Roxburgh and Selkirk
Peebles is a town and burgh in Peeblesshire, of which it is the county town. Peebles stands on the banks of the River Tweed, where the Eddleston Water (locally called "the Cuddy") empties itself into Tweed. The Tweed flows west to east, and the Eddleston flows from the north, turning to flow south-west 300 yards before the confluence. This south-westerly turn demarcates a raised triangular piece of land, open to the east but contained by the rivers to the south and north.
The eastern side was defended in historic times by a town wall, which ran in an east facing arc, through which the road to Glentress passed at the East Gate. The road passing through this gate, the Eastgate, is one of four gates in Peebles, the others being Northgate, Bridgegate (where the Eddleston Water was crossed to the north of town), and Ludgate (the western gate of the town), now called Young Street.
At the junction of Eastgate and Northgate roads, where the Eastgate becomes High Street, is an ancient market cross. The present-day market is held in the station car park, to the north and south ends of which are the remains of the town wall.
Peebles High Street runs parallel with the Tweed along the spine of a ridge, at the west end of which is the parish church.
Although one woollen mill remains operational in the town, the industrial composition of Peebles has changed; the town is now home to many people who commute to work in Edinburgh as well as being a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer.
Initially a market town, Peebles played a role in the woollen industry of the Middle Shires up until the 1960s.
In the mid-to-late 1800s, visitors came to the town to enjoy the pretty street and the surrounding countryside of Tweeddale and its hills. Health tourism came too, centring on hydropathic establishments, which over time became hotels. The Peebles Hydro Hotel is one of the few survivors of that era.
Thing to see in the town
St Andrew's Church tower is the oldest building in Peebles. The church was founded in 1195. It was destroyed (along with many other Borders abbeys and priories) by the soldiers of Henry VIII. The stones of the ruins were pilfered for many other local buildings leaving only the tower standing amongst the gravestone of the churchyard.
The Cross Kirk is another ancient church in the town, founded in 1261. Although now mainly ruins, the Cross Kirk plays a prominent part in the local festival.
Neidpath Castle, to the west of the town can be reached on foot through Hay Lodge Park, the route offering spectacular views of the castle. The castle is now closed to the public.
The Chambers Institution on the south side of the High Street comprises the buildings which were the old burgh offices. They now incorporate the town's library, art gallery and local museum. The Chambers Institution was a gift to the town by William Chambers, a member of the Chambers publishing family who originated in the town. Chambers' house can be found on Biggiesknowe, the oldest street in Peebles.
Also in the town:
- The Old Parish Church of Peebles
- Kailzie Gardens
The town also has a museum.
The annual local festival in Peebles is called the Beltane, and involves (as with many Borders festivals) a Common Riding. The Beltane culminates with the crowning of the Beltane Queen (a girl chosen from one of three local primary schools) along with her court, including the likes of the First and Second Courtiers, Sword Bearer and Standard Bearer; on the steps in front of the parish church. The adult principal of the festival is the Cornet, a local young man chosen by the organising committee on a basis of being considered worthy of representing the town, who then carries the town standard for a year.
A person born in Peebles is called a gutterbluid, though since the town lacks a maternity hospital, perhaps that honour will be more rare a distinction.
Chambers, William (1843). A History of Peeblesshire (8th ed.). Edinburgh & London: William and Robert Chambers. http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC04700618&id=elgJAAAAIAAJ&dq=history+of+peeblesshire. Retrieved 6 December 2009. Full text at Google Books.
Joe Brown and Iain Lawson, History of Peebles: 1850-1990 (Mainstream) 1990.
- Bradley, James; Dupree, Mageurite; Durie, Alastair (1997), "Taking the Water Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940", Business and Economic History 26 (2): 426–437, http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHprint/v026n2/p0426-p0437.pdf, retrieved 2009-11-17
- Royal Burgh of Peebles
- A History of Peeblesshire by William Chambers, from Google Books.
- Peebles Community Radio
* History of Peebles: 1850-1990 by Joe Brown and Iain Lawson (Mainstream) 1990. <www.historyofpeebles.com>