Kelso's Places

Discover Kelso

Townscape Heritage Initiative

Discover Kelso, was the banner for the education programme for the Kelso Townscape Heritage Initiative (THi) a partnership project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Scottish Borders Council.



Kelso Abbey Performance
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One of the Key targets of the Kelso THi was to organise a series of Education and Training Events for the local community that would enhance their knowledge of the town’s heritage and foster an understanding and appreciation of its historic fabric. These events were held over a three year period and took a variety of forms. Each year had a focus on a specific theme relating to the development of Kelso and its immediate surroundings.

Year 1 (2011-12) focused on Ancient Kelso and the largely invisible historical elements. The programme looked to engage the six local primary schools in an investigation into Medieval life in the area. The schools each developed an individual programme based on either Anglo Saxon Life; The Influence Of The Romans; or The Rise And Fall Of The Castle And Town Of Roxburgh.

A variety of external practitioners worked with the school pupils to augment their own research, from investigating the historical significance of events with Archaeologists to creating Medieval Music as part of the Youth Music Initiative.

Year 2 (2012-13) developed the chronological time line to investigate the influence of Kelso Abbey, its rise to become a significant power in Scottish Religion and Politics, and its decline and eventual abandonment. The date of this investigation was also significant as 2013 was the celebration of the 900th anniversary of the Abbey’s founding (albeit in a little town not far away called Selkirk).

The six primary schools again took part as well as pupils from Kelso High School, developing a variety of projects to provide an insight into the Abbey and the stories it has to tell. External practitioners were also again on hand to help the schools research the Abbeys history through site visits and presentations and create challenging and interesting projects using sound, animation , music and drama.


Model of the Square
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Events were also undertaken in the wider community culminating in a major exhibition by the Friends of Kelso Museum on the Abbey. The final year (2013-14) of the ‘Discover Kelso’ Education and Training Initiative focused on the development of Kelso Town through to its current layout, with schools projects that provided a fantastic range of poetry, music and artwork as well as the Kelso Camera Clubs ‘Kelso Heritage’ Photographic Exhibition.

Discover Kelso finished off with a joint archaeological project between the Rezz youth group and the Friends of Kelso Museum and an attempt to find the Kelso Abbey Great Drain. Through modern Geo-physic technology the groups worked with archaeologists from Northlight Heritage and Scottish Borders Council to explore an area of ground adjacent to the Abbey. The results are encouraging and will allow the further development of projects that will engage the community to continue to explore their heritage.

The end result of Discover Kelso will hopefully be an increased awareness within the community of the town’s history and encouragement to continue to develop interesting and valuable projects within the town in the future.

Colin Gilmour, Kelso THI Project Officer

Discover Kelso

Kelso Chronicles

Kelso Chronicles brings together creative work developed as part of Discover Kelso, the educational component of the major town centre THi regeneration project.


"Quarrying, Chipping & Building"


Painting by Erin Laing

Kelso Abbey by Erin Laing

Kelso Abbey by Erin Laing