Galashiels nestles in a valley with the Rivers Tweed and the Ettrick, the town divided by the Gala Water which is the historic boundary between Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire, the town partly lying in both counties. Uniquely, local born population were listed in the Census as either born ‘Galashiels, Roxburgh’ or ‘Galashiels, Selkirk’ until changed in 1891 when the Boundary Commission placed the town entirely in Selkirkshire. With waterpower so readily available and the district producing an ample supply of wool, local enterprise was not lacking and woollen-textile mills sprung into being on the banks of the River Tweed and beside the lades of the Gala Water almost as fast as the latest inventions became adapted for the carding, spinning and weaving of wool fibres.
Four woollen-textile mills were erected just prior to 1800: Wilderbank (formerly Wilderhaugh Burn), Ladhope and Mid Mill 1793c and also Botany Mill (originally Weirhaugh) 1797. A further nine mills were established by 1851 with Waulkhillhead 1802, Deanbank 1804, Nethermill and Rosebank 1805, Huddersfield and Galabank 1818, Gala Mill 1826, Abbots 1841 and Buckholmside 1846. Four more were started by the time the Census of 1861 had been taken: Comelybank and Tweed Mills 1852, Victoria 1853 and Netherdale 1857; by Census 1871 two others were in operation: Waukrigg (formerly Tweed Place) and Wheatlands 1866. When Langhaugh Mill started in 1875 and there were 20 mills in production by Census 1881. Later, Bristol Spinning in 1885 and Waverley Mill in 1886 were built.
In addition some 16 smaller manufacturing factories were producing woollen texiles; many processing spun yarn by using hand-looms to produce finished cloth