Recommend to your Librarian

The Evolution of Scotland’s Towns

Creation, Growth and Fragmentation

Patricia Dennison

eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

A wide-ranging history of Scotland’s towns from their earliest foundations to the turn of the 21st Century

This pioneering book tells the story of urban development in Scotland over the course of a millennium, drawing on original research into more than thirty towns, from the smallest settlements to major cities. The changes in urban society came at different times and at different paces for most towns and many had to withstand crisis after crisis. The overall evolution of urban life, in its different guises, is explored throughout the book.

Show more


List of Illustrations and Maps
List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1: Medieval Towns
I Towns Before Towns: pre-twelfth-century settlement
II The First Burghs
III The Built Environment
IV Keeping Order

Chapter 2: Daily Life in the Middle Ages
I Markets and Merchants
II Home Lives
III Health of the Townspeople
IV Relaxation

Chapter 3: Medieval Faith and the Church
I The Church Routine
II The Parish and its People
III Reformation
IV The Aftermath of Reformation

Chapter 4: Encroachment on Burgh Society, 1550-1750
I New Burghs, Markets and Shrinking Hinterlands
II New Burghs: Two Test Cases
III Urban Clearances
IV A Slow Disappearance

Chapter 5: Man-Made and Natural Disasters, 1550-1750
I War and Occupation in the Seventeenth Century
II Continuing Unrest and Occupation
III Lifestyles
IV Famine’s Devastating and Final Strike

Chapter 6: The Birth of Urban Scotland
I Improvement and Enlightenment
II Population Growth
III New Townscapes and New Identities
IV Railways and Improving Communications
V Growing Industrialisation

Chapter 7: The Victorian Town
I Housing Conditions and Health
II The Dawning of a Better Lifestyle
III Leisure Time
IV The Changing Townscape
V Visionary Thinking?

Chapter 8: The Twentieth Century
I The Garden City Ideal
II The ‘Great War’ and the Inter-War Years
III World War II, Austerity and Recovery
IV Modernisation: new ideals or the wrecking ball?
V Architecture: a mirror of the twentieth century?

Post-Script: Footprints to Fragmentation
Appendix: Table: Population Statistics: a select list

About the Author

Pat Dennison is an historian who has wide experience of working with both documentary and archaeological evidence. She was appointed as the historian to the archaeological excavations at the site of the new Parliament of Scotland. She has taught and published extensively on Scotland's towns, both large and small.


'This is an example rich book based on the author’s already substantial contributions to understanding and knowing Scottish towns...A key feature of the book is an extensive and well chosen bibliography and list of sources. This is an education in Scottish urban history in itself. This is a scholarly and accessible book and unlike much scholarship the paperback is produced at an affordable price.'
- R. J. Morris, Edinburgh University, Book of Old Edinburgh Club

You might also like ...