Galashiels war memorial torch plans could finally be about to see light of day

The burgh chambers at Galashiels.
The burgh chambers at Galashiels.

A century-old proposal for an illuminated torch at Galashiels war memorial could finally be about to see the light of day. 

Community group Energise Galashiels has submitted plans to Scottish Borders Council to install a bronze torch and glass flame that will light up once a day when the chimes of Braw, Braw Lads ring out. 

The sculpture would sit on the side of the burgh building in Galashiels town centre facing Cornmill Square as part of its war memorial. 

The torch was first proposed in 1923 by then Galashiels town councillor George Hope Tait while the current war memorial was being designed. 

However, due to budgetary constraints, that element of the plans was dropped. 

A statement accompanying the application, submitted by Energise Galashiels’ secretary Anne Carrie, reads: “The glass flame would be illuminated each evening during the chimes at 8pm and the notes of Braw, Braw Lads.

“This was a proposal originally suggested by baillie George Hope Tait, the Galashiels Town Council member on the 1923 design team with architect Robert Lorimer, sculptor Thomas Clapperton and stonemason George Sutherland. 

“The torch idea, designed by George Hope Tait, was dropped because of cost and budget limits.

“This piece of artwork was brought to the attention of Energise Galashiels during their involvement with the Gala Remembers group, which organised events to mark the end of the first world war.

“Energise Gala’s leadership group are of the opinion that this proposed artwork would serve as a legacy from the 2018 Gala Remembers group and the people of Galashiels as a further reminder of the human sacrifice during both world wars for our freedom.

“We aim to use social networks, print and broadcast media to present Galashiels in a positive light, emphasising its considerable strengths.”

Council planners will now consider the proposals to alter the listed building.