CHAPTER 21

 

Local Government in Peebles

  and Peeblesshire

1920 - 1989

 

NO HISTORY OF the Royal Burgh would be complete, whatever the period under review, without some reference to what is known as local government, its structure and its effects on the life of its citizens.

Historically the burghs of Scotland were one or other of the following: royal burghs created by royal charter, parliamentary burghs (which were essentially electoral constituencies) or police burghs both of the latter being creations of statute.

Peebles is known to be a royal burgh by a charter of King David I in the twelfth century and this is reaffirmed by charters granted by later Sovereigns. It was thus a place favoured by Kings and royalty in general, hence such local names like Kingsmuir, Kingsmeadows and Dukehaugh.

The authority for the existence of the town council, thus was by royal charter and records of the town council can be traced with accuracy as far back as the fifteenth century. It is also clear that there was a close liaison and communication from that century between the town council and the tradesmen and business community of the burgh. The various trades guilds were an influential force in the promotion of council policy and their regulatory influence on daily life was immeasurable. It should however be emphasised that functions of the town council were strictly limited to local issues and powers where necessary were delegated to them by central government.

In these earlier centuries, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth, there evolved the existence of two distinct offices that of provost and town clerk. It is clear from earlier protocol books and court books and the

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