Zoom into the Scottish Borders

Collated by Charlotte James Robertson. The Scottish Borders, which are sometimes simply called The Borders, stretch from the Pentland Hills, which mark their boundary with the Lothians, to the River Tweed at the border with England. As an area of exceptional beauty the Scottish Borders have inspired writers like Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan. They are also home to several important historic buildings such as Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey. The largest towns such as Galashiels, Hawick and Peebles are located in the area known as the Central Borders.  

Where to find local collections:  The Heritage Hub, Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Service https://www.liveborders.org.uk/culture/archives/ 

Non-fiction Books: 

Bibliography of works relating to, or published in, Hawick by James Sinton, 1908. https://archive.org/details/bibliographyofwo00sint/page/n33/mode/2up

The chronicle of Melrose Abbey : a stratigraphic edition by Dauvit Brown and Julian Harrison, 2007. https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/hha760/44NLS_ALMA21521328340004341

A national orchard inventory for Scotland – area report for Scottish Borders by Crispin W. Hayes. Scottish Natural Heritage research report no. 988. (Library log-in required) https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/sbbkgr/44NLS_ALMA51610075860004341

Border memories, or, Sketches of prominent men and women of the Border by Walter Carre and James Tait, 1876. https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/hha760/44NLS_ALMA21478919120004341

Fiction Book: 

Witch Wood by John Buchan, 1927.  https://nls.ldls.org.uk/accessnow/start.html


The Borders: Where Scotland and England Meet directed by Mike Pavett 1970. https://movingimage.nls.uk/film/2223

Borders local newsreels 1, Selkirk Common Riding 1901 and Jedburgh Town Hall, by David Gaylor, 1901. https://movingimage-onsite.nls.uk/film/6178

Melrose v Kelso, 1962 / Earlston scramble by W.S. Fleming, 1962. https://movingimage-onsite.nls.uk/film/3172

Trip to Innerleithen, 2017. [Join Olive and Tibbie on their journey to Innerleithen with an animation created by children at Hawick Library using an archive sound recording from the Scottish Borders Archives. This animation was created as part of a collaborative programme organised by Live Borders Archives, Scran and Connecting Scotland’s Sounds called Sounding Borders, and forms part of our online sound collections] https://scotlands-sounds.nls.uk/index.php/online-sound-collections/animations/

Manuscript collection 

Records of the Border Co-operative Society, comprising minutes and other records of the Galashiels Co-operative Society, Galashiels Waverley Co-operative Society, Galashiels United Co-operative Society, Galashiels Co-operative Coal Society, Peebles Co-operative Society, and Earlston Co-operative Society (1846-1967).   Inventory: https://manuscripts.nls.uk/repositories/2/resources/17310

Chartulary of Dryburgh Abbey, 15thCentury. https://manuscripts.nls.uk/repositories/2/resources/19354

Abbotsford Collection. Inventories of papers, correspondence, and letters by and collected by Sir Walter Scott. https://manuscripts.nls.uk/repositories/2/classifications/29


Roxburghshire Sheet XXV.NE (includes: Cavers; Hawick), Ordance Survey, 1899.  https://maps.nls.uk/view/75664441

Jedburgh and its environs by John Ainslie, 1780. https://maps.nls.uk/joins/442.html

A. Ronald Easton’s new rambling, touring, motoring and cycling map of Peebles and district, 1930. https://maps.nls.uk/counties/rec/6137

Eyemouth – harbour by Thomas Meik & Son, 1882. https://maps.nls.uk/view/218517635

An e-resource

Border memories, or, Sketches of prominent men and women of the Border by Walter Riddel Carre, 1876.  https://digital.nls.uk/histories-opf-scottish-families/archive/94828694?mode=transcription

A person: 

Alison Cockburn was born at Fairnilee House, in the Scottish Borders, between Galashiels and Selkirk in October 1712. She was a poet, wit and socialite during the Scottish Enlightenment.  Winifred Snow, ‘The Life and Work of Mrs. Alison Cockburn’, in The Sewanee Review, 1905.  https://www.jstor.org/stable/27530668  

A song:  

The Scottish Minstrel, 1850 including ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ by Alison Cockburn, p.10. https://digital.nls.uk/chapbooks-printed-in-scotland/archive/104186103#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-501%2C-1%2C2215%2C2002 

A ghost:  

There are rumours that the ghost of Sir Walter Scott still haunts Abbotsford House. See ‘The Author’s House: Abbotsford and Wayside’ by Erin Hazard in Literary Tourism and Nineteenth- Century Culture ed. Nicola Watson 2009.  https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057%2F9780230234109

Ahistoric building 

Melrose Abbey. ‘Interior of Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire’ drawn by George Henry Hutton,1827. https://digital.nls.uk/hutton-drawings/archive/74635448#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=12&xywh=-124%2C-326%2C2746%2C2482  


‘Rumbledthumps Recipe’ in A Caledonian Feast by Annette Hope, 2010. https://nls.ldls.org.uk/accessnow/start.html

A business:

From wool to wearer: the romance of Pesco underwear, 1913. https://movingimage-onsite.nls.uk/film/0544 [Peter Scott & Co. were a Hawick based textile company. They specialised in unshrinkable woollen underwear under the brand ‘Pesco’.]


Hawick & district from old photographs by Alastair Redpath,2015. https://nls.ldls.org.uk/accessnow/start.html

Galashiels through time by Sheila Scott, 2016.  https://nls.ldls.org.uk/accessnow/start.html

Something about a village or small place

Opening of Denholm Water Works, The Scotsman, 1874. https://search-proquest-com.nls.idm.oclc.org/hnpscotsman/docview/486751539/E7FA78CCA21B4775PQ/19?accountid=12801  

Further reading: 

The Borders: a history of the Borders from earliest times by Alistair Moffat, 2007. https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/1jc5lod/44NLS_ALMA21446223600004341

Abbotsford: The Home of Sir Walter Scott by Abbotsford Trust, 2013. https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/sbbkgr/44NLS_ALMA21537534370004341

Black Friday: the Eyemouth fishing disaster of 1881 by Peter Aitchison, 2011. https://search.nls.uk/permalink/f/1jc5lod/44NLS_ALMA21551299260004341