From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A town landscape
Hawick from the top of the Mote
Hawick is in the Scottish Borders in the south of Scotland
Hawick is in the Scottish Borders in the south of Scotland
Location within the Scottish Borders
Area1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
Population14,294 [3] (2011 census)
• Density7,523/sq mi (2,905/km2)
Southern Scots
OS grid referenceNT505155
• Edinburgh39.7 mi (63.9 km) NNW
• London292 mi (470 km) SSE
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townHAWICK
Postcode districtTD9
Dialling code01450
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°25′19″N 2°47′13″W / 55.422°N 2.787°W / 55.422; -2.787Coordinates: 55°25′19″N 2°47′13″W / 55.422°N 2.787°W / 55.422; -2.787

Hawick (/ˈhɔɪk/ (About this soundlisten) 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 10.0 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. Hawick is known for its yearly Common Riding, for its rugby team Hawick Rugby Football Club and for its knitwear industry.

At the 2001 census Hawick had a resident population of 14,801. By 2011, this had reduced to 14,294.


"Horn's Hole, Hawick, Scotland", ca. 1890 - 1900.

The west end of the town contains "the Mote", the remains of a Norman motte-and-bailey. 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. In 2009 another monument the "Turning of the Bull" (artist, Angela Hunter, Innerleithen, Scotland) 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: 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. Originally based on linen, this quickly moved to wool and factories multiplied, driving the growth of the town.[citation needed] 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 Edinburgh to 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 was closed. It was 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 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 footpath along the former railway route, north-eastward from the former station site near Teviotdale Leisure Centre.

The nearest major airports are at Edinburgh, 57 miles (92 km) away, and Newcastle, 56 miles (90 km) away.

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.

Culture and traditions[edit]

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".

Teri Talk[edit]

Many Hawick residents speak the local dialect of Border Scots which is informally known as "Teri Talk". It is similar (but not identical by any means) to the dialects spoken in surrounding towns, especially Jedburgh, Langholm and Selkirk.[citation needed] The speech of this general area was described in Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland (1873) by James Murray, considered the first systematic study of any dialect.[citation needed] The Hawick tongue retains many elements of Old English,[citation needed] together with particular vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Its distinctiveness arose from the relative isolation of the town.


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.

Rivalry between the small Border towns is generally played out on the rugby union field.[citation needed] The historical competition continues to this day, as Hawick's main rival is the similarly-sized town of Galashiels.

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.[20] 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[edit]

Hawick balls or baws, also known as Hills Balls[21] or taffy rock bools,[22] are a peppermint-flavoured boiled sweet that originated in the town.[23][24] They are particularly associated with rugby commentator Bill McLaren who was known to offer them from a bag that he always carried.[22][25][26][27] They are now produced in Greenock.[23]


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.[28]

Town twinning[edit]

Notable residents[edit]





Politics and public life[edit]

See also[edit]

Hawick's villages:


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

Further reading[edit]

  • Murray, James (1870–72, 1873) The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland, London: Philological Society.

External links[edit]