Born in Perthshire comprises a series of short essays on well-known figures born within the historical county of Perthshire. Each topical and biographical piece includes an original associated illustration. Born in Perthshire includes: William Archer:; Winifred Anna Cavendish Bentinck; Patrick Blair; General Edward Braddock; Alexander Bryce; Alexander Buchan; John Buchan; Peter Robert Drummond; Victoria Alexandrina Drummond; Mary Williamina Findlater:; David Octavius Hill; Marjory Kennedy-Fraser; Lena Login; Lawrence MacDonald; Alexander Mackenzie; James Mackenzie:; John James Rickard Macleod; Archibald Menzies; David Morrison; Eliza Ogilvy; Caroline Oliphant; Pontius Pilate; Robert Gillespie Reid; John Monteath Robertson; Thomas Ross; George Seton; Robert Stirling; John Wood. The book also includes separate chapters entitled ‘A Brief Guide to a Few of the (Historical) Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals of Perth & District’ and ‘Honorary Burgesses & Honorary Freemen of Perth’. Born in Perthshire is the first in a series of Tippermuir Mini Books, which will cover a range of subjects all with the central theme of the city of Perth and its district

Born in Perthshire comprises a series of short essays on well-known figures born within the historical county of Perthshire. Each topical and biographical piece includes an original associated illustration. Born in Perthshire includes: William Archer:; Winifred Anna Cavendish Bentinck; Patrick Blair; General Edward Braddock; Alexander Bryce; Alexander Buchan; John Buchan; Peter Robert Drummond; Victoria Alexandrina Drummond; Mary Williamina Findlater:; David Octavius Hill; Marjory Kennedy-Fraser; Lena Login; Lawrence MacDonald; Alexander Mackenzie; James Mackenzie:; John James Rickard Macleod; Archibald Menzies; David Morrison; Eliza Ogilvy; Caroline Oliphant; Pontius Pilate; Robert Gillespie Reid; John Monteath Robertson; Thomas Ross; George Seton; Robert Stirling; John Wood. The book also includes separate chapters entitled ‘A Brief Guide to a Few of the (Historical) Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals of Perth & District’ and ‘Honorary Burgesses & Honorary Freemen of Perth’. Born in Perthshire is the first in a series of Tippermuir Mini Books, which will cover a range of subjects all with the central theme of the city of Perth and its district.

Perth: Street by Street is an architectural, archaeological, geographical, historical, and visual journey around the city of Perth’s c.630 streets, avenues, closes, roads, and vennels. Drawing on a range of disciplines, Perth: Street by Street will appeal both to those readers interested in the history and life of Perth, and to anyone who has lived, worked, or spent time in Scotland’s Fair City. For the people of Perth and those who hail from St John’s Town, the book will be particularly poignant. Within its pages, readers may find their own homes, place of birth, workplaces, schools, favourite shops, and the public architecture and civic backdrop which form a part of their everyday existence. The book is available online from Amazon and other internet retailers, and from the following bookshops: Waterstones (Perth), WHSmith (Perth), Sweet Words (Dunkeld), as well as from Gloagburn Farm Shop by Tibbermore.

 

 

A Short History of the Watergate

The Watergate (Water Street - sometimes Water Gate) is one of the oldest streets in Perth and was one of its principal streets for several hundred years. It existed as a street within the medieval burgh: “Perth has preserved the main features of the medieval street plan, based on two parallel main streets, High Street and South Street, with subordinate streets at right-angles to them. Some years ago, Dr R M Spearman published a morphological study of the town plan (Spearman 1988). He suggested an initial development along Watergate, significantly running along the crest of a natural dry ridge parallel to the Tay. The town then expanded westwards along what was to become High Street, encapsulating St John’s Kirk and its burial ground in a complex of intersecting properties.” [Bowler, b] Watergate was “the Society quarter of Perth.” [Baxter, 1928] “Medieval and Early Modern South Street terminated at the Watergate, its eastern end blocked by the Gowrie House (demolished in the 19th century when the Sheriff Court was built.)” [Bowler, 2006] According to SUAT: “Studies of the town plan suggest that Watergate may even have been the earliest street in the burgh.” The street was the main route from the south into Perth and led from the South Port and Spey Tower up to the High Street. “In 1700, the Watergate still largely retained its old formation - large mansion-houses with lawns and anchorage for a boat facing the River Tay, which was the eastern side of the Watergate, on the western side were trading premises, with stores, etc., over which many of the well-to-do merchants lived.” [Baxter, 1928] “In the 18th century the water-carriers could be seen coming up the vennels that led from the river to Watergate.” [PA 5/2/1936] In the 19th century salmon netting was sold at the foot of the Water Vennel and as the demand grew so did the importance of Perth’s rope-making industry. The main bulk rope-works in the Watergate was Leslies.

The earliest buildings that now comprise the Watergate date only from the early part of the 18th century: “Watergate and Speygate were fashionable residential areas” [SUAT, 2006]. It is worth noting that “one timber-framed building survived in the Watergate until the 1960s.” [Bowler, 2006]

It was concern over various historic buildings in Perth that led to the establishment of the Perth Civic Trust in 1967. One of the buildings with which the emerging Perth Civic Trust was concerned was the Earl of Kinnoull’s lodgings in the Watergate.

For a large part of its history the Watergate and surrounds housed the mansions of Perth’s nobility and the town houses of the wealthy county families. Amongst these mansions were included: the Earl of Errol’s House - Hereditary Lord High Constable and Knight Marischal of Scotland - (west side of the Watergate); Bishop(1) of Dunkeld’s Palace(2); Lord Chancellor Hay’s House (Earl of Kinnoull) - (east side of the Watergate - “remains … are still standing on the east side, at the corner of Water Vennel" [Urquhart, 1906]); the Murray Earls of Tullibardine’s Town House - (west side of the Watergate by the present day South Street) John Davidson’s House - wealthy resident, notary and fiscal; nearby on the Speygate lived the Earl of Atholl and Lord Crichton of Sanquhar [Urquhart, 1906]; John Tyrie, Provost of the Collegiate Church of Methven had a guest house on or near the Watergate(3). Another nearby resident was Lord John Murray (North Port). To this list from Perth’s past can be added Provost John Law and Lady Rollo. On the west side also stood the town house of the Mercers of Aldie and Meiklour. Mary of Guise, James VI, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, the Lairds of Oliphant, Provost Cree, Provost Caw and Provost Bailie Sandeman were all linked at some point to the Watergate. At the start of the 19th century on the PA building site, George Patton, (Lord Justice Clerk Lord Glenalmond) was brought up. The minor poet, Robert Nicoll lived on the Watergate and made a living by bottling beer(4).

In the 19th century prior to the full development of the railways the Watergate was lent a nautical air by the large numbers of seamen operating as crews on the many vessels that were involved with Perth.

The Watergate was originally paved with round bullets of stone (sourced from the Tay) which “formed a very rough road for carriages.” [Penny, 1836] But around 1780, cut paving stones were employed. The houses on the riverside of the street originally had gardens and boathouses that stretched down to the river, until the creation of Tay Street. The end of these gardens was a gravel beach. “On the east side, extensive garden grounds suitably embarked reached to the ordinary high water mark … Boat stairs descended from the gardens … the Water Vennel descended to a main boat ferry point … Hereabouts, the Tay Salmon trade flourished.” [PA 8 December 1987]

The building of Tay Street (1870) was responsible for the demise of the Watergate as a link between South Street and High Street. By this stage in its history the Watergate had undergone shift in use and was largely now the realm of commerce. In fact the shift in use had been established by the middle of the 18th century. Those traders within the Watergate tended to be the more prosperous within Perth. Above the trading floors, Burgess families still continued to live in spacious comfortable flats.

Buildings of the Watergate Still in Existence:

Number 1. This building has a date range from the 18th century until modern times. It is presently the location of Homestart UK (Fairways Business Services). Number 1 is a Grade B listed building.
Numbers 3 and 5. These buildings date from the 18th century to modern times. Number 3 (also Number 28/30 High Street) is the replacement building for the House of the Green (and that the Mercer House before it). It was erected around 1788 under the guidance of Colonel Mercer of Aldie. According to Fittis: “The tenement bears on the front a marble tablet displaying the Aldie heraldic bearings, with this inscription above - ‘The arms of Aldie’ - and this below - ‘Here stood the Castle of the Green’. The whole tenement originally belonged to the Aldie family; but the late Countess de Flahault, Baroness Keith and Nairne, died possessed of only the upper flat. The proprietors of the different portions of the house are bound, by their titles, to maintain the Aldie arms on the front, gilded. The Mercer family have now no other property within the burgh of Perth except the vault in St John’s Church.” Findlay adds the following remarks in his Heritage of Perth: “This attractive side entrance to No. 30 High Street has a Gibbsian Doorway of circa 1770. It is adjoined by an old pilastered shop front … The style is provincial Renaissance. The High Street front was re-faced in the mid-19th century. It has a four-storeyed stuccoed front to High Street, superimposed pilasters, architraved windows with segmental pediments at first storey and triangular pediments at second: main cornice. The stuccoed front of the superimposed pilasters was a mid-19th century embellishment. Formerly the shop front had robust Corinthian capitals carved in timber but it was not found practicable to reuse them. More of its original 18th century character survives in Watergate where there remains a good Gibbsian door piece and pilastered shop front.” [Findlay, 1984] Number 3 is presently divided into at least three flats - 3a, 3b and 3c. Number 5 is presently the location of a retail shop, Buth Beag. Both Number 3 and Number 5 are Grade B listed.
Number 7(5). An early 18th century three storey (with attic) harled building.
Number 13. Previously the Perth Night Shelter for Females. This building is by a David Smart(6). The wealthy industrialists, the Pullar family put up funding for this night shelter founded in 1891 and opened in 1902. It provided shelter and a simple evening meal and breakfast for destitute women. Whilst at the shelter, its residents were preached to by a reader from the City Mission. Prior to this, the property was the Burns Tavern.
Numbers 15-19 according to the 2005 Perth and Kinross Valuation Roll operate as a workshop.
Numbers 21-27. Previously the meeting place of the Wrights’ Incorporation(7). This three-story tenement building (with attic) dates from 1725; it has a date range from the 18th century until modern times. In the recent past the building has been rendered and the roof has undergone changes. The front of the house has 10 narrow bay frontage windows. The entrance to the building is not at its centre. Of note is the Roman Doric pilastered and broken-pedimented door piece. Number 23 is accessed by the Wrights’ Door, and “dated 1725” Number 27 “leads to part of the building formerly owned by the Wrights Incorporation and is the third door to the south of the main entrance to the Wrights’ Hall at number 23. Along with the latter door piece it is described as Artisan Renaissance in style.” [Findlay, 1984] “The ornamental doorway (Number 23) was gifted as a gesture of thanks and good will by masons who had been given the use of the hall at a time when their own hall was unusable. Hence the mason’s emblem above the door.“ [Findlay, 1984] The first floor hall was employed as a meeting place for around a century by the Ancient Masonic Lodge of Scoon and Perth Number 3, before they moved to premises around the corner in May 1831. During the 1745 uprising Charles Edward brought his forces into Perth down the Skinnergate. When they left, Provost James Cree who lived in the upper flat of the Wrights’ Incorporation building was taken hostage to ensure Perth paid the monetary penalty issued by the Jacobites. The building was utilised as a hospital during the Jacobite uprising. According to Baxter, 1928 the “Non-Juring(8) party … met in the Wright’s Hall” in the 18th century. The last meeting in the hall was in 1968. Number 23 was previously home to a very fine spiral staircase that led to the Wrights’ Hall (Deacon Court) on the first floor. It comprised a hardwood handrail and iron work for lighting. Around 1980 the building was gutted, the staircase removed and the interior rebuilt. Some of the furniture and items were placed in Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Number 21 is presently divided into at least three flats - 1, 2 and 3. Number 27 is presently divided into at least six flats - 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Numbers 21-27 are Grade C Listed.
Numbers 24, 26, 28. Number 24/26 is presently the location of a plumbing business, J Queen and Sons. Number 28 is presently divided into at least three flats - a, b and c.
Number 29. This building has a date range from the 18th century until modern times. Previously a meeting place for the Masons’ Guild - there is a frieze with Masonic emblem. The building is mid 19th century. Of note is the round-arched and console-corniced frame. Number 29 is Grade C listed.
Numbers 30-32 are presently the location of a hairdressing shop, Style Studio.
Number 34 is presently divided into at least two flats - a and b. Number 34 is also the location of St. Matthew’s Hall(9). This hall in the courtyard behind St. Matthew’s Church has since been replaced by a newer and larger building. The upper part of the original hall is the Church Officer’s House. The building dates from the 18th century but underwent extensive modernisation a century later under the guidance of J. Honeyman in 1871. “It is two-storeyed in rubble with stair tower. The ground floor was reconstructed to the hall. It has three arched windows, one square-headed; has three dormer heads and a corbelled feature to the north.” [Findlay, W. H.]
Numbers 31-33. This building has a date range from the 18th century until modern times. Number 31 is Grade C listed.
Number 41. Another building by James Smart; this one dating form 1898. Of note is the first floor mullioned glazing and the “stumpy granite Ionic pilasters supporting tall consoles under the entablature.” [Gifford, 2007] Now a public house.
Number 47 is presently divided into at least three flats - a, b and c.
Numbers 56 - 58 are the offices of the Perthshire Advertiser newspaper(10) [S and U Newspapers].
Numbers 60-66. This building is a 19th century printing works (Morisons). Of note is the “twin barge boarded broad gables each containing a pair of tall elliptically arched cart openings.” [Gifford, 2007] In 1870 in this space was a shoemaker, a smithy and a wireworks; Number 64 was home to a mission agent, grocer, shipbrokers and Arthur Bell, wine merchant. Number 62 is the location of one of the shops of the McEwens of Perth Ltd. Department Store.
Numbers 68 - 70 are a Car Park operated by Town and City Parking.
Numbers 73-85. This three-storey vernacular building dates from around 1800. Number 73 is presently divided into at least two flats - a and b. Number 79 is presently divided into at least three flats - 1, 2 and 3. Number 85 is presently divided into at least six flats - A, B, C, D, E and F.
Number 81. This building has a date range from 19th century to modern times. In 1984, Number 81 was converted into three flats; planners had initially applied for a far more substantial division into flats. These flats are presently - a, b and c. Number 81 is Grade C listed.
The building on the corner of South Street, now part of McEwens Department Store was previously the Gowrie Bar; in the 1890s it was called the County Inn. This building comprises three storeys and an attic. It has painted stucco with a wide gable end and ground floor pilastrade to South Street.

Buildings of the Watergate No-longer in Existence:

John Davidson’s house stood opposite the Night Shelter; the space it occupied is now a car park. Lieutenant John Davidson was responsible for Perth’s attempt at resisting Cromwell’s advance on the city. Davidson was part of the surviving troop sent from Perth to join Sir John Brown of Menstrie‘s army of 4000, that were raised to oppose Cromwell‘s advance into Scotland. This army was thoroughly defeated by the Parliamentarian commander Major-General John Lambert who then approached Perth with his forces. Back in Perth with city gates closed, Davidson attempted some defensive measures - carts were continually moved up and down and drums beaten - to fool the Parliamentarians into believing that an attack on the city although inevitably successful would be costly. The ruse worked and Cromwell offered the city the opportunity to surrender without battle. When Cromwell’s army took Perth in 1651, it was at this house that he was entertained. Just two hours after Cromwell left the house, a wall of the house and part of its roof collapsed; prompting rather negative remarks from its owner as to the wish that the event had occurred earlier. Davidson later became a fiscal of the court and public notary.
On the site of the current St. Matthew’s Church (and halls) were previously an ice house, workshop and two houses. “The West Free Church congregation in Mill street … had acquired the area between Watergate and the new street on which Honeyman’s Victorian Gothic West Kirk and Steeple was soon to arise.” [PA 8 December 1987].
In his Perthshire Rhymes, Robert Scott Fittis details information about a medieval building in the Watergate that “was demolished in order to afford ingress to the new church in Tay Street”: “Until taken down it had a wooden front, which hid the massive wooden work behind. Judging from its style of architecture, the house must have been built either in the twelfth or thirteenth century. The architecture is the early Scottish, approaching to the Norman, which, as is well-known, was borrowed from the town architecture of the Italians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The old house in the Watergate, as originally built, had on the ground floor three circular archways, which served either for doors or windows. The arches were built of ashler work, and were faced in front with two large polished stones meeting in the centre. The second storey was some feet higher than the lower one, the height to the ceiling being about twelve feet, and had a front with three circular arches. The second storey of the house had evidently consisted of only one room, with a large fireplace at the north gable. On the ground storey there was an entrance to the back of the house, at which there was also a circular arch. On the ground floor there were no windows to the back, and the fireplace was in the north gable. In the back wall, however, a fireplace had been opened, which, judging from the jambs or side stones, must have been mad within the last century. The frontage of the house was about thirty feet, and it may be mentioned that the second floor was supported from gable to gable by an oaken beam one foot eight inches in depth, and twelve inches in breadth. The wood, it may be also stated, was quite fresh, and in nowise at all decayed. It is surmised by some of our antiquarian friends that the second storey was used as a dining-room or banquet hall, and that the ground floor was the kitchen, and otherwise for the convenience of servants connected with the establishment. It ought to be mentioned, likewise, that the back windows of the supposed banqueting hall were near to the top of the ceiling, and of course could not admit a view of the Tay, and the east side of the river.” This town-house was once the home of Protestant Reformer, Patrick Murray. The son of Murray was killed during the brief occupation of Perth by the Queen Regent and her French troops. These troops entered Perth on 29 May 1559. Whilst marching along the Watergate some of the troops fired a volley at the Murray family assembled on their balcony who were presumably viewing the occupation. As a consequence of the shooting, Patrick Murray’s twelve year old son was killed. The boy was brought before the Queen Regent who is alleged to have said that it was a pity that it was the son and not the father who lay dead before her. Fittis goes on to suggest that “it must have been farther down in the sixteenth century until the old house in Watergate was altered into a modern dwelling-house, and to suit the street architecture which since then has prevailed.”
The Earl of Kinnoull had a baronial mansion house at the end of the Water Vennel. It was later utilised as the Gowrie Inn. The front of the building was of half timber work with projecting upper-storey and dates from the 1600s. It was demolished in September of 1966. Before that there was a plaque on the south wall: “The Town House of George Hay(11), First Earl of Kinnoull and Lord Chancellor of Scotland, Born 1572, died 1634.” At the time of its demolition, the structure was one of only four timber-framed period buildings in Scotland. Before it was demolished it was used as a store for a nearby public house. This building was effectively Number 84, Watergate. It was also known as the Dower House. In Perth: Past and Present. Volume 1, Baxter describes the house: “Its rounded tower and crow-stepped gable is quite distinctive alongside the other buildings.”
“An admixture of small shops and tenements now demolished led on the Wrights’ Hall. Old shop names Lawson et al are still fairly discernible.” [PA, 1991]
The Mercer House (that of the Laird of Aldie) which collapsed on Saturday night, 9 August 1605(12). According to Fittis that house was known as “the Kirk, House, or Castle of the Green”. That building was replaced by a hostelry (described by The Chronicles of Perth as of “mean structure”) used by the local lairds amongst many others, The House of the Green. Caroline Oliphant, Lady Nairne wrote of the public house in her poem, Kitty Reid’s House. In 1745, it is quite likely that Bonnie Prince Charlie toasted the honour of his father as King James VII in Kitty Reid’s House. One of its functions was to be home to the golf clubs and balls used by golfers playing on the North Inch. By 1773, the House of the Green had become a post office. Legend has it that this space was once a Temple of Mars (the temple is marked on several maps) in which the Roman general Julius Agricola worshipped (circa 60 AD and long before Perth existed). Another just as implausible legend [Raphael Holinshead’s Chronicle] has that temple built on an earlier one erected before the birth of Christ, by Cunidad, son of Regan, King of the Britons. The legend has the building of three temples; one at Perth (to Mars), the second at Bangor (to Mercury) and the third somewhere in Cornwall (to Apollo). After part of Kitty Reid’s House tumbled down a new building was put up by Colonel Mercer of Aldie (circa 1788). This building is now No. 3 Watergate. About that construction Fittis-a makes the following notes from earlier information: “When the Masons employed in digging the foundation had gone down about three feet, below the level of the street, says Mr Scott, they came to two flat arches, which they broke through. Under each of these arches was an apartment of twenty-six feet in length, and fourteen in breadth. The thickness of the walls, which were of large stones, strongly cemented, was three feet and a half. Rubbish had filled up the apartments to nearly about three feet below the roof. There had been in one of them, a door to the north; and in the other, a door to the south.”
The Earl of Errol’s house was a “large building now owned by the General Accident Assurance Corporation.” and “in some of the rooms are beautiful marble fireplaces.” [Baxter, P, Perth: Past and Present. Volume 1. John McKinley, 1928].
The County Bar (Gowrie House Bar) most probably occupied the site of what was the Murray Earls of Tullibardine’s Town House.
The Hewat family of bakers [pie makers] were associated with the Watergate in the 19th century. James Hewat operated as a taverner pie baker at Number 10 (in 1958 General Accident extended their building into this property) whilst residing at Number 8. The family opened the Windsor public house in 1886/9; an inn which was linked to St. John Street. That public house underwent many changes over the years. During the Edwardian period the bar was modernise with semi-circular mahogany counter and pilastered divisions. By 1902 the Hewat family also owned Number 1 and Number 17. The Windsor Lounge (now Brennans Public House) had on its walls tiles that previously decorated the walls of the long corridor connecting that inn with St. Johns Street. These ceramic tiles depicted images from Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels - Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrine and other scenes. The Windsor was previously the Waverley Tavern. One of the properties owned by the Hewat family within the Watergate was originally in the possession of George Sandeman.
The house in which Lady Rollo lived on the Watergate was later demolished to provide an extension for the Perthshire Advertiser building. In 1796 this property was purchased by Dr. Alex Stewart of Bonskeid from another physician, Dr. James Ward. It is described in many sources as being cream-coloured. The house had been the premises of an earlier doctor, Dr. Smyth a surgeon who had purchased it from Lady Rollo. It was occupied for a period by another medical man, Dr. Elder. In fact “seven medical men occupied the house in succession.” [Baxter, 1928] Legend has it that these doctors practised and taught anatomy in the house and for the purposes of this art, bodies (probably stolen) were brought secretly up the Tay and sneaked into the house. Of note is that Dr. Stewart married in 1799 the sister of the poet Caroline Oliphant, Lady Nairne of Gask. Caroline Oliphant was a frequent visitor to the house and no doubt her well-known Jacobite songs must have been heard sung along the Watergate when she did visit. The adjoining route to the Tay was then known as North Boat Vennel. Dr. Stewart’s House is described in some sources as “the last of the famous Watergate mansions.”
In the 19th century Number 56 was a coal yard and Number 38 occupied by James Morison, bookseller and a printing office. During that same period on the east side of the Watergate stood a tenement (Number 72) with 18 tenants. This building was adjacent to the Watergate National School; run by the commissioners of the City of Perth and under the direction of teacher David McCurrich. The Watergate National School “was located behind the Vennel in an extensive yard with well” [PA 8 December 1987].
In 1961/2 Numbers 16-20 (then vacant properties) were demolished to create a car park for General Accident (the rear of the General Buildings on Tay Street). General Accident were also in ownership of Numbers 10-14.
The Bishop of Dunkeld’s Palace (18th Century) occupied space that must be included as belonging to the Watergate. The entrance to the palace was probably in Fountain Close (South Street).
Number 38. The location of an arch/hearth dating post medieval to 19th Century.
The Perth Courier for 18 June 1829 records the following without detail as to the position of the building within the street: “A tenement in the Watergate fell to the ground last week. Fortunately it was uninhabited at the time, it was occupied as dwelling-houses till late as Whitsunday last.”
“To the north of Vennel, on the St. Matthew’s site stood the large mansion of the Richardson family whose salmon fishing interests were extensive and who pioneered the Perth-London trade in shipping salmon by their own vessels.” [PA 14 January 1986]
“In 1869, immediately prior to the opening of Tay Street, Alexander Speedies Packing House and Ice House adjoined his residence at Number 3 Water Vennel.” [PA 8 December 1987]
Opposite Oliphant’s Vennel and facing the river stood a large mansion-house (since demolished); it was home to father and son Provosts of Perth - Caw.
“It is surmised that Laurence of Lindores, Inquisitor for Scotland, had a house towards the north end of the Watergate, which for years paid an annual sum to Lindores Abbey. Laurence was responsible for the deaths of Resby at Perth, Paul Crawar and other martyrs.” [Baxter, 1928]
“About 150 years ago, Messrs. Sandeman and Co., now port merchants, St. Swithin’s Lane, London, were wine merchants in the Watergate of Perth. ” [Baxter, 1928] The port-wine stores were located next to the Bishop of Dunkeld’s Palace.
George Penny in his Traditions of Perth describes seven self-contained houses on the east side of the Watergate in existence after 1745 (between the river and the Watergate). That of John Richardson; Dr. Wood; Lady Stewart of Nairne; Provost Caw; Provost Alison; and, the Sheriff-clerk’s Office, by Murray of Dollarie.
In the 18th Century the manufacture of starch was an important area of economic activity in Perth. A large starch factory operated within the Watergate during this period.

Routes of the Watergate No-longer in Existence:

The Provost of Marshall Vennel ran directly from South Street to the Tay. In 1520 with the construction of the Gowrie House (under the direction of the Countess of Huntly) that route was changed to the modern day Water Vennel.
The route that adjoined Lady Rollo’s house (Dr. Stewart et al) was called North Boat Vennel.
The Perth Courier of 26 April 1821 details proposals for experimental paving method to be employed at the Watergate: “Covering the strand with cast metal plates, that can at any time be raised to clear out the water run.”
The following maps yield information on routes no longer in existence/use: Reid 1809 - Mickle Vennel; Fish Vennel; Cummings Vennel. Ordnance Survey 1803 (National Library of Scotland) - Glen Close; Water Close.
North Boat Vennel/The Glen Close was “that most convenient and much utilised lane between St. Matthew’s Church and the Victoria Buildings of the Perthshire Advertiser in Tay Street.” [PA 14 January 1986] “The once well-known Glen Close - The Glennie - now departed - led to the river.” [PA 8 December 1987]

Points of Archaeology or Similar:

Find-spot in the Watergate - Early Medieval Sword Hilt - (PMG 147) with pattern-welded blade - possibly 9th Century. [PKHT].
Find-spot in the Watergate - Medieval. [PKHT].
Between Watergate and St. John Street existed a long corridor decorated with tiles depicting scenes from Walter Scott’s Waverley novels. Most were lost, but some survived as decoration for the Windsor Public House on the Watergate.
“Opposite at the High Street foot, the Russian Cannon taken from Sebastopol, stood on either side of the statue of Sir Walter Scott.” [PA 15 December 1987].

References:

Baxter, P, Perth: Past and Present. Volume 1 and Volume 2. John McKinley, 1928.

Baxter, P, Perth’s Old-Time Trades and Trading. Perth: Thomas Huster and Sons Ltd., 1930..

Bowler, David, The Origins of Perth: A Medieval Royal Burgh. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, 2006/7?

Bowler, David, Rising From the Waves: The Development of the Historic Burgh of Perth. B

Findlay, W. H., Heritage of Perth. Perth: Perth and Kinross Libraries, 1984.

Fittis, Robert, Scott, Memorials of John and Sir Andrew Mercer. 1300-1500.

Fittis, Robert, Scott, Miscellanea Perthensis (1853-61).

Fittis, Robert, Scott, Perthshire Rhymes Etc.

Gifford, John, The Buildings of Scotland. Yale University Press, 2007.

Keays, Robin (editor), Know Your Perth, volume 2. Perthshire Advertiser,

Local Studies, AK Bell Library - Photographic Collection. Photo Numbers: 1789; 2072; 895; 1857; 2769; 3174; 4706; 1698; 1699; 1700; 1701; 2224; 2226; 2227; 2228; 2246.

Peacock, David, Perth: Its Annals and Its Archives. Perth: Thomas Richardson, 1849.

Penny, George, Traditions of Perth. Perth: Messrs Dewar, Sidey, Morison, Pert and Drummond, 1836.

Perthshire Advertiser: 22 July 1916; 26 July 1916; House of the Green. Kitty Reid’s Historic House - 26 October 1927 (page 16); Residence of the Earl of Kinnoull - 2 August 1930 (page 9); A History of the Watergate - 5 February 1936 (page 16); Vacant Space - 2 December 1961 (page 12 column 2); Town House of George Hay, 1st Earl of Kinnoull - 24 August 1963 (page 1); Demolition of Dormer House - 29 March 1969 (page 9 column 3); Perth Civic Trust Survey Walk - 29 March 1969 (page 9 column 1-6); Watergate in 1870 - 14 January 1986; Watergate - North Boat Vennel/The Glen Close - 8 December 1987; Perth Before Tay Street - 15 December 1987; Watergate and the River Before Tay Street - 5 March 1991 (page 14)/12 March 1991 (page 14)/19 March 1991 (page 16); Ghostly Goings-on in Plumbers Shop - 1 September 1995 (page 10); Dower House - 11 June 2004 (page 24).

Perth Civic Trust: Perth Civic Trust Street Survey. 1968. Photograph Numbers: 30; 32; 33; 35; 37; 38a; 38b; 39; 40.

Perth Constitutional: National School Nearly Finished - 21 September 1836.

Perth Courier: 26 April 1821 (Paving Report)

Perth and Kinross Council Listed Buildings List - AK Bell Library

Perth and Kinross Council 2005 Valuation Roll

Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust: Database of Buildings in Perth.

SUAT, Perth: The Archaeology of the Medieval Town.

Urquhart, A. R., Auld Perth. 1906.

The Chronicles of Perth

Maps:

MacFarlane 1792

Ordnance Survey (National Library of Scotland) 1803

Hay Marshall 1808

Reid 1809

1 The Bishop of Dunkeld was known for his poetry and translations of the Aeneid.
2 The entrance to the palace was probably in Fountain Close (South Street).
3 At this residence John Tyrie is known to have hosted James IV in 1490.
4 At least one other brewery, that of Hugh Cameron, operated in the Watergate. For a short period Cameron’s brewery was the only one in Perth.
5 In 1902 Numbers 7-11 housed Miller, Wylie and Company, cutlers.
6 David Smart (1824-1914)
7 The Wrights’ Incorporation comprised wrights, barbers, coopers, slaters, glaziers, surgeons, plasterers, bookbinders, masons, joiners, engineers and mechanics.
8 The Non-jurors were a group of Anglican clergy, who after 1688 and the removal of James II, refused to take an oath to King William and Queen Mary. The Non-jurors believed that taking that oath would violate the one they had taken to the previous monarch. After the death of Charles Edward Stuart the Non-jurors ceased to function.
9 According to the Leslies Directory for 1939-40 Number 34 was then called the West Church Hall.
10 According to the Leslies Directory for 1939-40 Numbers 54-56 were then Wood’s Electric Bakers [established in 1910 by John Wood].
11 George Hay, a commander of the Charter-House was with James VI during the Gowrie Incident. He is buried in an ornamental tomb in the Old Church of Kinnoull. Hay was also heavily involved in the development of the iron industry in Perthshire.
12 The Mercers of Aldie and Meiklour began as 14th century merchant princes and were very wealthy.