town, Scottish Borders council area, southeastern Scotland. It is on Gala Water near its junction with the River Tweed, 33 miles (53 km) south-southeast of Edinburgh. The part of the town on the west bank of the Gala lies within the historic county of Selkirkshire, while the east bank belongs to the historic county of Roxburghshire. Woolen manufacture dates from the close of the 16th century, and the Scottish College of Textiles (1909) is the central institution for the industry that is now mainly confined to the weaving of tweeds and the making of knitwear. There are also other light industries. Galashiels was originally a village built for accommodation of pilgrims to Melrose Abbey, 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast, and was designated a burgh of barony in 1599. Nearby are two homes of the novelist Sir Walter Scott, Ashiestiel (where he lived in 1804-12) and Abbotsford (which he purchased in 1811). Also nearby is an ancient Pictish earthwork, the Catrail, or Picts' Work Ditch. Pop. (2001) 14,361.
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