Tribute to Coulter’s Candy complete

Published: 19th December 2019


The Coulter’s Candy feature in Galashiels has been completed with the installation of sculptures dedicated two of the lullaby’s main characters.

The statues of a boy and girl, named Little Jock and Wee Jeannie, are a tribute to Robert Coltart’s world famous children’s lullaby which references both.

Coulter's Candy

The verses from the Coulter’s Candy lullaby which reference Little Jock and Wee Jeannie are:

Poor wee Jeannie’s looking awfy thin
A rickle of bones covered oer wi skin
But soon she’ll hae a wee double chin
Frae sooking Coulter’s Candy;
Little Jock an errand ran,
An’ got a penny frae the man,
Which ne’er again did leave his han’
Till he coft Coulter’s Candy

The new additions will sit alongside the statue dedicated to Coltart, which was unveiled in September by folk singer Jimmie Macgregor, who recorded and performed Coulter’s Candy on national television in the 1950s and 60s, helping to popularise it.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony, which included local schoolchildren as well as over 30 relatives of Coltart who attended from across the UK.

Partnership project comes to fruition 

  • The sculptures are all the work of Innerleithen-based artist Angela Hunter, who was commissioned after the Coltart story was championed by local historians Graeme McIver and Mary Craig, local Councillor Sandy Aitchison and Helen Calder of the Energise Galashiels Trust, leading to the idea of a permanent tribute.
  • The statue is part of a town trail created by us, which includes a plaque at Coltart’s former home on Overhaugh Street.
  • The project is supported by the Scottish Government who provided a £1.18million grant last year to help fund a number of regeneration projects in the town.
  • These include new visitor signage and improvements to Channel Street and Douglas Bridge, as well as helping to fund the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor attraction, which is progressing well and is set to open in spring 2021.
  • Other ongoing regeneration work includes Energise Galashiels Trust’s Building A Better Galashiels project to help deliver some elements of the previous Business Improvement District plan to enhance the visitor experience.
  • Through the Scottish Government, SOSEP is also supporting Galashiels as one of eight priority towns to recruit a Community Enterprise Manager to work with the local communities to support new and developing projects.

Angela Hunter, who hails from Galashiels

"It is wonderful to see the figures of Wee Jeannie and Little Jock in place.

“This completes the scenario honouring Robert Coltart which I hope will appeal to all ages and become an added attraction to Galashiels.

"I would also like to thank Powderhall Bronze for their hard work and support throughout this project."

Graeme McIver, who has been championing Robert Coltart’s story for over 10 years

"The song Coulter’s Candy is arguably Scotland’s most loved children’s song so it is wonderful and appropriate to see Poor Wee Jeannie and Little Jock, names lifted from verses, join the statue of Robert Coltart to complete Angela Hunter’s vision.

"Angela has managed to capture perfectly both the anticipation of the little boy rushing to purchase the sweets as well as the wee girl, sitting eating the famous candy. You can see the pleasure in the faces of what would have been poor, mill workers children.

“The Coulter’s Candy statue has proved very popular since its unveiling back in September and I’m sure the addition of both children will make it an even more loved attraction that will delight young and old alike and visitors to the town as well as residents of Galashiels.”

Helen Calder of Energise Galashiels Trust

“The additions of the children Jock and Jeannie will help tell the story of this much loved ‘Candy Man’ Robert Coltart.

“Since the Coulter’s Candy statue was installed in September, The Market Square is rarely without children and adults taking photos and reading the story all with smiling faces.

“I am very proud to have been involved in this wonderful project.”

Councillor Aitchison

“This whole project has now culminated in a unique children centred sculpture which will have a lasting influence on how Galashiels is seen in other places.

“It shows that history can be reflected in ordinary people, not just the famous or the infamous.

“It has been a pleasure to work with so many people on this to see it through.”  

Further information

Images from both unveilings are available at our Flickr page.

Regeneration of Galashiels

  • The regeneration of Galashiels aims to capitalise on the success of the Borders Railway, which has presented a series of opportunities for Galashiels and the Borders, with the area seeing an increase in visitor figures
  • A partnership approach, including ourselves, Energise Galashiels Trust, charity Live Borders and businesses and community groups, will aim to do this through a series of initiatives which will create a number of economic, social and educational benefits to transform the town
  • The Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor attraction will be the catalyst to re-shape the town and encourage investment in Galashiels and the wider Borders economy.
  • It is predicted to attract over 50k people to Galashiels each year once opened, as well as creating 16 posts at the facility. In addition, almost £900k of extra spending per year is predicted for the local economy, providing 12k extra visits to complementary attractions, supporting a further 17 jobs.
  • Regular updates on the Tapestry project are available at its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
  • South of Scotland Economic Partnership has also provided support for Galashiels to recruit a Community Enterprise Manager as part of a pilot scheme
  • The £310k ‘Building a Better Galashiels’ project has received funding from ourselves, Energise Galashiels, the private sector and community contributions.
  • The regeneration of Galashiels has the support of the Scottish Government through the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, as well as community groups such as Energise Galashiels Trust.