Poorhouse plans give insight into notorious Peebles landmark

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IT was one of the most notorious institutions of Victorian Peebles, writes Andrew Keddie.

And now, beautifully-crafted architect’s drawings – hidden away for more than a century – of the Peebles Union Poorhouse, which opened in 1857, have gone on public display.

The plans are a highlight of the Landmarks of Peebles exhibition which opened last week at the town’s Tweeddale Museum.

“The drawings, which clearly show the total separation of families within the building, give a chilling insight into a place which must have been feared and shunned by local people,” said a spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council’s museum service.

“This building stood on the site of what is now the County Buildings in Rosetta Road and traces of the original structure can still be seen there.

“The plans have been hidden away for over a century, first in council offices and later in the Tweeddale Museum collection,” the spokesperson added.

Among other landmarks featuring in the show are the Mercat Cross, the Peeblesshire War Memorial, Stobo Castle, Peebles Hydro, the Tontine Hotel and local churches.

Councillor Graham Garvie, SBC’s executive member for culture, told us: “This exhibition is a good opportunity for people to get an interesting insight into the many landmarks in Peebles. It is also the first time the poorhouse plans have been put on display, allowing members of the public to view this unique record of local history. “

The exhibition can be viewed in the Chambers Room at the Chambers Institution until August 18.