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View of Galashiels
View of Galashiels
Coordinates 55 ° 37 ′  N , 2 ° 49 ′  W Coordinates: 55 ° 37 ′  N , 2 ° 49 ′  W
Galashiels (Scotland)
Residents 14,994 2011 census
ZIP code section TD1
prefix 01896
Part of the country Scotland
Council area Scottish Borders
British Parliament Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Scottish Parliament Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

Galashiels is a free city ( Burgh ) with 14,994 inhabitants in the Scottish Borders region of Scotland . It is in the valley of the Gala Water , about a mile upstream from its confluence with the Tweed . Although there have been efforts in the city to adapt to new areas of production, the history of Galashiel was strongly linked to the ups and downs of the local textile industry.


The name Galashiels is made up of the words “shiels” or “shielings”, which means “dwellings”, and “Gala”, the name of the river. Galashiels therefore means something like "dwellings on the river Gala". The city was first mentioned in 1124 during the reign of David I.

Galashiels became a center of the textile industry early on. The first evidence for the existence of fuller mills can be traced back to 1585. In 1599 Galashiels was promoted to Burgh. At that time the city already had 400 to 450 inhabitants.

In 1825, 35 workers were employed in the city manufacturing fabrics. Because of the difficult geographical location of Galashiels and the resulting transport problems, the production costs were much higher than, for example, in Yorkshire to the south , so that Galashiels concentrated on the production of particularly high-quality fabrics from an early stage. With the textile industry, the city's population grew by leaps and bounds to 18,000 by 1891.

In 1849, Galashiels was connected to the railway network with the construction of the Waverley Line , which halved the transport costs to Edinburgh . In 1969 the railway line was closed as part of the Beeching Ax . From 2012 the section to Edinburgh was rebuilt, since September 2015 Galashiels can be reached again by rail.

The enormous population growth led to new school buildings in the city, a first library was established and in 1831 the Galashiels Gas Company was founded. On the other hand, crime also increased, there were riots by unskilled workers and because of the poor water supply, cholera broke out three times between 1849 and 1853 .

Between 1850 and 1880 the city experienced its economic peak before the textile industry went downhill. During the First World War , the city lost 635 men, including many of the sons of the textile mill owners, so that some companies had to be taken over by outsiders.

Despite everything, the textile industry remained the main employer until the Second World War . For a more balanced economic structure, attempts were made to establish new branches of industry in the urban area. In the 1960s, several companies from the electrical industry moved to Galashiels, which by then had already become the administrative center of the area.


The most striking building in Galashiels is Burgh Chambers , built in 1867, with its clock tower added in the 1920s . Here is also the war memorial, which commemorates the 635 citizens of Galashiels who died during the First World War.

The best known of the still operating textile mills is the old Waverley Mill , where Scottish tartan is made. There is also a visitor center here and the opportunity to take guided tours of the mill.

Sons and daughters

Individual evidence

  1. 2011 census
  2. ^ Pages of the Borders Railway

Web links

Commons : Galashiels  - collection of images, videos and audio files