Location: 3 Edinburgh Road
Our walk starts on the wide open grass parkland of the South Inch where you can see Perth Prison on the southern edge. Perth Prison was built at the beginning of the 19th century to house prisoners from the Napoleonic wars; by the end of 1813, more than 6500 French prisoners were held here. Many of them tried to escape, climbing over the walls or digging tunnels, but only one group of three made it to freedom – after stealing a fishing boat that had previously been captured from the the Danes.
The people of Perth, in the spirit of the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland, took a friendly attitude towards the French prisoners; they were allowed to hold markets, and when they were repatriated to France after Napoleon’s final defeat, thousands of people turned up to wave them off.
You can read more about the prisoners here: On the run: Napoleon’s lost legions were the first escapees from Perth Prison (thecourier.co.uk)
From the prison, we now walk across the South Inch toward Marshall Place on its northern edge.
From around the 800s until about 1452, Perth served as the capital of Scotland and was a frequent royal residence and a centre of government. The South Inch, along with the North Inch, was granted to the city, when it was a royal burgh, by King Robert II in 1374. King Robert II was the grandson of Robert Bruce and was the first monarch of the House of Stewart. Robert II, who reigned during the Hundred Years War, renewed the Auld Alliance with France.
Marshall Place was granted to the city in the 14th century, when Perth was a wealthy Royal Burgh trading with France, the Low Countries and the Baltic.
Walking Route Instructions: At Marshall Place we turn right towards Tay Street and the River Tay. On the corner of Tay Street and Marshall Place we find our next stop, the Fergusson Gallery.