Social Life

introduced to the radio audience. In the days before television made sheepdog trials popular viewing, both J. Wilson of Whitehope, Innerleithen, and D. Murray of Glenbield, Peebles, were making their way into the leading ranks of the sheepdog-trial world during the 1930s. After the war David Murray was still an active competitor and won the Daily Express international two-day sheepdog trials in June 1963, winning the supreme championship trophy when at the age of 73 he was the oldest competitor!

However, the idyllic 'pre-war picture' broadcast in 1951 about Peebles and its settled life of work and social activities was about to end. Sadly, a series of radical changes lay ahead and one after the other they created an air of uncertainty as each event seemed to threaten the quality of life for the town and its townspeople: the closure of the town's two railways; changes in the ownership of the woollen-mills with larger outside firms becoming involved; the disastrous fire at the Tweedside Mill which preceded the closure of the Damdale Mill; and then the insidious policy of 'regionalisation' which effectively down-graded the town as an administrative centre, culminating in the 'reorganisation of local government' which finally removed the autonomy of the Royal and Ancient Burgh, with its town council being replaced by the Tweeddale District Council.

The years immediately after the war gave no indication of these pending changes; indeed, the town and Peebles folk were in good heart. The town was said to be 'more strongly on its feet', because the captains of our main industry had 'kept the wheels going', as the Peeblesshire News reported at the time. There was plenty of work for all and the general well-being of the town seemed to be more secure than it was in the days of the 1930s. There was clearly a local determination to get things back to the way they once were and to throw off the wartime restrictions. No private or municipal houses had been built during the war and as discussed earlier, the supply of housing was the most pressing local social need. The town council quickly reacted to the situation and had acquired, in 1946, thirty-two prefabricated houses to be erected at Kingsland Square. These two­bedroom houses were delivered on to the site in sections and came equipped with a range of well-designed fitments that were generally not available at that time and these were greatly admired and envied.

Fourteen traditional houses were also built at Buchan Gardens, four at Eliot's Park, twenty-four at the site of the old Auction Mart and a

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