The Industrial Revolution and the Textile Industry
The Royal Burgh of Selkirk was described in 1792 by Thomas Robertson, minister as "a town pleasantly situated on rising ground, enjoying an extensive prospect in all directions, especially up and and down the river Ettrick...."
The town was also described as being free from epidemic disease, the citizens were well provide for and it had a large number of aged inhabitants.
Trade in the town was primarily woollen based.
As it was a Royal Burgh, the townspeople benefited greatly, both politically and, to a lesser extent, commercially. The burgh lands (Selkirk Common) were worth £1000 per annum, and were divided into a great number of small properties. These circumstances led to a dampening of commercial and manufacturing interests as citizens tended towards land ownership.
However, by 1799, a visitor to the town described a much more distressing tale.
"Selkirk town, its appearance is truly deplorable. The houses are mostly old, falling to pieces and deserted; nothing but dirt and misery to be seen..."
With the advent of the nineteenth century a spirit of change began to sweep through the Royal Burgh; that of improvement and regeneration, and slowly the burgh began to regain some of its former glory.
The town had greatly improved. Streets had been levelled and paved, the old jail and other buildings, which had stood in the middle of the street, had been removed. Many new houses had been built to good style together with a new Town House which contained rooms for the Town and Sherrif Courts and a library.