PART II: 1900 - 1950

programme of modern housing with up-to-date facilities, creating more local job opportunities to ease unemployment and helped more money to circulate in the local economy.

A Peebles man in the Government at the time was William Graham. He was born in the town in 1887 and was the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in the minority Labour Government of 1924 and was appointed the President of the Board of Trade in subsequent Labour administration. One of the most respected of the Socialist leaders during the 1920s and 1930s, he was the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh Central.

It was in this progressive period from 1921 to 1951, excepting the war years, that nearly 500 houses were constructed under the provision of these Acts. The new houses provided a greatly improved life-style with homes that had electric lighting, indoor toilets and bathrooms, kitchens with food larders, hot-and-cold-water facilities and gas boilers for washing clothes.

Washing day for many families had previously meant getting the basket of clothes to and from James McCulloch's laundry in Eddleston Green or John Maclaren's in March Street. These were neighbourly meeting places and the gossip of the day was discussed while scrubbing-boards were used. Peebles homes, however, had been fortunate from the early 1900s to have had gas cookers as well as lighting, and this was due to the enterprise shown by the town council in 1898 in acquiring and developing the Peebles Gas Undertaking. As already mentioned, the council's policy was to supply cookers, grillers and hot plates free of charge or charging only nominal rentals. When the new gasworks were established at Eshiels in 1905, there were about 500 gas cookers and over 800 other appliances in use, including a number of gas fires.

The early years of the twentieth century opened with sufficient work and an adequate level of earnings as the local mills continued to obtain a share of world markets for their quality cloths and tweeds. However, there were occasional short periods when demand slackened off, such as in 1906-7.

Apart from the mills providing employment for both men and women in a friendly environment, the earnings improved the standard of life for families and this clearly benefited the whole town and had an impact on its social life. The mills and millworkers held regular dances and other social occasions and all the mills would combine for an