Population Profile

The change in the population profile during the thirty years of urban expansion is shown in Figure 1.  The broad base of 1881 not only reflects the increase in population but indicates a community with a large proportion of children up to 14 years age; this age-group having more males (2921) than females (2786) and in contrast to the rest of population.  In both decennial periods analysis show more females than men in the population profile: 1851 – males 49.6 per cent, females 50.4 per cent; 1881 – males 47.3 per cent, females 52.7 per cent.  

As the town grew there was a progressive increase in local birth-rate, with about half the incomers in the child-bearing age-group 18-45.  Figure 2 provides an analysis of the children nine-years-and-under born in the decennial period 1871-81: local births in 1871 were 203 (64 per cent) and elsewhere 114 (36 per cent) but this changed significantly by 1880 with 438 local births (87 per cent) and only 67 (13 per cent) born elsewhere.  This could be seen as the beginning of the trend where natural growth rather than in-migration would supplement labour needs.(4)

Figure 1

Population Profile 1

Figure 2



There were 1191 households in 1851 and 3184 by 1881; this increase of 167 per cent measured against a population growth of 159 per cent.  The mean average household size falling from 4.97 to 4.8 over the thirty years; as an urban centre in Roxburghshire this correlates with the suggested figure of 4.5 for the county average determined by a Sample Study of the 1881 Census.(5)   

It seems evident from Table 3 that the emerging industrial burgh was a society centred on the nuclear family as 42.5 per cent households in 1881 were married couples with children. The data shows that in multiple households (having more than the immediate family in residence) the co-residential group had also changed over the thirty years.  Notably, Table 3 indicates there were fewer live-in servants in 1881 and in Table 4 under one per cent of the population were in domestic work compared with 2.6 per cent in 1851.  There was also a tendency in 1881 for more kin to be part of the co-residential group and Table 4 shows this was due to an increase in the number of ‘in-laws’ rather than blood relatives.   It may be argued this indicates a strengthening of kinship ties through closer links with the extended family; on the other hand it could be argued this phenomena was in some measure influenced by a shortage of dwelling houses due to the population expanding at such a rate. 

In 1851 some 5.9 per cent of the Galashiels population in the Census returns were shown as lodgers or boarder, the number falling to 5 per cent in 1881 with twice as many boarders as lodgers (see Table 4); analysis indicates they were mostly incomers to the town and half employed in the woollen-textile mills.   The guidance given to Census Enumerators that ‘boarders ate at the same table as the household’ but ‘lodgers provided for themselves’, must have presented enumerators standing on the doorstep with a considerable problem on how to list these individuals as part of a household.  On that basis, Table 4 shows the number of boarders compared to lodgers in 1851 and 1881. 

Table 3

Types of Household in Galashiels.

Single persons433.61414.6
Married couples, no children695.81855.8
One parent with children1089.02628.2
Married couples with children43436.4135342.5
Households with resident relatives*20417.156017.6
Households with resident boarders/lodgers*15913.345314.2
Households with resident servants*998.31534.8
Complex households756.3752.3
Total number of households119199.83182100.0

In addition, in 1881 there were two households forming the Combination Poorhouse 
with 22 and 26 occupants. 

 *See Table 4


Table 4         

Number of Boarders, Lodgers, Servants and Kin living in Households. 

(Percentage of total population.)

  1851    1881  
 Total%mf Total % m f
Boarders3   4873.2289198
Lodgers 3495.925990 2721.8 19181
Servants  1542.69145 1200.84116
Kin : Blood relations1913.281110 4863.2167319
Kin : in-laws721.2 4131 2091.492117


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