Chambers Institution

Chambers Institution
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Chambers Institution

The complex of buildings known as the Chambers Institution lie on the south side of the High Street in Peebles, presenting a fine Baronial facade to the street which is harled with detailing in cream sandstone. Parts of the building may date back as far as the 16th C. and it certainly incorporates the Queensberry Lodging (1644), a property of the Dukes of Queensberry, where William Douglas, the 4th Duke (1724 - 1810), known as 'Old Q', was born. The publisher Dr. William Chambers, who was born in Peebles in 1800, acquired the building in 1857 and commissioned Edinburgh-based minor architect John Paris to remodel it to provide a museum, library, reading rooms and public hall. He presented it as the Chambers Institute to the people of the town in 1859, for their 'social, moral and intellectual improvement'. Extended to the east in 1911 by George Washington Browne (1853 - 1939), the Institute was the meeting place for the Peebles Town Council between 1910 and 1975. The war town's memorial, located in the courtyard, is one of the finest in Scotland. This takes the form of a hexagonal shrine and was unveiled in 1922 by Field-Marshal Douglas Haig (1861 - 1928).

The main part of the building is home to the Tweeddale Museum & Gallery which hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions. Since 2012, the Institution has also provided a home for the John Buchan Story. The museum was once housed in the Chambers Room on the first floor, which is now home to an extraordinary plasterwork friezes.

The building was A-listed in 1971 owing to its historical importance.

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