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Elgin to bid for city status

By Ewan Malcolm

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MORAY Council has formally agreed to submit Elgin’s bid to become a Scottish city as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee civic honours competition.

Elgin Cathedral.
Elgin Cathedral.

Elgin Community Council and Elgin BID will support the application with any funding implications being met by Elgin Common Good Fund.

Speaking of the bid, Chair of Elgin Community Council, Mr Alastair Kennedy, said: "After decades of debate it's time Elgin has the recognition it deserves as a city. There are historic records that show we have a valid claim as an existing city but this opportunity to apply for official city status is too good to miss."

Chair of Moray Council's Corporate Committee, Cllr Aaron Mclean, added: "Given the lengthy debate on this topic over the years the committee decision to back this bid comes off the back of great enthusiasm locally for this to happen. There's a strong history of evidence showing why Elgin should be awarded city status and I hope Her Majesty comes to the same conclusion when awarding the bid next year."

It's argued by many that Elgin was granted official city status during the reign of King David I in the the 12th century.

However, this is disputed with others arguing that King David raised the town to that of a 'royal burgh' and not a city.

Elgin Community Council describes the location as 'City and Royal Burgh of Elgin' but they and Moray Council have long campaigned for official recognition.

Professor Richard Oram from the University of Stirling says that Elgin's historical designation as a city relates to it being the location from 1224 of the Elgin Cathedral.

"The 'city' label is one that could have been applied to Elgin from the time of the establishment there of the cathedral in 1224. This never seems to have become a common or accepted designation of the burgh though.

"With the abolition of episcopacy in Scotland's established church as part of the post-1688 revolution settlement agreed with King William III, bishops ceased to be based in Elgin and any residual claim to city status ended."

Elgin City Football Club's Chairman Graham Tatters was surprised to hear his club was using an unofficial title.

"You know I've always thought we were a city," Mr Tatters said.

"It would be great if they can get it. It would be great for the town. It gives it a higher profile. We've always been known as Elgin City as well so I really hope that we get that official recognition.

"As a club we will obviously support it as much as possible. If they need any help then we will be there. It would be great for the town. If it raises the profile then definitely. Elgin is the biggest area between Aberdeen and Inverness so for me it is well on the way to being a city and it's only right that they get that."

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