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Coordinates: 55°37′10″N 2°48′12″W / 55.61945°N 2.80339°W / 55.61945; -2.80339

Scots: Gala, Galashiels
Galashiels is located in Scotland

 Galashiels shown within Scotland
Population 12,367 
OS grid reference NT495365
Council area Scottish Borders
Lieutenancy area Roxburgh, Ettrick and Lauderdale
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Galashiels
Postcode district TD1
Dialling code 01896
Police Lothian and Borders
Fire Lothian and Borders
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Scottish Parliament Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Galashiels (pronounced /ˌɡæləˈʃiː.əlz/ GAL-ə- SHEE-əlz) is a burgh in the Scottish Borders, on the Gala Water river. The name is often abbreviated colloquially to "Gala" (pronounced /ˈɡælə/ GAL).

Galashiels is a major commercial centre and central communication point for the Scottish Borders. The town is known for textile manufacturing, and is the location of Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design, Galashiels Academy and one campus of the Borders College, which as of 2009 has moved and now joins with the University.



Bank Street Gardens, Galashiels

To the west of the town there is an ancient earthwork known as the Picts' Work Ditch or Catrail. It extends many miles south and its height and width varies. There is no agreement about the purpose of the earthwork. There is another ancient site on the north west edge of the town, at Torwoodlee, an Iron Age hill fort, with a later Broch built in the Western quarter of the hill fort, and overlapping some of the defensive ditches of the original fort. The Broch was destroyed soon after it was completed, by the Romans in AD 140.

The town's coat of arms shows two foxes reaching up to eat plums from a tree, and the motto is Sour Plums pronounced in Scots as soor plooms.[1] It is a reference to an incident in 1337 when a party of English soldiers were picking wild plums close to the town and were caught by Scots who slaughtered them all.

On a hillside to the north of the town, Buckholm Tower is a prominent structure which dates back to 1582 and replaced another tower built on the same site but destroyed around 1570.

In 1599 Galashiels received its burgh Charter, an event celebrated every summer by the "Braw Lads Gathering" with riders on horseback parading through the town.


The following sports clubs are based in Galashiels:

In culture

Robert Burns wrote two poems about Galashiels, "Sae Fair Her Hair" and "Braw Lads". The latter is sung by the some of the townsfolk each year at the Braw Lads Gathering. Sir Walter Scott built his home, Abbotsford, just across the River Tweed from Galashiels.

There is some largely good-hearted rivalry between some of the Galashiels townsfolk and those of other border towns, particularly Hawick, the largest town in the Scottish Borders. Galashiels's citizens often refer to their rival as dirty Hawick while the 'Teries' retort that Galashiels's residents are pail merks, supposedly because their town was the last to be plumbed into the mains water system and so residents had to rely on buckets as toilets. [1]



Located in the south west of the town on Meigle Hill. Mainly ex-local authority houses and currently very popular in the housing market. Served by Balmoral Primary School.


Built on both sides of Melrose Road to the east of the town and north of the Gala Water and River Tweed. The "bottom" half was built in the 1950s and '60s while the "top" half was built in the 1960s and '70s.


Sits high up the hill as you leave Galashiels on the A7 towards Edinburgh at the north-west of the town. Comprises two large streets (Halliburton Place and Glendinning Terrace) that run parallel with Magdala Terrace and further on Bristol Terrace, which make up part of the A7. Because of the location, this area has spectacular views across Galashiels and onto Meigle Hill.

Torwoodlee / Kilnknowe

On the far west of Galashiels along the A72 (Wood Street) which runs to Peebles. Kilnknowe Road, Torwoodlee Road, Pringle Lane and Blynlee Lane, mainly ex-local authority houses, are currently very popular in the housing market and create a safe, family-friendly community with four play parks within a five minute walk. This area looks across the valley of the Gala Water and has spectacular views of Buckholm Tower. Woodlea provides recently built houses which are in great demand. Kilnknowe Caravan Park provides caravan accommodation for in-comers.


In the east of the town, Netherdale is home to Gala RFC and Gala Fairydean Football Club. Heriot-Watt University Borders Campus is located here also. Netherdale is a possible location for one of the two new primary schools needing built in Galashiels due to the town expanding.


The area most vehicles pass through; Kingsknowes is in the extreme south of Galashiels. The A7 from Selkirk enters from the south-west up to Kingsknowes roundabout before heading north-west in to Galashiels. The A6091 starts here and heads east past Tweedbank, Darnick, Melrose and Newstead to the A68. This is the preferred route from Carlisle to Edinburgh as the A7 loses its Trunk Road status here. This area is considered one of the most desirable areas to live in due to its modern construction and design.

Town centre

It is quite hard to define what exactly is the town centre. As per the majority of towns in Britain Galashiels has a High Street which is used for commercial purposes but in Galashiels, Channel Street is considered the main shopping street and has a pedestrian precinct and other traffic calming measures to ensure shopping in the town is a pleasurable experience.

A new road system is currently under construction through the town centre to ease congestion and to allow access to the two new huge supermarkets (Asda on Currie Road which opened on the 20th of November 2006 and Tesco Extra on Paton Street which opened two weeks later on the site of their old supermarket. The two supermarkets are built within 200 m of each other on opposite sides of the Gala Water and are linked by a new road bridge which was completed in November 2006 as part of the aforementioned road system.

Galashiels also has a multi-screen cinema on Market Street and along with several restaurants and nightclubs gives Galashiels a very urban and city-like feel despite its comparatively small population.

The Black Path

This particular geographical feature links Langlee to the town centre.It has gained a reputation for shady goings on at night and fly tipping by the River Tweed.

Rail transport

For many years there has been talk of reviving the old abandoned Waverley Line between Tweedbank, a suburb south of Galashiels, all the way to Edinburgh Waverley station. At the time of writing the project has been handed to the national transport agency Transport Scotland with on site work expected to start in 2011 and completion around the end of 2013. It is estimated to cost in the region of £235 - 295 million. According to the website, "The railway will deliver major economic and social development opportunities and is one of the most sustainable public transport proposals in Scotland, saving 450,000 tonnes of Co2."


The following are listed by Scottish Borders Council as being in the Galashiels Area.

High schools

  • Galashiels Academy

Primary schools

  • Balmoral Primary
  • Burgh Primary
  • Caddonfoot Primary, Clovenfords
  • Fountainhall Primary, Midlothian
  • Glendinning Terrace Primary
  • Heriot Primary, Midlothian
  • Langlee Primary
  • Stow Primary (Stow, Galashiels)
  • St Margaret's RC Primary (Catholic School)
  • St Peter's Primary
  • Tweedbank Primary


  1. ^ John Ruskin (1907). The Works of John Ruskin. Longmans, Green, and co.. pp. 613.  

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GALASHIELS, a municipal and police burgh of Selkirkshire, Scotland. Pop. (1891) 17,367; (1901) 13,615. It is situated on Gala Water, within a short distance of its junction with the Tweed, 332 m. S.S.E. of Edinburgh by the North British railway. The town stretches for more than 2 m. along both banks of the river, the mills and factories occupying the valley by the stream, the villas and better-class houses the high-lying ground on either side. The principal structures include the municipal buildings, corn exchange, library, public hall, and the market cross. The town is under the control of a provost, bailies and council, and, along with Hawick and Selkirk, forms the Hawick (or Border) group of parliamentary burghs. The woollen manufactures, dating from the close of the 16th century, are the most important in Scotland, though now mainly confined to the weaving of tweeds. Other leading industries are hosiery, tanning (with the largest yards in Scotland), dyeing, iron and brass founding, engineering and boot-making. Originally a village built for the accommodation of pilgrims to Melrose Abbey (4 m. E. by S.), it became, early in the 15th century, an occasional residence of the Douglases, who were then keepers of Ettrick Forest, and whose peel-tower was not demolished till 1814. Galashiels was created into a burgh of barony in 1599. The Catrail or Picts' Work begins near the town and passes immediatelyto the west. Clovenfords, 32 m. W., is noted for the Tweed vineries, which are heated by 5 m. of water-pipes, and supply the London market throughout the winter. Two miles farther W. by S. is Ashestiel, where Sir Walter Scott resided from 1804 to 1812, where he wrote his most famous poems and began Waverley, and which he left for Abbotsford.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:






  1. A town in the Scottish Borders region.


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