FRAMED.Opening of agricultural college at Newtown St. Boswells. (March 1982)
FRAMED.Opening of agricultural college at Newtown St. Boswells. (March 1982)

This was the moment in March 1982 when Councillor Tom Hunter of Kelso officially opened the central Borders’ first agriculture college at Newtown St Boswells.

It was built at a cost of £174,000, with the assistance of a European Economic Community (EEC) grant of £51,000, and accommodated 65 students in its two classrooms. The complex also had a large work and storage area.

Councillor Hunter performed the opening ceremony in his capacity as chairman of the Borders Regional Council’s education committee. He was joined at the top table by committee member Major Neil Thomson, council convener John Askew, Borders area NFU president Logan Forrest and education director James McLean.

Councillor Hunter explained how a planning group was set up by the education committee in 1977, involving the NFU and various parties interested in agricultural training. Two projects were mooted – an agricultural workshop at Duns, which Mr Hunter said had just been completed at a cost of £60,000, and a training centre for the central Borders.

The Newtown St Boswells complex was completed in January of 1982 and the main contractors were R. and J. Grieve of Maxton. The site for the college had been bought from William Elder and Sons.

The opening came at a time when unemployment in the Borders was high – but many school leavers in the area were still entering the agricultural industry.