Stirling (Scots: Stirlin; Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea [ˈs̪t̪ruʝlə]) is a city in central Scotland. The city is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town. Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, and is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire. The city is located several kilometres to the west of the mouth of the River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the "Gateway to the Highlands", with its position near the Highland Boundary Fault between theScottish Lowlands and Highlands, indeed, it has been described as the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together.
Its historical position as the nearest crossing of the Forth to the river mouth meant that many of its visitors were in fact invaders. The beast of Stirling is the wolf, which it shares with Rome. According to legend, when Stirling was under attack from Viking invaders, a wolf howled, alerting the townspeople in time to save the town. It is also claimed that the last wolf in Scotland was killed in Stirling.
Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) within the Castle that rivalled any building in Europe at the time. Stirling also has its medieval parish church, Church of the Holy Rude, where King James VI was crowned King of Scots on 29 July 1567. The Holy Rude still functions as a living church with a service every Sunday.
Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and industry. In 2012, the population of the City was 45,750. The wider Stirling council area has a population of 89,850. The majority of the population is located in its southeast corner, in the City of Stirling and in the surrounding area.
One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David I in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the burgh as an administrative unit was abolished. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.
|Scottish Gaelic: Sruighlea|
Stirling City Centre
Stirling shown within the Stirling council area
The City of Stirling had a population of 45,750, in 2012. The City is reputed to be the third fastest growing area of Scotland in terms of population. According to the 2001 census, 52.7% of the population was female compared to 47.2% male. Stirling had both a smaller proportion of under 16s, at 16.7% compared to the Scottish average of 19.2%, and a smaller proportion of those of pensionable age – 17.8% – compared to the Scottish average of 18.6%. The highest proportion of the population, at 24.3%, was concentrated in the 16–29 age group. Stirling also had a higher proportion of non-Scottish born residents at 16.5%, compared to the Scottish average of 12.8%. The population was also slightly younger than the Scottish average of 37 – the median age for males was 34; and the median age for females was 36, to the national average of 39. The population peaks and troughs significantly when the students come and go from the city.
At the centre of a large rural agricultural hinterland that encompasses some of the flattest and most productive land in Scotland, Stirling principally functioned as a market town, symbolised by its Mercat cross, with farmers coming to sell their products and wares in the large agricultural market that was held in the town. Today, agriculture still plays a part in the economic life of Stirling, given its focus at the heart of a large rural area, but to a much lesser extent than previously.
With Stirling's development as a market town and its location as the focus of transport and communications in the region, it has developed a substantial retail sector serving a wide range of surrounding communities as well as the city itself. Primarily centred on the city centre, there are a large number of chain stores, as well as the Thistles shopping centre. However this has been augmented by out-of-town developments such as the Springkerse Retail Park on the city bypass to the east of Stirling, and the development of a large Sainsbury's in the Raploch.
A major new regeneration project on the site of the former port area and the 40-acre (160,000 m2) former Ministry of Defence site, adjacent to Stirling Railway Station, is currently underway. Known as Forthside, it has the aim of developing a new waterfront district linked to the railway station via a new pedestrian bridge. The development comprises retail, residential and commercial elements, including a conference centre, hotel and Vue multiplex cinema, that will ultimately expand the city centre area, linking it to the River Forth, which has been cut off from the city centre area since the construction of the A9 bypass under the railway station in the 1960s. For the first time in 100 years, local people will have access to the banks of the River Forth in the city centre with landscaped public areas, footpaths, cycleways and an improved public transport network.
In the service sector, financial services as well as tourism are the biggest employers. The financial services and insurance company Prudential have a large and well-established base at Craigforth on the outskirts of Stirling. In terms of tourism, the presence of such historical monuments as Stirling Castle the National Wallace Monument and other nearby attractions like Blair Drummond Safari Park, the key role which Stirling has played in Scottish history, as well as the scenery of the area, has bolstered Stirling's position as an important tourist destination in Scotland.
The University of Stirling and Stirling Council are two of the biggest employers in the area. Knowledge related industries, research and development as well as life sciences have clustered around the university in the Stirling University Innovation Park, close to its main campus. Other public sector agencies that are major employers in the city include Police Scotland, Scottish Prison Service, NHS Forth Valley and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Stirling is home to national construction companies Ogilvie Group, chaired by Duncan Ogilvie, who is listed in the Times Rich List as being worth £35 million.
A Bank Of Scotland survey in 2009 found that workers in Stirling had the highest average earnings of £716 a week.
The University of Stirling opened in 1967 on a greenfield site outside the town. Currently there are 11,544 students studying at the university, of which 8,443 are undergraduates and 3101 are postgraduates. There are 80 nationalities represented on the university campus, with 19% of students coming from overseas. It has grown into a major research centre, with a large science park – Innovation Park, located immediately adjacent to the main university campus. Innovation Park has grown since its initiation in 1993, and is now home to 40 companies engaging in various forms of research and development. In January 2008 it was announced that students from Singapore would be able to gain degrees in retail from the University of Stirling in a tie-up with the country's Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).
There are four main high schools in Stirling itself – Stirling High School, with a school roll of 964 pupils,Wallace High School with 958 pupils, St Modan's High School with 912 pupils, and Bannockburn High School in Broomridge with 752 pupils. All the city's secondary school premises have been redeveloped as a result of a Public-private partnership scheme. Stirling also has a Gaelic-medium unit situated in the city's Riverside Primary School which teaches pupils from across Stirling and Clackmannanshire through the medium of Scottish Gaelic