THIS week, Ted McKie highlights the views of Innerleithen’s main thoroughfare and the changes which have occurred over the years...

From the West

Judging by the shadows Innerleithen photographer Thomas Colledge took this picture in the late afternoon in summer around 1900. The front of the Volunteer Drill Hall on the left under the Union Jack is little altered, the building having served in the interim as a drill hall, public hall, Masonic Hall, cinema and knitwear factory before being converted into housing.

Two water related artefacts have long disappeared: the men’s urinal near the entrance of Hall Street on the left and the public drinking fountain on the pavement near the junction with Traquair Road on the right. Note also the telegraph pole projecting above the hall roof, the railings at and the notices on the front of the hall, and the looming mass of Pirn Craig in the background devoid of Sitka Spruce. In those days No.1 Café at 1 Peebles Road on the left was the premises of Mr Ferguson, a saddler and harness maker.

From the East

Another Colledge photograph from c.1900 taken in the early forenoon shows a streetscape virtually unchanged since. The Bank of Scotland on the right did not have an ATM but now the ivy, railings and curtain wall have all gone. The street lighting was more aesthetically pleasing but there would be some difficulty in powering the Christmas lights from those lamps. The crowded street suggests the picture was taken on a holiday.

The Thirties

This is a postcard view of Innerleithen High Street in the 1930s, probably taken from an upstairs window in what is now Bargain Basement at Bridgend. There’s a wee treat for vintage vehicle buffs and the street seems fairly busy with shoppers or folk just chatting. The street lamp near the Dam parapet on the right has disappeared but observe the splendid signpost and telephone kiosk. The foliage covering the bank has increased, especially on the front.

The Sixties

It’s hard to believe this photograph was taken over fifty years ago. The walls of the Bank of Scotland on the right have been stripped of their foliage and

the railings have been removed from the low wall, which has new gone. Note the concrete lamp posts, the TV aerials, the cars (Morris Traveller, Landrover, etc), the bike and the cigarette advertising outside the shop at No. 4 High Street. Gardner’s shop at No. 1 and Robert Smail’s Printing Works at Nos. 7 – 9 on the left had both started in business in the 19th century.