PART I: 1850 - 1900

There were three men born in France and there was also one American and one Canadian.

To complete the picture of the town in 1851, it is essential to know what kind of work was available for Peebles folk before the woollen-mills were established. In Peebles, as elsewhere, the demand for hand-loom spinning and weaving of cotton was in decline. Glasgow was becoming the main centre in Scotland and even in that city the cotton workers were troubled by the severity of the cyclic trading conditions, the industry being at its lowest ebb from about 1848 to 1852. The census in 1841 showed that there were only 101 cotton, linen and woollen workers in Peebles and this number had fallen to forty-two when the 1851 census was taken.

Agricultural labouring and domestic jobs were the main source of work in the neighbourhood and most of the weavers had to turn to this kind of employment when they could no longer find hand-loom work to do. However, a detailed analysis of the occupations and status of the population, based on the above sample, provides a great deal of information about the life and work of the town at the middle of the nineteenth century. This is set out in appropriate groups:

 

auctioneer 1, bank agents and accountants 2, doctors 4, ministers of religion 5, divinity students 2, officers (Navy/Army) 2, rector 1, schoolmasters and schoolmistresses 12, solicitors and writers 6, veterinary surgeon 1: total 36

burgh officer 1, farmer 1, governesses 3, manager (gasworks) 1, postmistress 1, sheriff's officer 1, jail keeper 1, matron (jail) 1: total 10

bakers 11, fleshers and butchers 4, grocers and victuallers 22, millers (flour/grain) 4 and tripe dealer 1: total 42

brewers 2, hotel keepers 2, innkeepers 4, spirit dealers 2, tavern keeper 1: total 11

drapers 6, dressmakers 14, milliners 9, seamstresses 5, tailors 20, shoemakers 31: total 85

booksellers and stationers 2, china dealers 2, cIock and watchmakers 4, druggists 2, hairdresser 1, nursery and seeds men 4, printer 1, toy merchant 1: total 17 

blacksmiths 7, cartwrights 2, ironmongers 2, millwrights 2, nailers 3, ropemaker 1, saddlers 4, tinsmith 1: total: 22.

cabinetmakers 2, glazier 1 , housepainters 7, joiners and carpenters 11, masons 22, plasterers 2, plumber 1, slaterers 6: total 52

coopers 3, skinners 3, tanner 1: total 7

 

52

 

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