Galashiels - Encyclopedia




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GALASHIELS, a municipal and police burgh of Selkirkshire, Scotland. Pop. (1891) 17,367; (1901) 13,615. It is situated on Gala Water, within a short distance of its junction with the Tweed, 332 m. S.S.E. of Edinburgh by the North British railway. The town stretches for more than 2 m. along both banks of the river, the mills and factories occupying the valley by the stream, the villas and better-class houses the high-lying ground on either side. The principal structures include the municipal buildings, corn exchange, library, public hall, and the market cross. The town is under the control of a provost, bailies and council, and, along with Hawick and Selkirk, forms the Hawick (or Border) group of parliamentary burghs. The woollen manufactures, dating from the close of the 16th century, are the most important in Scotland, though now mainly confined to the weaving of tweeds. Other leading industries are hosiery, tanning (with the largest yards in Scotland), dyeing, iron and brass founding, engineering and boot-making. Originally a village built for the accommodation of pilgrims to Melrose Abbey (4 m. E. by S.), it became, early in the 15th century, an occasional residence of the Douglases, who were then keepers of Ettrick Forest, and whose peel-tower was not demolished till 1814. Galashiels was created into a burgh of barony in 1599. The Catrail or Picts' Work begins near the town and passes immediatelyto the west. Clovenfords, 32 m. W., is noted for the Tweed vineries, which are heated by 5 m. of water-pipes, and supply the London market throughout the winter. Two miles farther W. by S. is Ashestiel, where Sir Walter Scott resided from 1804 to 1812, where he wrote his most famous poems and began Waverley, and which he left for Abbotsford.

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