• Kelso Town Hall
    Celebrates 200 Years

Kelso Town Hall

Celebrates 200 Years
1816-2016

In this very special year for Kelso, Friends of Kelso Museum have researched the history of Kelso Town Hall and arranged a programme of events to commemorate the building of a new Town Hall 200 years ago.


A History of Kelso Town Hall

In 1806, a public subscription was organised to raise funds for a new town hall to replace the old tollbooth which had been demolished in or around 1798. The Duke of Roxburghe made significant donations both in money as well as in land. The fund raising took ten years.

In the late 18th Century the Tolbooth was described as old and ruinous. A painting of that period shows a three storeyed hip-roofed building with an arcaded ground floor and a tall steeple projecting from the front. Finally in 1816 the foundation stone was laid and building work began. Learn more...

1798

Tolbooth demolished.

Kelso c 1790 courtesy of Stormonth Darling family

(Kelso circa 1790 courtesy of Stormonth Darling family)

In the late 18th century the Tolbooth was described as old and ruinous. A three storeyed hip-roofed building with an arcaded ground floor and a tall steeple projecting from the front.

1806

Public subscription organised to raise funds to build a new Town Hall, the Duke of Roxburghe made significant contributions both in money and land. Fund raising took 10 years.

1816

Foundation stone laid. Cost of Stone £24.3/3d

Kelso c 1790 courtesy of Stormonth Darling family

(Kelso early 19th Century)

The new building probably incorporated much of the stonework from the old tollbooth. The two-storeyed building is rectangular on plan and had an arcaded ground floor, opened on market days for stall holders to sell grain and other farm produce. Like the old tollbooth, the floor above was entirely filled by a hall where the burgh court met.

1841

Clock inserted in Cupola. Gifted by Kelso born Alexander Purvis who was an imminent Clock Maker based in London.

1854

Repair and restoration work carried out.

1898

Discussion opened by the Duke of Roxburghe to make over the Town Hall to the burgh by Feu Duty.

1902

Arrangement finalised. Renovations started and continued for 6 years. The cost of the work amounted to £3,000.00

1908

First meeting of the Council took place in the renovated Town Hall in January 1908.

1913

Dinner held in the Town Hall to mark the Centenary of Border Union Show.

1972

Reorganisation of Local Government commenced.

1975

Community Council formed. Last Town Council meeting held.

1975-6

Council Room converted in to offices.

1993

Restoration and renovation of entire building commenced. Council Room restored.

1996

Visit Scotland occupied a ground floor room to the right of the front entrance. Registrar occupied the ground floor room to the left of the building.

2016

Bicentenary

Bicentenary Celebrations

Kelso Town Hall & Square today.

In this very special year for Kelso, Friends of Kelso Museum has arranged a programme of events, Join us on the following key dates -

March

Saturday, 26th March 2016, 10.30am-1.00pm
Kelso Town Hall procession and foundation stone commemoration ceremony
Town Hall and The Square, Kelso

May

Friday, 20th May 2016
Well Road Productions host a concert and a meal
Cross Keys Hotel, Kelso

June

Sunday, 5th June 2016
Yetholm Sinfonia present an evening of music
Town Hall, Kelso

July

Saturday, 16th July 2016
Farmers Market and street entertainment
The Square, Kelso

September

Friday, 16th September 2016
Ghost Walk
Kelso
Saturday and Sunday, 17th-18th September 2016
Exhibition and historic town walks
Town Hall, Kelso
Sunday, 18th September 2016
Churches Together Service
Kelso

October

October 2016 - Date TBA
Mosaic Concert present an evening of music
Town Hall, Kelso

November

Wednesday, 9th November 2016 at 7.30pm
Friends of Kelso Museum presents a talk,
'The Iconography of the Town Hall' by Keith Cavers
Town Hall, Kelso
Saturday, 26th November 2016
Christmas Lights Switch On with Friends of Kelso Museum
in conjunction with Kelso Community Events

The Square, Kelso

Friends of Kelso Museum

The aims of the Friends of Kelso Museum are to promote awareness of local history in Kelso and to support the work of Scottish Borders Council’s Museums Service. Learn more...