The status of Elgin as a city or town has been as colourful and chequered through the centuries as Dandy Lion’s clothing.
Officially, Moray’s largest settlement and administrative centre is recognised as a town by the Scottish Government.
However, many in the community insist in calling Elgin a city to this day.
Indeed, signs on the major entrances to the town/city by road described it as a “historic cathedral city”, which seems to make it pretty clear.
But, as Elgin considers bidding for official city status, we decided to investigate whether it can already claim the title or whether it is in fact a town.
What is the city and town confusion?
Historically, Elgin was a popular residence for Scots royalty with its cathedral, known as the Lantern of the North at the time, being an important seat of learning.
King David I is said to have enjoyed the local hospitality so much that he bestowed royal burgh status on the community in the 12th Century.
This dusty charter is the source of confusion due to the term “city” not being used at the time.
Instead, the presence of cathedrals became an unofficial form of deciding which communities were in the upper echelons of Scottish life.
Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow were accepted as cities when rules changed in the 1890s with Dundee later joining them but doubt persisted about the official status of others, including Elgin, Inverness and Perth.
That was seemingly resolved in 1975 when a reorganisation of local government recognised only Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow as cities – shunning the rest.
Today the approval of city status remains with the monarch with Inverness being designated as part of the millennium celebrations, Stirling was next in 2002 as part of the Queen’s golden jubilee and Perth following a decade later as part of the diamond jubilee.
Elgin remains out in the cold, but will it now be recognised as part of the platinum jubilee celebrations next year?
What makes Elgin a city, or a town?
With a population of nearly 25,000 in 2016, Elgin would be the smallest of Scotland’s cities, significantly behind Stirling’s 37,000 people.
However, the community is expanding rapidly with about another 5,000 homes planned in the last five years.
Meanwhile, the settlement can boast being the administrative heart of a council area.
Students from across the country move to the area to study at the University of Highlands and Islands campus.
Whisky produced from its celebrated distilleries Glen Moray and Linkwood are enjoyed by customers across the world.
Woolen mill Johnstons of Elgin ensures the community’s name is recognised across the globe on luxury cashmere products with a shop also in London’s prestigious Mayfair.
And even the military recognised the claim when they christened one of the P-8 Poseidons based at RAF Lossiemouth as the City of Elgin.
Oh, and did we mention the cathedral?