Campaign to find lost Borders playing fields

Andrew Carnegie statue, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline
Andrew Carnegie statue, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline

The hunt is on for two long-lost playing fields in Hawick and Peebles, originally created by grants from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

The search is part of a nationwide campaign called Field Finders, which is asking the public to help track down more than 900 ‘lost’ playing fields across the UK, two of which are believed to be in the two Borders towns.

Between 1927 and 1935, Carnegie UK Trust allocated £200,000, equivalent of around £10m today, to over 900 different playing fields in each of the countries of the UK.

The sites are ‘lost’ because their exact locations were never centrally recorded, but under the original terms of the Carnegie grants, it was intended they would remain protected from development. 
With green spaces at a premium and many lost to urban redevelopment, the Field Finders campaign aims to protect some 3,000 football pitches, tennis courts, playgrounds and other recreational green spaces with better legal protection.

But the campaign needs help and Field Finders has set up a specialist team to cross reference submissions and photographs from the public with any surviving documentation and begin the process of keeping a site safe for generations to come.

Douglas White, from Carnegie UK Trust, said: “We want to find as many of these fields as possible and ensure that they remain legally protected for the local community.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson added: “We’re interested in how the Field Finders campaign progresses and would be willing to discuss with the Carnegie Trust the findings of its research.”