Exhibition offers a glimpse into life of a Victorian village

SBSR James Thin in the Borders Stow exhibition
SBSR James Thin in the Borders Stow exhibition

Over one hundred Stow residents and visitors turned out recently to help launch the brand new Gala Water History and Heritage Association and to open a social history exhibition, ‘Books and Bonnie Braes’.

Stow may seem like a typically quiet Borders village. However, the exhibition held in the grand Stow Town Hall revealed much of the lively spirit behind the community, and showed that it was host to the well known family, of James Thin, familiar to Scottish students for generations.

SBSR James Thin in the Borders Stow exhibition2

SBSR James Thin in the Borders Stow exhibition2

Famous as suppliers of school books and academic publications from their Edinburgh store, the Thin family have strong connections to the Borders, including an impressive house in Stow, which survives to this day. Among the family archives is a photo album from over a hundred years ago.

“The collection dates from 1901 and 1902,” said Wendy Ball, chair of the newly incorporated association, which superseded the Stow Parish Archive. “It’s proving to be a treasure trove of informal pictures capturing everyday life for the family in Stow and Edinburgh.”

Also on display was the ‘Poppy Project’, the commemorative installation at Stow War Memorial, seen by road users on the A7.

“We are delighted to be able to share these wonderful images with a wider public,” added Wendy Ball. “We are very grateful to the members of the Thin family who made this possible.”

The Gala Water History and Heritage Association will be holding an inaugural pubic lecture, at 7.30pm, on May 9, in Stow Town Hall, when examples of the Thin family photographic collection will again be on display. For any other opportunities to view, and further information about the association, contact the community archivist, Mary Craig, at galawaterhistoryandheritage@gmail.com or visit the Stow Parish Archive Facebook page.