As Galashiels continues to see its inner relief road develop, we look back to 1886 and this traffic-free scene at the junction of High Street, Island Street, Roxburgh Street and Bridge Place.
It is dominated by the towering building occupied by the Galashiels Co-operative Store Company which had been founded in 1839. By 1886 it had 1,117 shareholders and the following year the firm decided to buy the High Street premises of Peter Coldwell of Kelso for £3,500 and convert it to use for its drapery, boot and butchery branches. Part of the high tower was later to become a victim of strong winds.
Opposite the Co-op at the top of High Street is what became the Royal Bank of Scotland and later a pub and restaurant – now closed, but undergoing restoration.
In the foreground on the left is John Hutsby’s Bridge Inn, standing next to the corner-placed licensed grocers operated by James Wright who died two years before this photograph was taken, leaving the business to his 56-year-old widow Elizabeth. In 1902, Hutsby was given permission by the licensing court to extend his pub into the corner shop. It remains the Bridge Inn to this day.
Opposite the pub on the corner of Island Street and Roxburgh Street is the premises of Alex Noble – a chemist and manufacturer of aerated water. In later life it was an insurance brokers and is now the main offices of builders Murray & Burrell.
The first set of traffic lights were installed around 1968/69. Roxburgh Street is now blocked off, but was once the exit for engines from Galashiels fire station based in that street. The station is now occupied by Morrison & Murray, engineers.
– compiled by Bob Burgess