Framed in Time

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This week we feature a rare shot of the Quadrangle of the Chambers Institution in Peebles which is situated through an archway off the High Street.

The Quadrangle is home to the Peebles County War Memorial which lists the war dead from the town and the villages and hamlets of Peebleshire. It is the only county war memorial in the Borders and was built in the courtyard on the right of this picture in 1922.

But when this photograph was taken, the Quadrangle was home to the ancient shaft of the town’s Mercat Cross. The cross was erected in the Old Town in the 15th century and later moved to the junction of the Northgate, Eastgate and High Street, where it is now.

By the end of the 18th century, engineers deemed it unsafe and in 1807, a local benefactor, Sir John Hay of Kingsmeadows, had it removed to the Quadrangle for repairs. It was taken back to its present location in 1895.

The cross plays a prominent role on the morning of the Beltane Festival when an ancient fair is proclaimed by a local solicitor.

The photograph is from a new book, Peebles Through Time, by Liz Hanson, whose hobby of photography was fuelled as a teenager when her parents bought her a Brownie 127 box camera.

It is a fascinating insight into Peebles and its neighbours, featuring 180 past and more modern pictures in 96 pages. It is published by Amberley Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire (£14.99). Contact or phone 01453 847800.

– compiled by Bob Burgess