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Perth, Mill Street

Kiln (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Midden (Period Unassigned), Pit(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Perth, Mill Street

Classification Kiln (Period Unassigned)(Possible), Midden (Period Unassigned), Pit(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Pullars

Canmore ID 146744

Site Number NO12SW 352

NGR NO 1172 2377

NGR Description Centred on NO 1172 2377

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Perth
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO12SW 352 Centred on 1172 2377

NO 116 237 Trial trenching was undertaken in advance of a proposed redevelopment of the former Pullars buildings on the northern edge of the medieval burgh, between the Town Lade to the S, the Blackfriars monastery to the N, and the former medieval street of Curfew Row to the E. The alignment of Curfew Row was revealed, along with an area of medieval midden, pits and a possible kiln of uncertain, but probably post-medieval, date. The construction of the Pullars building, with its associated culverting of the Lade, resulted in the raising of the ground level there with dumps of rubble about 1m thick. In the northern part of the building, the remains of a ditch, probably part of the Jacobite defences of 1715, were uncovered. The foundations of a mid-19th-century gas tank were also located in the car park on Blackfriars Wynd.

Sponsor: Morrison Construction Ltd.

D Perry 1998

NO 116 237 Excavations on the site of the former Pullars dyeing and cleaning works took place in April to June 1999, in advance of construction of new offices for Perth and Kinross Council (see Perry 1998).

avations were divided into two parts; a long deep trench inside the Pullars buildings, parallel to Mill Street, and a large open area in a former car park to the N of the buildings, on the W side of Curfew Row. A standing wall which formed the southern boundary of the car park and cut off access along Curfew Row was recorded before demolition.

The Mill Street trench exposed the rear face of the mill lade culvert wall, deep rubble dumps associated with the construction of Pullars works, and cobble surfaces and stone foundations pre-dating Pullars buildings. Beneath all these were irregular pits and gullies, and natural sands and clays descending into a deep depression, probably the northern edge of the medieval defensive ditch, some 2-3m below present ground surface, and subject to a steady influx of water percolating through the ground from the adjacent mill lade. It seems that the town's defensive ditch may have been formed by improving and restricting a natural waterlogged depression on the northern edge of the early medieval town.

The Curfew Row open area revealed the massive stone foundations of one of the Pullars buildings demolished more than 20 years ago, and the even more massive foundations of an early gasometer demolished and infilled in the mid-19th century when the Pullars building was constructed. Despite the disturbance caused by these Victorian industrial features, extensive areas of earlier remains survived in between them. These resolved themselves into a remarkable collection of pits, hearths or ovens, and vats or tanks of stone, wood and clay, evidently the remains of the medieval industrial suburb: processes involving fire or noxious fumes and wastes naturally concentrated outwith the town walls.

At least some of the features probably relate to the malting industry, but they clustered in a way which suggests that several properties were involved, probably belonging to different enterprises and carrying out different processes. Although no pottery kilns were found, one fragment of kiln furniture was recovered and might indicate kilns nearby. There were also ditches and perhaps even wheel ruts marking the line of the medieval Curfew Row, the street around which the suburb grew up.

A very large assemblage of pottery, finds and animal bone was recovered, especially from the medieval pits and tanks, and preliminary inspection indicates dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries, around the time when the suburb was developing.

The standing wall incorporated gasworks features such as cast-iron ducts, and probably formed part of the retort house where the gas was produced and processed before storage in the gasometer. (SUAT PE33 and PE34).

Sponsor: Morrison Construction Ltd.

S Farrell and M Middleton 1999


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