Aberfeldy Town Council

In the 50 years after 1841, the population of Aberfeldy rose from 610 to 1469. With a population of over 1200, once an agreed boundary had been recorded in the books of the Perthshire Sheriff Court on 10 August 1887, Aberfeldy qualified as a 'populous place'. The householders of the 'Populous Place of Aberfeldy' were then free to apply for it to become a Police Burgh with its own, locally elected, police commission.

The registered minutes of a meeting in the Old Breadalbane School on 24th September 1887 recorded that the householders voted to adopt the provisions of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act 1862 and its various amendments. Nine police commissioners would be elected by the householders to carry them into operation. The first meeting of the Police Commission took place on 31st October 1887.

The commissioners became responsible for regulating in the burgh;

Under the terms of the Town Councils (Scotland) Act, 1900 the police commissioners were replaced by Aberfeldy Town Council in January 1901.

The Town Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, its powers being assumed by Tayside Regional Council and Perth and Kinross District Council.

Provost's Chain of Office

The first and only chain of office was presented to the council in February 1924 by Mr James Haggart Dewar, a Glasgow wine-merchant and uncle of the then Provost, James Dewar Haggart.

On the links of the chain are the names of the town's  Provost's;

Charles W.L. Forbes Agent, Commercial Bank October 1887 - April 1893
James Mackerchar Agent, Bank of Scotland April 1893 - May 1896
John Cameron Master Joiner May 1896 - Nov. 1896
Peter Campbell Retired Hotel Keeper Nov.1896 - February 1914
James D. Haggart Woollen Manufacturer March 1914 - May 1949
Charles W. Murray Retired engineer May 1949 - January 1955
James Fisher Laundry proprietor January 1955 - 1975


The term 'Provost' should not really have been used before the Police Commission became a Town Council in 1901 but James Mackerchar chose to sign himself  'Provost', rather than 'Senior Magistrate', after he was elected in 1893.

The pendant medallion of the chain is a coloured representation of the 'Symbolic Stamp' of the council (adopted by the Commissioners in 1893). It portrays the Black Watch Memorial with, in the background, General Wade's Tay Bridge and the ferry boat which used to ply to and fro for public hire before the bridge was built and at a point slightly upstream. The accompanying legend reads ' 'S DLUTH TRIC BAT ABAIRPHEALLAIDH'  - ' Swift and often goes the boat of Aberfeldy'.

Provost's Robe and Hat

In 1956 one year after the death of Provost C.W. Murray and as a tribute to his memory, his cousins presented a Provost's robe and hat to Aberfeldy Town Council at a ceremony in the Town Chambers.

Presentation of robe and hatThe Rev J. Wilson Anderson presided over a company which included magistrates, councillors, town officials and their wives. Ex-Provost and Mrs J.D. Haggart were among the guests.

Aberfeldy's then Provost, Mr J. Fisher, was invested with the robe and hat – the first the town had had – by one of the cousins, Miss Mattie N. Murray, Gourock who was accompanied by Mr and Mrs Tom Murray.

After the dedication ceremony, Provost Fisher said the gift would be greatly prized, not only for its intrinsic worth and the very kind thought which prompted its presentation, but also because it was a tribute to the memory of a much respected Provost and a good and worthy member of their community. Charles Murray was a man with a high sense of public duty who served the borough for 19 years in a quiet and unassuming way and thereby gained the respect and affection of the people. Apart from his work in the council his interests in public service covered many spheres. It was fitting, he added that the robe and hat which would be worn by successive Provosts should be the permanent testimony to a man of such integrity of character and with such a record of service to the community as Charles Murray.

Mrs Fisher, who presented Miss Murray with a bouquet of tulips was thanked by Bailie P. McGregor who also complimented Mr W. Walker town clerk on the arrangements he had made.

The robe and hat were worn for ceremonial events within the burgh. James Fisher was still in post when the Town Council was abolished in 1975 so the only provost to wear them.

Archive

The following are available in the Perth & Kinross Council Archive, AK Bell Library, York Place, Perth;

Police commissioners’ minutes, 1887-1901; Town council minutes, 1901-1975; Town hall committee minutes, 1898-1932; Finance committee minutes, 1910-1940; Dean of Guild Court Registers and Plans, 1899-1975; Housing registers, 1934-1975; Register of places of public refreshment, 1913-1943; Loans registers, 1898-1959; Registers of housing, 1925-1975, and housing department interest book, 1934-1975; Files and papers relating to the formation and administration of the burgh, 1887-1975; abstracts of accounts, 1912-1974; assessment rolls, 1926/27, 1942-1974; ledgers, 1888-1971; cash book, 1915-1964; letter books, 1938-1942

Page last updated - 30/11/15