This blog is to introduce you to my town - Peebles, in the Scottish Borders - just one photo at a time, with perhaps a little description and maybe some history thrown in. I hope you will find it interesting. The title comes from a historical comment made by someone who preferred Peebles to the great and famous cities. I know how they felt. It's always a pleasure to return here however long you've been away.

If you want to make a comment, ask me a question, or merely just want to say "hello, I've dropped in", you can do that by using the comment section below each entry. (Just click on the word COMMENT and follow instructions. ) I'd love to know what you think of what you see of my town.

I don't have an expensive elaborate camera so the photo quality may not be brilliant, but I'd like to think my pics will please you. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks to Mary H for the lovely designs I used for my background, and thanks too to all of you who have chosen to support my blog by becoming "followers".

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Another view of the High Street, this time the south side of the street. The grand building to the left is the Chambers Institution, formerly the Dean's House, elaborately renovated and given to the town by William Chambers, a son of Peebles, who made his name in the printing and publishing trades in Edinburgh; the publication of the Chambers dictionary and becoming the lord provost (mayor in England) of the Edinburgh city council in the 19th century. The building now houses the library, art gallery and museum as well as a large hall used for concerts, exhibitions and fairs, as well as regular coffee mornings throughout the year to raise funds for one thing or another.
Next door in the building with the two arch ways was the old Town House and Corn Exchange, later variously having been used as fire station and then shops.
Two buildings to the right is the County Hotel, once the Harrow Inn and coaching point, and further along still, the creamy coloured gable indicates the courtyard of the Tontine Hotel. The hotel itself is set back from the line of the buildings, behind its courtyard for coach and horses to deliver its guests to the door in the days when cars were not even contemplated.
Beyond the Tontine the buildings are not especially noteworthy till the end of the street where the tall gable at the right of the photo marks the bookshop Whitie's, which I have talked about before.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Backing Scotland!

Well, this is a picture of the Tourist Information Centre's display, backing Scotland in the Rugby Six Nations Championship of 2010. I have to say we're not doing too well at all so far, but this weekend Scotland plays Italy, and if we can't win that game then we really are doomed! I see a Wooden Spoon hovering!

Anyway as it was a beautiful day the reflections in the window made the photo extra special! Crumbs! You can even see my reflection, as I took the photo. The buildings are on the same side of the High Street as yesterday's view. The Medical Hall, a chemist shop and pharmacy, is an old "institution" in the town, and occupies the ground floor of the tall building. The upper floors are flats/apartments. Next door - and Andrew will remember this - is the building that used to house Johnstone's bakery. On the wall is a plaque with the symbol of two crossed baker's paddles (for taking loaves out of the oven). Today there is a Fish'n'chip shop in one half (flat for sale above) and a trendy funishing accessories shop, which is very new to the street.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

High Street

This is the view across the High Street from the Tontine Hotel, and its cobbled courtyard. The Crown Hotel goes back to an even earlier time on the street, 1730, while just on the left (and no more) is one of the more modern buildings, the old 1930s cinema building. The newest building on the High Street is further along the road. The concrete block that is now the bank, replaced Wilson & Syme bakers and tearoom, in the 1960s or 70s. On the right of the photo is Scott Brothers hardware store. The tall building now houses one of the five charity shops in town and a cashmere knitwear shop. Above its right hand window is a large ornate sundial. Simply Delicious is a gift shop downstairs with coffee shop upstairs.

The fountain at the edge of the street here is in memory of a professor of logic, John Veitch, who was Peebles-born - in the 1800s.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Inside the Tontine Hotel

Not doing well here, am I? Note to self:- I must do better!

Well, today I treated myself to a cup of tea and a jam and cream scone at the Tontine Hotel, in the lounge they are now calling the Callants Lounge. It's rather elegant again these days since its redecoration in its Farrow & Ball greens.

This other picture is of the dining room, the Adam Dining Room, probably once the ballroom, or originally the Assembly room. I love the raspberry red with the white woodwork. It's a beautiful room with those wonderful windows looking out over the valley, grecian-style wall niches and Adam fireplace. What you can't see is the gallery above me supported by classical columns. One day I might get a photo from the other end looking back!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A burgess farm

Another interesting picture. Behind the green gate and the garage doors is Porterfield Farm, right in the centre of the town. It is apparently the last of what was known as a "burgess plot", which dates back to medieval times. Parallel to the river here - Cuddy Burn - on the far side of the buildings you see at the top of the picture, is Northgate, the road from the north into Peebles. So, the medieval town being quite different from what we have today, the land between the road and the river was divided into strips which I expect were owned by the burgesses or the higher echelons of tradesmen and master craftsmen of the town, on which they grew vegetables, maybe kept a few animals.....

Gradually as the town grew and spread along the Northgate, houses were built by the road, and soon the burgess plots were subdivided and houses began to stretch down the slope and along by the river. Porterfield's house on Northgate is about 300 years old but the plot is still intact, all belonging to the present owners Gus and Catherine. Was Porter a medieval burgess? Who knows!