The Law and The Lawyers of Peebles

Edward Laverock and another partner, John Gibb (1949) who, incidental to his law practice was for a long time concerned with, and latterly for several years, Chairman of the Borders Health Board, practised still as J. & W. Buchan after the death of Walter Buchan and until their respective retirements in the mid-1980s, but with the firm still continuing in the younger hands of Walter Murray Charters and Robin Hill. Edward Laverock and John Gibb were also appointed Honorary Sheriff-Substitutes.

The Buchan partners ran, as joint managers, The Peeblesshire Savings and Investment Building Society, the one local building society, founded in 1859, until it merged in the end of 1979 with the Dunfermline Building Society. In 1982, the Commercial (by then The Royal) Bank left 90 High Street for a completely new building, at 2/4 Eastgate, which was built on the site of the long-known and largest bakery and tea-room of Peebles, Wilson & Syme, facing down the Northgate - with, as in past days, 'Chambers' above the bank now Buchan's new home.

J. Walter Buchan, despite being for years a 'sole partner' of the firm, still found time to edit and, to a considerable extent, write the three-volume A History of Peeblesshire, both burgh and county, from earliest times up to 1925.

Walter Thorburn, some of whose descendants down through several generation were identified much with the wool and cloth mill owning family of Peebles, is described as Banker and Merchant. His merchant business, primarily in woollens and textiles, is said to have operated from a building on the south side of the High Street, roughly opposite the present Bank of Scotland, or a little further east. As presumably one of the sound and reliable citizens of Peebles, he was appointed agent for The City of Glasgow Bank in 1840. In 1857 this bank gave way to the Bank of Scotland whose agent Walter then became until his death in 1867.

His eldest son, Robert Thorburn of Springwood, which he built as a residence, qualified as a solicitor and succeeded as bank agent in 1867 or very shortly afterwards. He was born in 1841 and died in 1911.

He entered into partnership as Thorburn & Lyon, Solicitors, with William Lyon, said to have come from Moray. William Lyon succeeded his partner as bank agent. He was also, apart from his solicitor's practice, Secretary to the County Education Committee, or the equivalent co-ordinating committee of the still-parish-run schools, which meant that Thorburn & Lyon, in effect, ran the administration