More than half the population increase in Galashiels was due to short distance movement of people from the rural areas of the counties of Selkirk and Roxburgh and by others crossing over into the town from the adjacent counties of Peebles, Midlothian and Dumfries.  In Table 2, the 1851 Census shows 35.5 per cent born in the town, a quarter of the population born in other parts of Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire whilst another quarter had migrated from the neighbouring counties.  In 1881 that position had changed to 40 per cent born in the town, 23 per cent within the two counties and just over 20 per cent migrating from neighbouring counties. 

Gulvin suggests this pattern indicates they were mainly agricultural workers moving into their nearest urban centre to better themselves by working in the new woollen factories and textile workers migrating from woollen districts elsewhere in Scotland.(3)   Analysis of those working in the town’s woollen-textile mills in 1881 confirm this with just over two-thirds being migrants, 2514 born outside of Galashiels and only 1153 native-born.  Irish-born migrants accounted for 3.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively, well below the average for Scotland of 7.2 per cent and 5.9 per cent.

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Table 1. 

Galashiels Population 1851-1891

Relative to the number of Woollen-Textile Mills in operation.

Percentage growth compared with Scotland.

Decennial Period Population

Galashiels % Growth 

Weaving/Spinning Mills Scotland % Growth 
1851 
5919
 
13
 
1861
6433
+8.7
17
+6.0
1871
10312
+60.3
19 
+9.7
1881
15330
+48.6
20
+11.2
1891
17367
+13.3
22
+7.8
1901
13615
 -21.6
  +7.7
         

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Table 2.    

Galashiels Population 1851 and 1881

Place of Birth.

  1851 % 1881 %
Town 
2092
35.3
6040
39.4
Local Counties*
1511
25.5
3555
23.2
Bordering Counties**
1511
25.5
3331
21.7
Rest of Scotland
448
7.6
1462
9.5
England
105
1.8
467
3.0
Wales 
0
3
Ireland 
203
3.4
391
2.6
Overseas
22
0.4
68
0.4 
Not known
27
0.5
13
0.1
 
(5919)
 
(15330)
 

*Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire  **Peebles, Midlothian, Dumfries 

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Page Links ~ Index 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


                                                        
                                                
                                                    
                                               
                                                    
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