Social Life

'Fine Fare' (later changed to 'Gateway') became established in the town when it was opened by Miss Andrea Currie on 2 April 1984, providing shoppers with a major self-service supermarket. It was built on the site of 'Glencorse House' in the Northgate, which was the location of the first bank in Peebles and then became the residence and surgery of Dr G. Harper Wilson and later of Dr Robin Wilson. This supermarket provides a wide range of merchandise and is well patronised. It is good to note, however, that many of the town's shops still provide a counter service and this custom still gives pleasure to local shoppers as well as being an attractive way to look after the needs of the visitors.

Most homes have become equipped with refrigerators and many have freezers as well, enabling Peebles households to pursue their own form of 'bulk buying'. Shopkeepers nowadays are not expected to provide a delivery service, so the family car has become a necessity for carrying the heavier loads. A major shopping expedition tends to reduce the need for daily visits to the grocers and the butchers, but fortunately there is still a steady pattern of shoppers on most days making their way along the High Street and the Northgate and taking the opportunity of exchanging news and greetings just as Peebleans have always done. This is a particularly important aspect of local social life, and nothing can ever replace it.

The railways have gone and the employment value to the town of the woollen trade is now only about a third of its former capacity; just as these changes have affected the quality of the life of the town so has damage been wrought by the insidious policies of 'centralisation' and 'reorganisation'. These policies made claims about increased efficiency through the creation of larger units of administration that would be more economic to run and control. It is to be hoped that these policies will be reassessed and evaluated on their performance and that there will be a back-trekking to a structure that removes the remoteness of centralised control and a return to good economic performance based on local control and accountability.

It began when the new post office in the Eastgate was 'down­graded' in 1967 and the work of planning the county's detailed services was transferred to Galashiels, the new headquarters. The reasons given for this action were improved economy and efficiency. Also at that time Peebles lost its Ministry of Social Security Office which was replaced by a 'Job Shop' and the new centralised Social Security