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Kelso Square

Kelso Town Hall

Kelso Square

Most of the present town centre is Georgian or Victorian in appearance, with the Square, the largest Market Square in Scotland the hub of the town. Radiating from it are the four main spokes - Bridge Street, Horsemarket, Woodmarket and Roxburgh Street. At the foot of Roxburgh Street, where it joins the Square, is the area known as Cunzie Neuk. There, it is thought, was the site of the Mint which produced the coinage for Scotland when the king resided at Roxburgh. Further up the street is the embedded horseshoe, which, according to local legend, was cast by Bonnie Prince Charlie's horse when he passed through on 4th November 1745, on his way south to Derby.

Serious fires had, in 1645 and, again, in 1742, destroyed all of the central part of the town, so the present buildings all post-date these fires.

The present dominant building is the Town Hall which was built in 1816 by public subscription to replace the old Tolbooth. The original design has been changed, with the ground floor arcade having been enclosed in 1905. The Town Hall clock, in its octagonal tower, has, over the years, been a source of controversy, with residents of local hotels complaining of being disturbed by its chiming every quarter. With the demise of the Town Council and the local court, the interior has been refurbished and now contains the Registrar's office, function rooms and the Scottish Borders Tourist Information Centre. In front of the Town Hall can be seen the bull ring, set in the cobbles, to which farmers used to tether their animals on market days.

The erection of a Kelso bridge in 1754, meant that Kelso became an important stop for the Edinburgh - London Coach. The Cross Keys Hotel was built for James Dickson in 1761. It was soon a major coaching inn. Until relatively recently, there was still 'the road through the middle' to the stables behind, which was converted to an arcade before being incorporated into the hotel.

Kelso Scotland, Scottish Borders UK