PART I: 1850 - 1900
scare in Peebles although no cases were diagnosed. Nonetheless, the town council prudently appointed a committee to examine the state of the burgh's water supply, sewage disposal and other aspects of public health. In this they were overtaken by events since the provision of the General Police and Improvement (Scotland) Act made such improvements mandatory. Further, the duties of the council became immediately more onerous. No longer were improvements to be determined by the vagaries of public subscription or private investment. In future, matters of public health and housing became the direct responsibility of the council as Police Commissioners; the burgh boundaries were also determined by application to the sheriff under this Act.
With the passing of the Public Health Act of 1867 additional duties devolved on the town council. As a result, the first sanitary inspector for the burgh, a James Grant, was appointed. Likewise, in the same year Dr John Connel was appointed as medical officer. The drainage of the town was again drastically overhauled in 1876/7. In 1891 the various offices of burgh surveyor, sanitary inspector and inspector of roads, buildings, water, etc., were combined in one post, the first incumbent being Samuel Cowan.
The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act of 1892 occasioned the final improvements undertaken by the town within the nineteenth century. In 1895/6 pavements were uniformly constructed throughout the burgh. The 'fleshmarket', which had been built by the burgh in 1652, was finally deemed to be inadequate and, although the fabric of the original building off Dean's Wynd still survives, a completely new slaughterhouse was built at South Parks in 1895. The burgh boundaries were extended in 1896 and the widening of Tweed Bridge considered. The latter was carried out and by 1900 the rebuilt bridge opened. The cost of widening was £8,000 and the new width, 40 feet. The gift to the town of Victoria Park by Sir John Hay of Haystoun, Bart., to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, occasioned the building of another bridge over the Tweed, that of the suspension bridge at Priorsford. Opened in 1905, it linked Tweed Green with St Ninian's Haugh on the south bank and thence to the new Victoria Park.
Of the dwelling-houses that were built between 1860 and 1900 the bulk were constructed from local greywacke with sandstone facings. Local builders and tradesmen were in the main responsible. The dwelling-houses were extremely well built and, in design, followed the style of the Scottish vernacular, showing an instinctive regard for proportion and