Social Life

In the 1920s the Peebles ex-servicemen began to raise funds for the entertainment of widows and children of the men who fell during the First World War. At the final event of an 'At Home' evening in one of the local halls in March 1938, Mrs Tarry extended to everyone the sincere thanks of the widows for all the kindness shown to them. Mrs Tarry's husband, Sergeant Frederick G. Tarry, a tweed warehouseman before the outbreak of war in 1914, served with the Royal Artillery and was killed in 1918. In tribute to him, Dr C. B. Gunn wrote in his Book of Remembrance:

For you, our dead, beyond the sea,
  Who gave your lives to hold us free,  
  By us, who keep your memory  
  What can be said?  

It can be said, sadly but proudly, that Mrs Tarry and the war-bereaved showed courage and cheerfulness in the years that followed and their bravery of spirit was an inspiration to the town and to the generations that came to know them.

As the century began, the town's population-growth had slowed down from its peak period between 1881 and 1891 when the census showed there were 1,209 additional persons in the town. This represented a growth rate of 34 per cent, comprising 475 males and 734 females. In the fifty years to 1951, the rate of increase was a mere 14 per cent: 747 more people, and about half that increase (314) occurring in the decade which followed the First World War (from 1921 to 1931).

From the start of the twentieth century an endeavour was made to keep pace with the expansion of the population, and there were 157 houses built in the first ten years and just under seventy in the second decade up to 1921. It was in the third decade that the 'march of progressive house building' began through the intervention of the State which enabled the town council to set about improving the standard and quality of the housing stock.

The Government also acted during the years of the Great Depression to encourage a programme of slum clearance and paid the local authorities a subsidy for every person rehoused. It was hoped that the building of these houses would help not only the construction industry but the allied services and trades supplying fitments and furnishings. It certainly proved helpful to Peebles by sparking-off a