Marking 200 years of Town Hall

Celebrations are planned later this month will mark a very special year in the history of Kelso.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 1:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 11:44 am
SBSR Kelso Town Hall

It was in March 1816, that the foundation stone for the magnificent Town Hall was laid.

The building has been much admired by visitors and locals alike in the two centuries since, and has formed the centre-piece to the iconic Town Square.

The Town Hall was built by public subscription, with the greater part of the cost being met by James, Duke of Roxburghe.

Over the years, the building has had many uses, the main two being as a Council Chamber, where the affairs of the burgh were decided and administered, and a Court House, dispensing justice for offences committed in the Kelso parish.

The building that visitors to the town see today is also the 
result of renovation work which largely took place in 1993.

There have been several periods of refurbishment though, the most significant being around 1905, when the walk-through archways on the ground floor, where bread and butter markets were held, were filled in.

A magnificent baroque portico entrance was also added at that time.

The Friends of Kelso Museum, along with other community based organisations in town, wish to celebrate the Town Hall’s bicentenary and have put together a wide ranging, nine month long programme of celebrations, to be held throughout 2016. These include talks, walks and concerts. Details of all upcoming events can be found on the KelsoConnections website (

Celebrations get underway on Saturday, March 26, from 10.45am, with the ringing of the Curfew bell.

A small party, led by a Kelso town piper and drummer, will parade around the perimeter of the Market Place, after which, a short unveiling ceremony, marking the bicentenary, will take place.

Hazel Woodsell, from Friends of Kelso Museum, who has been facilitating the events, said this week: ‘There has been so much positive interest in the town about this, that we have put together a varied programme, that will hopefully appeal to all ages.’