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History of Duns
Past Industry


The Whip and Saddle

South Street Corner

Duns has always been the focus for the farming folk of the area. Having no major waterway passing through it, Duns, itself, missed the parts of the Industrial Revolution when huge mills sprang up on every reasonably sized river in the Borders. Duns had a woollen mill in the 1790's, but, in essence, it remained a market town, where the locals bought and sold, hired their workers and purchased what they needed. Some processing of the byproducts took place with skin workers and a tannery.

On Market Days, the traffic which crowded in and around the Square was considerable, and, after a good market day, many a tired and, perhaps, jolly, farmer would head home.

The corner of the Square at The Whip and Saddle shows one way of protecting the building from being damaged by the cartwheels - take it away. The chamfer there protects it from the less than careful driver. An alternative was to put in a solid post, which projected beyond the building, and which, when damaged, could be replaced relatively cheaply and easily. This can be seen at the corner into South Street.

When Duns became the County Town of Berwickshire, the associated buildings sprang up, providing for the needs of the Council, the Sheriff Court, the Police, the Fire Station etc. Duns, incidentally, had one of the earliest fire engines outside of the cities, when it acquired one in 1806.

Greenlaw, which is a Royal Burgh, had been County Town between 1696 and 1893, which, to some extent, explains the huge County Hall which stands in the middle of the burgh, but lost that status in 1903, the seat of justice having moved to Duns fifty years earlier.

The coming of the railway in 1840 when a line was laid linking the town to Earlston, boosted the economy of the town. This link allowed speedy access for goods and people to the cities of England and Scotland. Unfortunately the floods of 1948, which took out most of the bridges in Berwickshire, resulted in the decision being taken that to restore the line was not financially viable, and the line was closed.

The present day industrial estate, in Station Road, is the base for many small and medium sized businesses, some manufacturing, but most being there to service the needs of the local population and other business.


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Duns Scotland, Scottish Borders UK