The village hall website is attracting the interest of local historians. The hall committee’s secretary was asked to write an account of it for ‘Clish-clash’ (meaning ‘repeated gossip’), the e-newsletter of the Scottish Local History Forum, which also publishes the print journal Scottish Local History. You can read the account below. It appeared with a photo, provided by Allan Drummond, which is a version of the banner image on the site’s home page.
■ Boswells Village Hall launched its new website
The hall has been at the centre of village life since 1896, and the new site is set fair to serve as an information hub for its community and beyond. It offers copious archival material concerning the hall and its village: see especially the sections ‘History’ and ‘Pictures & Memories’. Jonathan Nicholson, Creative Director of Scottish Borders Website Design, has skillfully assembled all the diverse items in an accessible way. An abundance of old and recent photos was collected, and PDFs made, drawing on the hall’s own archive together with recent donations, particularly from the Lawrie and Oliver families. Alastair Minnis wrote the text. The site’s costs were covered by a grant from The National Lottery’s Community Fund. This launch marks a major moment in the hall’s history: the completion of a protracted move to a new-style Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organization, replacing the trust that has managed the hall since 1896. In that year a plot of land was purchased from Benjamin Hunter, ‘merchant’ of St Boswells, and donated for the hall’s construction by Mary Theresa Baillie of Dryburgh House, a daughter of Charles Baillie, Lord Jerviswoode (1804–1879). Theresa’s original 1896 ‘Disposition’ may be viewed as a PDF, together with an annotated transcription. To help pay the building costs, in 1897 a fancy-dress bicycle gymkhana was held, with races during the afternoon and an illuminated parade at night. A copy of the wonderful programme has survived and is presented as a PDF. The website also has images of many celebrations, performances (particularly by the Drama Society), parties and sporting events (including curling!) throughout the years, together with striking photos of the ancient St Boswells Fair. Links to film clips also feature: villagers celebrating Edward VII’s coronation and the British capture of Pretoria in 1900 during the Second Boer War; St Boswell’s (now defunct) railway station in action. During the 2000 millennium celebration several villagers had their memories recorded and twelve transcriptions are available to view on the site. Information may be found about important historical figures, including John Younger (1785–1860), poet, polemicist and master angler, who earned a precarious living as a shoemaker; Frederick Gerard Peake (1886–1970), CMG CBE CStJ. (‘Peake Pasha’), the founder and commandant of the Arab Legion Trans-Jordan; and Major William Alexander Brown MBE (1922–1984) who, during the Partition of India, led a successful coup against the ruling Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir which resulted in the Gilgit Agency becoming part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The little village of St Boswells has had, and continues to have, crucial connections with the larger world. On its website there is much of interest to historians. The management committee’s secretary, contactable at, is always happy to receive further archival contributions.