Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dunblane is a small town in Perthshire, Scotland, near Stirling. It has a population of 10,000, and has a cathedral, Dunblane Cathedral. Although part of Perthshire until the 1974 reorganisation of Scottish counties, Dunblane is now part of the Stirling Unitary Authority. The town refers to itself as a City, as do many of the towns in Scotland which have a cathedral. The term city was historically applied to cathedral settlements to distinguish them from towns but in historic times as today, being a city offered no legal privileges (unlike a burgh or royal burgh).
Although a very pretty town, with an attractive High Street, river, historic Cathedral and extensive public park, the town has suffered somewhat from excessive growth in recent years. Nonetheless there is still a strong sense of community. Dunblane is home to the Leighton Library, the oldest private library in Scotland.
Especially since the early 1970s, however, the town has grown extensively and is now regarded as a highly sought after commuter town thanks to its excellent road and rail links to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and nearby Stirling. This, coupled with the fact that the local High School consistently turns out some of the best results from a state school in Scotland, mean that the town is not only sought after by commuters but also by families of school age children. How much of the school's performance is affected by the population bias which is largely made up of middle class commuters is subjective.
The rapid expansion of the town, driven also by the bypass completed in 1990, has led to an explosion in local car usage, resulting in considerable parking problems. For a town of its size, Dunblane has something of a shortage of local amenities with for instance only one supermarket, many people preferring to shop in nearby Stirling.
Eight years after the Hungerford Massacre, the Dunblane Massacre was the second time in less than a decade that unarmed civilians had been massacred in Britain by a legally licensed gun owner, when on 13th March, 1996 a disgruntled local scout leader Thomas Hamilton, aged 43, shot dead 16 young children and their teacher in Dunblane Primary school with his legally licensed weapons and ammunition, then shot himself. There is a memorial to the children and their teacher in the local cemetery. The funds raised in the aftermath of the tragedy have been used to build a new community centre for the town. As a result of the Dunblane Massacre, the government passed legislation banning handgun ownership in the UK.
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