Visit Peebles - The Royal Burgh

Chambers Institution

High Street, Peebles

Originating in the 16th c., the Chambers Institution has an interesting history. Belonging to the Church, it was the Dean's House, and later passed to the Queensberry branch of the Douglas family.

Locally known as the Queensberry Lodging, it was the birthplace of "Old Q", the 4th Duke of Queensberry, the infamous Rake of Piccadilly and ancestor of the 8th Duke who drew up the "Queensberry Rules of Boxing".

After extensive modernisation and extension the building was generously given to the town in 1857 by Dr William Chambers. He and his brother Robert, both born in the town, founded the Edinburgh publishing firm, W&R Chambers, which today is world renowned for its dictionaries and encyclopaedia. A later major extension, opened in 1911, was funded by Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire who, after making his fortune in steel production in USA, funded several thousand public libraries world-wide, including in Peebles. Later the Chambers Institution became the civic centre, and was the meeting place of the Town Council until the reform of local government in 1975. The most recently opened exhibit (1990) in the Chambers Institution is the "Secret Room", displaying wall-mounted plaster friezes donated by William Chambers - a 16 metre long reproduction of portions of the Elgin Marbles, and a complete facsimile of the "Triumph of Alexander", by the Danish sculptor Bertil Thorvaldsen.

Historical content : taken from the Town Walk