Ian strikes gold with historic antique find

100-year-old Cornet's badge
100-year-old Cornet's badge

PRESIDENT of Hawick Archaeological Society, Ian Lowes, has discovered an absolute gem.

Mr Lowes is a self-confessed enthusiastic collector of all kids of items relating to the history of Hawick, especially the Common-Riding, which results in a huge amount of time at old book dealers, antique, junk and charity shops and car boot sales.

And at the 1514 Dinner on Friday, during his toast to the Common-Riding, he showed off an amazing find, picked up during a trawl through the shops in Melrose – the Cornet’s badge of 1911 belonging to Lockie Thorburn.

He said: “I couldn’t believe what I saw in a dealer’s cabinet. I quickly parted company with my money, bought it and left the shop in such a hurry, my wife thought I’d been shoplifting because I wanted to make sure that what I’d bought got back to Hawick as soon as possible as I couldn’t let it spend a minute longer languishing in Melrose, the land of The Greenyards, when its rightful place and spiritual home was the land of the green jersey. But more importantly, the land of the green coat.”

Mr Lowes revealed afterwards that he paid £15 for the badge, which is inscribed simply with “Cornet 1911”.

He said: “Even though this symbol of civic pride is in my possession, I’m not the owner, its owner is still Cornet Thorburn. I’m only its custodian.”

He added: “Lockie Thorburn in 1911, the proud owner of the badge I now hold in trust, never heard the sounds of hundreds of cheering townsfolk atop the ladder after tying the ribbons to the replica of the Flag that means so much to us all. Or felt his thoughts drifting back to the days when Surrey had his troops divided as he paid tribute to the Callant by lowering the Flag in salute as he passed the Horse on Common-Riding morn.

“These two ceremonies were not introduced until 1923, 12 years after his Cornetship, but they have become an important part of our Common-Riding.”

n 1514 Club Dinner, page 11