The village of Walkerburn was built after Henry Ballantyne bought land to build a Tweed Mill in 1846. The architect Frederick Thomas Pilkington designed and built a new village with houses for the workers and for the Ballantyne family. The new village came into being in 1854-there are many fine examples of Plikingtons work in the village including several lodge houses. The Good Templar Movement built a village hall in 1877 and this is still in use. The Church of Scotland was built in 1883 and the Rugby Club founded in 1884, as the 25th member of the Scottish Rugby Union. A French style ‘pissoir’ was installed as a public toilet on the A72 beside the bridge over the Walkerburn. It is no longer in use!
The village also boasts Scotland's first hydro electric scheme. In 1920-21 Messers Boving & Co of London built a revolutionary system, pumping water from the Tweed up to a reservoir on Kirnie Law above the village then bringing it down to drive a Pelton turbine to produce electricity.
A funicular railway was built from the A72 up to the reservoir site to haul up all the materials used in construction – a total weight of 3,650 tons was carried on the railway. As production in the mills declined, less power was required. The system was dismantled and all that is left is the old reservoir. To see what is left of the reservoir, walk towards Priesthope from the A72 and climb uphill to the left. The views are magnificent.