History of



1850 - 1990


]. L. Brown and I. C. Lawson


This comprehensive work on the Royal Burgh of Peebles is both a fascinating social and local history.

Early nineteenth-century commentators described Peebles as a 'finished town' imbued with an 'air of decayed royalty' but the coming of the railways brought dynamic changes to the burgh. For once its beautiful valleys had opened up, the town soon attracted the interest of entrepreneurs from the Border woollen trade eager to exploit the abundant water­supply in the area. Peebles flourished as the Thorburn and Ballantyne Mills, with their reputation for fine cloths and tweeds, became the 'chief arteries' for a new economy and an expanded township.

Now, the railways have gone and only a much-reduced woollen industry remains. However, Peebles has since acquired a reputation for being a major conference centre and attracts a good share of tourist business, justifying the old boast of 'Peebles for Pleesure'.

Exploring the information available from the 1851 census returns and with chapters by some of today's eminent Peebleans - on everything from education to medicine, journalism to the Church - all aspects of the town's colourful past are examined in this volume. It is a fascinating history of the town - quite simply, the definitive local history.