Hawick (/ /(listen) HOYK; Scots: Haaick, Scottish Gaelic: Hamhaig) is a town in the Scottish Borders council area and historic county of Roxburghshire in the east Southern Uplands of Scotland. It is 10 miles (16.1 km) south-west of Jedburgh and 8.9 miles (14.3 km) south-south-east of Selkirk. It is one of the farthest towns from the sea in Scotland, in the heart of Teviotdale, and is the biggest town in the former county of Roxburghshire. The town is at the confluence of the Slitrig Water with the River Teviot.
Hawick, from the top of the Mote
|Area||1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)|
|Population||10,630 (mid-2020 est.)|
|• Density||5,595/sq mi (2,160/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|• Edinburgh||39.7 mi (63.9 km) NNW|
|• London||292 mi (470 km) SSE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
The town was formerly established in the 16th century, but was previously the site of historic settlement going back hundreds of years. By the late 17th century, the town began to grow significantly, especially during the Industrial Revolution and Victorian era as a centre for the production of textiles, with a focus on knitting and weaving, involving materials such as tweed and cashmere. By the late 20th century, textile production had declined but the town remains an important regional centre for shopping, tourism and services. Hawick's architecture is distinctive in that it has many sandstone buildings with slate roofs. The town has several museums, parks and heritage sites. The town hosts the annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.
The name Hawick, is Old English in origin, first recorded in 1167 and translates as 'enclosed farm' or 'enclosed hamlet'. The origin of the name of Hawick was first researched in the 1860s by James Murray, a local teacher and later the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. The town has a long history of habitation being settled at the confluence of Slitrig Water and the River Teviot. The west end of the town contains "the Motte", the remains of a likely 12th century Scoto-Norman motte-and-bailey castle.
On 20 June 1342, as Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie according to the duty of his office as Sheriff of Teviotsdale was holding court in the church of Hawick, William Douglas, Lord of Liddesdale came with an armed retinue and entered the church. He was courteously welcomed. Douglas and his men attacked Ramsay and dragged him bleeding and in chains to Hermitage Castle; It is generally assumed because Douglas believed he should be Sheriff of Teviotdale. There Ramsay was imprisoned in a dungeon where he died of starvation.
The origin of Hawick being formally declared a town are said to originate with the Battle of Hornshole which was fought in 1514 between an English raiding party and young locals from Hawick. In 2014, on the 500th anniversary of the battle, some 1,800 children dressed in period costumes re-enacted the battle. The oldest official document of the town is a deed dated 11 October 1537 in which the town was re-declared a free burgh since time immemorial.
St Mary's and Old Parish Church is the oldest church in the town, being constructed in 1764 on the site of an earlier 13th century church. The church was extensively damaged by fire in the late 19th century but was reconstructed in a similar style. The cemetery contains 17th and 18th century gravestones, as well as an elaborate ironwork memorial gate given by the town council.
Hawick developed in the late 18th and 19th centuries as an important town in the manufacture of textiles and knitwear. The first knitting machines were brought to Hawick in 1771 by John Hardie, building on an existing carpet manufacturing trade and with a view to expanding into the production of stockings. As a result of a decline in the stocking trade by 1815, some weaving manufacturers had set up in the town using resources from the stocking trade. These industries continued to grow in size, when in the early 1830s, the term "Tweed" originated from the town as a result of a miscommunication of twill for the River Tweed. The town subsequently focused on the manufacturer of different textiles, hosiery and knitwear, including cashmere, adapting to different patterns and materials as fashions changed. In the 1930s, over 1200 persons were employed in producing knitwear in the town. However, by the late 20th century, changing production methods, costs and tastes resulted in the decline of the textile industries to all but a few small businesses.
In October 2021, the town was severely affected by heavy rainfall and flooding. The town has ongoing public works to protect itself from frequent flooding, including since July 2020, construction of a £92m flood defence scheme.
In the centre of the High Street is Hawick Town Hall, designed in the Scottish baronial style and completed in 1886, and the east end has an equestrian statue, known as "the Horse", erected in 1914. Drumlanrig's Tower, now a museum, dates largely from the mid-16th century.
In 2009 another monument the Turning of the Bull (artist, Angela Hunter, Innerleithen) was unveiled in Hawick. This monument depicts William Rule turning the wild bull as it was charging King Robert the Bruce, thus saving the king's life and beginning the Scottish Clan of Turnbull. A poem written by John Leyden commemorates this historical event. "His arms robust the hardy hunter flung around his bending horns, and upward wrung, with writhing force his neck retorted round, and rolled the panting monster to the ground, crushed, with enormous strength, his bony skull; and courtiers hailed the man who turned the bull."
The companies William Lockie, Hawick Cashmere, Hawick Knitwear, Johnstons of Elgin, Lyle & Scott, Peter Scott, Pringle of Scotland, and Scott and Charters, have had and in many cases still have manufacturing plants in Hawick, producing luxury cashmere and merino wool knitwear. Engineering firm Turnbull and Scott had their headquarters in an Elizabethan-style listed building on Commercial Road before moving to Burnfoot.
In recent times, unemployment has been an issue in Hawick, and the unemployment claimant rate remained ahead of the overall Scottish Borders between 2014 and 2017. The closure of once significant employers, including mills like Peter Scott and Pringle have impacted job availability in the town over the last few decades, and the population has declined partly because of this, at 13,730 in 2016, the lowest level since the 1800s. Despite efforts to improve the economic situation, employment and poverty remain relatively important in the context of the Scottish Borders, with the number of children living in poverty in the town 10% higher than the average for the region in 2017. Developments such as a new central business hub, Aldi supermarket, and distillery, all set for opening in 2018/19, are expected to benefit Hawick. Despite this, continued business closures, for example Homebase and the Original Factory Store in 2018, suggest continued economic decline for the town.
Hawick lies in the centre of the valley of the Teviot. The A7 Edinburgh–Carlisle road passes through the town, with main roads also leading to Berwick-upon-Tweed (the A698) and Newcastle upon Tyne (the A6088, which joins the A68 at the Carter Bar, 16 miles (26 km) south-east of Hawick).
The town lost its rail service in 1969, when, as part of the Beeching Axe, the Waverley Route from Carlisle to Edinburgh via Hawick railway station was closed. It was then said to be the farthest large town from a railway station in the United Kingdom, but this changed as a result of the opening of the Borders Railway, which, in 2015, reopened part of the former Waverley Route to Tweedbank, near Galashiels. Regular buses serve the railway station at Carlisle, 42 miles (68 km) away. Reconnecting Hawick to the Borders Railway would require reinstatement of a further approximately 17 miles (27 km) of the former Waverley Route from Hawick to Tweedbank station via Hassendean, St Boswells and Melrose, with refurbishment of the four-arch Ale Water viaduct near New Belses. Hawick station was on the north bank of the river Teviot, below Wilton Hill Terrace, with a now demolished viaduct (near the Mart Street bridge) carrying the route south towards Carlisle. Waverley Walk in Hawick is a footpath along the former railway route, north-eastward from the former station site near Teviotdale Leisure Centre. A feasibility study is now underway to evaluate the possible reopening of the southern section of the former Waverley railway to link the Borders Railway terminus at Tweedbank through Hawick to Carlisle.
The town hosts the annual Common Riding, which combines the annual riding of the boundaries of the town's common land with the commemoration of a victory of local youths over an English raiding party in 1514. In March 2007, this was described by the Rough Guide publication World Party as one of the best parties in the world.
People from Hawick call themselves "Teries", after a traditional song which includes the line "Teribus ye teri odin".
Hawick and surrounding border residents are known to possess a dialect and accent slightly different from broader Scots, being classed as Southern Scots or Borders Scots. For example, the term a "Hawick Gill" is a large measure of spirits, equivalent to 0.28 litre (half a pint).
Hawick is home to Alchemy Film & Arts, and its internationally renowned flagship annual event Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. Investing in film "as a means of generating discussion, strengthening community, and stimulating creative thought", Alchemy works with artists and communities within Hawick and the Scottish Borders on a year-round basis.
In summer 2019, Alchemy launched its award-winning Film Town project, which "aims to work to the benefit of Hawick and its unique communities by widening accessibility and inclusion for audiences, participants and partners, and by challenging social, physical and communication barriers... while contributing to Hawick’s economic regeneration through an investment in its cultural identity".
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alchemy delivered the tenth and eleventh editions of its annual film festival as livestream events delivered from Hawick, and assisted in helping the town's communities to digitise their own services, including the production of virtual lectures for the town's 164-year-old Hawick Archaeological Society.
The Hawick baw game was once played here by the 'uppies' and the 'doonies' on the first Monday after the new moon in the month of February. The river of the town formed an important part of the pitch. Although no longer played at Hawick, it is still played at nearby Jedburgh.
Hawick balls or baws, also known as Hills Balls or taffy rock bools, are a peppermint-flavoured boiled sweet that originated in the town. They are particularly associated with rugby commentator Bill McLaren who was known to offer them from a bag that he always carried. They are now produced in Greenock.
Teviotdale Leisure Centre is the local public fitness centre, with a gym and swimming pool. The previous public baths, now disused were built in 1913 on Commercial Road and closed in the 1980s.
The Borders Textile Towerhouse is a local museum focusing on the history of textiles in Hawick and the Borders area. Examples of temporary exhibitions held include an exhibit on fashion designer Bernat Klein and a history of shops in the town. The museum occupies a restored heritage building, formerly a hotel and inn which incorporates Drumlanrig Tower, a 16th century fortified tower.
Wilton Lodge Park is a large public park in the south-west of the town. The park is home to Hawick Museum, a public museum focusing on art and local history. The museum includes local artwork, some of which was produced by members of Hawick Art Club.
In October 2021, the local council began construction of a new £2m footbridge to link local communities, as part of a broader improvements in the town to create an improved travel network in Hawick, alongside a new flood protection scheme.
Hawick High School is a non-denominational secondary school in the town. In September 2021, it was announced that a new circa £49 million will be built to replace the current school on its existing site by 2027.
Welcome to Hawick sign (2018)
Artwork of to welcome people to Hawick (2018)
Looking down Buccleuch Road westward from the town centre, with blue and yellow Hawick bunting (2018)
Part of school buildings of the Hawick Academy, Buccleuch Road (2018)
Slitrig Water looking upstream following the B6399 road (Slitrig Crescent) (2018)
Slitrig Water going downstream following the B6399 road (Slitrig Crescent), through the tunnel under the Heritage Hub building (2018)
Horse riders of the Hawick Common Ride going down the B6399 road (Tower Knowe) through the town centre (2018)
The stone monument commemorating the 1514 repelling of English border raiders (2018)
Artwork in foyer of Heritage Hub building of a boy on a horse, rendered mostly in material (2018)
Looking over Hawick and surrounding green hills from Moat Park mound, Loan (street) (2018)
Looking over Hawick and surrounding green hills, from the Stirches suburb (2018)
Hawick Scottish tartan of green and blue with yellow and red lines, worn on a doll and teddy bear in shopfront window (2018)
Looking down High Street south-west to the town centre, near O'Connell Street, with blue and yellow Hawick town bunting (2018)
The Heritage Hub building, Slitrig Crescet (2018)
River Teviot, near Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick (2018)
The River Teviot moving left, at the junction of the Slitrig Water on the right (2018)
The River Teviot looking upstream towards the Bath Street pedestrian bridge (2018)
River Teviot downstream 2018
Wellogate Brae minor road going east from the town (2018)
A7 road going north from Hawick township (2018)
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