History of Hawick to be be put in spotlight by open day

The Borders Distillery in Hawick.
The Borders Distillery in Hawick.

Hawick’s history will be put in the spotlight by an event lined up for this Saturday, September 14, as part of an international initiative.

Just short of a dozen buildings in the town are taking part in Doors Open Day, giving visitors and locals alike the chance to have a look inside, and tours, demonstrations and performances are also on offer, along with two guided walks.

Doors Open Day, a national initiative celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is organised by the Scottish Civic Trust as part of a wider European event, with help from Hawick Archaeological Society and Scottish Borders Council this time round.

Among the buildings welcoming people in this weekend are the Borders Distillery, the region’s first whisky production plant since 1837; Mansfield Park, home of Hawick Rugby Club; Hawick Museum, in Wilton Lodge Park; the textile centre of excellence opened, thanks to South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership funding, at the town’s Buccleuch Road high school earlier this year; and Stobs Camp, the First World War training and internment camp south of the town.

Brochures have been printed giving details of the day’s activities, and more on booking arrangements and opening times can be found at www.doorsopenday.org.uk

Hawick Archaeological Society president Brian Tait said: “Hawick Archaeology Society is delighted to work alongside the council to host Doors Open Days, which was last held in the town 20 years ago.

“A range of buildings will be open across the town to reflect Hawick’s rich built heritage.”

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers, the council’s executive member for planning and environment, added: “Hawick has a long and colourful history which can be traced back as far as the 12th century.

“Doors Open Day aims to highlight this history, as well as some of the new architecture which has been created in recent years.

“Each participating building has made arrangements to welcome visitors, and there is truly something for the whole family.”

Hawick Heritage Hub, the Textile Tower House and the town’s fire station, town hall, masonic lodge and men’s shed will be welcoming visitors on Saturday too.

There will also be a guided walk, led by Mark Douglas, the council’s team leader for heritage and design, looking at the legacy of Hawick architect James Pearson Alison, alive from 1862 to 1932, taking in buildings he designed including the Border Club in North Bridge Street and what is now the Bourtree pub in Bourtree Place.