Skinnergate is one of Perth’s oldest streets and is a northward continuation of Kirkgate. In the 12th century the street connected the Kirk of St John to Perth Castle, which stood where Perth Museum and Art Gallery now stands. At its southern end, the importance of the Skinnergate was marked by the location of the Mercat Cross at the junction with the High Street. During the Middle Ages, Skinnergate became the centre for the tanning of hides and skins, mainly for export, and also of the leather working industry. The Glovers occupied many of the shops in the Skinnergate, and gloves made in Perth were celebrated throughout the Kingdom.The Glover Incorporation became one of the biggest landowners in the area and at its peak was curing 30,000 sheep and lamb skins each year as well as cow hides and calf skins. More than 30,000 pairs of gloves were made each year from kid skins and many of these gloves were sold in the shops and stalls of the Skinnergate. However, kid leather became scarce when goat-keeping in the Highlands was no longer encouraged because of the damage they caused to forestry plantations.This once important industry no longer exists in Perth; the last recorded working glover was William Prop, who carried out his business in the Skinnergate until his death in the 1800s.
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