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Dunfermline granted city status as part of Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Dunfermline has been named Scotland’s newest city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The royal honour makes it the first city in Fife and the eighth in Scotland, after Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Aberdeen, Inverness and Perth.

Dunfermline is among eight new cities across the UK and was the only successful Scottish entry this year, with Dumfries, Elgin, Greenock, Livingston, Oban, St Andrews and South Ayrshire missing out.

Dunfermline Abbey.
Dunfermline Abbey.

Councillors were so determined to submit the best bid possible they were still working on it until six minutes before the deadline.

And their success has now been hailed as a huge victory and “an achievement beyond our wildest dreams”.

The accolade comes a decade after Perth was given city status as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

It wasn’t to be for Dunfermline in 2012 but Fife councillors decided to submit their application for the royal honour to mark 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.

‘Prestigious new title for Dunfermline’

Winning city status can provide a boost to local communities and open up new opportunities for those who live there.

In 2012, Dr Steve Musson from the University of Reading revealed the economic benefits of the accolade.

He researched eight cities honoured in 2000 and 2002 and all but one out-performed their regional counterparts in terms of increasing investment and reducing unemployment.

Similar research found the local economy in Perth expanded by 12% in the decade it was granted city status.

Milestone year for Dunfermline

The announcement comes as Dunfermline – which has a population of around 55,000 – prepares to celebrate a number of historic milestones.

Dunfermline Abbey will mark 950 years this year, while the Alhambra Theatre is celebrating its centenary.

And with Jubilee celebrations taking place in Pittencrieff Park in June, city status is the icing on the cake.

Former Dunfermline councillor Helen Law, who helped lead the application, is over the moon.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“I’ve lived in this area all my life and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“This award raises the status of Dunfermline and it’s great it’s getting the recognition it deserves.

“We’ve got all this history and heritage but it’s also about looking forward.”

Ex-councillor Helen Law who helped lead Dunfermline's city status application.
Helen Law.

Helen was a Labour councillor for many years until she stepped down just before the election.

And she, along with a team of others, began work on the submission in 2012.

“Perth had the successful bid then and although there were discussions about us submitting one, it was felt we weren’t ready.

“You can bet your bottom dollar we were ready this time.”

Fife Provost Jim Leishman said Dunfermline was getting the recognition it deserved.

“City status will help us grow economically and as a tourist destination and will have a positive impact on Dunfermline and the surroundings,” he said.

And Dunfermline MP Douglas Chapman added: “After years of championing Dunfermline’s case for formal city status, I’m delighted to see it’s now been awarded and now everyone connected with Dunfermline can genuinely say: ‘We are a City!’

“This is an achievement beyond our wildest dreams and today we become Scotland’s eighth city and we can all feel as proud as a Dunfermline peacock.”

Rich royal history

Dunfermline’s bid for city status certainly had history on its side.

It was the capital of Scotland for around 400 years, long before the title passed to Edinburgh.

And it was also home to several royals, serving as the final resting place of kings and queens including Robert the Bruce.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “Warmest congratulations to Dunfermline on gaining city status.

“Businesses and communities alike will enjoy the benefits of this prestigious new title.

“Being awarded city status can give places a real boost, from helping grow the local economy, to raising its profile, to instilling civic pride.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcomed the news that Dunfermline has been granted city status.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack welcomed the news.

“For a place with such rich royal history, it is fitting that Dunfermline is becoming a city as we celebrate our longest-serving monarch’s Platinum Jubilee.

“Its lovely green spaces and fantastic cultural attractions will ensure that this new city thrives well into the future.”

For the first time, the competition was open to applications from the crown dependencies and overseas territories.

The applications were evaluated by a panel of experts and Cabinet Office ministers and a recommendation was put to the Queen.

The eight places chosen to become cities are:

  • Bangor, Northern Ireland
  • Colchester, England
  • Doncaster, England
  • Douglas, Isle of Man
  • Dunfermline, Scotland
  • Milton Keynes, England
  • Stanley, Falkland Islands
  • Wrexham, Wales
dunfermline city jubilee
Steve Barclay

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, said: “I am delighted that a record number of locations have been awarded the prestigious city status as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

“What was clear to me during the process of assessing each application was the pride that people felt for their communities, local cultural heritage and the royal family.

“As we celebrate her majesty The Queen’s colossal contribution to society, I am thrilled that we are able to recognise some of the many places that make Britain great.”

Letters Patent from the monarch – which grant each of the awards formally – will now be prepared and presented later this year.

Dunfermline city status: What benefits will it bring?

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