A village consists, first and foremost, of its people. The following images show the people of St Boswells at work and play, with particular reference to the Millennium Celebration of 2000, of which much was made here, a lot of time and effort being devoted to showcasing the village’s history and anticipating its future. There are several photographs from the opening ceremony, at which a floral bouquet was presented to Mrs Agnes Rutherford, then the eldest inhabitant of the village. One shows her with her son Tommy. They were descendants of the St Boswells bard, John Younger (d. 1860).
In 2000 a vast, nation-wide enterprise saw the memories of local people recorded for the “Millennium Memory Bank” project, involving the BBC and the British Library. Our part of this project, which was funded by the Scottish Borders Council, was called “The Scottish Borders Memory Bank”, an abundance of tapes and transcripts being deposited at The Heritage Hub: Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre (Hawick). For the entire archive, see item 158 here. Only the transcriptions involving St Boswells people are included below ; the Village Hall’s archive also preserves a set of the recordings. Here Bill Blackwood tells wartime stories to Richard Johnson; Willie Brown talks to Richard Johnson about the river & golf course, 1940s beggars & vagrants, etc.; Anne Cessford shares with Anne Melrose her memories of working at the Charlesfield munitions factory during WWII; Margaret Cox, Jessie Irvine and Ella Thomson remember what life was like in the Land Army; the Rev. Bruce Neill reminiscences with Anne Melrose about his first impressions of St Boswells (he arrived in 1995); Alison Reed tells Wendy Ball about her family as vets in the community; and Agnes Rutherford (eldest resident) recounts her memories about living and working in the village to Willie Brown. In addition, we have three transcripts of testimonies by Charlotte Blain, Joan Leid and Winnie Smith, in which the interviewer is not named.
Unfortunately, the names of many of the individuals in the following photo gallery are unclear or even lost. For instance, see (in the Lots more photos section) the picture of three people, two women standing on either side of a man (c. 1950s). Probably two members of staff from the Buccleuch Hotel, with a kennelman? Even more mysterious is the second photograph below, taken outside the old cricket pavilion (in the late 1950s?). Willie Scott (umpire for many years, from a great cricketing family) is second from the left, in the back row. The other umpire at the right-hand end is Tommy Henderson. What were they playing at?
The next two pictures are of farriers, working at the blacksmiths then known as Thomas Lawrie Ltd., named after the then-proprietor’s grandfather, who ran the enterprise for many years. Here in this PDF is a brief family history. When those pictures were taken that proprietor was Ron Lawrie, who operated it as part of his general garage business. The photo of two people features Sandy Duff and William Hook, William being the older man. (Thanks to William’s granddaughter Marjorie, now Mrs Ferguson, for this identification, and for telling me that William worked for around 50 years there as a blacksmith). In the group of three Dave Young stands in the middle; he was to become foreman smith. Here in this PDF is an anonymous 1953 poem written about ‘Bloody’ Bill Hook – that being William’s favourite expletive.
The first St Boswells school photograph is from 1960/61, of classes P6 and 7. We’ve managed to identify some but not all of the pupils. Rear L to R: Jim White, John Robertson, Colin Robertson, Conrad Grebalski, ….. Alcorn. Middle L to R: ? , Jim Fleming, Dave Scott, Evelyn Brown, Pauline Blackwell, Sandra Black, ?, Bill Stephens, Keith Ritchie, Phil McCall. Front L to R: Jean Marjoribanks, Hazel Swinton, Helen Scott, Cathy Welsh, Stella Hotson, Susan Thompson, Gwen Windram, Christine Mabon, Janet Craw, Wilma Lindsay, Shelagh Drummond, Margaret Cartner. The second school photo (in colour) is a bit later, probably mid-1960s. Here Bill Rae is still the headmaster.
Our first cricket photo shows the St Boswells team when it played against Kelso, round 1968. Also from the 1960s is the colour photo of three cricketers, Robin Jeffs, Eddie Scott, and Bill (‘Basher’) Tate. We have a black-and-white of The Colts junior cricket team in the same period. Then comes a splendid picture of the 1968 rugby team. There are only 14 players here – two had gone off to the Buccleuch for refreshment! Rear, left to right: Adam Napier, Norman Hall, Alan Wilson, Bill Majoribanks, Drew Hotson, John Tuddenam, Willie Patterson, Ed Cassie, in the dark suit Willie Byers, in front of him in the zip-up jacket is Graham Philipps, called the ‘real star’ of the organization. Front, right to left: Chelt Patterson, Cameron Patterson, David (‘Brick’) Elliot with the big hair, in the dark suit Stuart McKnight (club president), Stuart McGilverary (captain), Scott Smith, and Ian Robson. Boys’ rugby in the early/mid 1960s is represented by several pictures of St Boswells’ seven-a-side team. In the first picture, at the back we have Norman Hall, Tommy Myers, Jeremy Grieve and Gordon Maclaren; at the front are Alistair Grieve, Keith Robertson and Drew Smith. Keith Robertson went on to be an international player. In the second picture he is the boy holding the cup – the Crichton Cup, a very important award at the time. The third picture in this sequence shows the presentation of another award, the Newtown Sevens cup.
Thanks to Scott Smith for those pictures; we also owe to him the railway photos in the gallery. His father Andrew (‘Andy’) was a railway signalman, who covered St Boswells North, Kelso Junction and the one on the Newtown station platform. 3 shifts! Close to closure of the line (in 1969) he also covered Riccarton Junction. A keen photographer, Andy took these pictures in the 1960s. His wife, and Scott’s mother, Agnes worked at the Egg Packing Factory at Charlesfield (hence two photos of workers there), and was secretary of the WRI.
Provided right here are two documents which afford insight into the life of the village in the years 2000 and 2005 respectively – its various interests, businesses, and societies. The first is a leaflet prepared for the 2000 Millennium Celebration; the second is St Boswells: A Handbook, published in 2005. Also here is a list of all the people who appeared in the Millennium Photograph, included in the gallery below.
We have devoted a section to the relatively recent activities of St Boswells Village Band, from the 1970s onwards. For pictures of the older band (going back to 1860/70) see the Old St Boswells picture gallery on this webpage (click on the tab).
Village Week also has its own section below. It’s always been a popular summer event, involving much fun, games and fancy dress (some of the costumes have been quite extraordinary), together with family sports and a treasure hunt beginning and ending in the Hall. To Helen Barrington we owe a series of bright and lively photographs shot at Village Week 2016; these images are © Helen Barrington Photography. The village has always known how to throw a good party – as much of the archival material in the Old St Boswells photo gallery makes abundantly clear. That same part of the website also features a section devoted to the old St Boswells Fair.
Photos of recent St Boswells fairs are included below. The 2022 event was a well-attended and lively one, and we’ve got good images of many of the sights – including several of horses grazing on the Croft, which hasn’t been seen for a very long time. These were taken by Alastair Minnis. Several drone shots, courtesy of Douglas Oliver, show the caravans and mobile homes gathering – and the large number that eventually assembled. To Dougie we also owe a splendid series of photos of the trap ride-out. Just scroll down ‘Lots more photos’ to the relevant items. Thanks yet again to Dougie for the wonderful drone shot of the village with the hall at its center, which serves as the banner image to this page.