Old Gala Club’s collection of

Maps, Plans and Drawings

Norman Houldsworth

25th March 2009


Bob McKendrick welcomed over 50 members to the meeting in the Upper Volunteer Hall on 25th March 2009. He reminded members that the exhibition ‘The Old Gala Club Goes to War’ opens in Old Gala House on 27th March. He also gave the date of the club AGM and details of the summer programme.

The speaker for the evening, club Treasurer, Norman Houldsworth needed no introduction to the members. He is the club expert on Maps, Plans and Drawings.


Norman told us that when he became involved with the collection he had discussions with staff at the National Map Library at West Register House Edinburgh. He obtained advice on map preservation and repair and as a result the collection has been digitised so that the items can be preserved to the best of the club’s ability.


The first image we viewed was the 1795 map of the Lands, Barony of Galashiels which names farms, fields and is one of the maps in ‘Hall’s History of Galashiels’.

We then saw a map of Abbotsford estate in 1820 and the Wester Langlee estate at the time of a sale of the estate. Norman reminded us that from 1750-1820 there were many changes in agricultural methods.

From 1824 Wood produced maps of many areas and we saw the Galashiels map of 1828 and then a George Simpson map of 1831. In both the layout of the centre of the town was easily recognised.


Norman then showed a drawing of the wire bridge over the Gala, which was erected in 1816 following the design of an American suspension model. This bridge attracted much interest, as it was the first of its kind in Britain.


Plans for the regeneration of the Gala water area, which were produced in the 1970s, were also viewed.

In the section on drawings we saw plans and artist’s impressions for the Sexton’s House at Eastlands in 1903, plans for improvements of houses in Halliburton with the provision of WCs and sinks in 1912 and plans for the building of Forest Gardens in the 1920s. There were also plans for the building of Prefabs and Norman gave us information on Government plans for improvements.


In 1941 an extensive survey of New Gala House was completed and we saw the floors of this mansion house in great detail which gave an insight into ‘upstairs and downstairs’ life.


An ordinance survey map of Clovenfords showed the road structure in the 1960s and the extent of the area covered by the Vineries.


When an ornamental lamp was moved to Tweed Crescent in 1933 a detailed drawing was completed.

Plans for an extension to the Corn Mill in 1897, additional stables at the Corporation Yard in 1901 and plans of the Town Hall were also of interest. We saw plans which were produced in 1956 for the provision of a theatre and in more recent times the proposals for Galafoot bridge and new road.


After questions and comments Bob thanked Norman for his interesting and informative insight into the club’s archives.