This view of Galashiels was taken by Simmons Aerofilm Ltd in 1951 – and there have been some dramatic changes since then.
The most immediate that strikes the eye is the area of the Old Town, in the foreground of the photograph, which was subjected to demolition and rebuilding during the 1960s and early 1970s. The most prominent feature that no longer exists is the Old Parish Church which stood in Church Street backed on to Albert Place. It was built in 1812 and remained in use until 1931 by which time it shared a minister with St Paul’s which was opened in 1881 – but the two could not become one until 1931 when St Paul’s was free of debt. The old church and its grounds became a popular playground.
Other properties which felt the bulldozer were adjacent houses in Church Street and Elm Row making way for a housing scheme.
Also no longer is much of Paton Street which has given way to an extension to the Burgh Buildings for Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council and the Tesco supermarket. The arrival of Tesco also meant the controversial felling of the Government Buildings, once the local textile college, to the right of the photograph
Close by on the other side of the Gala Water the old Catholic School and parts of Stirling Street have given way to the bus station – buses can been seen in their old home in Market Street, now an open public space.
St John’s Church, sandwiched between the library and the Volunteer Hall, moved to Langlee in 1971 and was demolished to make room for a sheltered housing complex. Beyond the Volunteer Hall a row of garages at the foot of Gala Park have been replaced by houses.
And in 1951 Galashiels was still a two-way town so far as traffic was concerned.
– compiled by Bob Burgess