Town History

Peebles[Taken from the SBC Settlement Profile for Peebles]

Peebles is located almost 19 miles west of Galashiels and sits in the Northern Housing Market Area.  The population of Peebles according to the 2001 Census is 8159.  The settlement is located within the Western Strategic Development Area as defined in the Strategic Development Plan. 

Peebles benefits from a dramatic setting at the convergence of the River Tweed and the Eddleston Water.  The settlement is framed between high hills on all sides and has extensive views both into and out of the settlement.  The settlement and its hinterland are of high amenity value with mature woodland and spacious parkland.  There are attractive views of the town on particularly the south, eastern and western approaches and views out to the south to the adjoining hill ranges beyond Cademuir.  The town has a strong landscape framework as already highlighted above; the northern portion of the town nestles into the slopes of Venlaw Hill and onto the flatter land to the west of the Eddleston Water towards Jedderfield.  The southern portion of Peebles over the Tweed lies within the flatter haughland of the river valley and on the lower slopes of the Cademuir Hill. 

The Conservation Area covers a large part of Peebles, including the entire town centre.  The town centre takes in parts of both the Old Town and the New Town including the High Street with its rich assortment of commercial properties and churches.  The Old Town is, as its name suggests the oldest part of Peebles and includes St Andrews Church Tower and cemetery.  Many of the properties in the Biggiesknowe area and in the north side are one and two storey cottages of a vernacular design.  In the south side of the Old Town properties tend to be tenements and commercial premises, with an urban character. 

The three churches within the New Town dominate the skyline at both ends of the town centre.  The Old Parish Church with its crown steeple sits high, on the site of the castle, at the west end.  The tall steeple of the Leckie Memorial Church and the lesser steeple of the Eastgate Church terminate the east end of the centre.  The Leckie Memorial Church also dominates the Tweed Green.  Within the New Town the rig pattern is still evident.  Behind the facades of both sides of the High Street and the west part of Eastgate the narrow passages have been built‐up and lead to internal courts that serve a large number of small premises.  Of particular interest is Parliament Square, at the west end of the south side of the High Street, which is said to have been a site of a meeting of the Scottish Parliament in 1346. 

Within Peebles there are also a considerable number of residential properties on either side of the River Tweed.  The older housing to the north consists mainly of terraces, semi‐detached and villa style properties that were built in the 19 th century.  Along the south side of the Tweed, to the east and to the south, 19 th century villas and mansion style properties are found; outwith those areas are more modern developments with the most recent area for the towns development taking place at Whitehaugh off the B7062.  It is evident that within Peebles there is a wide range of building types, styles and periods.  These all reflect the history, diversity and development of the town. 

Throughout Peebles and particularly along the water courses of the River Tweed and Eddleston Water there are substantial areas of green open space.  Tweed Green and Ninian’s Haugh are the most significant areas but there are others. 

The main central area of the town focuses on the Eastgate, High Street and Old Town with a diverse range of services and facilities including hotels, bars, shops restaurants and cafés to serve the local community, tourists and surrounding settlements.  The town centre itself is considered to be one of the healthier and vibrant town centres within the Scottish Borders with generally a low retail vacancy rate.

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