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Friday 25 July 2014
 
 
 

News: The National Records of Scotland seals Perth's city status

On 6 July 2012 Her Majesty the Queen visited Scotland's newest city, Perth, and was presented with the key to the city. Perth was recently awarded city status following a UK competition marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty's Commission in favour of the Town of Perth becoming the City of Perth was sealed by conservators at the National Records of Scotland using traditional beeswax and the Great Seal of Scotland matrix.

Image of Commission in favour of the Town of Perth becoming the City of Perth (detail).

This year, Perth and Kinross Council was one of 25 towns across the UK that submitted a bid to the Diamond Jubilee city status competition. Perth is one of three winning towns along with Chelmsford in England and St Asaph in Wales. With the Royal Commission, Perth is now numbered amongst the 69 UK cities and 7 cities in Scotland.

Use of the word 'city' is contentious in Scotland. Some towns used the term because they were once the seat of a bishop and had cathedral churches. By the late nineteenth century, the four largest towns (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen) had acquired combined local government functions and royal status. Royal assent to city status was conveyed by letters patent and cities had the right to choose lord lieutenants and call each of their provosts 'lord provost'. The elected local authorities of cities were usually called corporations, whereas the burgh authorities were called town councils.

A Royal Commission makes Perth's city status official and the Queen's authority is conveyed by a large wax seal appended to the document. Before presentation to the City of Perth, the commission spent some time at the conservation studios of the National Records of Scotland where the large pendant seal was carefully applied. The unique stainless steel matrix of the Great Seal of Scotland was specifically designed for use by Elizabeth II and the Keeper of the Great Seal is officially Scotland's First Minister. Custody of the Great Seal matrix itself lies with Registers of Scotland from whence it arrives at NRS in a protective case. Aptly, one of the conservators who worked on this sealing process is herself a native of Perth.

Image showing the Great Seal of Scotland matrix box.Image of the Great Seal of Scotland matrix.

Image showing wax being poured into the Great Seal of Scotland matrix. Image showing the Great Seal of Scotland as it is being pressed, with thermometer.

Image showing the Great Seal of Scotland as it is being removed from the matrix. Image showing the Perth Commission with finished seal appended.

Images showing the sealing process undertaken by National Records of Scotland Conservators.

You can read more about Chancery records on our Guides to Records pages.

   
 
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Page last updated: Friday, 6 July 2012

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