THIS week, Ross McGinn looks back at Innerleithen’s journey from horses to horse-power engines as a mode of transport...

While much is currently talked about the transition to electric and driverless cars, here we look back to the last transition, in the early 1900s, with a move from horse to fuel-burning, engine-powered vehicles.

The High Street Smiddy (pictured below right), now the High Street Garage, was the very core of Innerleithen’s powerhouse.

Each powerful animal had to be shod and fitted with appropriate pulling tackle.

Not only was the horse used for its pulling power but many of the smaller breeds were used for leisure purposes.

As can be seen in the second photo (bottom right), a family group of riders prepare for a ride from outside Caerlee House in around 1910, no doubt off to explore the many trails by the river and on the hills around the town.

Featuring in the various processions of the day – pictured right at the St Ronan’s Games Week in Innerleithen and photographed by Thomas Colledge in 1907 – horse drawn carriages were the limousine of the day for local dignitaries such as the town Provost and Baillies.

Daily coaches also ran to a time table from Innerleithen to St Mary’s Loch and Tibbieshiels and to the other Border towns of Peebles and Galashiels.

The change finally came in the early 1920s, as seen on the High Street in Innerleithen with a car outside the St Ronan’s Hotel (below).

Thereafter the horse and its power was gradually replace by horsepower provided by the internal combustion engine for transport, working the land and of course for leisure.

Is the day approaching for the next transition?