The collection consists of 34 boxes of printed items, legal documents, farm accounts, inventories and manuscripts reflecting an important period in the history of the town. These papers relate to various aspects, including local politics, estates, tolls and businesses and other items relating to Kelso and its environs.
The Kelso Archive Collection has been described as one of the most complete records of life and business in a Scottish Burgh in the Eighteenth century. In 2002, a fundraising partnership between the local community, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Borders Council, Kelso Common Good Fund and the National Fund for Acquisitions saved the collection from being sold to Yale University. The partnership raised over £60,000.
Most of the collection is stored at the Heritage Hub in Hawick in appropriate atmospheric conditions. However, a specially constructed cabinet in Kelso Library holds a small fraction of the wealth of information which exists in this collection. The material in the cabinet is changed on a regular basis to allow as much as possible to be viewed by local and visitors.
In association with Kelso Community Council and in particular Margaret Riddell, Kelso Provost, a permanent board has been created in Kelso Library to tell the story of how the Archive was saved for the Scottish Borders and in particular the people of Kelso.
These instructions were handed out to Election Agents following the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act of 1883. This Act criminalised attempts to bribe voters and standardised election expenses.
A voting leaflet produced for the 1892 Berwickshire election, the instructions on the back leave no doubt as to in which box voters should be be making their mark!
Regulations introduced in 1840 meant that policemen receive a fixed salary, previous to this in the early part of the 19th centry police in Roxburghshire were paid per task, for example in processing a criminal a separate payment would be made for capture, for searching premises etc. A tidy sum could be accrued!
This booklet was handed out to 'Peace Officers' who were a sort of Napoleonic era civil defence force. It would have been the role of these men to ensure good public order in times of peace.
This auction catalogue was given to buyers attending the sale of some of Sir Alexander Don's household possessions follwing his death in 1826. The auction took place in 1828.