards any political party. Party politics plays no part in Community Councils.
1978. For the last time, the Blairgowrie Advertiser newspaper was printed in Blairgowrie, on Reform Street. It was bought out by the Perthshire Advertiser, printed in Perth.
1979. Brooklinn Mill, established in the River Ericht in 1843, ended.
1979. Keathbank Mill, built in 1864, ended.
1980. The Stewarts of Blairgowrie recorded a song collection. Part of it is here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiC5sCZgWjM. Featured was folklorist, singer and champion of the travelling community, Sheila Stewart.
1986 to 1995. Unique recordings from the Blairgowrie Folk Festivals 1986-1995 featured Chuck Fleming & Gerry Kaley, Vin Garbutt, Isaac Guillory, Lizzie Higgins, Hamish Moore, Marion Paterson, The Stewarts O' Blair and Kathryn Tickell. Blairgowrie holds a unique position in the recent history of traditional music in Scotland.
1982. Blairgowrie Railway Station was demolished. Its station clock was rescued by the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Civic Trust. Later, the demolished site became a Tesco supermarket.
1982. September 22. Blairgowrie Recreation Centre was opened by Brian Hooper, World Superstars Champion 1981, grant-aided by the European Regional Development Fund and provided by Tayside Regional Council.
1983. Quinn's Cinema, established in Blairgowrie in 1913, which moved to Reform Street in a purpose-built building in 1925, ceased operating, with Annie being the last film.
1985. Blairgowrie Dental Practice was established by Jim Estill and Ali Geddes.
1987. Association of Blairgowrie Craftworkers was formed by a few individuals who, making crafts at home as a hobby, wanted an outlet and so organized a craft fair. Since then the number of members has grown and includes many active craftworkers making a diverse range of crafts such as pottery, painting, picture framing, needlework and woodwork. Today the Association of Blairgowrie Craftworkers organizes and participates in craft fairs across the Perthshire and Tayside regions and its craft workers - most of whom now come from far beyond Blairgowrie town - participate in fairs and shows across Scotland.
1991. Balmoral Garage, Balmoral Road, Rattray, was established, owned by Saint Roques Automobile Co.Ltd., established in Dundee in 1921.
1993. Blairgowrie Writers Group was established as a natural continuation from creative writing classes held at the local High School. In the early years, meetings were held in the local Black Watch Club. meet up throughout the year to share our members' writings, opinions and ideas. Members also exchange information about local and national writing competitions and publications which may be of interest. Not all members are published writers, although most actively seek publication. Some write only for magazines or competitions, and some for private pleasure, with no interest in publication. They are of a widely-spread age-range and come from a variety of backgrounds. In 2013 the name was changed to Blairwriters.
1993. July. Members of Blairgowrie ATC Squadron (2519 Strathmore) visited RAF Shawbury.
1995. The Blairgowrie Advertiser, owned by the Perth Advertiser since 1978, moved its printing from Perth to Blantyre, near Glasgow. By then it was one of the newspapers, with the Perth Advertiser, of the Scottish and Universal Newspaper's group.
1996. Davidsons the Chemist, whose origins had been in Blairgowrie, built a pharmaceutical warehause at Welton Road, Blairgowrie, to serve all its 15 stores in Perth and East Perthshire.
1996. Strathmore Golf Centre at Alyth was opened by Kathryn Marshall.
1997. The Alyth Voice became the brainchild of a local organization called “The Crooked Dreel & Concealed Hinge Society”, primarily to record the views of the townspeople and be delivered free of charge to each household in Alyth and the immediate district. From its instant success, the Alyth Voice team became independent and have continued to develop the newsletter from its early 4 page spread to an average of 32 pages a month.
2000. Cateran Trail was formally opened in the town.
2004. January. Completion of St. Catherine's Community Centre at St. Catherine's Church, George Street, Blairgowrie, s a purpose-built modern building with facilities to rent including a large carpeted hall and two bright meeting rooms.
2005. Blairgowrie and Rattray initiatives for older people helped lead to the establishment of Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative. It is a partnership between NHS Tayside, Perth and Kinross Council and older people.
2006. Formation of Alyth and District Pipe Band, to represent the township in the local community, at local functions and important occasions such as but not limited to Remembrance Sunday.
2009. It was announced that The Hill Primary School in Blairgowrie is to close at the end of the current school year after serving the community for 130 years.
2009. St Stephen’s RC Primary School moved from its John Street, Blairgowrie, location to new premises at the Blairgowrie Community Campus. The former school premises are currently the property of the Roman Catholic Dunkeld Diocese and were then offered for sale by J E. Shepherd for £125,000.
2010. The Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration Company was formed, by public conscription. It initially managed to get a substantial Scottish Government grant but plans fell through and it lasted for less than two years.
2010. The One Voice community group was established in Blairgowrie, initially under the umbrella of BAARC, but later became independent.
2011. Strathmore Focus Group was formed, at the suggestion and under the leadership of NHS Tayside, as a community group from both Blairgowrie and its postal code outlying districts which share usage of the hospital, to represent their communities in NHS Tayside plans to redevelop and re-focus uses of Blairgowrie Community Hospital.
2012. April 1. Supermarket Superstores in Blairgowrie and elsewhere in Scotland that sell both alcohol and tobacco products and their consumers began to suffer from the consequences of the Scottish Government's so-called and unwelcomed "health tax" imposed from this date as a new levy on business rates that apply to businesses with a rateable value of over £300,000. Blairgowrie's Tesco Superstore Blairgowrie Welton was affected. This unwelcome "public health levy" - in fact nothing but pure additional taxation in defiance of European Union State aid law but approved of course by the Scottish judiciary on the instructions of the Scottish Government, means consumers noticed a sharp but publicly unreported rise in their overall liquor spending. They were no longer able to get any 2 for 1 deals. In complete contrast, in England minimum pricing for and other price-related restrictions for alcoholic products don't apply.
2012. The former Quinn's Cinema on Reform Street, which had remained for decades after the cinema finally closed in 1984 but was an eyesore, was finally demolished with new owner the Perthshire Housing Association (PHA), no longer frustrated by economic restraints, finally having received local authority funding to redevelop the site as 17 2-bedroom affordable flats.
2012. July 19. A disused Blairgowrie school could be given a new lease of life if planning officials give the go ahead. The mothballed St Stephen’s RC Primary School, on John Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6HW, has sat empty since June 2009, when it was replaced by the Blairgowrie Community Campus. See more details under "1879" above. However, a planning application submitted to Perth and Kinross Council this week could see the B-listed building brought back into use. Applicant Nigel Cowley hopes to see the former John Street school turned into a “wellbeing centre” with tearoom. In his application, Mr Cowley states that the change of use would regenerate the built environment, protect and preserve it for future; improve visual impact in local area; bring a redundant building back into circulation; contribute to the local economy; make a significant contribution to job creation; encourage and support the creation, development and growth of businesses; provide a well designed sustainable place to encourage the development of supportive communities; and increase tourism. The centre, if given the go-ahead, would be used for classes in yoga, tai chi; complementary therapies; and arts. A floor plan attached to the application shows that the two former classrooms would be turned into halls, with the assembly hall in the middle retained. The staff room, cloak room, library and storage space would all be converted into treatment rooms. Due to the building’s b-list designation, the application is also subject to listed building consent. The former school is currently the property of the Roman Catholic Dunkeld Diocese. Overall, in 2014, it offers substantial premises suitable for a variety of uses, with a gross area of 340 square metres (3,665 square feet), for offers over £125,000. Contact Jonathan Reid in Perth at email@example.com. or phone 01738 638188. Property enquiry reference Perth 629.
2012. The Ericht Trust, a Community Development Trust, is looking into the possibility of acquiring the long-deserted Hill Primary School site, Upper Allan Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6JL, on 1.92 acres, B-listed, currently owned by the Perth and Kinross Council, and developing it into a multi-functional community space. It stated its aims and hopes in local offline media over 6 pages. These aims and objectives are almost identical to what is hoped for the former St. Stephen's Primary School building on John Street which is significantly closer and more accessible to the town centre, than the former Hill Primary premises. It has also been advertised as having residential use. But it won't be practical at all as a community centre or for residential purposes for the elderly who use walking aids and others who are mobility-restricted. Nor is there any bus service up or down the steep Upper Allan Street. Unfortunately, it does not seem to have ever been marketed nationally and internationally as a prime potential site for a newly-built regional convention centre - currently none in the area - and/or luxury hill-top hotel, despite the town's new prominence as the largest town in Perthshire now that Perth, 18 miles away, has become a city.
Former Hill Primary School site
2012. August 30 to September 1 and 2. The 5th international Clan Rattray Gathering took place in Blairgowrie. It brought together 40 clan members from around the world. Among the events was one to commemorate "Golfing Surgeon" Dr. John Rattray, personal physician to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who wrote the first rules of golf in 1744. He won the coveted Silver Cup, presented in annual competition by the Edinburgh Town Council to the Gentleman Golfers, in both 1744 and 1745, as well as the Silver Arrow in 1735 and 1744. His descendant is Lachlan Rattray who lives just outside Rattray.
2012. November. Two sad events occurred in Coupar Angus not far from Blairgowrie. After 170 years in business, the Culross printing firm closed. Six jobs were lost. Publications included the monthly but short-lived Blair Blast offline magazine introduced about 3 months earlier, about Blairgowrie, and another one about Coupar Angus. The news came just days after Dutch company Vion announced it was selling off the chicken processing plant in Coupar Angus that employed over 1,000 people. It was the biggest employer by far in the region.
2012. December. Oakbank Road was hit by a landslide, still not repaired by the end of 2014.
2013. April 1. The Scottish Government was due to impose controversial minimum pricing of alcohol it had earlier legislated, at the rate of 50p per unit of alcohol but this was held up by both a British drinks industry complaint and the European Union on grounds it violates European Union laws. If/when the Scottish law comes into effect consumers will suffer even further. In all the propaganda put out to date by the Scottish government on this matter, not once has it been announced that even without this new taxation policy, government duties on all alcoholic products are the highest in the world, hugely more than anywhere in Europe combined. Many European countries, because of hugely lower duties, enable alcoholic drinks to be much less expensive than here in Scotland. In Europe, on the few occasions when members of the public get drunk publicly, they don't do so out of economic despair caused by members of parliament failing to find them jobs, as they do in Scotland. It is said but is not true that harmful drinking has cultural causes when in fact a major reason for consumers is despair from economic depression, inability to get on the progressive economic mobility ladder due in very large part to political contempt and lack of legislated sustained economic development indifference in rural places now or habitually with small populations. This has caused many to try to go where the work is. Scottish minimum pricing for alcoholic products and the since-2012 ban on multi-buy alcohol promotions are grossly unfair to most customers, hit the younger members, especially those who are under-employed or unemployed hardest, penalize the vast majority of people who drink responsibly, are especially unfair to pensioners and others on limited income and are yet another tourism reason, with most other taxes substantially higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK - such as council taxes, cost of petrol, etc - to now avoid Scotland instead of favoring it. Minimum pricing is not a fair or even valid answer to rocketing alcoholic consumption as Scottish legislators have claimed, one reason being that instead of rocketing it is actually dropping. UK Customs and Revenue state, from their own records and statistics supplied by NHS Health Scotland and Glasgow University, that between 2004 and 2011 total alcoholic consumption fell 12% and drinking per head is similarly down. In Scotland, researchers found this decline almost exactly matches the reduction in wages, which suggests that the current economic climate may be contributing to people cutting back their spending on booze. It has also decreased by a similar amount in England and Wales, without any change in the law. In contrast to purely petty revenue-related Scottish restrictions, in Ipswich, Suffolk, taking super-strength beers, ciders and other products off the market has had a hugely beneficial effect on the street habits of the alcohol-affected.
2013. May. A Scottish judge decided the Scottish Government could impose its minimum-price of 50p per alcohol unit law, despite the objections of many. It is being appealed.
2013. July. A number of European countries lodged objections to the Scottish Government's minimum-price of 50p per alcohol unit law. They said a trade war could result, that their countries were flooded with Scottish whisky, they wanted equal access to Scottish markets, not less and Scotland should not be allowed to cite public drinking problems as their rationale when they don't have such problems themselves. Also, if Scottish young people of 16 years are to be allowed to vote in a 2014 national referendum, it is legislative nonsense to require them to be 25 to drink, when no other country in the world requires this.
2013. July. The Fair o Blair, a mid-priced Wetherspoon pub, began in Blairgowrie, a welcome new face in the local restaurant scene.
2013. Sainsbury's was another most welcome addition to the Blairgowrie high street shopping arena.
2013. September. Blairgowrie Community Council, voice of the local community, failed to elect a local chairperson and was disbanded.
2013. October. The book "Berry Treasured Memories" was published by the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Local History Trust. It charts 100 years of raspberry growing from 1885 to 1985. By Jim Niven and after his death in 2008 by his daughter. A personal account of the Niven family's involvement.
2014. March. Father and daughter team Andre and Cynthia Rosset became the new owners of Blairgowrie's Altamount Hose Hotel, which also opened a new restaurant, the Veneziano. The hotel's previous owner was Robert MacIntosh who retained control of the chalets and cottages at Altamount Park.
2014. April. Blairgowrie and Rattray Timebank was launched.
2014. April. After the Co-operative Group announced the need to sell their extensive Blairgowrie-based Rosemount Farm enterprise, local activists tried to drum up public support for a community buyout.
2014. April. NHS Tayside began the £2.36 million refurbishment of Blairgowrie Community/Cottage Hospital.
2014. May 1. Riverside Methodist Church closed. Built to take 200 worshippers, it lately had only 20. Put up for sale.
2014. May 17. Many from Blairgowrie cheered when St. Johnstone FC, their nearest big football team, defeated Dundee United in the final of the Scottish Cup.
2014. June. Perthshire and Kinross Council put back on the market for sale Blairgowrie's former Hill Primary School. Earlier £8 million plans for it by a local community group as a community centre (for the non-disabled, as those who are disabled cannot get there by public transport) were deemed too ambitious.
2014. June. A crucial revamp of Blairgowrie's ambulance station occurred.
2014. June. Blairgowrie restaurant owner Stuart Wishart published a book on his experiences.
2014. The Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow was a must-see event, in person or via TV, for many from Blairgowrie.
2014. September. The massively successful Junior Ryder Cup was held at Blairgowrie Golf Club. It attracted attention from around the world and was an extension of the 2014 Ryder Cup played at Gleneagles.
2014. November. 10th anniversary of the Perthshire Amber Festival, led by Blairgowrie's celebrated singer/songwriter Dougie MacLean and with most events held in Blairgowrie.
2014. November. Completion of year-long £2.3 million improvements to the town's Community Hospital.
2014. November. Controversy erupted over a huge, 74 acre site, proposed development by Westpark Partnership LLP on the Perth Road side of the town. The proposal was for hundreds of new houses, school, care home and more.
2014. November. Some members of the Blairgowrie-based Strathmore Advisory Group voiced their support for a cafe at the newly-renovated Blairgowrie Community Hospital. much to the dismay of other local cafes. No such facilities exist at any other NHS Tayside community hospital, only at A&E hospitals.
2014. December 1-7. Blairgowrie Players performed their pantomime CinderMcElla at the Town Hall to enthusiastic audiences.
2015. January 23. Planning permission was confirmed as lodged to turn Blairgowrie's former St. Stephen's RC Primary School building, a grade B-listed Victorian building, on John Street into flats. In 2009 the school vacated and moved elsewhere. The bid was by Dundee-based John Street (Scotland) Ltd. It applied for JR Brown Building Design to build five two bedroom and four one bedroom dwellings (later modified to fewer units).
2015. January 31. Fresh proposals were announced to transform the former Hill Primary School into a nearly £5 million community hub, including a cinema, heritage and print museum, arts and crafts studio, play centre and cafe. But of major concern for the disabled is the lack of publicized access up a very steep hill and with no public transport to any of the planned facilities. The property, owned by the Perth and Kinross Council, is still for sale on the open market, but no bids have been received. To date, it seems no one has tried to compare the overall feasibility of the project with what occurred in Brora, Highlands, when a similar former school on Victoria Road in that village, with no steep incline in that area, became a community hub but with very little immediate or sustained success. Instead, comparisons were made solely or mostly with the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy and an old Pictire Houuse in Campbeltown. Also, not one but former churches, one in the town itself, on flat land, and the other in Rattray, would seem to be far more suitable as well as far more central and with far easier access for the disabled.
2015. February 16. Glenshee Ski Centre, well known to folk from Blairgowrie, is to benefit from a £1.86 million windfall announced by the Scottish Government.
A tiny loch trimmed with trees amongst the golf courses 1½ miles (2.5 km) the south of Blairgowrie, Black Loch is located immediately to the east of the A93 trunk road. It is the easternmost of a chain of three lochs, the others being Fingask Loch and White Loch.
Ardblair Trail. 3 miles, 5 kilometres. Inland, with sights of old Ardblair Castle and Newton Castle, neither of which are publicly accessible.
Cateran Trail. 64 miles from Blairgowrie, named after cattle thieves. In a wide circular area with Blairgowrie at the centre. Not for the mobility-restricted.
Darroch Woods. About 2 miles. May is the best month to see the wood's bluebells.
Drimmie Woods. About 4 miles or 7 kilometres, or 5 miles, 8 kilometres walking from Blairgowrie.
Knockie Path. 3 miles, 5 kilometres, a circular path, partly along the River Ericht.
River Ericht Path. 8 miles, 13 kilometres in entire length. About halfway is Kitty Swanson's Bridge going from the Blairgowrie to Rattray sides of the river. Once, there was a small ferry here.
Heating, hot water, cooking
There is natural town-wide gas for central heating, hot water and cooking (Scottish Gas, the trading name of British Gas in Scotland) in municipal areas. Scottish Gas offers both gas and electricity. Service is prompt and efficient. Other electricity providers include Scottish Hydro. Homes and properties in rural areas not served by natural gas may wish to use use LPG gas piped in from a tank sited on their premises or, more commonly, oil (kerosene) trucked in from Perth or Dundee. Blairgowrie is halfway between the two. There are several suppliers.
See the following price comparison websites for oil orders and deliveries to Blairgowrie, including cost of trucking. It can make sound economic sense for Blairgowrie residents to consult not just one of them but both.
http://www.boilerjuice.co.uk. Biggest supplier of heating oil in the whole of the UK is DCC Energy, an Irish company that also owns this site. It has 25% of the national market for domestic heating oil after buying up a series of regional companies.
http://www.cheapestoil.co.uk. Not a direct supplier but useful for price comparisons.
Also for homes in Blairgowrie,Highlands, rest of Scotland, etc see at http://www.zoopla.co.uk and http://www.nestoria.co.uk.
Ascertain in advance what Development Potential your intended home will have. If you have enough land can you build a cottage? Have neighbours on either side of you received planning permission for their new houses? If so, you should expect the same right. Local development plans need to be as fair to new arrivals as they've been to earlier settlers. If the estate agent or seller can't answer your questions about all the above then wait until they can before you buy.
Be very cautious about buying any property if the present Council Tax banding is not shown on the Property Schedule applicable to each house. This seems to be a failing of many Perthshire estate agents with properties for same in the Blairgowrie area. You are advised to make very sure you are told what the present Council Tax banding is, and when it was last evaluated, by the selling estate agent before you go to look at the house.
Perth and Kinross Council Tax bands. Band A, up to and including £27,000; Band B over £27,000 and up to £35,000; Band C over £35,000 and up to £45,000; Band D over £45,000 and up to £58,000; Band E over £58,000 and up to £80,000; Band F over £80,000 and up to £106,000; Band G over £106,000 and up to £212,000; and Band H over £212,000. The problem with this formula is that it is completely out-of-date, based on early 1990s housing valuations. On August 6, 2010 on page 4 the Perthshire edition of the Dundee Courier and Advertiser stated that according to the Perthshire Solicitors Property Centre at http://www.pspc.co.uk the average sale price of Perthshire (including Blairgowrie) properties then was just over £180,000. It is assumed this average sale price puts them into the Band D category if you accept that council tax bands are from A to H with the average in the middle. But note the present (2010) and hugely outdated Perth and Kinross Council Tax band formula. 1990s banding still applies, but not at 1990 salaries and 1990s Council Tax assessments. Newcomers who move into the area to downsize may find that while they will downsize in property size they won't always downsize in council tax banding. Council taxes can be the same for a £179,500 property in Blairgowrie as they are for a £850,000 or more property in London or Edinburgh. (For example, The Queen at Buckingham Palace, with an estimated 980 million, pays Council Taxes at Band H in London's City of Westminster, for 2012/2013 rate - £1,375.24 - for a Band H property there see http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/councilgovernmentanddemocracy/councils/counciltaxandfinance/bands/). She pays less in Council Tax than a $179,000 Council Tax Band E house in Rattray, Perthshire. Thus the necessity here in Blairgowrie to do your homework. Potential buyers of Blairgowrie and area homes need to know for sure before they buy what the Perth and Kinross Council - http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ - will charge them in council taxes. Unfortunately, in some local authorities - a glaring example being the Highland Council - newcomers are not told in advance that their new home goes up a band automatically, unless challenged promptly,with no justification for doing so unless extensive improvements/extensions has been done to justify a council tax band increase. Before you buy, establish not only what your council tax banding is but what those of your neighbours on your road or street you are, see under "Find my Nearest" on the http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ site, insert your local postcode or intended postcode and pull up the information you need on your property and others in the same postcode. Additionally, look at the asking prices of properties being sold in the town or village and neighbourhood and check their council tax bands. You can do so easily in Blairgowrie by going to the http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ website, then scrolling down to the bottom right.
Council Tax Banding appeals. It is a requirement that newcomers appeal within 6 months of becoming local council tax payers, namely from the date you bought the property. Note here in Blairgowrie homes offered for sale on October 2010 at Rosemont Park Gardens, PH10 6TW. £210,000. Band E; Yeaman St. PH10 7DW. £200,000. Band E. Willow Place, PH10 6DW. £200,000. Band E; Kirkton Road, Rattray PH10 7D2. £195,000. Band E; Moyness Park Drive. PH10 6LX. £195,000. Band E; James Street, PH10 6E2. £188,500. Band E. But a house on Hatton Road, Rattray PH10 7AW, which sold in 2010 for £179,500, much less than the above, is also a Band E. In the true democracies such as the USA, Canada, EU, etc. a Land Valuation and Tax Act or equivalent requires a re-evaluation of all properties to be carried out every five years. There, the purpose of the revaluation is to revalue all properties (commercial and residential) to current levels of value, with all properties revalued at the same time to maintain equity in the valuation list. Property values change over time and these changes are not uniform across the market. Some property types and areas change in value more than others do. The revaluation re-levels the playing field by reflecting these relative changes in value so that the equity of the valuation list in maintained. But this is clearly not so here in Scotland in general and Perthshire in particular. Yet, significantly, in Scotland, business rates (not residential council tax rates) are adjusted every five years. Why not residential Council Tax banding too?
Certificate of Property/Land
registration. A certificate of land ownership/registration will be sent to new property owners by
the Land Registry but not until about one year later, and not by the Perth
and Kinross Council in whose jurisdiction your property is in (the
authority that will have full details of that property) but by the
Scottish Government. Why does it have to take so long to arrive? Until it
arrives you have no proof of ownership of your property but are expected by
the Perth and Kinross Council to start paying your council tax immediately.
Moreover, any appeals against council tax banding must be made within 6
months as said earlier. Newcomers should
surely have the right to get their certificate of property/land ownership
before, not long after, they make any council tax appeal.
Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT). From April 2015, a Scottish tax that replaces the earlier UK-wide Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Stamp duty is an anachronistic tax. It limits market flexibility, creates regional inequality and its slab structure unfairly distorts the housing market. LBTT is one of the new devolved taxes awarded to Scotland after the September 18, 2014 referendum. Under LBTT it is only the amount in excess of each tax band that is taxed at the higher rate. There are different rates for commercial and residential property. For residential properties, no tax is paid on the property purchased for below £135,000. For purchases of £135,000 to £250,000 a rate of 2% is paid on the amount above £135,000. Once the purchase of a property exceeds £250,000 the rate increases to 10% until the price reaches £1 million. Above £1 million the excess is charged at 12%. The most expensive houses see the largest increases in tax. For anyone buying a house up to £325,000 the costs are lower under the new LBTT. Scottish Government figures suggest 90% of house purchases are below £325,000. For farm and landowners and people who buy undeveloped land on which there is no residential unit, the tax applied on land and farm purchases are also progressive, Again, the relevant tax rate applies on the excess above the threshold. For purchases up to £150,000, there is no tax due. For those from £150,000 to £350,000 3% applies. Over £350,000 4.5% applies. Overall effect of the switch to LBTT from SDLT. Some benefit, others lose out. For example, for a £400,000 house a buyer pays £5,300 more. The most expensive homes see the largest tax increases. A £ 1 million country mansion will incur a tax hike of £33,000. For faim and land purchases, when the price reaches £2 million more will be paid under the new system.
From May 2010 Home Reports were phased out of the UK except for Scotland. Home Reports were an expensive failure to both home buyers and particularly home sellers in many respects. But under the Scottish Government, they continue to apply, despite their massive failings including energy ratings discrimination of homes that don't have mains gas and lack of attention to details particularly affecting the disabled.
From 1 December 2008 every property in Scotland being sold was required to have a Home Report (in other parts of the UK a Home Information Pack (HIP) paid for by the person or family selling the property before they can sell it. See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/Home-Report. A Home Report or HIP is a new document designed to provide buyers with more information about homes they are thinking of buying before they submit an offer. It is part of a series of measures said to be introduced across Europe reflected in legislation to help cut out carbons emissions and tackle climate change. The Home Report is reputed to provide a measure of the overall energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact and is required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The property's performance is rated in terms of energy use per square metre of floor area; energy efficiency based on fuel costs and environmental impact based on CO2 emissions. You, or more likely your selling solicitor, will be required to have a copy before your home is advertised for sale and to make a copy available to interested buyers of your home. The Home Report includes three separate reports; the Property Questionnaire; the Single Survey; and an Energy Report.
What is a Home Report in Scotland and how is it different from an English one?
Property Questionnaire, Single Survey and Energy Report, all three referred to below.
This asks you to answer questions about your home that only you are likely to know. Have you, for example, installed new replacement windows, or added an extension? Do any of your neighbours have the right to walk across your property to empty their bins? As far as you know, has your home ever had a problem with rot? These are the sort of questions you will be asked to answer. While many of them will be straightforward, you may not be clear about the answers to others. In some cases, your answer could raise questions at the conveyancing stage that should be dealt with now. If, for example, you made an alteration to your home, you will need to show that you obtained a building warrant if one was required and that you got planning consent if necessary. If you don't have these documents, then this is the time to take remedial action. If you are in any doubt, the solicitor you appoint to sell your home will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
The Single Survey is a detailed survey of your home conducted by a qualified surveyor. It will also provide an estimate of market value. The survey will list the main features of your home and give an assessment of condition for each one. There are three scales, namely: Scale from 1 = no repairs necessary, to 3 = urgent repairs or replacement are needed now. If the survey for your home features a category 3 repair, you might want to consider carrying out the repair yourself before putting your home on the market. However, that may not always be the best solution. You can rely on your solicitor to advise you on whether it is better to repair or to sell your home as it is. You can also expect your solicitor to appoint a surveyor on your behalf who is familiar with, and sympathetic to, your area.
No longer in effect in England but still required in Scotland.
Provides a measure of how energy efficient your home is. It is done in pretty much the same way that dishwashers and other electrical appliances now display an energy rating. The report, which will be conducted by the surveyor who provides the Single Survey, also provides information on how you or any buyer could improve the energy efficiency of your home. Unfortunately, all who live in Blairgowrie or Perthshire are not necessarily going to get a good energy rating on the homes they want to sell. Why not? Some Energy assessment scheme are a travesty. It boils down to the fact that unless you have mains piped-in gas as many cities and towns (including Blairgowrie) do you'll get a poor rating, despite the quality of local plumbing and heating. You can have a very efficient "green" boiler and it might well have a boiler-efficiency rating of 90% or above to a boiler inspector but unless you run it on mains gas the report will say your boiler is inefficient. Similarly, if you use electricity to heat hot water and cook by not mains but LPG gas (it has to be trucked in and put into a metal gas tank), or use oil (kerosene) from an oil tank on your property to heat your house you'll get a low rating. Why? Because LPG is regarded as inefficient for two reasons, it costs more than oil or mains gas. Both the LPG and oil have to be trucked in. The UK Government and Scottish Governments have made no allowances at all for better efficiency ratings for homes in this region that have no piped-in gas, even when home heating - for example, from locally-sourced wood - is considered to be good from an environmental point of view. If you are disabled, there's no upfront way of checking out the disability-friendly qualities (for example, door widths for wheel chairs access) of the property in advance. No provision for this was made by the Scottish Government Instead, you have to view the house first, then ask formally to see the Home Report.
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