Population and Employment

In 1851, 2645 (44.7 per cent) of the Galashiels population were listed as having employed occupations, a ratio of 70 males to 30 females (1857 males, 788 females); the youngest employed was aged six (a message boy) and the oldest a widow aged 84 (lodginghouse keeper).  Without ‘an employed occupation’ were 3274 (55.3 per cent) and included 1988 under-14 years of age and 805 wives.  The social spectrum ranged from 15 proprietors of land/houses and 20 annuitants (including six gentlewomen) to 52 paupers.

Thirty years later the proportion employed or without a 'stated occupation' had changed very little even though the population had increased by almost 160 per cent.  The significant change, however, was in the number of females in the workplace.  With employed occupations were 44.1 per cent (6768), a ratio of 63 males to 37 females (4265 males, 2503 females); 96 workers were under-14 with 62 in the woollen-textile mills, including a girl aged 11.  'Without stated occupations' were 8562 (55.9 per cent), including 5293 under-14s and 2090 wives.  In contrast to 27 with independent means there were 35 inmates in the Combination Poorhouse which was established under the provisions of the Poor Law (Scotland) Amendment Act 1845 to serve the parishes of Galashiels, Bowden, Melrose, Selkirk, and Yarrow.  The inmates consisted of 23 males aged from 84 to an infant under 1 year; 12 females aged from 95 to 5 years of age.

Table 5 shows an analysis of the working population not employed in textiles, indicating both labouring and domestic work as major categories of employment in both decennial periods.  In 1851, 92 labourers worked in agriculture whilst the other labouring jobs were building 24, railways 18 and road maintenance 12. However in 1881, just 24 labourers were in agricultural work but 73 in building; whilst only one railway labourer was listed there were another 63 railway employees designated as porters, engine cleaners, surfacemen, clerks, signalmen and shunters.  Domestic work entailed being part of a household in 1851 (see Table 4).  In 1881 there were 120 ‘live-in’ servants (including 4 males: hostler, boots, post boy and a domestic general) but a major change showed that the remaining 211 worked as domestic generals in posts within the wider community.

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Table 5        

Occupations, other than Woollen-Textile Workers.

 
1851
1881
     
Labourers
*179
**357
Domestic Servants
154
331
Masons
54
188
Joiners/Carpenters     
49
156
Plumbers   
2
24
Blacksmiths
16
32
Grocers
38
89
Bakers
26
58
Butchers/Fleshers
12
31
Tailors
35
96
Dressmakers/Milliners
42
147
Boot/Shoemakers
65
67
Chemists/Druggists
2
8
Doctors
1
6
Ministers of Religion
7
11
Police
5
12
Teachers
10
42
Scholars
873
2706
In Apprenticeship
110
133

*Includes 93 Agricultural labourers.    **Includes 25 Agricultural labourers.

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