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Walking in Kelso

Scottish Walks

Kelso Square

As all the walks start from the Square, it can best be dealt with as an area in its own right. The square has since the Middle Ages been the hub of Kelso, and at its centre is the site of the bull ring to which the animals were tethered on sale days. Under that bull ring there is a time capsule containing coins, newspapers and other items. At each Coronation the material is added to and updated. So important was the cattle market to the town that the old town crest was of a bull, a drover and his dog.

The present Town Hall stands on the site of the old Tolbooth. It was built in 1816 after funds were raised by public subscription. Until 1905 the lower floor was an open arcade at the front, but when the remodelling was being done this was enclosed as part of the building. The building is crowned by a domed octagonal belfry with a clock and weathercock. For many years the building contained the Town Council offices and the facilities for the local court. Today, it houses the offices of the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, the Scottish Borders Tourist Information Centre and an upstairs function room which is used for the meetings of Kelso Community Council.

The Square

Tourist Information Centre

Bank of Scotland

On the south side of the Square the Royal Bank of Scotland building, which was constructed in 1934 was built to a modern, standard design, with projecting eaves and red brick facings, and seems more appropriate to an English city than a Scottish country town. Attached to the different style of the building next door, this merely added to the hotchpotch of design seen round the square. This building, on the corner with Bridge Street, was built for the British Linen Bank in 1833 and is now the offices of the Bank of Scotland.

On the west side, between Oven Wynd and Mill Wynd, the buildings, three storeys high, stand as a composite architectural unit, although at street level many and varied are the layouts and designs. Lloyd the Chemist and Boots is said to be a copy of a frontage from a hatter's shop in St James', London, whereas the others are moving, unfortunately, towards twentieth century, anywhere style. Further towards Roxburgh Street past the British Heart Foundation shop, the buildings are less imposing, being of different style and materials.

The North side is mainly taken up by the Cross Keys Hotel, built in 1761 for James Dickson, a son of Ednam, who having flourished as a merchant in London, returned and used his wealth to build the hotel and also Ednam House, in addition to funding the development of agriculture in the area. The buildings on either side of the hotel form part of the overall layout, and are in keeping with its 'grand' design. An additional storey was added in 1880, making it four storeys high, the highest in the town centre. The hotel was the finest coaching inn in Kelso, and had until the 1970's access through the centre to the yard behind. At that time the access was converted into an arcade with shops and a café. This, however, did not last long, and the area was reconverted as the reception area for the hotel proper.

Cross Keys Hotel

Ednam House Hotel

Kelso Scotland, Scottish Borders UK