The Burgh

way he had identified the effect without looking too closely at the cause. Indeed, the railways were to lead directly to what we now choose to call the tourist industry. Undoubtedly it was this change which caused the opening of hotels in places such as Peebles and was to lead directly to such establishments as the Peebles Hotel Hydro being built. Further, the introduction of commercial and railway hotels (there was one in Damdale, the tenemental building on the north side) contributed directly to the retail trade of the town. The railways made it easier for commercial travellers, along with their samples, to visit small towns such as Peebles and during this period Veitch's Corner House (1885) and the Castle Warehouse (1896) came into being.

No one can doubt the part played by the woollen industry in the general growth of Peebles both in terms of population and the overall prosperity of the burgh. It was the engine which propelled the local economy along for a crucial seventy years. The extensions of Peebles to the north all took place during this period, with the building of Crossland Crescent, Gladstone Place, St Andrews Road, Rosetta Road up to and beyond the isolation hospital and the poorhouse (now District Council offices). Wemyss Place, March Street and George Street were all areas largely populated by textile workers.

To the south of the river, Springhill and Bonnington Roads were being developed. Springwood and Chambers Terraces were to follow. Larger villas and country houses were built for the mill­owning families at Springwood, Craigerne and so on. The Loaning was built for Professor Veitch. In the same period (1870-1880s) imposing dwellings appeared on Venlaw and out as far as the burgh boundary to the north at Swinton Bank. By 1900, with various extensions to the burgh boundaries and the consequent building activity, Peebles had become more of 'a finished town' than even Robert Chambers could have imagined.

The growth of the town brought with it the inevitable problems. Peebles, by nature of its location on a sand and gravel ridge and enjoying a high water table, had few problems in its early history with water supply. By the middle of the nineteenth century, with a burgeoning population and a heightened awareness of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, the adequacy of the water supply was in question. From earliest times, the sinking of a vertical shaft when suitably lined with masonry provided a well which then filled with seepage water. Evidence of many of these private wells still exists.




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