The post-medieval period saw significant movement of people into, out of and within Perth and Kinross. There has in recent years been extensive research into the Scottish diaspora of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. However, more consideration of the specific regional experience of Perth and Kinross, probably primarily based on written records, could be helpful.
The political and economic disturbances of the 18th and 19th centuries encouraged significant movement within Perth and Kinross. Over the course of the 18th century, the population of Perth increased from 4,000 to around 19,000 people; much of this growth was driven by migration from rural areas (Whatley 2011, 42). While a proportion of the incomers were from lowland areas, there was a significant influx from upland, often Gaelic-speaking, communities. A degree of historical research has been undertaken into the Highlanders who relocated to Perth (Withers 1986). However, further consideration of the extent to which this movement of people can be traced in the archaeological record could be beneficial. Research into movement between smaller centres of population would also be interesting, although this is likely to have more challenges in terms of the surviving evidence.
Perth and Kinross also saw inward migration – especially during the 19th century. From the 1840s onwards, a significant Irish community developed in Perth, particularly in the area around Meal Vennel, which became popularly known as the ‘Irish Channel’ (Schnitker 2007, 8). Interdisciplinary research into the experience of this immigrant community and whether any differences in living conditions are discernible in the material culture could be of interest.
Further study is needed of people who did not follow a settled lifestyle. Perth and Kinross has historically had significant connections to travelling communities, particularly around Blairgowrie and Pitlochry. For most of the post-medieval period, traveller communities faced extensive discrimination. However, they also played important economic roles, particularly in relation to seasonal work such as fruit picking. The temporary nature of the occupation of traveller sites means that their impact on the landscape may be less obvious, but work to understand what physical traces these communities have left behind should be a priority. Recent years have seen efforts to record and study the oral history of Scottish travellers – a form of evidence that is particularly important for many itinerant communities. Interdisciplinary study linking oral, textual and physical evidence is likely to prove key to studying the experience of travellers in post-medieval Perth and Kinross.