Perth Vennels

A vennel is a public right of way passageway between the gables of two buildings, forming a minor street. The term originated in the royal burghs of Scotland in the twelfth century, deriving from the old French word venelle meaning ‘alley’ or ‘lane’. In Perth there are a series of vennels that remain and are used to move between the major thoroughfares of the city.
Perth & Kinross Council
Type: Urban Design & Visioning
Date: 2016

In 2016, HemingwayDesign produced a vision document proposing that Perth’s vennels could become evocative, attractive, artistic, and cultural arteries that encourage exploration of the nooks and crannies of the beautiful city. Linking main public thoroughfares, taking visitors to the city centre to parts they haven’t explored before, increasing dwell time, and providing enticing spaces for independent businesses to thrive.

Our vision document identified Perth’s unique vennel’s as the ‘arteries’ of the city centre, weaving through the urban fabric. A number of vennels have since received permanent design and artistic interventions. The latest being Cutlog Vennel, which in 2022 has become home to permanent new work from one of Scotland’s leading artists, Nathan Coley.

The dark space in Cutlog Vennel is illuminated by one of Coley’s signature text sculptures, named ‘The World Without And The World Within, Sunday Talks With My Children’. The words reference a quote from city and environmental visionary Sir Patrick Geddes (and one of our urban design hero’s) who was brought up in Perth. Geddes aimed “to see life whole” and to understand how people, place and work functioned together to make the best life possible.