The Burgh

well-loved local physician. As already mentioned, the town had taken the opportunity offered by the Queen's Jubilee to resuscitate the annual Riding of the Marches and to incorporate this ancient ceremony, one which arguably dates from prehistoric times. This latter, the Beltane, was recast, in an imaginative way, as a children's festival with a Beltane Queen and Court. It required also the active participation of the pupils of the local school; this was to be Kingsland School after it opened in 1900.

The minutes of Peebles Town Council between 1901 and the outbreak of war in 1914 reflected in some respect the mundane business of a settled community where the permanent officials of the council carried through the wishes of the elected councillors in an exemplary manner. There are, however, exceptions to the placid administration and month to month business of the burgh. In January 1901 Queen Victoria died peacefully and the patriotic condolences of the burgesses of Peebles in the name of their council are recorded. So also are the best wishes of the community to Edward VII on his accession to the throne. Indeed, for his Coronation in 1902, Provost Henry Ballantyne saw fit to have a medal struck to commemorate the occasion, one to be given to each child of school age. Later in 1909, the brother of Henry Ballantyne (later Sir Henry of the March Street Mills) had a further medal produced to mark the Beltane Festival of that year when the principals were as follows:

 
Provost
J. A. Ballantyne
 
  Coronet David Ballantyne  
  Beltane Queen Bessie Ballantyne  

This again was given to all the pupils of school age. The last commemorative medal, again its presentation sponsored by Provost J. A. Ballantyne, marks the Coronation of George V and again loyal greetings were conveyed from the burgesses of Peebles.

This period marks the decline and final extinction of the philosophy of Samuel Smiles (1812-1904), the religion of 'Self Help', as it affected the growth and development of Peebles. From now on national and local government were increasingly to determine major changes within the burgh. Indeed, the last major work to take place, funded purely by public subscription, was the building of Priorsford Bridge, the work of W. Inglis of Tantah, who designed and supervised the construction in 1905.

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