In the late nineteenth century, this was a relatively small group with approximately 20-25 members. There are no membership rolls in the early minute books, and only the attendance numbers are given for their meetings, which are usually somewhere between 15 and 20. The annual subscription rate in 1895 was 1/6 (Minute entry, 6 November 1895), lower than the average of 2/6, which strongly suggests that its members were composed of the working classes.
The earliest mention of this society’s manuscript magazine is found in the minute of 25 November 1891. The magazine was read aloud by the Editor, Mr J. E. McLachlan. The contributions that evening consisted of: ‘Melrose Local Government’ by Por Bono Publico; ‘Water Fountains on Highways’” by Aqua; and ‘Dressed or undressed’, anonymous. ‘Each paper raised a considerable amount of discussion’.
The MS magazine continued to feature as a regular part of the meetings from 1891-1896. The next extant minutes begin again in 1904 (the first minute is recorded on 28 October 1904), when the society was reformed as The Melrose Literary and Debating Society. The new society met at the Ormiston Hall every other Tuesday at 8pm. The annual subscription was 1/6 (the same as the earlier society). The object was ‘the moral and intellectual improvement of its members by means of Lectures, Essays, Debates, Readings, Recitations and Social Intercourse’ (‘Rules’, minute entry, 28 October 1904). The society elected an Editor of the Manuscript Magazine at the first meeting along with the other office bearers.
Name of Club, Society or Group That Produced the Magazine
Melrose Literary Society (Note: reformed in 1904 as The Melrose Literary and Debating Society)
Date of Existence
Date of Magazine
1904-1958 (Note: 9 items total, of which only the following are within the date range of this study: Vol. 10 (1904-1911); Vol. 11 (1911-1916))
Number of Issues
2 (within date range of this study)
Mostly Manuscript, with a few typescript (Vol. 10); Manuscript and typescript (Vol. 11)
Contents and Contributions
Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre (Heritage Hub, Hawick)