Perth's Lade

Perth's Historic Lade

Alder was commissioned by Tulloch NET and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust to carry out an archaeological walkover survey and basic desk-based assessment of Perth's historic lade to give an overview of its cultural heritage. The lade runs for some 4.5 miles from a weir known as Low's Work on the River Almond by Huntingtower, through Tulloch estate and onwards to Perth city centre where it exits into the River Tay by Perth Bridge. Winter flooding had caused damage to the weir known as Low's Work at the intake on the River Almond and this meant that upper portions of the lade were dry during the survey.

Industrial Remains

Since its creation in the middle ages, Perth's lade has been used by many mills, factories and private businesses for water and power right up to the 20th century. A quick search of historical maps and documents shows that at least 19 industrial sites can be pinpointed along the main length of the lade. However, despite this rich history, our walkover survey revealed that only a small fraction (9) of remains from these industrial sites survive along the lade, and that many them are fairly small scale. Generally speaking, the lack of remains is a result of demolition during inner city re-developments and housing schemes of the mid to late 20th and early 21st centuries.

During the walkover we found that best surviving industrial remains are at Huntingtower Bleachfield and Shepherd's Mill where 19th century buildings housing large waterwheels can be seen.

Perth Lade

The fine (albeit slightly overgrown) waterwheel building for Huntingtower Bleachworks

Perth's Lade

Remains at Shepherd's Mill

Another fairly well preserved site is the mill at Huntintower Bleachworks, which still retains its culvert, and the remains of a few mill buildings. In the centre of Perth other impressive sites include the retained facade of Pullar House and the Upper and Lower City Mills, though these have all been modified in the late 20th century.

Perth's Lade

Two culverts at Huntingtower Mill

At several demolished industrial sites we located more fragmentary remains. These included sluices at Ruthvenfield and weirs, outflows and structures at Tulloch Bleachworks. At the former site of Wallace Works, which was a textile factory, we noticed that one of the original factory buildings has been retained as an eletricity sub-station.

Perth's LadePerth's Lade

 Platform for a canteen at Tulloch Bleachworks (left), the only remaining building from Wallace Works (right)

Non-industrial Remains

Several enigmatic sites were also discovered during the walkover. These included including various mounds, channels and banks at Shepherd's Mill which warrent further research. East of Ruthvenfield we also located a channel entering the lade which it is thought might be related to a former avenue of the designed landscape of Ruthvenfield house. Further towards Perth, behind McDiarmid Park we located 4 pits that had been cut into the bank. It is thought these were dug for clay extraction. It was not possible to ascertain their date during the walkover, but as they are not marked on the 1st edition OS map, it is possible that they may be post-medieval or earlier.

Perth's Lade

One of the pits in the bank behind McDiarmid Park

Perth's Lade

A ruined building behind Perth Crematorium

Close to the pits, but further to the N we encountered the remains of a gasometer and associated building which seem to have been built for Newton House, a large house which once stood where Perth Crematorium is now located.