Kelso's Places

Kelso Museum

Past and Present

This 'Virtual Museum' for Kelso has been made possible as a legacy of the Townscape Heritage initiative which came to the end of a 5 year project in March 2015. Featuring as part of this website, the 'Virtual Museum' compensates for the fact that we no longer have a physical presence in the town. Here you will find images from the Museum collection which has been in storage for the past 18 years. The history of the previous museums is given below.


A Brief History

The First Museum, 1838

In February 1834, the Tweedside Physical and Antiquarian Society was formed with Sir Thomas Mackdougall Brisbane as President. In November they proposed to erect a building between the Library on Chalkheugh Terrace and Roxburgh Street for a Museum room as well as Reading and Billiard rooms. By 1838 it was built. The 1880 Rutherford Guide to Kelso quotes ‘The collection is open to the public free on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 till 3 and also on the days when railway excursionists visit the town’. But, by 1920, it was regularly calling on the Burgh’s Common Good account. In 1930 Dr James Ritchie reported that the Museum was seldom visited, the building and its contents required extensive overhauling, dwindling membership, lack of endowment and a poor response to appeal for funds. In 1933 TPAS sold the building to the British Legion and a year later a Committee was formed to dispose of the contents.

The Second Museum, 1986

In 1986 the then Borders Regional Council created a small award winning museum in Turret House (one of the oldest houses in Kelso). As well as displaying artefacts relating to the history of the town and its trades, the museum also had a Victorian Schoolroom which was visited regularly by children from the primary schools. 10 years later Turret House reverted to its owners and Kelso Museum had to close. The collection was fully catalogued and placed in storage by the Museum Service. Access is available on request to Scottish Borders Council’s Museums Service.

Friends of Kelso Museum

Friends of Kelso Museum was formed at the same time as the Museum opened and when it closed the group continued to support the work of the Council’s Museums Service in promoting awareness of local history in the town. Find out more in Friends of Kelso Museum.

Discover Kelso Museum Collection ...

Artefact
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The Kersmains Bell

A 12th century bell discovered at Kersmains farm in 1992. Another bell discovered by ploughing is in the collection of the National Museums of Scotland. The discovery of two bells from the same field suggest that there may have been a large church nearby.

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Ceremonial Baton

Ceremonial baton with painted letters ‘Kelso Burgh Police’. Kelso was a Police Burgh from 1853 until 1892 when the Town Council took over running of affairs following the Burgh Police Act.

Artefact
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Kelso Coop Banner

The Banner represents the Kelso Co-operative Society Woman’s Guild which was founded in 1929. The silk banner has a hand-painted picture of Kelso Abbey at its centre.

Artefact
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War Savings Plaque

War savings plaque awarded to commemorate Kelso’s fund raising contribution during the Second World War.

Artefact
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Coachman's Hat

Coachman’s silk hat. It has a black grosgrain ribbon fastened into a buckle at the front.

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Workman's Paraffin Lamps

 

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Stethoscope & Medicine Bottle

 

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Hand Grinder