Last updated

Hawick from the top of the Motte - geograph.org.uk - 767662.jpg
Hawick from the top of the Mote
Scottish Borders UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within the Scottish Borders
Area1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
Population13,740 (mid-2016 est.) [3]
  Density 7,232/sq mi (2,792/km2)
Language English
Southern Scots
OS grid reference NT505155
  Edinburgh 39.7 mi (63.9 km) NNW
  London 292 mi (470 km) SSE
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Historic county
Post town HAWICK
Postcode district TD9
Dialling code 01450
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
Website scotborders.gov.uk
List of places
55°25′19″N2°47′13″W / 55.422°N 2.787°W / 55.422; -2.787 Coordinates: 55°25′19″N2°47′13″W / 55.422°N 2.787°W / 55.422; -2.787

Hawick ( /ˈhɔɪk/ ( Loudspeaker.svg 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-southeast of Selkirk. It is one of the farthest towns from the sea in Scotland, in the heart of Teviotdale, and the biggest town in the former county of Roxburghshire. Hawick's architecture is distinctive in that it has many sandstone buildings with slate roofs. The town is at the confluence of the Slitrig Water with the River Teviot. It also hosts the annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival.



The west end of the town contains "the Mote", the remains of a Scoto-Norman motte-and-bailey castle. In the centre of the High Street is the Scots baronial style town hall, built 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.

[4] [5] [6]

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."


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. The first knitting machine was brought to Hawick in 1771 by John Hardie, building on an existing carpet manufacturing trade. Engineering firm Turnbull and Scott had their headquarters in an Elizabethan-style listed building on Commercial Road before moving to Burnfoot. [7]

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. [8] The closure of once significant employers, including mills like Peter Scott [9] and Pringle [10] 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. [11] Developments such as a new central business hub, [12] Aldi supermarket, [13] and distillery, [14] all set for opening in 2018/19, are expected to benefit Hawick. Despite this, continued business closures, for example Homebase [15] 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 EdinburghCarlisle 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, [16] 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, and refurbishment of the four-arch Ale Water viaduct [17] 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 [18] 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 nearest major airports are at Edinburgh, 57 miles (92 km) away, and Newcastle, 56 miles (90 km) away.

Culture and traditions

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. [19]

People from Hawick call themselves "Teries", after a traditional song which includes the line "Teribus ye teri odin".


Hawick is home to Alchemy Film and Arts, and its flagship annual event Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, regarding experimental film and artists' moving image within the UK and Europe. Investing in film "as a means of generating discussion, strengthening community, and stimulating creative thought", [20] 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". [21]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alchemy delivered the tenth annual film festival online as a three-day livestream event 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 town is the home of Hawick Rugby Football Club and a senior football team, Hawick Royal Albert, who currently play in the East of Scotland Football League.

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. [22] 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

Hawick balls or baws, also known as Hills Balls [23] or taffy rock bools, [24] are a peppermint-flavoured boiled sweet that originated in the town. [25] [26] They are particularly associated with rugby commentator Bill McLaren who was known to offer them from a bag that he always carried. [24] [27] [28] [29] They are now produced in Greenock. [25]


The Borders Abbeys Way passes through Hawick. A statue of Bill McLaren, the late popular rugby commentator, is in Wilton Lodge Park, to the west of the town centre. [30]

Town twinning

Notable people

"Horn's Hole, Hawick, Scotland", ca. 1890 - 1900. (Horn's Hole, Hawick, Scotland) (LOC) (3450338616).jpg
"Horn's Hole, Hawick, Scotland", ca. 1890 – 1900.
Hawick Town Hall, on High Street by James Campbell Walker. Hawick 06.jpg
Hawick Town Hall, on High Street by James Campbell Walker.
A track to the west of Shankend Farm, the twin summits in the distance are the Maiden Paps. A track to the west of Shankend Farm - geograph.org.uk - 508017.jpg
A track to the west of Shankend Farm, the twin summits in the distance are the Maiden Paps.





Politics and public life


See also

Hawick's villages:

Related Research Articles

Scottish Borders Council area of Scotland

The Scottish Borders is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and, to the south-west, south and east, the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St Boswells.

A7 road (Great Britain) Road in north-west England and southern Scotland

The A7 is a major road, partly a trunk road in the United Kingdom, that connects Edinburgh in Central Scotland to Carlisle in North West England. The A7 meets the M6 motorway close to Carlisle, which runs south to the north west, Midlands and south of England. However, the A702 road, which runs further to the north east, and the A74 (M) south, provide a quicker alternative and serve as the main link between Edinburgh and the M6.

Jedburgh Town in Scotland

Jedburgh is a town and former royal burgh in the Scottish Borders and the traditional county town of the historic county of Roxburghshire, the name of which was randomly chosen for Operation Jedburgh in support of the D-Day invasion.

Galashiels Human settlement in Scotland

Galashiels is a town in the Scottish Borders with a population of around 12,600. Its name is often colloquially shortened to "Gala". The town is a major commercial centre for the Borders region with extensive history in the textile industry. Galashiels is the location of Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design.

Roxburghshire Historic county in Scotland

Roxburghshire or the County of Roxburgh is a historic county and registration county in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It borders Dumfriesshire to the west, Selkirkshire and Midlothian to the north-west, and Berwickshire to the north. To the south-west it borders Cumberland and to the south-east Northumberland, both in England.

William Pollock McLaren was a Scottish rugby union commentator, teacher, journalist and one time rugby player. Known as 'the voice of rugby', he retired from commentating in 2002. Renowned throughout the sport, his enthusiasm and memorable turn of phrase endeared him to many.

Kelso, Scottish Borders Human settlement in Scotland

Kelso is a market town in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. Within the boundaries of the historic county of Roxburghshire, it lies where the rivers Tweed and Teviot have their confluence. The town has a population of 5,639 according to the 2011 census and based on the 2010 definition of the locality.

Waverley Route Partially open railway line serving Edinburgh, Midlothian and Scottish Borders

The Waverley Route was a railway line that ran south from Edinburgh, through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, to Carlisle. The line was built by the North British Railway; the stretch from Edinburgh to Hawick opened in 1849 and the remainder to Carlisle opened in 1862. The line was nicknamed after the immensely popular Waverley Novels, written by Sir Walter Scott.


Whitrope is a densely forested, but sparsely populated area, high in the Southern Upland hills in the south central Scottish Borders in the former county of Roxburghshire. Situated some 12 miles south from Hawick on the B6399 road, the Scottish watershed passes through the area; Whitrope Burn draining south towards Newcastleton and Flosh Burn draining north towards Hawick.

Newcraighall Human settlement in Scotland

Newcraighall is a North-Eastern suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland. A former mining village, its prosperity was based on the Midlothian coalfields. The Newcraighall pit was known as 'Klondyke' and closed in the 1960s, work transferring to nearby Bilston Glen and in particular the last-to-close (1998) Monktonhall pit. The village had a church, a Co-op and a miners' club and bowling green. Newcraighall now plays host to an out-of-town shopping complex, Fort Kinnaird, previously known as The Fort and Kinnaird Park (north). Today, the retail park is still more commonly referred to as "The Fort" by residents.

Eskbank railway station

Eskbank railway station is a station serving the Eskbank area of the town of Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It reopened on the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, just beyond Galashiels. There is a half-hourly service to Tweedbank. It is approximately a mile from Dalkeith town centre. Car parking space is available for 248 cars and also cycle storage space.

Gorebridge railway station

Gorebridge railway station is a railway station serving the town of Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland.

Galashiels railway station Railway station in Scottish Borders, Scotland

Galashiels is a railway station on the Borders Railway, which runs between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank. The station, situated 33+12 miles (54 km) south-east of Edinburgh Waverley, serves the town of Galashiels in Scottish Borders, Scotland. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Abellio ScotRail.

Tweedbank railway station Railway station in Scottish Borders, Scotland

Tweedbank is a railway station on the Borders Railway, which runs between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank. The station, situated 35+12 miles (57 km) south-east of Edinburgh Waverley, serves the village of Tweedbank in Scottish Borders, Scotland. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Abellio ScotRail.

Branxholme Human settlement in Scotland

Branxholme is a hamlet in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland, overlooking the River Teviot, three miles southwest of Hawick, on the A7 road to Langholm.

Minto, Scottish Borders Human settlement in Scotland

Minto is a village and parish in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland in Roxburghshire county. It is located 6 miles north-east of Hawick, north of the River Teviot.

Burnfoot, Scottish Borders Human settlement in Scotland

Burnfoot is a housing estate just east of the A7, in the northern part of Hawick, by the Boonraw Burn, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. Wilton Dean and Stirches were also villages surrounding Hawick. Burnfoot was built as a council estate between the 1950s and 1970s and is now mostly owned by the Scottish Borders Housing Association and Waverley Housing, two social landlords in the Borders. It is the poorest part of Hawick, with relatively high rates of social deprivation in several areas, especially around Ruberslaw Road and the Meadows, according to the 2001 census. Like many such areas in Scotland, it also has more than its fair share of antisocial behaviour, with many incidents around the Kenilworth Avenue shops. However, its primary school has won praise for its teaching and attitude to various issues in the past.

Borders Railway Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank

The Borders Railway connects the city of Edinburgh with Galashiels and Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders. The railway follows most of the alignment of the northern part of the Waverley Route, a former double-track line in southern Scotland and northern England that ran between Edinburgh and Carlisle. That line was controversially closed in 1969, as part of the Beeching cuts, leaving the Borders region without any access to the National Rail network. Following the closure, a campaign to revive the Waverley Route emerged. Discussion on reopening the northern part of the line came to a head during the early 2000s. Following deliberations in the Scottish Parliament, the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act 2006 received Royal Assent in June 2006. The project was renamed the "Borders Railway" in August 2008, and building works began in November 2012. Passenger service on the line began on 6 September 2015, whilst an official opening by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 9 September.

Shankend Viaduct Disused railway viaduct in the Scottish Borders, Scotland

Shankend Viaduct is a former railway viaduct in the Scottish Borders just over six miles south of the town of Hawick. It is a category B listed building.


  1. An Stòr-dàta Briathrachais, www2.smo.uhi.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  2. Scots Language Centre: Scottish Place Names in Scots
  3. "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  4. "Scotland (United Kingdom): Council Areas & Localities – Population Statistics, Charts and Map".
  5. "Plea for Hawick, a town in deep trouble".
  6. "16–20 Commercial Road". British Listed Buildings.
  7. Hawick and Denholm – Overview of Population, Deprivation, Unemployment and Schools. Scottish Borders Council – Corporate Business Management Service. 2017. p. 3.
  8. "Scottish knitwear producer Peter Scott to close". 25 July 2016.
  9. "Jobs blow as Pringle decides to shut Scottish knitwear plant". 30 June 2008.
  10. "Nearly one in three Hawick kids live in poverty". 31 August 2017.
  11. "Hawick business centre plans submitted". 12 October 2018.
  12. "Wait for Hawick's new superstore is over". 19 April 2018.
  13. "Borders Distillery opens to the public in Hawick". BBC News. 1 May 2018.
  14. "Jobs to go as Hawick's Homebase store set to close". 14 August 2018.
  15. Brocklehurst, Steven (27 March 2013). "What was Beeching's worst railway cut?". BBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  16. "Geograph:: Disused railway line (C) Walter Baxter".
  17. "Geograph:: Waverley Walk, Hawick (C) Oliver Dixon".
  18. "Guide book praises common riding". BBC. 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  19. Disbury, Rachael. "About Alchemy Film & Arts". Alchemy Film & Arts. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  20. Pattison, Michael. "FILM TOWN". Alchemy Film & Arts. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  21. "February 2010" . Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  22. Herdman, John (22 November 1992). The County of Roxburgh. Scottish Academic Press. ISBN   9780707307206 via Google Books.
  23. 1 2 Davidson, Alan (22 January 2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780199677337 via Google Books.
  24. 1 2 "Hawick Balls". The List. 17 September 2010.
  25. "Dictionary of the Scots Language:: SND :: sndns1968".
  26. Reason, Mark (23 September 2011). "Rugby World Cup 2011: Scotland captain Rory Lawson trying to live up to values of his grandfather Bill McLaren". The Daily Telegraph.
  27. "Final farewell for Bill McLaren". BBC News. 25 January 2010.
  28. "Bill McLaren funeral: hundreds celebrate 'voice of rugby'". The Daily Telegraph. 25 January 2010.
  29. "New bridge honours 'voice of rugby'". BBC News. 7 February 2018.
  30. "Tornado hits Hawick twin town Bailleul". Hawick News . Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  31. "Andrew Cranston". Ingleby. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  32. Sreekumar, G. (20 January 2021). "From Hawick to Hawick: The story of the Economist founder James Wilson". Business Standard India.

Further reading