PART I: 1850 - 1900
and consequently market and fair days in the county town gradually gave way to shops catering for an increase in the frequency with which people visited the town. With a regular pattern of business evolving, there grew with it a resentment about the holding of 'fair days' as these were now considered to be more concerned with the hiring of labour and were proving to be an interruption, rather than an advantage, to trade. The October Fair in 1878 recorded that attendance was meagre as compared with a few years before, despite the fact that the morning trains on both railways had brought in a considerable number of people. A cattle sale held near to the North British Railway station had apparently attracted a large proportion of the visitors and apparently relieved the usual crush of people on the High Street. Here, there were only a few stands for the sale of toys and sweets, as well as two photographic saloons, one or two 'cheap johns' and a few fruit stalls. On the Tweed Green there were two or three steam-driven merry-go-rounds, a shooting saloon, but nothing in the shape of the shows which used to be a characteristic of earlier years.
By the end of the century there were not so many shops and this was due to the changing needs as new consumer demands became apparent, as well as the effects of competition. Shops solely devoted to confectionery came into vogue, with Kate Watson in the High Street and Matthew Oldham in the Northgate, and Philip De-Meo having a confectioners at 22 High Street and an ice-cream shop at 28 Northgate. Mr William Ker started a dairy in the High Street, there were more chemists and the number of tobacconists shops had increased to four. The demand for coal provided opportunities for seven coal agents in 1899 compared with four in 1867.
A major consumer 'marketing revolution' in the second half of the nineteenth century was undoubtedly the establishment of the 'co-operative movement'. It came into being in Peebles in 1872, when twenty members met to form the Peebles Co-operative Society; each investing one pound to start the business. In the first year the shop takings amounted to £1,264 12s 3d and a dividend of 5 per cent on purchases provided its members with 1s 2d (nearly 6p) for every pound they had spent. Six years later, in 1878, with a membership of 108, they declared a dividend of 2s 9d (nearly 14p).
The first Co-operative Store in the 1870s occupied the future site for the post office in the Northgate which was built about 1901; before that the 'Co-op' moving to the Eastgate and then in 1888 establishing itself at Greenside Place. It soon set up shops in the Old Town and Elcho Street Brae and in the